READINGS for 2006-07-08

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



...but your disciples do not fast?? ? Matthew 9:14

On a weekend vacation to the beach along Bagac Bay in Bataan, we made it a point to attend Sunday Mass even if my friend and I only wore slippers, sports shorts, and t-shirts because we did not have more formal clothing. I admit feeling a bit self-conscious since none of the other people in the church were dressed like us. At communion time, my friend whispered that he was not going to receive communion because of his attire.
      Nonetheless, I continued to trust that Jesus wante to be with me in Holy Communion regardless of what I wore. To have the privilege of receiving Him in the blessed Sacrament, I was willing to risk a disapproving stares from modern-day Pharisees.
      Does this mean that I gave myself the license to disregard the norms that regulate Christian behavior? No. It just means that my actions should be motivated by my relationship with Jesus, not by some desire to appear ?holy? in the eyes of others. It also means that I should not judge my neighbor since I cannot see into another?s heart. A person who does not conform to external religious practices and rules could actually be enjoying a very sincere and personal relationship with Jesus. RJ A.

The Gospel is a Magna Carta of Spirit-filled freedom, not a burdensome compilation of obligations and restrictions.

Lord, give me the desire to be righteous in Your eyes, not in the eyes of other people.



Amos 9:11-15

Amos prophesies a new beginning and time of prosperity for Israel. However, this will come only after a period of suffering and tragedy. So often this seems to be the case in our lives. Suffering and disasters cause us to re-examine our values and commitments to things and this reflection gives rise to a new and hopefully deeper commitment to the values of the Kingdom of God. It is only with a commitment such as this that true prosperity and happiness will be ours.

11 On that day I will raise up the fallen hut of David; I will wall up its breaches, raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old, 12 that they may conquer what is left of Edom and all the nations that shall bear my name, say I, the LORD, who will do this. 13 Yes, days are coming, says the LORD, when the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the vintager, him who sows the seed; the juice of grapes shall drip down the mountains, and all the hills shall run with it. 14 I will bring about the restoration of my people Israel; they shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities, plant vineyards and drink the wine, set out gardens and eat the fruits. 15 I will plant them upon their own ground; never again shall they be plucked from the land I have given them, say I, the LORD, your God.


Psalm 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14

R: The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

8 [9] I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD, for he proclaims peace. To his people. 9 [10] Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land. (R) 10 [11] Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. 11 [12] Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven. (R) 12 [13] The LORD himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. 13 [14] Justice shall walk before him, and salvation, along the way of his steps. (R)


Matthew 9:14-17

Jesus reminds His questioners that they should not measure a new reality by the standards of the old one. This may be a somewhat enigmatic answer but it does make sense. It is principle that we must carry with us all of the time as we undergo conversion from our sinfulness. As this happens, we will constantly be entering new grounds of holiness and faith that will call for ever deepening and faith filled responses. Let us pray that we will have the necessary trust in God to walk this exciting journey of faith.

14 Then the disciples of John approached him and said, ?Why do we and the Pharisees fast [much], but your disciples do not fast?? 15 Jesus answered them, ?Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. 17 People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh  wineskins, and both are preserved.?

my reflections
It is only with a commitment to the values of the Kingdom of God that true prosperity and happiness will be ours.



 God?s special verse/thought for me today________________


Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________





One of the more traumatic experiences I had as a child was changing schools from elementary to high school. It meant a whole new adjustment period. The changes were not merely cosmetic ? from being in the oldest age bracket to the youngest; from knowing all the teachers well to knowing none at all; from having one teacher for the whole year to having different teachers for different subjects and so on. There was also the challenge of having to make new friends. However, as you can guess, I survived! In fact, dare I say, I flourished in the new environment after a very short while. Since then I have always enjoyed similar challenges.
      When Jesus began to proclaim the Gospel, people very quickly realized that He was calling for some very radical changes in the way that they understood and lived their faith. There were many who opposed Jesus and worked against all that He was trying to do. At the same time, there were those who wholeheartedly embraced the Gospel as they saw in it a new and more vital understanding of their relationship with God. The Gospel Jesus proclaimed demanded new understanding of faith and religious practice that would have revolutionized the Jewish faith if they had been taken on by the authorities. As we know from history, this did not happen and Christianity was the faith that arose from the proclamation and life of Jesus.
      It must have been difficult for the disciples to understand where this new faith was going to lead them, but to their credit, they were willing to go with Jesus on this new journey. Many times throughout the history of the Church, there have been renewal movements raised up under the grace and power of the Spirit. Sometimes they have faced persecution from church authorities before gaining full acceptance. Thank God that the saints who led them were willing to persevere in the face of great trials and difficulties.
      Many before us have embraced lives of challenge and hardship for the sake of the Gospel. How are we trying to develop new wineskins to continually develop the Church?s presentation of the Gospel truths to an ever rapidly changing world? Fr. Steve T.

The challenges that face the Church of the third millennium are not small! How am I going to contribute to this project?

Holy Spirit, inspire in me the zeal to want to be involved in the work of evangelization. Give me your vision for the Church so that I will be inspired to give my life to the work of the Kingdom of God.

Sts. Hesperius. and Zoe, martyrs, pray for us.

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