READINGS for 2006-07-07

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

THE REAL ?WOW? GIFTS

Why does your teacher..? ? Matthew 9:11

One of the best perks of having a child on Christmas day is watching him or her open gifts. My 2-year-old nephew had a small, shiny box in his hand and we were probably just as excited to see what was inside such a tiny gift. After the wrapper was torn off, we saw that the box had the logo of ?The Incredibles? on it. My nephew was thrilled ? I suspect that even if the box were empty, he still would?ve been happy.
      His parents, who were helping open the box, took one look at the contents and, in unison, let out a loud ?wow!? I scrambled over and saw it was a cool kid?s watch, impressively wrapped around a small golden pillow. It definitely deserved another ?wow.?
      My nephew saw our reactions and, matching our enthusiasm perfectly, joyfully exclaimed, ?IT?S A PILLOW!? After the wild laughter died down, we explained to the little boy that the watch was the real gift.
      However, that afternoon, when I saw my nephew playing, attempting to put his head on the tiny pillow (which was roughly the size of one large matchbox) and pretending to sleep, I wondered: who were we to say what the real gift was?Anna dG

REFLECTION:
What valuable gifts may be hidden from your view at present?

Lord, teach me to distinguish what is truly valuable.

COMPANION

1st READING

Amos 8:4-6.9-12

Amos preaches against the way in which the rich often oppress the poor in order to maintain their control over their wealth. It is an extremely shortsighted thing to do as this control can last only as long as our life on earth. There is eternity to consider beyond that! If the rich are wise they will realize that there is no sense in maintaining their wealth and power in this life if it is going to cost them eternal life in the next.

4 Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land! 5 ?When will the new moon be over,? you ask, ?that we may sell our grain, and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat? We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating! 6 We will buy the lowly man for silver, and the poor man for a pair of sandals; even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!? 9 On that day, says the Lord GOD, I will make the sun set at midday and cover the earth with darkness in broad daylight. 10 I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentations. I will cover the loins of all with sackcloth and make every head bald. I will make them mourn as for an only son, and bring their day to a bitter end. 11 Yes, days are coming, says the Lord GOD, when I will send famine upon the land: Not a famine of bread, or thirst for water, but for hearing the word of the LORD. 12 Then shall they wander from sea to sea and rove from the north to the east in search of the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.

P S A L M

Psalm 119:2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131

R: One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

2 Blessed are they who observe his decrees, who seek him with all their heart. (R) 10 With all my heart I seek you; let me not stray from your commands. (R) 20 My soul is consumed with longing for your ordinances at all times. (R) 30 The way of truth I have chosen; I have set your ordinances before me. (R) 40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your justice give me life. (R) 131 I gasp with open mouth in my yearning for your commands. (R)

G O S P E L

Matthew 9:9-13

Matthew is a tax collector, one of the most despised groups in Israel. Jesus? choice to call him as one of His apostles is a lesson to us of the power of the Gospel and our need to never underestimate what God can do in a person?s life. Jesus does not care what the wisdom of the world might say about a person; He looks deeper than that into the character of the individual and seeks to draw the best out of us all. Let us pray that He will do that with us!

 9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, ?Follow me.? And he got up and followed him. 10 While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. 11 The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, ?Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?? 12 He heard this and said, ?Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. 13 Go and learn the meaning of the words, ?I desire mercy, not sacrifice.? I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.?

my reflections
think:
Amos preaches against the way in which the rich often oppress the poor in order to maintain their control over their wealth.

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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 26-30


SABBATH

MIXING WITH THE HOI POLLOI

Hoi Polloi is a Greek term that refers to the general citizens of a town . The elite of any society would not consider themselves as members of the hoi polloi. Jesus is not afraid of mixing with anyone; he even eats at the houses of tax collectors and sinners. Through these actions, Jesus is clearly stating that the Gospel He preaches is not reserved for the rich and well connected. It is for everyone from the highest statesman and wealthiest businessman down to the poorest of the poor and the biggest of sinners.
      In many ways the universal scope of the Gospel defines itself as good news. So often in the ancient cultures. the best was reserved for the elite and the rest of the people. Well, they simply missed out and that was that! This is hardly an acceptable position for a God of love and so Jesus wastes no time in setting the record straight and making sure that it is obvious to all that no one is excluded from the gift of salvation, least of all, the general masses of humanity! This will become an important principle that the mission of Paul is dependent upon. It will also galvanize the Church into action in later centuries to take the Gospel to the pagan nations of the world.
      Returning to the Gospel, we not only see Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners, but he calls one of them, Matthew, to be one of His disciples. As far as the Pharisees are concerned, this is a total scandal and it sets their hearts against Jesus. It shuts their ears to hearing the full message of the Gospel to their own detriment! We must take care that we do not fall into the same trap of judging others and thus excluding them in our own minds from the grace of God. Let us leave the judging, if there is any to be done, to the Lord who will be far more merciful and righteous than we could dream of being.
      Furthermore, let us remain open to even the least expected of calls that He might make upon our lives. Let us not limit God?s ability to use us in the proclamation of His Kingdom by applying our own inadequate standards either to others or ourselves. Fr. Steve T.

REFLECTION QUESTION:
Jesus calls us all to follow Him. Have you heard Him calling you? Are you listening daily for the call like Samuel in the Old Testament?

Lord Jesus, you want us to learn the way of mercy and love. Drive far from my life any selfrighteousness and pride that will hinder my growth in humility and discipleship. I pray that I will imitate you in all things.

St. Pantaenus., confessor, pray for us.




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