READINGS for 2006-07-18

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

GOD?S CALL

?If the miracles worked in you?? ? Matthew 11:21

I am often asked, ?How do you hear the voice of God??
      Well, to be honest, the answer is easy but hard to understand. Let me explain: Jesus said, ?My sheep know my voice.? Meaning, we will hear His voice if we are with Him most of the time and we follow him wherever He goes, like a sheep that follows his Shepherd.
      Those who are married can attest to this. Married people feel their spouse approaching by just their footsteps. When they are separated in a mall, they can track each other by their unique scent. Why these abilities? It is all because they have been together for long periods of time. They can more than distinguish each other?s moves, and moods.
      The same is true with God. Through daily prayers we come into communion with Him, knowing His actions, recognizing His scent, and hearing His voice. Thus, we feel what He feels, believe what He believes, carry what He carries, and we can know where He wants to go. Arun G.

REFLECTION:
Is the Lord calling you to action now? Are you responding?

Lead me where You want me to go, Lord.

COMPANION

1st READING

Isaiah 7:1-9

Isaiah promises that the Kingdom of Israel is not about to fall under the siege of Aram. This is not a guarantee against later sieges but this one only to prove the Lord?s faithfulness to the people of Israel. Unfortunately it seems that the people did not learn their lesson well as in later sieges they did not entrust their fate to the hands of the Lord but sought to make alliances with other powers to protect themselves. This brought disaster and ultimately destruction to Jerusalem. I suppose the question we can ask ourselves is, ?How well do we learn from our mistakes and those of others??

1 In the days of Ahaz, king of Judah, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, king of Israel, son of Remaliah, went up to attack Jerusalem, but they were not able to conquer it. 2 When word came to the house of David that Aram was encamped in Ephraim, the heart of the king and heart of the people trembled, as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind. 3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah: ?Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller?s field, 4 and say to him: Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear; let not your courage fail before these two stumps of smoldering brands [the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans, and of the son of Remaliah], 5 because of the mischief that Aram [Ephraim and the son of Remaliah] plots against you, saying, 6 ?Let us go up and tear Judah asunder, make it our own by force, and appoint the son of Tabeel king there.? 7 Thus says the LORD: ?This shall not stand, it shall not be! 8 Damascus is the capital of Aram, and Rezin the head of Damascus; Samaria is the capital of Ephraim, and Remaliah?s son the head of Samaria. 9 But within sixty years and five, Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation. Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm!?

P S A L M

Psalm 48:2-3, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

R: God upholds his city forever.

1 [2] Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain, 2 [3] fairest of heights, is the joy of all the earth. (R) Mount Zion, ?the recesses of the North,? is the city of the great King. 3 [4] God is with her castles; renowned is he as a stronghold. (R) 4 [5] For lo! the kings assemble, they come on together; 5 [6] they also see, and at once are stunned, terrified, routed. (R) 6 [7] Quaking seizes them there; anguish, like a woman?s in labor, 7 [8] as though a wind from the east were shattering ships of Tarshish. (R)

G O S P E L

Matthew 11:20-24

It is difficult to imagine anything much worse than the situation when someone rejects the Gospel. This is heightened even more the deeper we accept the Gospel in our lives. That is, the closer we get to God, the more horrific the alternatives look. It is this horror for sin that we should allow the Spirit of God to turn into a desire for the salvation of others. When we know what the alternative to salvation is, there is a price too great to pay in bringing the Gospel to those who have not heard it or have rejected it?

20 Then he began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. 21 ?Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And as for you, Capernaum: Praise of the Father ?Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.? For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.?

my reflections
think:
How well do we learn from our mistakes and those of others?

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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 Isaiah 15-18

SABBATH

HOW BAD IS WORSE THAN SODOM?

The impression one gets when reading about Sodom and Gomorrah is that they were about the worst possible examples of places of depravity and sin that the world has ever seen. However, here Jesus insinuates that there might be worse consequences for those who deliberately refuse to accept the offer of salvation. This sends a bit of a shiver down my spine when I think about it. In fact, I think that this is what Jesus? words are designed to do ? namely help us realize that we cannot afford to delay our response to the Gospel. As Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:2, ?Now is the acceptable time; today is the day of salvation.?
      It is all a question of whether or not we are willing to accept the conditions of discipleship. It is never going to be easy to be a disciple to anyone. As the root of the word tells us, it will require discipline. Unfortunately, discipline is something that gets a lot of bad press these days. There always seems to be some new gadget or remedy that promise to help us lose weight and/or solve all our problems with no pain and little effort. Sorry, but if you believe any of this then you have been sucked into the lies of the world. These potions and methods that advertise themselves as something that is almost too good to be true are exactly that ?? too good to be true. Sorry once again, there are very few things in life that are worth having that do not cost us anything in return. There is always some sort of pay-off. If you want to lose weight then you have to cut back on the food intake and increase the amount of exercise. There is no other way to do it!
      It is no different with being a Christian. If we want to follow Jesus then we must be willing to embrace the call in its totality and not just choose the good-feeling bits and leave the discipline and trials to others. Jesus has shown us the way in all of this. The question is whether or not we have the courage to follow! The apostles followed; the saints have followed too; I guess that it is my turn to take up the banner of the cross and live the life of the Gospel so that those who will follow me will have my life, as imperfect as it may be, as an example to follow. Fr. Steve T.

REFLECTION QUESTION:
What is my greatest fear about embracing the call to follow Jesus wherever He may lead me? Am I willing to surrender it to Him?

Lord, you have called many to lay down their lives in imitation of your example. Some have responded well; many have not. Grant me the grace to be counted among the former and not the latter.

St. Alexius., confessor, pray for us.




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