READINGS for 2006-06-20

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

CHOOSE LOVE

?And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?? ? Matthew 5:47

It was a charismatic gathering at the Araneta Coliseum. A friend and I were walking in one of the hallways when we bumped into a former member of our community. He left years ago but we heard that he had been spreading negative things about us.
      As soon as I recognized him, I impulsively said ?Hi? and smiled. He returned my greeting.
      After we passed him, my friend immediately admonished me for what I did.
      ?That person has said bad things about us. Why?d you say hi?? she asked, with a little anger in her voice.
      I was stumped. All I could think of was the passage above.
      Acting out of loyalty to my community demanded that I do not relate with people who defame us. But acting out of love required that I greet even my enemies and not keep a record of their wrongs.
      Although my action wasn?t popular with my friend, I?m sure the Lord was pleased with what I did.
      When human laws ? or even divine ones ? contradict the law of love, choose love. You can?t go wrong. Rissa S.

REFLECTION:
Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

Lord, teach me to love the way that You love. Amen.

COMPANION

1st READING

1 Kings 21:17-29

The fate of Ahab is one of the worst that we read of in the Scriptures. His body will be left for the dogs of the city to feast upon when he dies. This should awaken within us, not just a horror for such an outcome, but for sin itself which is clearly portrayed as the main culprit leading to Ahab?s terrible end. Let us live with a horror for all sin so that we will be more likely to refuse its entry into our hearts, as we are aware of its terrible consequences.

17 But the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite 18 ?Start down to meet Ahab, king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He will be in the vineyard of Naboth, of which he has come to take possession. 19 This is what you shall tell him, ?The LORD says After murdering, do you also take possession? For this, the LORD says In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, the dogs shall lick up your blood, too.?? 20 ?Have you found me out, my enemy?? Ahab said to Elijah. ?Yes,? he answered. ?Because you have given yourself up to doing evil in the LORD?S sight, 21 I am bringing evil upon you I will destroy you and will cut off every male in Ahab?s line, whether slave or freeman, in Israel. 22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, and like that of Baasha, son of Ahijah, because of how you have provoked me by leading Israel into sin.? 23 (Against Jezebel, too, the LORD declared, ?The dogs shall devour Jezebel in the district of Jezreel.?) 24 ?When one of Ahab?s line dies in the city, dogs will devour him; when one of them dies in the field, the birds of the sky will devour him.? 25 Indeed, no one gave himself up to the doing of evil in the sight of the LORD as did Ahab, urged on by his wife Jezebel. 26 He became completely abominable by following idols, just as the Amorites had done, whom the LORD drove out before the Israelites. 27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put on sackcloth over his bare flesh. He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued. 28 Then the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, 29 ?Have you seen that Ahab has humbled himself before me? Since he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his time. I will bring the evil upon his house during the reign of his son.?

P S A L M

Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 11 and 16

R: Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

1 [3] Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. 2 [4] Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. (R) 3 [5] For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always. 4 [6] ?Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight.? (R) 9 [11] Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my guilt. 14 [16] Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving God; then my tongue shall revel in your justice. (R)

G O S P E L

Matthew 5:43-48

Here we come to the culmination of Jesus? teaching in this part of Matthew?s Gospel ? namely the call to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect! This is an incredibly noble and difficult calling. Yet it must be possible, as God has called us into it! Let us pray for the grace that every day we will make at least one step along this path and so grow in purity and holiness according to our life calling.

43 ?You have heard that it was said, ?You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.? 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48 So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.?

my reflections
think:
Let us live with a horror for all sin so that we will be more likely to refuse its entry into our hearts.

  
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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 Ecclesiastes 1-4

SABBATH

LOVE FOUNDED ON COMMON HUMANITY

We say love must go out to all. But the truth is: we select the ones we love. We choose as our special loved one ? someone who is lovable, beautiful, pleasant, inspiring. This is how someone starts being stricken by love. It could be the other?s face, eyes, smile, voice, character but there must be something attractively ?beautiful? in the other.
      The first Jewish law on loving others was also very selective. The other person must look like you, smell like you, talk like you, eat what you eat, pray as you pray, for him to be entitled to your love. In short, for the Jews, they were bound to love their fellow Jew.
      Jesus tried to open up the sectarian thoughts of his countrymen. He alluded to what they believed in the beginning. Genesis, the first book of Moses, states that God the Creator is father to all men and women. Regardless of color, language and creed, all human beings are made by One God the Father who communicated to all human beings ? not just the gift of life ? but the gift of dignity (?image and likeness of God?). Before any creed or language, our common humanity must then be the reason for love and solidarity.
      Our own true understanding of our Catholic faith also calls us to love beyond our religious boundaries. While we believe that the ?fullness of Divine Revelation? is in the Christian Faith, and that the ?fullness of Christianity? is entrusted to the Catholic Church, we likewise believe that on the basis of nature and what it reveals about God, and that on the basis of the laws of their conscience non-Catholics and non-Christians can also attain a knowledge of truth and love (cf. Romans 2:12-16). Therefore true Catholicism upholds love and respect towards all human life ? in all its conditions and stages. Fr. Domie G.

REFLECTION QUESTION:
Read and meditate on the ?Priestly Prayer of Jesus? in John 17. This portion of the ?Farewell Discourse? of Jesus has been called such because, in this moment of prayer, Jesus acts as an intercessor before the Father for the security and unity of all who will follow his way of truth.

Lord, unite us in Your love.

St. Silverius, pope martyr, pray for us.




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