READINGS for 2006-07-20

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.? ? Matthew 11: 28

I am a man who does a thousand and one things. I have a family. I have a full time job. I preach most days of the week after work, including weekends ? nationwide. And that doesn?t include my worship concerts. So I am easily charged as not having focus. As having a finger in every pie. As a perfect model of burnout! A ticking time-bomb!
      Yet, I have peace. I have joy. I am whole. Because I have found a secret.
       I rest. I recharge. I get away from it all.
      Where to?
      At ?Munting Bukal?. My watershed. My hideaway. There my world stops. There I do nothing. There I am nothing. Because there is where GOD is everything! There is where I rest in Him. There is where I die to be born again.
      But there are times when I need to go to ?Munting Bukal? but can?t. So I recreate my ?Munting Bukal?. At home, early morning when the world is still in bed, I get up and pray. Lately, I discovered, I can do it during breaks in my office, during short or long trips inside my car. And yes, in my sleep.
      I am at ?Munting Bukal?, anytime, when I am resting with my GOD!
  Alvin B.

Do you have your own ?Munting Bukal?? When was the last time you visited it? Recreate your own ?Munting Bukal?.

Lord, I am tired and burdened. Let me rest in You, my ?Munting Bukal?. Amen.



Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19

Whether in death or life our hope is in the Lord our God. The answer to all situations in life always rests with God. This may be hard to believe in the midst of a difficult struggle, but it is true. Therefore we should practice living our lives in the presence of God when it is easy so that we will more readily turn to Him in a time of need. It is nothing shameful to live in reliance upon the Lord as long as we are willing to put the grace that He gives us to good use.

7 The way of the just is smooth; the path of the just you make level. 8 Yes, for your way and your judgments, O LORD, we look to you; your name and your title are the desire of our souls. 9 My soul yearns for you in the night, yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you; when your judgment dawns upon the earth, the world?s inhabitants learn justice. 12 O LORD, you gave out peace to us, for it is you who have accomplished all we have done. 16 O LORD, oppressed by your punishment, we cried out in anguish under your chastising. 17 As a woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pains, so were we in your presence, O LORD. 18 We conceived and writhed in pain, giving birth to wind; salvation we have not achieved for the earth, the inhabitants of the world cannot bring it forth. 19 But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise; awake and sing, you who lie in the dust. For your dew is a dew of light, and the land of shades gives birth.


Psalm 102:13-15, 16-18, 19-21

R: From heaven the Lord looks down on the earth.

12 [13] You, O LORD, abide forever, and your name through all generations. 13 [14] You will arise and have mercy on Zion, for it is time to pity her, for the appointed time has come. 14 [15] For her stones are dear to your servants, and her dust moves them to pity. (R) 15 [16] And the nations shall revere your name, O LORD, and all the kings of the earth your glory, 16 [17] when the LORD has rebuilt Zion and appeared in his glory; 17 [18] when he has regarded the prayer of the destitute, and not despised their prayer. (R) 18 [19] Let this be written for the generation to come, and let his future creatures praise the LORD 19 [20] ?The LORD looked down from his holy height, from heaven he beheld the earth, 20 [21] To hear the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.? (R)


Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus invites us to share with Him the yoke that He carries. He is a true shepherd who seeks to alleviate the toil of His flock. Jesus even takes upon Himself the suffering that should be ours because of our sin. This is the new yoke, or the new law that He wishes us to embrace ? a yoke of love whereby He pays the price for our sins and we are redeemed through faith in Him and His work. This seems to be a pretty fair exchange to me. In fact, I cannot think of a more beneficial arrangement that we could possibly be offered!

28 ?Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.?

my reflections
We should practice living our lives in the presence of God when it is easy so that we will more readily turn to Him in a time of need.



God?s special verse/thought for me today________________


Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________





Today?s Gospel expresses to us the willingness of God to bear our burdens and to help us on our journey to union with Him. If we are sensible we should accept this offer of help and get on with the business of our lives within the framework provided for us by our faith and relationship with Jesus. One of the questions that will inevitably arise will be whether or not we are willing to reciprocate this offer of God, not necessarily to Him but to one another. That is, I am sure that Jesus expects us to be willing to help and serve each other  in our journeys.
      It is all very well to receive the grace and gifts that God offers to us, and it is not as if they are given to us conditionally. However, there is a sense in which it is conditional; that is, we must be willing to realize and act upon the fact that the nature of the gift of God?s grace is that His grace is rarely for us alone. More often than not, it is given for the upbuilding of the wider Body of Christ, the Church, rather than just for an individual. 
      Maybe this can be construed as a condition; however, I do not really think that this is so. The nature of love is such that it cannot be true love if it is solely self-focused. The nature of God is that He is a God of love and therefore everything that we do in relation to God, whether it be receiving His gifts or serving in His Kingdom, has to be done with a mindset that recognizes that what we receive and do has two elements, one for us and one for the wider Body of Christ. This is a very good thing because it will help us to remember not to be become self-absorbed but rather to be constantly on the lookout for ways in which we can share our gifts with and help one another. God has proved himself to be pretty smart in arranging the nature of love in this way!
      Love and service must be two aspects that become intertwined in such a way that it is impossible to separate them. This is the greatest protection against selfishness and likewise the greatest source of hope that we will be faithful to loving one another in the way that Christ has first loved us. Fr. Steve T.

How often do I experience receiving God?s grace and gifts in my life as a source of impetus to share more deeply and fully with others all that have I received?

Jesus, you gave your life in love of me and the service of your Father?s will. I pray for the grace to receive all that you offer to me and to give all that you ask of me. In this way I hope to be obedient to your every will and desire.

Sts. Jus.ta and Rufina, virgins and martyrs, pray for us. 

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