READINGS for 2007-03-18

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

NEW CREATION

“...he was lost and has been found.” – Luke 15:32

Francis, the man of the world, was answerable to no one but himself. Working during the day and having the best of fun when the sun had set, he would be found in the company of friends, losing himself to wine, women and song. Oh he loved to sing, especially when he was filled with the spirit of wine!
      Like St. Augustine’s mother, Francis’ mom would walk on her knees to the altar, begging God to change her son. Every night she would be on the lookout for him, waiting for him to come home, or pick him up in those places she knew she would find him sprawled on the chair and hardly able to walk, inebriated as he was.
      Just as God heeded St. Monica’s cries after 27 years, God took Francis’ hands and led him to a new life of reading the Bible daily, singing and dancing for the Lord in the company of new friends and having fun sharing to others about his new found life. Francis’ mother was the new St. Monica: Profuse in her thanks for the new creation. All her cries to God for 25 years had ended. Francis was lost and now is found! Chelle C.

REFLECTION:
When did God rescue you from despair?

From the pits You rescued me. From the heights that You have brought me I praise You.

COMPANION

1st READING

Joshua 5:9, 10-12

The People of Israel are no longer living on the handouts of manna from God, but from the fruit of their own labors in the land God has given them. The Scriptures speak of this moment as a moment when the shame of Egypt is taken away from the People of God. In the same way today, the blessing of work where a person labors with their own body and talents is one of the first steps towards self-dignity and redemption. Work is essential to the human spirit – the gift of being able to produce something from one’s labors gives a new sense of pride and dignity in self.
  
9 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you.” 10 While the Israelites were encamped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they celebrated the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth of the month. 11 On the day after the Passover they ate of the produce of the land in the form of unleavened cakes and parched grain. On that same day 12 after the Passover on which they ate of the produce of the land, the manna ceased. No longer was there manna for the Israelites, who that year ate of the yield of the land of Canaan.

P S A L M

Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R: Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


1 [2] I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. 2 [3] Let my soul glory in the LORD; the lowly will hear me and be glad. (R) 3 [4] Glorify the LORD with me, let us together extol his name. 4 [5] I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. (R) 5 [6] Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame. 6 [7] When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him.

2nd READING

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

One of the most dignified forms of work is that of sharing the Gospel with others. It is a task within which all baptized persons have a share. It is just as much your duty or work than mine to work in the vineyard of evangelization. Each of us has a different task, but we all share in this work of bringing the gift of salvation to the ends of the earth. Let us pray that in realizing this duty we will be faithful to our Christian calling.
  
17 So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

G O S P E L

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

The witness of a father’s love for his son speaks far more eloquently of God’s love than does the call for justice of the elder son. I am not saying that justice is unimportant, it is! However, there is also a time for mercy and love, particularly if it is quite clear that the person who has sinned is repentant and seeking to reform his or her life. We should all seek to live just and holy lives, but essential to such a life will be the graces of mercy and forgiveness.

1 The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him, 2 but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 So to them he addressed this parable. 11 He said, “A man had two sons, 12 and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. 13 After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. 14 When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. 15 So  he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. 16 And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. 17 Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. 18 I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.’” 20 So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called  your son.’ 22 But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, 24 because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. 25 Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. 26 He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. 27 The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. 30 But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ 31 The Father said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. 32 But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”
  
my reflections
think:
Work is essential to the human spirit – the gift of being able to produce something from one’s labors gives a new sense of pride and dignity in self.

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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 2 Samuel 4-8

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

CONSEQUENCES

One of the most touching stories ever given to us by Jesus, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, speaks to a lot of people in different ways. There is no single interpretation to it. But a poignant point that perhaps a lot of us can recognize is how the father won over his hurt to welcome back his prodigal son.
      The most painful wounds that we experience in life are the ones inflicted on us by our families—a wife beaten by her husband and left alone to fend for the kids, rivalries among siblings, ungrateful children. While squabbles among siblings and between spouses can really create deep wounds, I believe the deeper wounds are the ones exacted on parents by their children. I am not an authority in parenting. But I guess today’s Gospel can tell us something on how parents should conduct themselves with prodigal children. A mother approached me regarding her daughter. In between sobs she narrated: “My daughter was born with a handicap. She could not walk straight—her leg bones were bent. When she was growing up as a kid you would always find me standing just behind her ready to catch her if she lost balance and fell. I have spent a great deal of time on her. I even quit my job just so I can become a full time mother for her. But I don’t know what happened. Just when she was becoming an adolescent, I gradually lost her. She just wanted to live her life independent from me.”
      I cannot say I really understand the hurts that parents have when faced with this kind of experience. But all I know is that nature has a way of disciplining children in ways that parents can’t. And no matter how painful it may be, parents should sometimes learn how to let their children reap the consequences of their own decision.
      Just like the prodigal son, your child’s desperation will lead him to go back to his senses. That is sometimes how God gets our attention. And when they do repent, parents need to learn from the father—win over the hurts and welcome the child back in their loving arms. Fr. Sandy V. E.

REFLECTION QUESTION: Have you let go of controlling others and instead leave them to face consequences?

You, Lord, allow me to grow up and be free. Thank You for the trust.

Blessed Christian, abbot, pray for us.




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