READINGS for 2006-11-25

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

THE HEART OF SCRIPTURE

Some Sadducees? put this question to him? ? Luke 20:27

I read this story by Tony Castle about a  prisoner who was in solitary confinement. He was given a Bible as his only companion. This is what he learned:
      The Bible contains 3,586,489 letters.
      It has 773,692 words.
      It has 31,173 verses.
      It has 1,189 chapters.
      The word ?and? occurs 46,277 times.
      The middle verse in the entire Bible is verse 8 of Psalm 118.
      All the letters of the alphabet are found in Ezra 8:21.
      The longest verse is Esther 8:9.
      The shortest verse is John 11:35.
      Never does he say that the Bible changed his life.
      The Sadducees learnt about the Law of the Lord. But Jesus pointed out to them that knowing facts was not the same as getting to the core of the message. When we study God?s Word today, is it simply to increase our knowledge or to prepare us to win arguments or debates?
      I hope not. Judith C.

REFLECTION:
How deep has the Word of God penetrated our hearts? Has it effected a positive change in our lives?

Father, use our knowledge of your Word to strengthen our faith and lead us to do good.

COMPANION

1st READING

Revelation 11:4-12


There will be a final battle between the forces of good and evil. The result is already determined through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Jesus will prevail in the end. However, this inevitability has not stopped evil and all its forces continuing the battle. Let us make sure that we align ourselves with the right side in all of this! Let us never play around with sin and temptation in the misguided belief that it cannot harm us. Holiness and righteousness are our ultimate protection from the hands of the enemy.

4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and devours their enemies. In this way, anyone wanting to harm them is sure to be slain. 6 They have the power to close up the sky so that no rain can fall during the time of their prophesying. They also have power to turn water into blood and to afflict the earth with any plague as often as they wish. 7 When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the abyss will wage war against them and conquer them and kill them. 8 Their corpses will lie in the main street of the great city, which has the symbolic names ?Sodom? and ?Egypt,? where indeed their Lord was crucified. 9 Those from every people, tribe, tongue, and nation will gaze on their corpses for three and a half days, and they will not allow their corpses to be buried. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and be glad and exchange gifts because these two prophets tormented the inhabitants of the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them. When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, ?Come up here.? So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on.

P S A L M

Psalm 144:1, 2, 9-10

R: Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!


1 Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war. (R) 2 My mercy and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, my shield, in whom I trust, who subdues peoples under me. (R) 9 O God, I will sing a new song to you; with a tenstringed lyre I will chant your praise, 10 you who give victory to kings, and deliver David, your servant, from the evil sword. (R)

G O S P E L

Luke 20:27-40


Jesus tells us that there is no marriage after death. The truth is that when we are reunited perfectly with God, our focus will be on Him in such a way that a marital relationship will be no longer necessary. When love is perfected in heaven, all that we will be able to think about is God. There will be no more need for exclusive human relationships anymore. There will be no more procreation and everyone will be perfectly united with everyone else in and through our relationship and union with Christ. This is what heaven is all about ? perfect union with all of creation and God Himself.

27 Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to him, 28 saying, ?Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ?If someone?s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.? 29 Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. 30 Then the second 31 and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. 32 Finally the woman also died. 33 Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.? 34 Jesus said to them, ?The children of this age marry and remarry; 35 but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36 They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. 37 That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ?Lord? the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; 38 and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.? 39 Some of the scribes said in reply, ?Teacher, you have answered well.? 40 And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

my reflections
think:
Holiness and righteousness are our ultimate protection from the hands of the enemy.


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God?s special verse/thought for me today________________

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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Acts 22-24

SABBATH

ABOUT BODY AND SOUL

It is fun to meet a witty person. It is exciting to witness a witty person lead someone into a trap. It is even more exciting when the one to be trapped leaves the other blushing. That?s what happened when the Sadducees tried to trap Jesus. They belonged to the aristocracy; most priests were Sadducees. They were quite liberal and did not believe in the resurrection of the body as the Pharisees did. With a witty but ridiculous ?case? based on an Old Testament law (Deuteronomy 25:5) they were hoping to silence Jesus and expose him as a fake. But instead Jesus silenced them with his teaching about life after death, also based on the Old Testament.
      God is not a God of the dead, but of the living. God is life. And since we are created in the image and likeness of God we will never disappear into nothingness. Jesus did not come into this world, suffer and die just to let His work of salvation end in death. Jesus rose on the third day from the dead and assured His followers they would too. Death is tragic, even for a Christian. But it is not the last word for a Christian. Of course, the body disappears, but what is divine in us, the soul, lives on. We express this belief in the first Preface of Christian Death when we pray: ?Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.?
      Something puzzles me at this point. Isn?t it that today many people do more for their body than for their eternal soul? Not that we should neglect the body; after all St. Paul calls the body ?the temple of the Holy Spirit.? But to put more emphasis on what will dissolve one day is not logical and not proper.
       The month of November and today?s Gospel passage make us aware that we are transients, pilgrims on a long journey. We enjoy many moments and places, but we have to move on toward a magnificent goal where we will be ?like angels in heaven? with the Lord forever. Fr. Rudy H.

REFLECTION QUESTION:
Have I realized that I care more for my mortal body than for my immortal soul? How can I switch from too much attention  to the body to more attention to the soul?

Lord, again you caught me. Again you made me aware of something I didn?t think of enough. I forget too often to care for my soul while being so conscious of my care for the body. Lord, help me to change this attitude and let me balance my life the way you did when you were on earth.

St. Catherine of Alexandria, virgin, martyr, pray for us.




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