READINGS for 2006-08-14

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

PAYING DUES

?Does your master pay the temple tax?? ? Matthew 17:24

From worldly standards, even during the time of Jesus, nothing is free. For everything you receive, you have to pay a price. And people size up each other from these standards? Does he pay his due? Where does he work? How much does he earn?
      Jesus was not exempt. Although He was practically giving Himself at their service?for free?they still wanted Him to pay.
      But God, who ?loves a cheerful giver?, does not impose the world?s standards on us. In the Catholic Church, unlike other churches, tithing is not imposed. They teach it from Scripture, but they have no fast rule that the people must give. Although everything we have comes from God, He requires that we give back from the heart.
      In the diocese of Cubao, the clergy have agreed to pay tithes to the church. May this example awaken us to share our blessings to the Lord, who deserves His share from us for the running of His church.
      Even if He doesn?t require it.Cristy G 

REFLECTION:
Do we give because it is required, or because of our love for God?

Make us generous, Lord, to want to share our blessings to You from the deepness of our hearts. Amen.

COMPANION

1st READING

Ezekiel 1:2-5, 24-28 (or Wisdom 3:1-9 or John 3:14-18)

This opening account of the ministry of Ezekiel tells us that his ministry will be different to that of Jeremiah. This initial vision is only the first of many spectacular visions and the interpretations that accompany them. Jeremiah was much more earthly in his ministry. Ezekiel?s prophecies will have a far greater ?other worldly?? character to them. He will seem to prophecy much more about the distant ethereal future than Jeremiah?s more immediate concerns.

2 On the fifth day of the month, the fifth year, that is, of King Jehoiachin?s exile, 3 the word of the LORD came to the priest Ezekiel, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar. ? There the hand of the LORD came upon me. 4 As I looked, a stormwind came from the North, a huge cloud with flashing fire [enveloped in brightness], from the midst of which [the midst of the fire] something gleamed like electrum. 5 Within it were figures resembling four living creatures that looked like this: their form was human. 24 Then I heard the sound of their wings, like the roaring of mighty waters, like the voice of the Almighty. When they moved, the sound of the tumult was like the din of an army. [And when they stood still, they lowered their wings.] 25 26 Above the firmament over their heads something like a throne could be seen, looking like sapphire. Upon it was seated, up above, one who had the appearance of a man. 27 Upward from what resembled his waist I saw what gleamed like electrum; downward from what resembled his waist I saw what looked like fire; he was surrounded with splendor. 28 Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day was the splendor that surrounded him. Such was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

P S A L M

Psalm 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14 (or Psalm 116:10-11, 12-13, 16-17)

R: Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.


1 Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights; 2 Praise him, all you his angels, praise him, all you his hosts. (R) 11 Let the kings of the earth and all peoples, the princes and all the judges of the earth, 12 young men too, and maidens, old men and boys. (R) 13 Praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. (R) 14 And he has lifted up the horn of his people. Be this his praise from all his faithful ones, from the children of Israel, the people close to him. Alleluia. (R)

G O S P E L

Matthew 17:22-27 (or John 15:12-16)


This extraordinary example of how to raise money to pay taxes demonstrates Jesus disdain for the practice. Yet, He does not want to incite rebellion for its own sake so He pays the tax. There are times in our lives where we will discern that it is better to go along with a particular practice, as long as it does not have any real moral significance, rather than cause a furor by opposing it. There are certain times when it is just not worth making a fuss about some things.

22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ?The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.? And they were overwhelmed with grief. 24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, ?Doesn?t your teacher pay the temple tax?? 25 ?Yes,? he said. When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked   him, ?What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?? 26 When he said, ?From foreigners,? Jesus said to him, ?Then the subjects are exempt. 27 But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.?

my reflections
think:
Do you pay the right taxes?

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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 Jeremiah 33-36

SABBATH

THE MUSIC WE PLAY

Maximillian Mary Kolbe was born in Poland in 1894. He joined the Franciscans and consecrated himself to Mary Immaculate. He undertook an intense apostolic mission in Europe and Asia through the Militia of the Immaculata that preached through the print media. During the holocaust, he was arrested and confined at Auschwitz. One day when one of the prisoners escaped the concentration camp, the Nazis decided to execute several men in exchange for the escapee. Maximillian offered himself in exchange for a father of a large family. This father was spared ? and even lived to see the day of Maximillian?s canonization ? while Maximillian was thrown into solitary confinement. For days, Maximillian, together with several others, was not given any food or drink while he encouraged them in the faith, heard their confession and led them in prayer. Finally, Maximillian was martyred through lethal injection in 1941. Aside from being the ?Martyr of Charity,? Pope John Paul proclaimed him the ?Patron of Our Suffering Century,? a shining example of the words of the Lord in today?s Gospel: ?Greater love no man has than to lay down his life for his friends.?
      Let me share with you a story I recall when I think of St. Maximillian.
      It is dawn. A prisoner stands facing a firing squad. The prisoner is a priest sentenced to death because he opposes the slave trade of the Portuguese government. An officer approaches. ?Any last request?? ?Just one,? says the prisoner, ?To play my flute for the last time.? The courtyard is filled with music that sounds all the more beautiful in such a strange place. The officer feels something strange deep within him: the more the music plays, the more absurd his task seems to be. Immediately, he orders the prisoner to stop playing, lest the strangely beautiful music makes him abandon his duty. He gives the command: ?Ready! Aim! Fire!? Instantly, the priest dies.
      But not his music. The music lingers on even long after the priest dies. Confused, the officer and the executioners cannot help but wonder: ?In the face of certain death, where does the music come from??
      Where do you think, my friend? Fr. Bobby T.

REFLECTION QUESTION:
Upon my death, will others hear beautiful music playing?

Even while I live, Father, may my life be a beautiful piece that people will want to listen to.

St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, martyr, pray for us.




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