READINGS for 2006-11-27

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

MORE IMPORTANT THAN DEATH

?but she out of her poverty put in all that she had. ? Luke 21:4

In one of my trips to the Visayas, I visited with a CYA (Christ?s Youth in Action) alumnus who was dying of an incurable disease.
      I barely recognized him.
      We began recalling the many things he did for CYA. He was clearly enjoying the conversation. And then he told me he had something to tell me.
      I was anticipating that it would be about his fear of death and other problems connected with his sickness.
      But no.
      He said that his greatest concern was his prayer time. He told me that he felt his prayer life wasn?t very good because of his difficulty to concentrate. His sickness caused him to move uncontrollably; thus, he was unable to focus his mind on God when he prayed.
      I was struck by his deep desire to keep his relationship with God intact. I was inspired to hear this dying man describe his love for God despite his sickness.
      In his dying, this brother was giving everything to God. Raoul R.

REFLECTION:
What else have you not yet given to God?

Lord, when my hour of death comes, may I too give everything to you.

COMPANION

1st READING

Revelation 14:1-3, 4-5


There is absolutely no way in the world that this prophecy concerning the 144,000 has anything whatsoever to do with the number of people who will be saved other than to say that it will be the perfect number. The number comes from multiplying 12 by itself and then multiplying again by 1,000. Twelve is the number that signifies fulfillment and 1,000 the number that signifies many. So in fact, 144,000 stands for the complete complement of the very large number of people who will be saved. It is as simple as that!

1 Then I looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father?s name written on their foreheads. 2 I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of rushing water or a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 They were singing [what seemed to be] a new hymn before the throne, before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and fortyfour thousand who had been ransomed from the earth. 4 These are they who were not defiled with women; they are virgins and these are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the firstfruits of the human race for God and the Lamb. 5 On their lips no deceit has been found; they are unblemished.

P S A L M

Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R: Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

1 The LORD?s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. 2 For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. (R) 3 Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? Or who may stand in his holy place? 4 He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain. (R) 5 He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, a reward from God his savior. 6 Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. (R)

G O S P E L

Luke 21:1-4


We should never make rash judgments without ensuring that we have taken into account all of the possible circumstances of an act. This is a lesson that Jesus teaches His disciples with the offering of the widow?s mite. So often, the rich will give only out of their excess. This has little merit at all when compared with someone who gives out of that which is necessary for his or her survival. Generosity is a very relative reality in that it all depends upon the starting point of the giver. God sees all that we have done and He sees our motives as well. Let us seek to be generous and to share all that we have with others, particularly those who have much less than we do.

1 When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury 2 and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. 3 He said, ?I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; 4 for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.?

my reflections
think
: Let us seek to be generous and to share all that we have with others, particularly those who have much less than we do.

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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 Romans 1-3

SABBATH

WHAT MAKES A GIFT A GIFT?

The commercialized Christmas of our days only encourages focusing on gifts. Maybe today?s Gospel passage can help us in our forthcoming scouting for gifts we want to give (or feel we have to give out of utang na loob).
      Jesus was very observant. He spotted that poor widow whom nobody noticed. She was a nobody. But for Jesus there are no nobodies. Everybody counts, especially those whom the majority ignores and pushes aside. She had two small coins and gave both! And Jesus praises her and values her very small, insignificant gift more than the offerings of the rich. Jesus directs our attention to what determines the value of any gift.
      There is first of all the spirit in which the gift is given. When we give with a grudge, that?s not the right spirit. Such an attitude devalues the gift. When we give for the sake of prestige, again, such a gift loses much of its value. What then is the right spirit? Look at the widow. She gave, perfectly knowing that nobody would see her, except God and she gave everything because she could not help it. She must have experienced the goodness  of God to her so many times that she just could not help but give everything she had.
      There is another lesson Jesus gives us about gifts. In giving, real gifts sacrifice must be involved. The rich threw their money into the collection boxes and Jesus realized that they had calculated how much they could afford without feeling the loss. The widow showed a reckless generosity; she gave everything and would now rely totally on God?s providence. We might not have to go that far when we select and buy gifts for Christmas but just recycling fruit cakes certainly does not include the aspect of sacrifice and does not make the gift valuable at all.
      Far more important is what we give to God! He gave us everything. He ?emptied himself and became a man,? St. Paul wrote. What do I give in return? We are often stingy. We bargain, find excuses to avoid tithing?.
      God meets us every day in the poor, the sick and the marginalized. There we are offered opportunities to show our gratitude and give God what is God?s ? seen only by God. Fr. Rudy H.

REFLECTION QUESTION:
To whom do I plan to give a gift this Christmas? Why do I plan to give it? Do I have the right motive and attitude?

Lord, thank you again for reminding me of something very essential. I lack trust in your providence and so I am hesitant to give what I should give to my brothers and sisters. I also forget too often that in them I serve you and show my gratitude to you for your generous self-giving. Bless me, Lord, and help me to be more generous.

St. Virgilius of Salzburg, bishop confessor, pray for us.




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