READINGS for 2006-07-21

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

ARE YOU RELIGIOUS?

It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice. ? Matthew 12:6

We were running late for the Sunday mass.
      I was getting irritated at my husband for the delay and was trying so hard to keep my cool because I might say something hurtful. And I had every good reason to do so! Suddenly the Lord spoke to my heart, ?Is it more important to get to mass on time but in an irritable mood, or to attend mass with peace and love in your heart even if you?re a little late??
      Oftentimes, we exalt our value system above people, putting more emphasis on norms and rules rather than on love and relationship. St. Paul said that even if you give everything you have including your life but if you do not have love, then you gain nothing. The Pharisees prided themselves in being able to keep their laws and making all sorts of sacrifices. But they were forgetting the law that fulfills all the laws ? the law of love. Jesus said that it is mercy he desires and not sacrifice.
      Immediately my irritation disappeared and God?s peace just flooded my heart and mind. I chose to love rather than to get upset for being late for mass.
      Guess what? The mass started late. Rowena L.

REFLECTION:
Do you just have religion in your life or do have a relationship with Jesus?

Remind me always, Lord, that it is obedience to You, and not sacrifice, that pleases You.

COMPANION

1st READING

Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8

It is a tremendous grace to be given foreknowledge of the time of death as it gives us an opportunity to properly prepare for this last great adventure of life. Hezekiah cries out for extra time and in His mercy, God grants Hezekiah?s request and adds 15 years to his life. Let us pray for the grace to prepare well for own death whenever it will come to us so that we will be ready to give an account of our lives to the Lord when we meet Him face to face.

1 In those days, when Hezekiah was mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him: ?Thus says the LORD: ?Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover.? ? 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD: 3 ?O LORD, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly I conducted myself in your presence, doing what was pleasing to you!? And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah : 5 ?Go, tell Hezekiah: ?Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David. I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you, in three days you shall go up to the LORD?s temple; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will be a shield to this city.?  ? 7 [21] Isaiah then ordered a poultice of figs to be taken and applied to the boil, that he might recover. 8 [22] Then Hezekiah asked, ?What is the sign that I shall go up to the temple of the LORD?? 9 [7] [Isaiah answered ] ?This will be the sign for you from the LORD that he will do what he has promised. 10 [8] See, I will make the shadow cast by the sun on the stairway to the terrace of Ahaz go back the ten steps it has advanced.? So the sun came back the ten steps it had advanced.

P S A L M

Isaiah 38:10, 11, 12, 16

R: You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die.

12 [10] Once I said, ?In the noontime of life I must depart! To the gates of the nether world I shall be consigned for the rest of my years.? (R) 13 [11] I said, ?I shall see the LORD no more in the land of the living. No longer shall I behold my fellow men among those who dwell in the world.? (R) 14 [12] My dwelling, like a shepherd?s tent, is struck down and borne away from me; you have folded up my life, like a weaver who severs the last thread. (R) 18 [16] Those lives whom the LORD protects; yours is the life of my spirit. You have given me health and life. (R)

G O S P E L

Matthew 12:1-8

Jesus must have become very frustrated with the nit-picky attitude of some of the Jewish leaders. There is a clear lack of sincerity and goodwill in the accusation they bring against the disciples of Jesus. This is often true today when the media takes aim at the Church in an unfair way. There seems to be an underlying agenda to try to remove the influence of the Church?s teaching from the lives of its adherents. The battle with sin is never fair. We should remember this when we are confronted with it as we go about our daily lives.

1 At that time Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, ?See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.? 3 He said to them, ?Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, 4 how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in thetemple violate the sabbath and are innocent? 6 I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you knew what this meant, ?I desire mercy, not sacrifice,? you would not have condemned these innocent men. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.?

my reflections
think:
Let us pray for the grace to prepare well for our own death.

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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 26-28

SABBATH

WHY HAVE A SABBATH DAY?

REFLECTION QUESTION:
How faithful am I to setting aside times in order to reflect upon my life direction? Do I know where my life is going or is it just one thing after another?

Holy Spirit, help me to be disciplined about reflecting upon my life so that I will not lose sight of why I am here and where I am heading. Grant me the grace to be sensitive to your promptings so that I will not miss any opportunity to grow in my understanding of God?s plan for my life.
  
St. Lawrence of Brindisi, confessor and doctor, pray for us.

One of the questions that those obsessed with work often ask is, ?Why should we stop for a day off when I could be earning more money and producing more goods and services for people to use and consume?? It is exactly this attitude that marginalizes any concept or understanding of faith from our lives. Yes, it is perfectly possible to keep working 365 days a year! However, the ultimate question of life and its meaning will never be addressed in our lives unless we take time to examine it a little more closely.
      Leisure is actually an essential aspect of fully human living. It may seem that we can do without it if we want to so push ourselves, but it will be to the detriment of our overall physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health if we fail to give ourselves the time and space to reflect upon the meaning of life.
      God says to keep holy the Sabbath Day because He is well aware of the temptations that will afflict us. It is not just an encouragement to take time out of our work-obsessed lives but a necessary step for our relationship with Him to develop into something meaningful. The most important thing we can do is to develop a relationship with God, the only path to eternal life. After all is said and done, it is our relationships that are the things that will endure beyond this life, not our wealth or human achievements. This can be a difficult truth to learn and thus we need to set time aside regularly to remind us of its importance for our own well-being and future.
      Leisure is a necessary component for reflection which in turn is necessary for giving meaning to our lives. Only a fool will not accept this fact and seek to fill his or her life with a multitude of things and events that cannot satisfy us in the end. As Augustine so wisely and succinctly once said, ?Lord you have created us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.? (Confessions 1.1) Fr. Steve T.



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