READINGS for 2006-06-30

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



And then a leper approached, did him homage and said, ?Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.? ? Matthew 8:2

Reflecting on today?s gospel, I found myself comparing my ?Lord, if You wish?? prayers to that of the leper?s. Many times, when I pray to the Lord in a manner that makes room for my prayer not being granted (?if You wish?), it is because I am trying to shield myself from the possibility of being disappointed. I sometimes believe that I?ve gone through disappointments and frustrations once too often that they?ve found ways to creep into the way I trust the Lord as expressed in my prayers.
      The leper?s request came across to me differently. It was a plea made in confidence acknowledging first of all, the One to Whom he brings his request (? did Him homage?) regardless of whether his request was actually granted or not. It was an expression of faith founded on the One he believed. I?m not sure I can say the same for myself. My ??if You wish?? clause is my own safety net rather than a conviction that God?s hands are far greater and gentler than any safety net I could ever come up with. Yrrej P.

What are my self-made safety nets in life?

Lord, help me to realize more fully that the real basis of faith is Who You are, more than what You do for me.



2 Kings 25:1-12

Jerusalem, or at least its essential buildings are destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the people are deported to Babylon. The Israelite nation ceases to exist as an independent nation and was only reconstituted as such by a decree of the United Nations in 1948. Alliances with pagan nations and infidelity to the Law have wrought its destruction upon the Jewish people and, more than two millennia of occupation and suffering begins.

1 In the tenth month of the ninth year of Zedekiah?s reign, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and his whole army advanced against Jerusalem, encamped around it, and built siege walls on every side. 2 The siege of the city continued until the eleventh year of Zedekiah. 3 On the ninth day of the fourth month, when famine had gripped the city, and the people had no more bread, 4 the city walls were breached. Then the king and all the soldiers left the city by night through the gate between the two walls which was near the king?s garden. Since the Chaldeans had the city surrounded, they went in the direction of the Arabah. 5 But the Chaldean army pursued the king and overtook him in the desert near Jericho, abandoned by his whole army. 6 The king was therefore arrested and brought to Riblah to the king of Babylon, who pronounced sentence on him. 7 He had Zedekiah?s sons slain before his eyes. Then he blinded Zedekiah, bound him with fetters, and had him brought to Babylon. 8 On the seventh day of the fifth month (this was in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon), Nebuzaradan, captain of the bodyguard, came to Jerusalem as the representative of the king of Babylon. 9 He burned the house of the LORD, the palace of the king, and all the houses of Jerusalem; every large building was destroyed by fire. 10 Then the Chaldean troops who were with the captain of the guard tore down the walls that surrounded Jerusalem. 11 Then Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, led into exile the last of the people remaining in the city, and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon, and the last of the artisans. 12 But some of the country?s poor, Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, left behind as vinedressers and farmers.


Psalm 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6

R: Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!

1 By the streams of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. 2 On the aspens of that land we hung up our harps. (R) 3 Though there our captors asked of us the lyrics of our songs, and our despoilers urged us to be joyous ?Sing for us the songs of Zion!? (R) 4 How could we sing a song of the LORD in a foreign land? 5 If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand be forgotten! (R) 6 May my tongue cleave to my palate if I remember you not, if I place not Jerusalem ahead of my joy. (R)


Matthew 8:1-4

There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus desires the best for everyone. The best, however, is not always obvious in any given situation. This is where faith comes in. It is by faith that we are called to trust that God will lead us along the path that is best for us and will result in eternal life. This will not be easy. However, we can be sure that He will grant us all the grace that we need in order to follow His will. Let us pray that we will be humble enough to accept both His call and the grace that goes with it!

1 When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. 2 And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, ?Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.? 3 He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ?I will do it. Be made clean.? His leprosy was cleansed immediately. 4 Then Jesus said to him, ?See that you tell no one, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses prescribed; that will be proof  for them.?

my reflections
?Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!? Are you sure you can pray this prayer?



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The ?Tomb of the Unknown? in every country honors the numerous and nameless valiant men and women who shed their blood for the nation?s liberty. Today?s feast is an honoring also of the numerous and nameless Christians who offered their lives in testimony to the faith during the early days of the Church in Rome. In a particular way, we honor those Christian men and women who were put into animal skins, hunted, brutally attacked and burned as living torches to light up the imperial park of Emperor Nero in the ?night of horror? (August 15, 64 AD).
      Where did all these men and women, most of whom could have been fresh converts to the Christian faith, get the courage to remain steadfast in their profession of belief in Jesus even under threat of violent death? The story of the leper who was healed by Jesus ? the Gospel proclamation for this day?s ferial Mass ? gives us some clues. The leper had to be controlled by Jesus about ?not telling anyone? about him. Jesus knew that the erful experience of the leper of Jesus? goodness was enough to turn him into an avid proclaimer. So? the courageous protomartyrs of Rome could have also been recipients of powerful experiences of God. ?Faith experiences,? some people would call. These could have been moments of divine intervention that gave people the grace of healing, enlightenment, conversion, meaning.
      This is our crisis. For many of us, our Christian faith is nothing but a patrimony from generations past, a belief born from neat instructions and catechisms, a pageantry of centuries-old rituals and traditions. The lack of a personal ?faith experience? has made our confession of God anemic and archaic. Fr. Domie G.

How much courage do I have to proclaim what I believe in?

Lord Jesus, around You was the crowd. They gathered easily each time news of Your miracles and wonder works spread. They were mostly a curious lot, drawn not so much by conviction but by hysteria. They followed You not because they were convinced, but because they wanted their own convenience. No wonder they also easily abandoned You in Your Passion. None of them stood underneath Your Cross. Lord Jesus, grant that I may see my faith ? beyond what others say, beyond what others do. Rouse me, inflame me. Amen.

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome, pray for us.

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