READINGS for 2007-02-14

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



And the Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, ?I will never again curse the ground on account of man?? ? Genesis   8:21

Do you know that of all our senses, smelling is the most primal? In fact,   animals can?t survive without it. A blind rat, they say, can still fend for itself. But if it loses its sense of smell, it won?t be able to find food or even a mate! Animals and insects excrete certain chemicals called pheromones to transmit a number of messages. Some kinds of insects that are ready for breeding give off sex pheromones that can be detected by a potential mate 10 kilometers away.
      The Lord, too, has a sense of smell. In the Old Testament, the Israelites would burn their animal sacrifices and let its aroma rise to the heavens.

       Today, while we no longer offer burnt sacrifices, I believe that we still release aromas that our Lord can smell. Instead of animals, we are the living sacrifice and, many times in the New Testament, the Bible speaks of the fragrance that our witness and our lives give off. Second Corinthians 2:15-16 says, ?For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.?

Is the Lord irresistibly attracted to your scent? Rissa S.

This Valentine?s Day, resolve to be attractive to your Lord.

Lord, let my life be a pleasing fragrance to You.



Genesis 8:6-13, 20-22

God is not a God of destruction but a God of life. We celebrate today the  lives of two men who became the first apostles to the Slav people of Eastern Europe. In their commitment to proclaiming the Gospel to the Slav people they invented an alphabet in order to be able to translate the Gospel into their own language. Now that is what commitment is all about! This is an example of the power of the Gospel to change not just an individual?s life, but also the lives of an entire race of people.

6 At the end of forty days Noah opened the hatch he had made in the ark, 7 and he sent out a raven, to see if the waters had lessened on the earth. It flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove, to see if the waters had lessened on the earth. 9 But the dove could find no place to alight and perch, and it returned to him in the ark, for there was water all over the earth. Putting out his hand, he caught the dove and drew it back to him inside the ark. 10 He waited seven days more and again sent the dove out from the ark. 11 In the evening the dove came back to him, and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf! So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth. 12 He waited still another seven days and then released the dove once more; and this time it did not come back. 13 In the six hundred and first year of Noah?s life, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the water began to dry up on the earth. Noah then removed the covering of the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was drying up. 20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird, he offered holocausts on the altar. 21 When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, he said to himself: ?Never again will I doom the earth because of man, since the desires of man?s heart are evil from the start; nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done. 22 As long as the earth lasts, seed time  and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.?

P S A L M 

Psalm 116:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

R: To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.

12 How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? 13 The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. (R) 14 My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people. 15 Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones. (R) 18 My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people, 19 in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. (R)

Mark 8:22-26

Why did Jesus heal the blind man gradually? Perhaps it was to illustrate to us that discipleship is a growing reality in our lives; that healing is a growing reality in our lives. Today?s generation is a very impatient one. We want instant answers to our questions and instant action to satisfy our desires.This is not the way that God usually works. Grace comes to us in small doses  so that we do not take it for granted ? so that we realize that we are not the center of the universe.

22 When they arrived at Bethsaida, they brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on him and asked, ?Do you see anything?? 24 Looking up he replied, ?I see people looking like trees and walking.? 25 Then he laid hands on his eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly. 26 Then he sent him home and said, ?Do not even go into the village.?

my reflections
God is not a God of destruction but a God of life.



God?s special verse/thought for me today________________


Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________





I do not have any doubt at all that Jesus cured the physical blindness of many in His time. In fact, I believe that this still happens today! However, I cannot help thinking every time I read one of the stories of these healings in the Gospels that God is saying more to us than that He has the power to heal physical blindness. I think God is telling us that we should be looking deep into our hearts and minds for different sorts of blindness that are contributing to our inability to perfectly follow His will.
There is no doubt that each of us is blinded to the love of God to one extent or another. This is a direct consequence of sin in our lives. The question is not whether or not the blindness is there, but what are we doing about it? God never stops trying to reveal His love to us but we are often too busy or simply just not interested to listen for His voice. This is a far more tragic form of blindness than the man who cannot see in the Gospel!
Our blindness can take on many forms and degrees as is indicated by the gradual healing of the blind man in the Gospel. It is usually not a matter of spiritual blindness being here one day and gone the next ? the process of moving to a new sight and vision of God and His will is one that takes place over an extended period of time.
      To overcome spiritual blindness, we first must address the spiritual pride in our lives. That is, we must admit that we have a problem we cannot solve on our own and avail ourselves of the grace of God to address it! This first step is often the most difficult as there seems to be something within each of us that does not like admitting we are incapable of solving our own problems. Once this first step can be accomplished, the way is made clear for the grace of God to enter into the troubled areas and bring the necessary healing and change. Fr. Steve T.

REFLECTION QUESTION: What are the ?blindnesses? that affect my ability to respond to the Word of God more fully? Am I willing to ask God to heal me?

Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to stand before you in honesty and truth and admit my brokenness and need for Your help.

St. Valentine, priest martyr, pray for us.

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