READINGS for 2006-07-02

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

GIVING BACK TO GOD

Your surplus at the present time should supply their needs? ? 2 Corinthians 8:14

I met an Australian pastor who talked about giving to God. He said that in his church, aside from tithes and love offerings, they practiced giving first fruits as well. He explained that when someone got a new job, instead of returning to God a tenth of their blessing, they would offer to Him their entire first paycheck!
      They practiced the same when it came to getting a raise. They would give to the Lord the whole amount that was added to their previous salary the first time they received it. Because of this practice, they had a hundred percent employment rate among their members.
      I applied that teaching when I first received my paycheck from a new job. I turned over my offering during a monthly community gathering. Weeks later, I learned that the collections during that particular meeting had not been sufficient to cover the expenses. Because of a major holiday, there had been a low attendance  since many had gone home to the province. My first fruits came just in time.
      I rejoiced in being used by the Lord. And while the money I offered had returned to me through many different forms of blessings, more importantly, I saw how valuable my giving is to God and His Church. Rissa S.

REFLECTION:
God so loved the world that He gave. Shouldn?t you give back to Him?

Lord, You?ve given me so much. Accept my tithes and offerings as a response to Your immense love for me.

COMPANION

1st READING

Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24

Death is something of a mysterious reality as we can never interview someone who has died and find out what death is all about. As Christians we believe that death is the last great journey of our life that takes us from this world into the next. We only die once and then there is judgment. We should never fear death but welcome it as an essential aspect of our journey to eternal life. Without it, we will not be able to share in the resurrection of Christ.

13 Because God did not make death, nor does He rejoice in the destruction of the living. 14 For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the nether world on earth, 15 for justice is undying. 2: 23 For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. 24 But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who are in his possession experience it.

P S A L M

Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13

R: I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

1 [2] I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear and did not let my enemies rejoice over me. 3 [4] O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world; you preserved me from among those going down into the pit. (R) 4 [5] Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. 5 [6] For his anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime, his good will. At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing. (R) 10 [11] Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me; O LORD, be my helper.? 11 [12] You changed my mourning into dancing; 12 [13] O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks. (R)

2nd READING

2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15

The resources available to humanity as a whole are sufficient for us to be in need. The necessities of life are in abundance. The reason that there is starvation, malnutrition and people living in poverty is sin. Many people have too much and are not willing or able to share. The resources of the earth are not distributed evenly throughout all nations. Thus, in order to ensure everyone has sufficient to live a dignified life, it is necessary for the international community to work together to make this happen.

7 Now as you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also. 9 For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 13 not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality 14 your surplus at the present time should supply their needs, so that their surplus may also supply your needs, that there may be equality. 15 As it is written: ?Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less.?

G O S P E L

Mark 5:21-43

There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus has power over death. He clearly illustrates this with the healing of the small girl and elsewhere in the Gospels. This is the extent of the authority that Jesus has been given by His Father. It is important for us to realize this because we were given a share in that same authority. Let us seek to live holy lives so that this authority and power will be evident in our own lives to the glory of God and the Gospel.

21 When Jesus had crossed again [in the boat] to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. 22 One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet 23 and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, ?My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.? 24 He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him. 25 There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. 28 She said, ?If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.? 29 Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30 Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, ?Who has touched my clothes?? 31 But his disciples said to him, ?You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ?Who touched me??? 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, ?Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.? 35 While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official?s house arrived and said, ?Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?? 36 Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, ?Do not be afraid; just have faith.? 37 He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 So he went in and said to them, ?Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.? 40 And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child?s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. 41 He took the child by the hand and said to her, ?Talitha koum,? which means, ?Little girl, I say to you, arise!? 42 The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. [At that] they were utterly astounded. 43 He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.
 
my reflections
think:
We should never fear death but welcome it as an essential aspect of our journey to eternal life.

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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 Sirach 5-9

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

UNIVERSAL DESTINATION OF GOODS

There is a very real sense in which all the material things that we think are ours are not really so. This can be seen if we ask ourselves what we really mean when we say that something is ours. What if we look at things from the perspective of eternal life? What does this tell us about the ownership of material things? After all, we do not take a suitcase or Haul truck of personal belongings with us when we enter into eternal life! Surely this should affect the way we look at the ownership of earthly goods.
      Paul is appealing to the generosity of the Corinthian community to help provide for the needs of fellow-Christians who are at present experiencing a dearth of food, etc. He even uses the argument that such generosity will stand them in good stead to receive from others when their time of need arises in the future. If we are not willing to be generous when we are in comparative surplus, how can we expect others to help us when we are in need?
      It seems to me that we should be ready to consider all of our belongings and thus all of the world?s goods as nothing to us. The extent that something belongs to an individual is only insofar as he or she has true need of it and there is not another person who has a greater call upon that particular article or thing. Yes, individuals have a right to own private property but this ownership must be seen to be contingent upon the common good of the wider society. The Gospel would seem to demand an understanding of human and material wealth along these lines.
      It is logical to conclude that there would come a time when it is not healthy or even morally correct to retain wealth beyond a certain amount. Such a concentration of wealth may, in fact probably is, depriving others of even the minimum needed to survive with human dignity. Given the way that the economy of the world works, such an ideal may not be attainable. But this should not stop us working for some sort of mechanism to better distribute the wealth of the world more equitably. Fr. Steve T.

REFLECTION QUESTION:
Have I ever stopped to consider the way in which I consume the earth?s resources and ask myself if the lifestyle that I live is truly justifiable?

Holy Spirit, help me to develop my social conscience more fully. I pray for the grace to be able to live a simpler life so that those who have less than me might be able to have a better life.

Sts. Processus. and Martianian, martyrs, pray for us.




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