READINGS for 2007-03-17

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices. I would rather have my people know me than burn offerings to me. – Hosea 6:6

“She is so brave,” my husband gushed as we watched the evening news on television. He was referring to a correspondent who was in the news because she had written a revealing article that put some powerful politicians in hot  water.
      I happen to know the correspondent. She loves what she’s doing. She really just seeks the truth and writes about it. She’s tough and she’s not afraid to die. “She’s so brave because she’s not afraid to die,” I told my husband.
      Then I fell silent. I asked myself if I loved my job so much that I could do what the correspondent does. Then, another thought nagged me: Whether I love God enough to stand up for my faith, or even die for it. Right now, all God is asking of me is to die to my sinfulness—you know, being envious, being unable to control my temper, being vain, spending so much time in front of the mirror that at times I am late for appointments.
      Yes, God just wants me to love Him so much, that I would have the courage to change my ways. He doesn’t ask for any other offering, not anything else. Cynthia S.

How brave are you?

Lord, make me tough, make me brave to die to my bad habits.



Hosea 6:1-6

Sometimes we have to reach rock-bottom before we are willing to cry out to God for help. This is very unfortunate because God does not want us to wait that long before we ask Him for help. Some people call God the biggest beggar in the universe precisely because He is willing to respond to a call for help even when He knows it is totally desperate and a last resort. Many of us would reject such a call thinking, ‘Well, he has had his opportunity to ask for help and he did not, why should I respond now?’ Not God, he will use every opportunity He gets to help us.

1 “Come, let us return to the LORD, for it is he who has rent, but he will heal us; he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds. 2 He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, to live in his presence. 3 Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD; as certain as the dawn is his coming, and his judgment shines forth like the light of day! He will come to us like the rain, like spring rain that waters the earth. 4 What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your piety is like a morning cloud, like the dew that early passes away. 5 For this reason I smote them through the prophets, I slew them by the words of my mouth; 6 For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than holocausts.”


Psalm 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21

R: It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice.

1 [3] Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. 2 [4] Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. (R) 16 [18] For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it. 17 [19] My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. (R) 18 [20] Be bountiful, O LORD, to Zion in your kindness by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem; 19 [21] then shall you be pleased with due sacrifices, burnt offerings and holocausts. (R)


Luke 18:9-14

Humility, we always come back to the need for humility in prayer, humility of the heart, and humility of the mind. St. Catherine of Siena tells us that humility is the mortar that holds the virtues together. This is a good image to reflect upon as we will learn that humility is essential for the exercise of all virtues lest we think we have become selfsufficient. A wall of bricks without any mortar quickly falls, but if held together by mortar, it can withstand much battering.

9 He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. 10 “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ 13 But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

my reflections
Sometimes we have to reach rock-bottom before we are willing to cry out to God for help.



God’s special verse/thought for me today________________


Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________





William Barclay narrates an experience he had on a journey by train to England. He says, “As we passed through the Yorkshire moors I saw a little whitewashed cottage and it seemed to me to shine with an almost radiant whiteness. Some days later I made the journey back to Scotland. The snow had fallen and was lying deep all around. We came again to the little white cottage, but this time its whiteness seemed drab and soiled and almost grey in comparison with the virgin whiteness of the driven snow.”
      Comparing ourselves with others will surely bring us to a false notion of ourselves. We will see how “brightly” we shine compared to the grim existence of others around us. Just like the Pharisee in today’s Gospel.
      It may be true that the Pharisee did all the right actions that the Law required, but to compare self with a fellow human person is far from what the Scripture requires.
      Remember how Jesus exhorts us to “be perfect just as our heavenly Father is perfect?” I guess that is the only comparison that God allows us to engage in—to set our lives beside the life of God. Just like the white cottage in the middle of immaculately white snow, our countenance will surely prove to look drab and soiled. When we set our lives beside the life of Jesus and beside the holiness of God, we can never boast of anything. What we will surely see is not our greatness in the eyes of our fellowmen but our need for our God who alone can exalt us as we humble ourselves before him. Fr. Sandy V. E.

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are we guilty of comparing ourselves with others?

Preserve us from the temptation to envy but to instead only aspire to be like You.

Blessed Peter Lieou, martyr, pray for us.

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