READINGS for 2006-06-21
GOD LIKES SECRETS
?And the Father, who sees what is kept secret will reward you.? ? Matthew 6:18
God likes secrets.
May I learn the virtue of patience dear Lord, because Your blessings are always on time!
2 Kings 2:1, 6-14
The power and righteousness of Elijah are evident in these encounters with the messengers of the king. The King of Israel has been consulting false gods probably in order to appease certain groups within his kingdom. This is an abomination in the eyes of Elijah and the king knows this and fears Elijah?s influence among the people enough to try to arrest him. The fate of the two sets of the 50 soldiers ought to warn us of the dangers of trafficking with sin and thus inspire us to leave sin well alone!
1 When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, he and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 6 Elijah said to Elisha, ?Please stay here; the LORD has sent me on to the Jordan.? ?As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live,? Elisha replied, ?I will not leave you.? And so the two went on together. 7 Fifty of the guild prophets followed, and when the two stopped at the Jordan, stood facing them at a distance. 8 Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up and struck the water, which divided, and both crossed over on dry ground. 9 When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, ?Ask for whatever I may do for you, before I am taken from you.? Elisha answered, ?May I receive a double portion of your spirit.? 10 ?You have asked something that is not easy,? he replied. ?Still, if you see me taken up from you, your wish will be granted; otherwise not.? 11 As they walked on conversing, a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 When Elisha saw it happen he cried out, ?My father! My father! Israel?s chariots and drivers!? But when he could no longer see him, Elisha gripped his own garment and tore it in two. 13 Then he picked up Elijah?s mantle which had fallen from him, and went back and stood at the bank of the Jordan. 14 Wielding the mantle which had fallen from Elijah, he struck the water in his turn and said, ?Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?? When Elisha struck the water it divided and he crossed over.
P S A L M
Psalm 31:20, 21, 24
R: Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
19  How great is the goodness, O LORD, which you have in store for those who fear you, and which, toward those who take refuge in you, you show in the sight of the children of men. (R) 20  You hide them in the shelter of your presence from the plottings of men; you screen them within your abode from the strife of tongues. (R) 23  Love the LORD, all you his faithful ones! The LORD keeps those who are constant, but more than requites those who act proudly. (R)
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Fasting is an important disciple in the life of faith. Not only is it actually good for one?s health, it also contributes to our holiness by sharpening our attentiveness in prayer and teaching us to control the basic human appetites. In this regard we can fast from many things, not just food. The Church requires us to fast on only two days of the year. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will teach us new ways to fast and lead us to develop this discipline in our lives.
1 ?[But] take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. 2 When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, 4 so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 5 ?When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 16 ?When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.?
God?s special verse/thought for me today________________
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Ecclesiastes 5-8
DISCERNING AMONG GOOD THINGS
In an earlier verse of the ?Sermon on the Mount,? in that part where Jesus exhorted his disciples to be ?salt of the earth? and ?light of the world,? Jesus asked that they let their light shine by letting others see their good works. Of all the good works that persons can do, prayer, fasting and almsgiving are considered superior by the Jews. In talking about these noble acts, Jesus seems to contradict his earlier teaching. Now he says anyone who gives alms, prays, and fasts must do these religious acts in secret.
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