READINGS for 2007-03-11

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



“Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam  fell on them – do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?” – Luke 13:4

When Pinatubo erupted, many Christians said God had allowed it to happen to cleanse Olongapo. When the tsunami wiped out many resorts in Thailand and other countries, many said it was because sin was happening in that part of the world and God saw it fit to do that because sin proliferated in those resorts.
      Let’s not look too far away. In our very own lives, when a group project fails or when someone finds out he has an incurable disease and cannot be healed in spite of many prayer sessions, don’t we whisper among ourselves, wondering if this tragedy is the result of someone’s sin?
       Today’s readings – even 1 Corinthians 10:3– – tell us that none of us is more sinless then the next person. All of us have sinned. And all of us have the same chances of dying, failing or succumbing to disease as those who lived in Olongapo or Patthaya.
       And so it’s essential that we live our lives every day in humble recognition of our weakness and grateful for the forgiveness available to us in confession.
       In this way, when the time comes for the Lord to take us home, He may see fruit in our branches. Victoria L.

Am I guilty of judging others as less worthy of God’s love?

Teach me to take moral inventory of myself and not make a moral inventory for others.



Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15

Either Moses was a man of great faith or his experience of God’s call was very compelling. Not to denigrate the faith of Moses, I tend to think that the latter is probably the more significant of the two in what we read today. This further demonstrates the power of an encounter with the living God to transform a person’s life beyond the realm of what is reasonably expected. Moses goes from an insignificant shepherd to the shepherd of the Chosen People of God, leading them out of bondage in Egypt on the way to the Promised Land.
1 Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush. As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. 3 So Moses decided, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.” 5 God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. 6 I am the God of your Father,” he continued, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. 7 But the LORD said, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering. 8 Therefore I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” 13 Moses said to God, “When I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What am I to tell them?” 14 God replied, “I am who I am.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites I AM sent me to you.” 15 God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. ‘This is my name forever; this is my title for all generations.’”

P S A L M 

Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11

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, he crowns you with kindness and compassion. (R) 6 The LORD secures justice and the rights of all the oppressed. 7 He has made known his ways to Moses, and his deeds to the children of Israel. (R) 8 Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him. (R)


1 Corinthians 10:1-6.10-12

Paul is not averse to using a bit of a scare tactic to catch the attention of readers. It is true, the corpses of those who left Egypt littered the desert due to their grumbling and lack of trust in the Lord. God allowed their journey to lengthen to 40 years as the people continued to demonstrate ingratitude. Let us learn from their experience and seek to entrust our lives to God and to be grateful for all that we have received 
from His bounty.

1 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, 2 and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 All ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ. 5 Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert. 6 These things happened as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things, as they did. 10 Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffer death by the destroyer. 11 These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.


Luke 13:1-9

Repentance is essential to the life of grace. We live in a world that does its best to absolve itself of any personal responsibility for the actions that we perform. We enjoy talking about our rights to this and that but rarely, if ever, speak of our responsibilities to one another or ourselves. Repentance is one of the first steps in taking responsibility for our own actions. It is also the first step on the road to conversion. Let us pray that we have the courage and strength to follow its path.

1 At that time, some people who were present there told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. 2 He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? 3 By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! 4 Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? 5 By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” 6 And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, 7 he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. [So] cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ 8 He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; 9 it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”

my reflections
Let us learn from the Israelites’ experience and seek to entrust our lives to God and to be grateful for all that we have received from His bounty.



God’s special verse/thought for me today________________



Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________




My weekly time with God


Things to be grateful for from the past week





Things to ask God for in the coming week





Most important word God told me this week






Just before I got ordained, I remember telling my Rector my anxieties about what I would be able to give my parishioners to lead them to a more fruitful Christian life. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to measure up to what Christ would want me to do as a pastor. Looking at what I had then—the theology that I have learned, the pastoral experiences that I had, the managerial skills I have developed, the relationships I have nurtured—I thought I was still ill-equipped and would just last a couple of years until I exhausted everything that I had come to accumulate through all those formative years in the seminary.
    Nonetheless, my Rector assured me. Just do everything you can and trust that your efforts will not be in vain. Just lead your flock to Christ and God will take care of the rest.
    This thought came back to me as I was reflecting on today’s Gospel. As a pastor it is my responsibility to take care of the “tree”—to water it, to dig and cultivate the soil around it, to put manure on its base. But in the end that is all I can do. Joseph Donders says, “The rest is up to the tree. It is only from within the tree that the fruits will come. Without the cooperation of the tree nothing will ever happen.”
     Pastors can only do as much as exhort God’s flock to conversion. But the actual conversion is still in the hands of the recipient of the exhortation. Pastors can make the flock see the darkness of life when lived in sin, but the actual turning away from sin remains in the hands of the flock. The crux of the matter is this: in the end all the “trees” will definitely be scrutinized by God. For them not to be cut and thrown in Gehenna, they must be found teeming with fruits. So if you believe you have heard enough of the Word which is aimed to inspire you to bear much fruit, heed the invitation. Your pastors have done their part, now the ball is in your court. Fr. Sandy V. E.

REFLECTION QUESTION: Joseph Donders says, “The rest is up to the tree. It is only from within the tree that the fruits will come. Without the cooperation of the tree nothing will ever happen.” Are you cooperative?

Give me the desire, Lord, to bear fruit. I am often too lazy to even try.

St. Aurea, pray for us.

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