READINGS for 2007-02-18

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

ARE YOU READY TO REALLY LOVE?

?Be merciful...? ? Luke 6:36

Consenting to becoming a partner in a business that I knew nothing about was the biggest mistake of my life.
      This was a business that promised investors high monthly interest rates. You will have guessed that for a few months, the company did as promised... and then the partners began disappearing until I was the only one left holding the bag and deeply in debt.
      The blessing that came after that fiasco was knowing who my true friends are.
      One of them is a couple who had invested their retirement money in the business. If they had had any mean streak in their bone, they would have flogged me to death or hung me on a post for days. Instead, when I went to see them at their home the day before they migrated to the US to apologize and to tell them I could not give any concrete promise when I could return their money, I only got love and forgiveness.
      It?s been more than six years since then. I still have a small amount left unpaid, but through the years, I never heard or saw any bitterness or anger from this very loving couple. They write me and we get to talk once in a while, inviting me to visit them at their place. Do they not look just like God? Chelle C.

REFLECTION:
Are you ready to really love?

In spite of and despite their weaknesses, may I learn to love others as You do.

COMPANION

1st READING

1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23

Revenge for a wrong done to you is NEVER the answer. Forgiveness must always be the first step in the path to the resolution of differences. The reason underpinning this truth, apart from the fact that it is a Gospel imperative, is found in the fundamental dignity of the human person. People are not mere animals who live and die and so be it. We have been given a soul and a mind to accompany it that allows us to know right from wrong and act upon this knowledge. David, far from being an example of the perfect human being, gets it right this time when he refuses to take the life of Saul.
  
2 So Saul went off down to the desert of Ziph with three thousand picked men of Israel, to search for David in the desert of Ziph. 7 So David and Abishai went among Saul?s soldiers by night and found Saul lying asleep within the barricade, with his spear thrust into the ground at his head and Abner and his men sleeping around him. 8 Abishai whispered to David, ?God has delivered your enemy into your grasp this day. Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I will not need a second thrust!? 9 But David said to Abishai, ?Do not harm him, for who can lay hands on the LORD?s anointed and remain unpunished?? 12 So David took the spear and the water jug from their place at Saul?s head, and they got away without anyone?s seeing or knowing or awakening. All remained asleep, because the LORD had put them into a deep slumber. 13 Going across to an opposite slope, David stood on a remote hilltop at a great distance from Abner, son of Ner, and the troops. 22 He said: ?Here is the king?s spear. Let an attendant come over to get it. 23 The LORD will reward each man for his justice and faithfulness. Today, though the LORD delivered you into my grasp, I would not harm the LORD?s anointed.?

P S A L M 

Psalm 103: 1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13

R: The Lord is kind and merciful.


1 Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (R) 3 He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills. 4 He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion. (R) 8 Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. 10 Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes. (R) 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him. (R)

2nd READING

1 Corinthians 15:45-49

St. Paul indirectly reflects upon the dignity of the human person in his comparison of Adam and Christ. Even though Paul may be emphasizing the differences in degree between Adam and Christ, in so doing he affirms the dignity of the person as being comparable to Christ. It is this likeness with Christ that can be seen to reflect the truth of humanity?s dignity and lay the foundation for our understanding of the fundamental rights of the human person. Our human calling is always best seen in that we are called to be icons of Christ to the  world.

45 So, too, it is written, ?The first man, Adam, became a living being,? the last Adam a life-giving spirit. 46 But the spiritual was not first; rather the natural and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, earthly; the second man, from heaven. 48 As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly, and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.

G O S P E L

Luke 6:27-38

Jesus does not shrink back from calling us to the pinnacle of our human dignity, namely to become like God in the way that we are compassionate to one another. This does not mean that we gloss over the sins of our lives but that we speak the truth in love to one another as each situation demands. Truth is one of the first priorities of love as without it there will only be misunderstanding and distrust. Let us pray that we will heed this call and make our willingness to embrace the truth of our human dignity as the basis of all of our relationships.
  
27 ?But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit [is] that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. 35 But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful. 37 Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. 38 Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.?
  
my reflections
think:
Our human calling is always best seen in that we are called to be icons of Christ to the world.

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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 Deuteronomy 16-18

SABBATH PAUSE

My weekly time with God

THANK YOU LIST

Things to be grateful for from the past week

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SPECIAL NEEDS

Things to ask God for in the coming week

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HIDDEN TREASURE

Most important word God told me this week

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SABBATH

TURNING THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN

Jesus can never be accused of trying to make the life of discipleship too easy! Or if He is, then one only has to consider texts such as today?s Gospel and others similar to it to dispel any such idea!
      Following on from the Lucan form of the beatitudes, we have an exhortation to turn upside down some of the seemingly self-evident social mores of the time. Jesus exhorts us all to love our enemies rather than hate them and finishes with a statement that tells us the measure by which we give will determine the measure by which we receive.
     This stand is a challenge to us today some 2000 years after Jesus spoke the words. The situation of humanity with its social difficulties and challenges has changed little. There still exists today racial and sectarian animosities as well as economic and education divides. The question that remains is, ?How are we going to respond to these problems?? The answer of the Gospel, as always, is with love! When said like that it seems so easy but the fact that similar if not the same problems still exist after 2000 years tells us that it may be simple in theory but practice is a totally different matter altogether.
     Perhaps it is important for each of us to begin our Lenten reflection a few days early and look deep within our hearts to see what animosities and maybe even hatreds lurk within and begin to assess what we can do about them. It would seem to me that the problems will not be solved at the level of nations and large populations but with the initiating and development of individual relationships. These will begin to heal differences and be examples of the possibilities available if only we are ready to change our attitudes a little and work a bit harder at understanding one another rather than vilifying each other.
     Jesus, the Son of God, came among us as one like us to reconcile us to the Father AND one another. Let us see what we can do to live in the same spirit and fight for the same values of reconciliation and acceptance. Fr. Steve T.

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are there attitudes in my life that I should be working at changing? How can I best do this?

Lord Jesus, You will never reject anyone who is open to Your love. Help me to open my life more deeply to You so that I will be empowered to become more like You.

Blessed John of Fiesole, pray for us.




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