READINGS for 2006-07-18
?If the miracles worked in you?? ? Matthew 11:21
I am often asked, ?How do you hear the voice of God??
Lead me where You want me to go, Lord.
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  Great is the LORD and wholly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain, 2  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  God is with her castles; renowned is he as a stronghold. (R) 4  For lo! the kings assemble, they come on together; 5  they also see, and at once are stunned, terrified, routed. (R) 6  Quaking seizes them there; anguish, like a woman?s in labor, 7  as though a wind from the east were shattering ships of Tarshish. (R)
G O S P E L
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.?
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Isaiah 15-18
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.?
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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