READINGS for 2007-02-12

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



No sign will be given this generation. ? Mark 8:12

I remember Alfred, a classmate back in college, who was always at the top of our class, whether in written or oral exams.
      He was a guy with the so-called 3 B?s (Brain, Beauty and Bank). The only problem with him was that he was a doubting Thomas, one who would always mistrust things: people, places, activities, and even God?s existence.
      He believed that whatever he had acquired in life was due primarily to his struggles and hard work. He had that sky-high level of selfreliance, and was very assuming and proud. This was what segregated him from the rest of the class. Was he happy being alone? Could he live alone without friends? Did he believe in the saying that ?no man is an island?? Oh well, your guess is as good as mine...
      What I do know is that when you trust God, trust Him with all your heart. Doubt not His loving and caring ways, not even for a while. Even if He doesn?t show you any signs of His presence, He is never far away. Henry Y.

How many times have I doubted the capacity of God and His creations?

Lord, come to my rescue each time my doubting self would manifest.



Genesis 4:1-15, 25

As far as sin goes I think that the one most difficult to understand from an objective point of view is the killing of a member of one?s immediate family. Perhaps today?s reading gives us insight into the power and depth of the sin of jealousy in that it can lead to murdering one?s own kin! Perhaps it is just an indication as to how far and how depraved sin can cause us to be. At the very least it is a warning to us of the evil of sin and that what may start off as being something as simple as jealousy can lead to something much worse if we do not ?nip it in the bud? immediately.

1 The man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying,?I have produced a man with the help of the LORD.? 2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Abel became a keeper of flocks, and Cain a tiller of the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the LORD from the fruit of the soil, 4 while Abel, for his part, brought one of the best firstlings of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not. Cain greatly resented this and was crestfallen. 6 So the LORD said to Cain: ?Why are you so resentful and crestfallen? 7 If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.? 8 Cain said to his brother Abel, ?Let us go out in the field.? When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the LORD asked Cain, ?Where is your brother Abel?? He answered, ?I do not know. Am I my brother?s keeper?? 10 The LORD then said: ?What have you done! Listen: your brother?s blood cries out to me from the soil!? 11 Therefore you shall be banned from the soil that opened its mouth to receive your brother?s blood from your hand. 12 If you till the soil, it shall no longer give you its produce. You shall become a restless wanderer on the earth.? 13 Cain said to the LORD: ?My punishment is too great to bear. 14 Since you have now banished me from the soil, and I must avoid your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, anyone may kill me at sight.? 15 ?Not so!? the LORD said to him. ?If anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold.? So the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest anyone should kill him at sight. 25 Adam again had relations with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she called Seth. ?God has granted me more offspring in place of Abel,? she said, ?because Cain slew him.?


Psalm 50:1 and 8, 16bc-17, 20-21

R: Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

1 God the LORD has spoken and summoned the earth, from the rising of the sun to its setting. 8 Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you, for your burnt offerings are before me always. (R) 16 ?Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, 17 though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you? (R) 20 ?You sit speaking against your brother; against your mother?s son you spread rumors. 21 When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it? Or do you think that I am like yourself? I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes. (R)


Mark 8:11-13

I can safely say that when it gets to the point that I am tempted to ask God for a sign concerning a particular issue in my life, what is really happening is that I am sure that He wants me to do something and I do not want to do it. In other words, what I am doing is not only deliberately delaying obedience to Him but also putting Him to the test. I do not think that this is the correct response to a call from God. He will show us if we have made the wrong choice. It?s better to obey what we think He wants and change course a little later than to delay obedience and test the patience of God.

11 The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, ?Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.? 13 Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.

my reflections
It?s better to obey what we think He wants and have to change course a little later than to delay obedience and test the patience of God.



God?s special verse/thought for me today________________



Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________





While there may be a place for signs in the life of faith, I do not think that it should be a big one. Jesus makes it quite clear to those asking for a sign that they will not be receiving one! Why is this so? One answer to this question is that there have already been a plethora of signs indicating that Jesus is the Messiah and what good will one more do if they are going to reject the numerous ones already received?
      Looking for signs, for me, is the sign of an infant faith. A far more healthy way of going about discernment is to move cautiously forward and test the waters, so to speak. What I mean is that if it continues to be possible to move forward in what you think and have discerned to your best ability to be God?s will, then that is the sign that you are on the right path. If the way forward becomes hopelessly blocked, then you may consider that that path is not the one that God wants you to take. On the other hand, to wait around for a sign or signs from God before you do anything could result in nothing ever happening because what is there to say that having received one sign you are not going to ask for a confirming one and so on ad infinitum?
      I believe that God has a way of showing us that we are moving according to His will or not, without us having to rely upon signs before we act. The Church teachings and the Scriptures, as well as the vast wisdom available to us in the men and women who have been following God?s will in their lives for many years, ought to be enough in 99.99% of the cases to give us a good idea if a particular course of action is the one God wants us to take or not!
      To my knowledge we do not see Jesus asking for signs when discerning His next move. Yes, there are events that seem to initiate a new urgency in His ministry such as the arrest and death of John the Baptist, but he never asks for a sign before embarking on any aspect of His ministry. Fr. Steve T.

REFLECTION QUESTION: How mature have I grown in my faith? Am I willing to move forward in what I believe to be God?s will without undue procrastination?

Holy Spirit, help me to discern the will of God so that I can put it into action without delay.

St. Meletius, pray for us.

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