READINGS for 2007-03-16

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. – Mark 12:30

My dear friend Jed died at a young age from a terminal disease. I wrote him a letter and now I wish to share with you a part of it.
     One of the things that I firmly believe in since I became a Christian is that every single thing that happens in life is part of God’s plan. Do you know what the final goal of such a plan is? He wants us to build a community filled with love for Him and for each other. Take your sickness, for example. It may be a burden, but through it, what do you receive? Not accusations or condemnations, but only forgiveness, love and unconditional support from your  loved ones. Surprise! What you actually have is heaven on earth! We might not have the perfect conditions they have in heaven, but we do have the perfect love to transform us. You hold the key to making all that possible.
      Yes, even with all our imperfections, our bickering, our hardships, and our sufferings, we can still claim that we are living in God’s kingdom. All it takes is for each of us to love God and to show our love for each other. It’s that simple. Really. Cecille L.

We enter the kingdom of heaven upon our death, but the kingdom of God starts here on earth.

 love You, Lord. Show me the way to let others know I love them, too.



Hosea 14:2-10

Hosea knows the truth – it is only God who can save Israel from its enemies. The same is still true today. God is the only one who can save us from our sins. There are times when we look elsewhere for salvation and get caught up in various forms of selfhelp and mere human techniques to manipulate our world. These can be helpful to a  point, but ultimately we must go back to the grace of God if we want victory over sin and the devil.
2 Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt. 3 Take with you words, and return to the LORD; say to him, “Forgive all iniquity, and receive what is good, that we may render as offerings the bullocks from our stalls. 4 Assyria will not save us, nor shall we have horses to mount; we shall say no more, ‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands; for in you the orphan finds compassion.” 5 I will heal their  defection, I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them. 6 I will be like the dew for Israel: he shall blossom like the lily; he shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar, 7 and put forth his shoots. His splendor shall be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar. 8 Again they shall dwell in his shade and raise grain; They shall blossom like the vine, and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon. 9 Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols? I have humbled him, but I will prosper him. ‘I am like a verdant cypress tree’ — because of me you bear fruit! 10 Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them. Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them.

P S A L M 

Psalm 81:6-8, 8-9, 10-11, 14, 17

R: I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

5 [6] An unfamiliar speech I hear: 6 [7] “I relieved his shoulder of the burden; his hands were freed from the basket. 7 [8] In distress you called, and I rescued you.” (R) Unseen, I answered you in thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. 8 [9] Hear, my people, and I will admonish you; O Israel, will you not hear me? (R) 9 [10] There shall be no strange god among you nor shall you worship any alien god. 10 [11] I, the LORD, am your God who led you forth from the land of Egypt. (R) 13 [14] If only my people would hear me, and Israel walk in my ways, 16 [17] I would feed with the best of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would fill them.” (R)


Mark 12:28-34

The two fundamental bases of the life of holiness are love of God and love of neighbor. Every other law is dependent upon these two. St. Alphonsus Ligouri even reduces it purely to love of God when he says, “Love God and do what you please!” This is perfectly good advice as if we love God and allow that love to be the basis of everything we do, then all that we do will be pleasing to God precisely because it is done out of love for Him!

28 One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” 29 Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The LORD our God is LORD alone! 30 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ 33 And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that [he] answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

my reflections

The two fundamental bases of the life of holiness are love of God and love of neighbor.



God’s special verse/thought for me today________________



Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________





 What Deuteronomy 6:4-5 says is probably the most important Scripture passage among the Jews. It states, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” It is known as the Shema, literally “Hear!” from the first word of the verses. These passages are so important that Jews write these on small sheets of paper and roll them to fit in crevices on top of windows and doors—to remind them of their obligation to love God in every place they go to. They place those papers in tiny phylacteries and hang them on their foreheads and sleeves of their gowns to remind themselves that they need to always call to mind those most important passages in the Torah.
      Jesus, however, adds another dimension, that of love for neighbor as one loves himself. He reiterates by saying, “There is no other commandment greater than these.” Indeed these two commandments should go hand in hand.
      No one on earth has seen God. So how can this love for an invisible God be made more concrete? By loving our neighbor.
      We can never really claim that our love for God is true and real unless we are able to love our brothers and sisters.
      This is precisely the reason why in one of Christ’s teachings he mentions how a man who is about to offer something to God in the temple and who remembers that he has done something wrong to a brother should first reconcile with that brother before he continues with his oblation. His offering will be devoid of any meaning unless he loves his fellow human being on whom God’s image is imprinted. Fr. Sandy V. E. 

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are our offerings pleasing to God?

Embrace me in Your love and may I learn to embrace others in the same way.

St. Abban, abbot, pray for us.

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