READINGS for 2006-04-30
JESUS, THE VICTIM, THE ADVOCATE
...the expiation for our sins -- 1 John 2: 1-5
?Don?t blame me!? I remember saying this statement directly or indirectly as a child, as a rebel teen-ager or even as a manager in a big multi-national company. My actions resound this statement so that my inadequacies and defects are hidden. Somehow amidst all my mistakes and sins, I am obsessed in looking good in front of my peers, my God and myself.
Teach me to look beyond myself and instead see the other people You care equally about.
Peter is adamant that one of the necessary responses to the Gospel proclamation if we want to be saved is that we repent of our sins. In our secular world there is a diminishing sense of sin despite the apparent realities of evil and suffering that attest to its healthy existence. We must be careful that we do not allow ourselves to be deceived into thinking that we are not sinners or that our sins are not really much to worry about. The truth is that our sins have the ability to deny us eternal life. This is not something that we should ever wish upon anybody, but to deny the possibility is to walk a false and very dangerous path in life.
13 The God of Abraham, [the God] of Isaac, and [the God] of Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate?s presence, when he had decided to release him. 14 You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. 17 Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; 18 but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.
P S A L M
Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
R: Lord, let your face shine on us.
1  When I call, answer me, O my just God, you who relieve me when I am in distress; have pity on me, and hear my prayer! (R) 3  Know that the LORD does wonders for his faithful one; the LORD will hear me when I call upon him. (R) 6  O LORD, let the light of your countenance shine upon us! 7  You put gladness into my heart. (R) 8  As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep, for you alone, O LORD, bring security to my dwelling. (R)
1 John 2:1-5
John is addressing a problem of sin in the life of one of the Early Church communities. It is a message that is probably just as relevant today in our own communities as it was then. In fact, it seems that sin continues to plague our lives in a relatively unfettered way despite the fact that we have been given victory over it through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Let us never fail to address any sins in our own lives, and if we are leaders in our faith communities, in the corporate life of our groups as well.
1 My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. 2 He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. 3 The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says, ?I know him,? but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.
G O S P E L
We should pray every day that the Lord will open our minds to the Scriptures. The Scriptures are one of the primary sources of our formation. It is to them we should turn daily to discover the truth about God and His love for us. It is the Scriptures along with Tradition that form the foundation upon which the Church is built. Without them we would be left floundering in a sea of indecision and ignorance. What a tremendous gift the Scriptures are to us. Let us thank God for this gift by reading from them every day!
35 Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. 36 While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, ?Peace be with you.? 37 But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 Then he said to them, ?Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.? 40 And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, ?Have you anything here to eat?? 42 They gave him a piece of baked fish; 43 he took it and ate it in front of them. 44 He said to them, ?These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.? 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. 46 And he said to them, ?Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day 47 and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.?
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Nehemiah 11-13
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MARTYRDOM IS LIVING, NOT DYING
To be a martyr does not mean to be killed on account of Jesus. To be a martyr means to be a witness to Jesus. Sometimes giving witness to Jesus, however, leads to being killed on account of Him. But one does not have to die for Jesus to be a martyr in the real sense of the word. To give witness to Jesus is to be a martyr.
Lord Jesus Christ, You are my life. Help me live You. I am Your witness. I am Your martyr. I am Yours in life and in death. Amen.
St. Pius V, pope confessor, pray for us.
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