READINGS for 2006-05-28

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

Ascension of our Lord

ECHOING THRU THE CENTURIES

?Therefore,?I invite you to live the vocation you have received.? ? Ephesians 4:1

During one of our Bible Quizzes, this question was asked:
      ?Who was the supposed addressee of the Acts of the Apostles?? (Hint: The answer is in the first sentence of Acts.)
      Peewee, one of the ?ate?s? of the group, quickly answered it.
      ?Theophilus!? she shouted.
      I don?t recall now how the evening ended. But that name has echoed to me up to now. THEOPHILUS, which in Greek, means ?Lover of God?. That?s a curious name that could mean all the Christians or an actual person?s name. Regardless, we all know we must love God but sometimes we feel abandoned, left behind ? like the apostles gazing up at the ascending Christ. How can we become a THEOPHILUS? The Ephesian reading has the answer. It is a NEW blessing that we ought to use more often to each other. Now, hand this Didache to your nearest friend and ask him to read the prayer. Jomar H.

REFLECTION
Powerful stuff, the words of the Bible. A Powerful life the spirit gives us. Lets live it and if we forget, go back bless each other with the prayer above.

?May the Father of Glory reveal himself to you and give you a spirit of wisdom, that you may KNOW him.

COMPANION

1st READING

Acts 1:1-11

Jesus returns to the Father. His loss to the apostles devastates them. This shows us how reliance upon one person in a mission is dangerous. If they get sick then we are lost. One of the critical principles for good leadership is that any good leader is able to make his or her self redundant! That is, they are not critical to the outcome of the mission. This means entrusting people with responsibilities to teach them how to take up leadership roles under you. Without this, the rest of the people remain reliant upon you, and when you are gone ?

1 In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught 2 until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for ?the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; 5 for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.? 6 When they had gathered together they asked him, ?Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?? 7 He answered them, ?It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.? 9 When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. 10 While they were  looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. 11 They said, ?Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.?

P S A L M

Psalm 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9

R: God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

1 [2] All you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness, 2 [3] for the LORD, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth. (R) 5 [6] God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy; the LORD, amid trumpet blasts. 6 [7] Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our king, sing praise. (R) 7 [8] For the king of all the earth is God; sing hymns of praise. 8 [9] God reigns over the nations, God sits upon his holy throne. (R
  
2nd READING

Ephesians 4:1-13 or Ephesians 1:17-23

Christ has given us all a share in His grace. This ought to be enough for us. We do not need any more or less than what God has and will give us, after all, He knows what we can and cannot handle. Each gift that God gives his people is important for the overall mission of the Church. Each of us has a role to play, albeit, different from the person next to us, but an essential role nonetheless. Let us simply ask Jesus every day what He wants us to do for Him that day!

1 I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, 3 striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: 4 one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ?s gift. 8 Therefore, it says: ?He ascended on high and took prisoners captive; he gave gifts to men.? 9 What does ?he ascended? mean except that he also descended into the lower [regions] of the earth? 10 The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. 11 And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

G O S P E L

Mark 16:15-20 or Matthew 28:16-20

Jesus returns to the Father. The apostles who go away and hide themselves for fear of the Jews acutely feel Jesus? absence on earth. This coming week to ten days before Pentecost is a good time for us to reflect upon the world without Jesus ? a world caught up in the clutches of sin and completely powerless to save itself. But with the Holy Spirit, anything is possible, as we will witness in the account of Pentecost next Sunday.

15 He said to them, ?Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. 18 They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.? 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. 20 But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.
  
my reflections
think:
Christ has given us all a share in His Grace.

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God?s special verse/thought for me today________________

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T O D A Y ? S BLESSING LIST

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________

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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Psalm 45-51

SABBATH PAUSE

My weekly time with God

THANK YOU LIST

Things to be grateful for from the past week

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SPECIAL NEEDS

Things to ask God for in the coming week

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HIDDEN TREASURE

Most important word God told me this week

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SABBATH

NO HANDS BUT YOURS

There was a church in Spain that was affected when the city was bombed during World War II. In the rubble, when the Christians of that place were looking for anything of value, they spotted a crucifix. What was striking was that the limbs and the arms of the body of Jesus on the Cross had been severed because of the air strike. Now that cross is found in a chapel but the arms and limbs of the corpus were never restored. In place of these, an inscription was added: ?I have no hands but yours. I have no feet but yours.? Some of us could have heard these words and wrote them off as a pietistic clich?. Some of us may have heard them for the first time and just remarked: How nice! Yet no matter how worn out or seemingly irrelevant those words, they contain the truth for us today as we celebrate the Ascension. In the Ascension accounts of Scripture, we hear that Jesus charged the disciples to preach and to heal ? in other words to continue doing the works and speaking the words he had been doing and speaking. The Church was endowed with power ? ?to speak in tongues, cast out demons, handle deadly poison and tread on serpent and lay their hands for the sick to be healed? ? so that we could be Jesus? hands and feet. His physical disappearance meant that His ministry would stop. That is why He built the Church ? we, being His disciples are now also His body given for the world to continue the saving works of Jesus. His resurrected form guaranteed His presence in us as we gather and as we work in His Name. In us, Jesus multiplies Himself and to anyone truly given to Him, Jesus gives Himself for others. It is an amazing reality and a real challenge for the Church today. Jesus can still heal today through our hands. He still can comfort today through our presence. He still can proclaim the freedom and salvation through our words. He could have done it in a sovereign way, on His own, but He chose us. The Ascension means that Jesus is taken up into heaven so that His Church could take Him to the ends of the earth. Bro. Noel C.

REFLECTION QUESTION:
You heard your mission: to heal, to proclaim and to bring Jesus? salvation. How are you to concretize these and incorporate it in your daily life?

Jesus, when You ascended to the Father, You didn?t desire that Your work would cease. Open my eyes and reveal to my heart that I am part of something greater and beyond myself. I am called to take You to the ends of the earth because I am part of Your Body. Open doors for me and concretely show me where I am in the scheme of things. Amen.

St. Germanus, bishop, pray for us.




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