READINGS for 2007-05-22

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



...he raised his eyes to heaven... – John 17:1

In the little book The Screwtape Letters, C.S Lewis details the training correspondence between a chief demon (Screwtape) to a junior demon (Wormwood). It’s a very witty, deep and interesting book – I was able to understand it better since I read the comics version. He he. In it, Screwtape says when the human prays, “Make sure that he only concentrates on the corner of the ceiling or crucifix.” Focus on the object, he stresses.
       I’ve wondered about this: Why do we look up to heaven when we pray? Is this instinctive? Reading back into John 17 we get a glimpse of Jesus actually saying a long prayer. Notice how he starts though. Verse 1 says, “He raised his eyes to heaven.” I’m not a literal Bible reader but I know that’s literal – and not symbolic.
       We take after Jesus then, when we raise our eyes to heaven to pray alone, as he did. When done inside the house however, it doesn’t matter if we are looking at the corner of the ceiling, as long as our minds are in heaven. Remember though, it’s not in the looking in the direction of heaven that counts. It’s in the placing of our minds and hearts in heaven. Jomar H.

When you pray and your mind strays, do you re-align to God repeatedly? Or just give up?

For our sustenance, we look to You alone.



Acts 20:17-27

Paul begins to prepare those whom he loves and who love him for his departure from the earth. Paul has a premonition that he does not have too much longer for this world. This will be the ultimate test for the communities he has established; will they be able to continue to function without his guiding hand? This is the ultimate test for all evangelistic works. In fact, I do not place much hope in the longevity of a group until it has demonstrated that it can move from one generation of leaders to the next. This is the most basic test of a community’s maturity in the Spirit.

17 From Miletus Paul had the presbyters of the church at Ephesus summoned. 18 When they came to him, he addressed them, “You know how I lived among you the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia. 19 I served the LORD with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me because of the plots of the Jews, 20 and I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public or in your homes. 21 I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know, 23 except that in one city after another the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me. 24 Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the LORD Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace. 25 But now I know  that none of you to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels will ever see my face again. 26 And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, 27 for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”

P S A L M 

Psalm 68:10-11, 20-21

R: Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.

9 [10] A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance; you restored the land when it languished; 10 [11] Your flock settled in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy. (R) 19 [20] Blessed day by day be the LORD, who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation. 20 [21] God is a saving God for us; the LORD, my LORD, controls the passageways of death. (R)


John 17:1-11

In His prayer Jesus talks about the glory of the Father and how it will be His glory some day. He is also more concerned about those he leaves behind than himself. This is the sign of a good leader who has sought to raise up new leaders to take his place. As I mentioned above, the maturity of a group is demonstrated first and foremost in its ability to move to a new generation of leaders. The Church has done this now for 2,000 years, for me, a sure sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit with us. What other institution can boast such a long, unbroken line of authority?
1 When Jesus had said this, he raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, 2 just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him. 3 Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 4 I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. 6 I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, 8 because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, 10 and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

my reflections
The maturity of a group is demonstrated first and foremost in its ability to move to a new generation of leaders.



God’s special verse/thought for me today_______________________



Thank You Lord for: ______________________________________







What do we mean by ‘eternal life’? Jesus surprises us with a different definition. “Eternal life is this,” he says in his prayer to the Father, “to know you... and Him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ”.
       Knowledge is today the key to a bright future. High School graduates have difficulty finding a good job. Even College graduates cannot aim for a job with a high salary, with an MA degree, there is hope. What, then, does Jesus mean when He speaks of eternal life as knowing God? The knowledge about God is taught in theology. Those who get a degree in theology are supposed to be experts in knowledge about God. Should all become experts in theology?
       Surely not, because Jesus did not say “Eternal life is to know a lot about God and Jesus,” but to know God and Jesus. What is the difference? To “know” God is not only to have a good idea of what God is like; it is much more. The word “to know”, as it is used in the Bible, expresses always a very intimate relationship, usually the intimate relationship between husband and wife. That means that “to know God” means to have an intimate personal relationship with God and with Christ. For having an intimate relationship with God foreshadows the state of heaven already where we see God “face to face” and live
in His presence forever.
       How, then, can we know God and Christ in such an intimate and personal way? It is not easy but simple, as often simple things are not easy to do. The main task is seeking to do the will of God in all circumstances. The will of God and Christ is laid down in the Ten Commandments and in the New Testament, explained and deepened with the help of the Holy Spirit by the Teaching Authority of the Church. This leads us then to accept gracefully things that cannot be changed and to follow our (hopefully) well formed conscience. Those among us who have developed a regular habit of prayer will find it easier to do than those who pray only when they need something from the Lord. If we have good will, an open heart and are ready to say always the three-letter-word ‘Yes’ to God’s plans, as Mary did, we become “experts” of God, “know him” and begin our eternal life already here on earth. Fr. Rudy H.

REFLECTION QUESTION: In which area do I still have to improve to “know” God and Christ in an intimate way?

Lord, I thought I know You already, but I still lack to say always ‘Yes” to You. With the help of your Holy Spirit I continue to strive for a deeper relationship with You.

St. Bobo, hermit, pray for us.

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