READINGS for 2006-09-10

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

PLAYING FAVORITES

?My brothers, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.? ? James 2:1

 While on vacation, we stayed in the same rented house with the family of my older brother. One morning, I heard a child crying from the next room. It was my 8-year old niece, Siobe. I stepped out of our room to see why. She starts telling me Ahia was teasing her. She played coy to win my favor. I asked her brother why he was teasing his sister. Then they started arguing again, each giving their own reasons on who started the fight. There were no admissions of guilt or acceptance of mistakes.
      To cut the fight short, I told my nephew to give in. He protested saying it was unfair because he had to give in to her all the time. I found out that she prepared a list of all their fights, a record of bad things about Ahia.
      I started to share with them about how Jesus Christ forgave us all unconditionally and with no exception. And that Jesus shows no partiality in dealing with each of us. Siobe agreed to tear that list of bad things and I encouraged her to remember only all good things about persons. After accepting their mistakes, they ?buried the hatchet?.
      Jesus does not play favorites. His offer of salvation is to all who would accept. We are all the apple of His eyes.Donna E.

REFLECTION:
Do we find it difficult to forgive unconditionally?

Ask the Lord for the grace to set yourself free! Heal me of my wounds, O Jesus, so that I may forgive others and myself.

COMPANION

1st READING

Isaiah 35:4-7


God wants to encourage the people to persevere in their faith and not to give up in time of struggle. This prophecy of Isaiah is full of hope and promises that should not fail to strengthen the resolve of the people in the midst of their trials. In all that is happening to them, or us for that matter, we should never lose sight of the glory that God holds out before us as the reward for those who are faithful to His call. Let us never lose sight of our heavenly reward, as it will provide us with inspiration to persevere until we reach the goal of eternal life.

4 Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; 6 then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. 7 The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water; the abode where jackals lurk will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.

P S A L M

Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

R: Praise the Lord, my soul!


7 The God of Jacob keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives good to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free. (R) 8 The LORD gives sight to the blind. The LORD raises up those that were bowed down; the LORD loves the just. 9 The LORD protects strangers. (R) The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts. 10 The LORD shall reign forever; your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia. (R)

2nd READING

James 2:1-5


There is no difference in God?s mind between rich and poor, educated and uneducated and so on. God does not make these sorts of distinctions. People who live in societies where class structures abound need to look very carefully at the way they treat one another. God?s command is that we treat others in the way that we want them to treat us! There is no doubt that we cannot afford to compromise this aspect of the call to love one another. Let us pray for the grace to be able to see and love one another in the way that God loves each one of us.

1 My brothers, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious  Lord Jesus Christ. 2 For if a man with gold rings on his fingers and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ?Sit here, please,? while you say to the poor one, ?Stand there,? or ?Sit at my feet,? 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?

G O S P E L

Mark 7:31-37

As a priest, I think that the prayer we pray at the baptism of infants -- that their ears may be opened to hear the Gospel and their mouths to proclaim it -- is very important. It emphasizes the need for each individual to respond to the Gospel. This Ephatha Prayer, as it is called, is based upon the healing in today?s Gospel. More than ever, in the world, we need to pray for people to open their ears to the Gospel and for those who have heard it, that they will be inspired to proclaim the Gospel to those who have not yet heard it.

31 Again he left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. 32 And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man?s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue. 34 Then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, ?Ephphatha!? (that is, ?Be opened!?) 35 And [immediately] the man?s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. 36 He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. 37 They were exceedingly astonished and they said, ?He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and [the] mute speak.?

my reflections

think:
Let us pray for the grace to be able to see and love one another in the way that God loves each one of us.

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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 Daniel 13-14

 

GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
  St. Elizabeth of Portugal
  Queen (1271 - 1336)

?Do not forget that when sovereigns are at war they can no longer busy themselves with their administration; justice is not distributed; no care is taken of the people; and this alone is your sovereign charge, this the main point of your duty as kings.?

Like her great-aunt St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Elizabeth of Portugal was a royal daughter, betrothed as a child to a foreign prince for reasons of state. The daughter of the king of Aragon, she was born in 1271. At twelve she was married to King Denis of Portugal, a profligate man, who tolerated his wife?s piety while making no secret of his infidelities. Elizabeth bore two children, a son and a daughter. Her son, Alfonso, would later come close to open rebellion against his neglectful father. For her role in effecting a reconciliation between father and son Elizabeth became popularly known as ?the Peacemaker.? But her talents as a peacemaker were exercised on an even greater level when she personally prevented a war between Portugal and Castile.
      Elizabeth lived up to the public responsibilities of her office as queen. But the greater part of her time was spent in prayer and a variety of charitable projects. She established hospitals, orphanages, and religious houses throughout the kingdom, as well as halfway homes for ?fallen women.?
      When her husband fell seriously ill in 1324 she devotedly nursed him until his death the following year. After making a pilgrimage to Compostela she put on the habit of a Franciscan tertiary and lived in the monastery of Coimbra that she had helped to found. She lived there for eleven years in poverty and prayer, emerging occasionally to intercede between rival monarchs, most of whom were relatives, either by blood or marriage. Even as she lived she was credited with numerous miracles, and she was popularly revered by the people of Portugal. 
    She died in 1336 and was canonized three centuries later by Pope Urban VIII, who named her Patroness of Peace.

 

SABBATH

WHAT NEEDS TO BE ?OPENED? IN MY LIFE

 

St. Nicholas of Tolentino, confessor, pray for us.

One of the most effective defense mechanisms that we have to protect ourselves from hurts in life is to shut ourselves off from the world in general or the source of the pain if we can identify it. However, there is a danger in ?turning one?s self off to the world.? We may also be turning off the way in which blessings come to us! Defense mechanisms are good and necessary devices that help us maintain our sanity in the busyness of our lives. But they can be overused and even abused to the detriment of our own growth and well-being.
    Today we hear Jesus speak into the life of a person who has both a hearing and speech impediment. Jesus commands the ears to be opened and the tongue to be released so that the man can have his full faculties restored to him. The symbolism of this healing is immediately apparent when we look at it in terms of the man?s ability to receive and promulgate the Gospel. Without the full use of his ears, it is very difficult for the man to receive the Good News, as he is not able to hear the Gospel being preached. His ability to receive the Gospel will be reliant upon his other senses. At the same time we can also discern that it will be very difficult for him to proclaim the Gospel if he has a speech impediment. The healing that Jesus gives him enables him to enter fully into the Kingdom of God, as he is now able to hear and respond to the proclamation of the Gospel, and then to minister the Good News to others by proclaiming it in both word and deed.
    There is a beautiful use of this scriptural passage in the Sacrament of Baptism. The priest prays the following prayer while touching his fingers to first the ears and then the mouth of the person about to be baptized: ?May the Lord open your ears to hear His word and your mouth to proclaim His name.? Unfortunately, this prayer is no longer in common usage in some places. I think it should be restored to the Sacrament as it speaks very clearly of the gift of baptism and the responsibilities that come to with it. Let us ensure that we do not lose these two essential points of baptism and that we choose to open up our lives to God fully ? both to receive His gifts and to share them with others. Fr. Steve T.

REFLECTION QUESTION:
How often do I open up my life to the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit so that I can be challenged to repent if necessary and identify areas of my life where I need to grow?

Lord Jesus, You lived Your life in total openness to God the Father. You received all that He had to offer You and gave out all that He asked You to share. Help me to follow Your example more closely each day.



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