READINGS for 2006-05-14

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



??He had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.? ? Acts 9:27

We were a new group in the parish and barely knew each other. So we had to undergo a oneday team building session. We had to do a sharing of the highest (happy) and lowest (sad) moments in our respective lives and to plot these moments in a graph of our lifetime.
      In my ?highest? moments, among others I included my ?single?, alcohol-filled days and my successful management career. In my ?lowest? moments, I included the situation of my childlessness in my marriage; and the bankruptcy of the companies that I had managed during the Asian Financial crisis in 1998.
      As I tended to other services for the group, the Lord spoke to my heart asking: ?Are you speaking for Me or for yourself?? I realized then that if my mind had been spiritually renewed, how could I treat the ?old happy? days as happy and my ?old sad? days as sad? It was ?barkada? and ?booze?, then later on, a rat race pace in my career that prevented  me to know Jesus better. Was it not the situations of childlessness and joblessness that drew me closer to Him?
      When I altered my thinking, the spiritual graph of my life became reversed. With that inspiration, I shared on the goodness of the Lord and how happy moments can truly be joyful when His Spirit dwells in our hearts.Rolly E.

What did God say to you during the ?lowest? moments of your life?

Help me see and draw towards You in all my life situations, O Lord.



Acts 9:26-31

Paul?s zeal for the Kingdom of God very quickly made him enemies amongst the powerful Jewish factions. It is probably a sign of his effectiveness that they sought so clearly to kill him. Paul is then sent to Tarsus to let  things cool down a bit before he returns sometime later to be sent out on what were to become his famous missionary journeys. It was left to the original apostles to carry on the mission in and around Jerusalem.

26 When he arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. 27 Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles, and he reported to them how on the way he had seen the Lord and that he had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 He moved about freely with them in Jerusalem, and spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists, but they tried to kill him. 30 And when the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him on his way to Tarsus. 31 The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and   with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.


Psalm 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32

R: I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.

25 [26] I will fulfill my vows before those who fear the LORD. 26 [27] The lowly shall eat their fill; they who seek the LORD shall praise him ?May your hearts live for ever!? (R) 27 [28] All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; all the families of the nations shall bow down before him. (R) 29 [30] To him alone shall bow down all who sleep in the earth; before him shall bend all who go down into the dust. (R) And to him my soul shall live; 30 [31] my descendants shall serve him. Let the coming generation be told of the LORD 31 [32] that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born the justice he has shown. (R)


1 John 3:18-24

John exhorts his readers to action! Faith is not something that is passive and weak ? it is alive and active ? calling us ever more deeply to engage ourselves in the battle for holiness and also the mission to spread the Good News to every land. Let us listen to this ancient exhortation and hear and recognize that it is as true for us today as it was 2000 years ago! Not much has changed when it comes to humanity and the struggle to grow in faith.

18 Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. 19 [Now] this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him 20 in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. 21 Beloved, if [our] hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God 22 and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. 24 Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit that he gave us.

John 15:1-8

It is only in union with Jesus that we will bear fruit in our lives ? the fruit of salvation. It is important for us to reflect upon this truth regularly in order to realign our minds and hearts according to the mind and heart of God. Sin easily deflects us from the truth and leads us away from God. It is only in Him that we will find true happiness and peace. Anything apart from God is deficient in some way or another and thus is incapable of bringing us true happiness.

1 ?I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. 2 He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. 3 You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. 4 Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither;  people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.?

my reflections
: Faith is not something that is passive and weak ? it is alive and active ? calling us ever more deeply to engage ourselves in the battle for holiness and also the mission to spread the Good News to every land.



God?s special verse/thought for me today________________


Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________





My weekly time with God


Things to be grateful for from the past week





Things to ask God for in the coming week





Most important word God told me this week





St. Benedict Joseph Labre
Poor Man of God (1748 - 1783)

?I am only a poor, ignorant beggar.?

