READINGS for 2007-04-19

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

TO GET EVEN OR NOT?

“Better for us to obey God than men!” – Acts 5:29

A friend of mine had a “sorry” experience with her organization.
      After their election of officers – she was not happy with the chosen ones – the elected president approached her and asked her to be the treasurer (this was an appointed position). Naturally, she refused. But upon the president’s persuasion, and for the sake of unity, she gave her yes.
      But weeks before the oath-taking, the president approached her again, withdrawing   his offer. He said his council members outvoted his choice.
      Can you imagine how that came across to my friend?
      She “survived” the insult after much prayer, support from friends, and spiritual direction. But now it’s oath-taking time and guess what? The president has not yet found a willing treasurer from the members. Would you believe he had the audacity to ask my friend again?
      I advised her to pray and let God decide. Much as pride and sweet revenge are  comfortable companions with the turn of events – it’s still best to listen to the Lord’s voice deep in our heart… and whatever He says, “goes.” Cristy G. 

REFLECTION:
Who has humiliated you recently? Can you still love the person and do what is right?

May I hear Your direction, especially during times when pride and anger cloud my head and deafen my ears.

COMPANION

1st READING

Acts 5:27-33

Here is one of the more controversial texts of Scripture as Peter argues that there is a higher obedience than the obedience we owe earthly authorities. This is not an excuse for anarchy. Peter is merely stating the simple truth that where a civil law conflicts with a law of God, we follow the latter and not the former. This is a relatively rare occurrence. It will rarely, if ever, be difficult to discern such an occasion. However, it may be costly to us to respond correctly. Let us pray for the strength to do so.

27 When they had brought the apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, 28 “We gave you strict orders [did we not?] to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.” 33 When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put the apostles to death.

P S A L M

Psalm 34:2, 9, 17-18, 19-20

R: The Lord hears the cry of the poor.


1 [2] I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. 8 [9] Taste and see how good the LORD is; happy the man who takes refuge in him. (R) 16 [17] The LORD confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth. 17 [18] When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. (R) 18 [19] The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. 19 [20] Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the LORD delivers him. (R)

G O S P E L

John 3:31-36

God the father sent Jesus to reveal His love to us for precisely the reason His testimony would be all the stronger because of His Divinity. This is why the Father and Son have sent us the Holy Spirit on the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. The Spirit will remain with us as the divine witness and authority to God’s call upon our lives. We seem to live in a sort of netherworld, betwixt and between a life here on earth and the hope of eternal life in heaven.

31 The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven [is above all]. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. 34 For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to Him. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.

my reflections
think:
God the father sent Jesus to reveal His love to us for precisely the reason His testimony would be all the stronger because of His Divinity.

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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 Chronicles 11-16

SABBATH

OBEDIENCE TO THE AUTHORITY OF MEN OR GOD?

Down through history, this experience of the apostles will be repeated over and over again as men and women seek to proclaim the Gospel truths whether they are welcomed or not. Many men and women were martyred for their faith as they proclaimed the Gospel in lands and among people who were hostile to the message. Even today there are many places in the world supposedly ‘off limits’ to the proclamation of the Gospel. The biggest problem with this is that in a certain sense, if we are Christians and living our faith, we are proclaiming the Gospel precisely through the way we live without having to say anything. St. Francis of Assisi is reported to have once said to his brothers as he sent them out to preach, “Go and proclaim the Gospel; use words if you have to!”
      If the lived witness of the Gospel is not present, then any words that are spoken, no matter how eloquent they may be, leave us open to the accusation of hypocrisy! The most powerful witness to the Gospel is always the life each Christian lives. When Christians publicly flout the teachings of the Church and Jesus, we do untold damage to the effectiveness of our Gospel witness. It is not just a matter of our own salvation that we are speaking about here; we are also damaging the opportunity of those who are not Christians have of seeing the Gospel in action in our lives. This can be a sobering thought, particularly when we remember that it is our lives that Jesus is relying upon to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
      The apostles refused to remain silent and so they should have done. The question remaining is whether or not we will follow their lead today. Let us pray for the grace to be willing to speak the truth in season and out of season so that the name of God will be glorified as we proclaim it to the ends of the earth. Fr. Steve T.

REFLECTION QUESTION: When was the last time I had to take a stand on an issue because of my faith in Christ? Did I do this without hesitation?

Lord Jesus, grant me the strength to always stand up for You and the truth You have revealed to me. May I always trust that You will provide me with the words to speak no matter what the situation may be.

St. Alphege, archbishop, pray for us.




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