Benedict Joseph Labre was a religious vagabond, a ?holy fool for Christ? of a type familiar in the traditions of the East, but less so in the West. He was born in a village near Boulogne in the south of France, the son of a shopkeeper,  the eldest of 15 children. When he was 12 his family sent him to live with an uncle who was a parish priest. There he received some rudimentary education. When his uncle died in an outbreak of plague, Benedict briefly returned to his family. But he had decided by this time to devote his life entirely to God. He was turned away from the Trappists on account of his youth. He was likewise refused by a serious of other religious communities. Thus discouraged, he divined  that his true vocation was to seek a cloister within the world. Accordingly  he set off on foot on a pilgrimage that lasted several years, wandering thousands of miles across Europe, all the while praying and visiting shrines and churches.
      Benedict dressed in rags and never bathed. This helped to discourage human contact and thus contributed to the prayerful isolation which he relished. He declined to beg, though occasionally passersby were moved to offer him alms. Often he would pass these along to others he felt were in greater need. When food was not offered, he lived off of what was discarded by the roadside. His appearance was as likely to evoke contempt as pity, and he was frequently harassed and shooed along his way by more fastidious citizens. Nevertheless, he accepted all rebukes in a penitential spirit. When a priest in the confessional, struck by this theological knowledge, asked him if he had ever studied divinity, he replied, ?I, Father? I am only a poor ignorant beggar.? But those who were able to see beneath his disheveled appearance including, eventually, his confessor recognized the saint in their midst.
      Eventually he settled in Rome, where he spent his nights sleeping in the ruins of the Coliseum site of ancient martyrdom ? and his days praying in the various churches of the city. When his health began to fail, he consented to sleep in a hospice for the destitute. But this belated concession to human frailty could not reverse the toll of his ascetic existence. At the age of 35 he collapsed on the steps of a church and was carried to the house of a nearby butcher. There he died on April 16, 1783. Almost immediately, children of the neighborhood began calling through the streets, ?The Saint is dead, the Saint is dead!? His reputation quickly spread across the city, and before long throughout Europe. Biographies were published in many languages. Through one of these accounts his parents, still alive in the village of his birth, learned what had become of their longmissing son. He was canonized in 1883.



Jesus repeatedly used the phrase ?remain in me.? Jesus wants to underline what His whole coming to this earth is about. It is about restoring that broken connection to the vine. It is about remaining in him. It is about relationship. Jesus didn?t come just to heal, to preach or to be a nice bloke. He came to give us and do what we are not able to give and to do ?he gave us a relationship with God and he gave us the grace to abide. This relationship, while Jesus? initiative, takes two. It needs our response and active cooperation. We are to put this relationship above other relationships. We need to be reminded of it because as one writer puts it our ?hearts are prone to wander; prone to leave the God we love.? It doesn?t take a huge digression. It only takes small steps of complacency and we end up cut off from the relationship with Jesus and, worse, guilty of relational idolatry. Relational idolatry is when our world, our very life is no longer derived from God ? when it is all dependent on another?s love or approval or our success or anything that may be good but is not in its proper place. Relational authority means that one relationship is higher than that relationship which is the Source of life. In the end, this once life-giving relationship becomes stagnant and destructive because it is no longer under our relationship with Jesus. Is there a relationship in your life that is placed above God? One sign is the lack of life and freedom in the relationship ? when your joy is no longer dependent on who you are in God but in what this or that person feels or thinks of you. Another is that your sole preoccupation is about this person ? every daydream, every thought and waking hour must be spent with or about this person. A further warning sign is when the relationship with this person becomes exclusive and closed to others. When there?s possessiveness and unwillingness to share the other. This is the reason why we need to have all our relationships under God?s wisdom. We must remain in Jesus. Bro. Noel C.

Take an honest look at your relationships. Is there a relationship that detracts from your primary relationship with God? Is there a relationship demanding obedience from you that is not life-giving or freeing? Ask God to prune it and take steps towards putting that relationship in its proper place.

Father, prune me. Prune me of things and relationships that are idolatrous and are no longer lifegiving but are now enslaving. I profess today that my  faith will not be dependent in a person or a relationship but in the fact that You love me. Father, take my heart. Seal it with Your love so that I will remain with You always. Amen.

St. Matthias, apostle and martyr, pray for us.

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