READINGS for 2007-05-23

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



By working hard in this way, we must help the weak. – Acts 20:35

I worked hard to provide for my family and send my younger sister Cherry to college. I wanted her to finish her studies like any normal students do. However, I expected Cherry to study at my pace and not her own. I overlooked one important fact – Cherry has a short-term memory deficiency, is slightly deaf and has speech problems. She was diagnosed to have dyslexia. I was angry with her for being so dependent. I berated and belittled her, which made her more insecure.
        As I grew in my relationship with Jesus, I became more compassionate with Cherry.  It is not through my efforts. I believe it is His grace that made me love and accept my sister’s weakness. When Cherry saw the changes in me, she became open with her feelings and freely expressed her anger or joy. I am witnessing now how my sister is gaining confidence.
        St. Paul’s words struck me hard. I must not only work to provide material things for my family. I must work doubly hard to bring them to Jesus. In Him, we can bare our weaknesses and still be accepted. RosAnn J.

Do you need to encourage someone today?

Forgive me for trodding down on the weak instead of helping them become strong.



Acts 20:28-38

Leaders must be willing to give of themselves in the leadership of their flock. Just as Jesus gave His life for us, a leader has to be willing to lay down His life in the service of those who have been entrusted to him. It is not a matter of learning all the latest leadership techniques from the modern day gurus. The most important quality of a Church leader is his or her willingness to sacrifice all in the service of the Kingdom of God.
28 “Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the church of God that he acquired with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. 30 And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them. 31 So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to that gracious Word of his that can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated. 33 I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You know well that these very hands have served my needs and my companions. 35 In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the LORD Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 36 When he had finished speaking he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 They were all weeping loudly as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him, 38 for they were deeply distressed that he had said that they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.

P S A L M 

Psalm 68:29-30, 33-35, 35-36

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

28 [29] Show forth, O God, your power, the power, O God, with which you took our part; 29 [30] From your temple in  Jerusalem let the kings bring you gifts. (R) 32 [33] You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God, chant praise to the LORD 33 [34] who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens. Behold, his voice resounds, the voice of power: 34 [35] “Confess the power of God! (R) Over Israel in his majesty; his power is in the skies.” 35 [36] Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel; he gives power and strength to his people. (R)


John 17:11-19

It is our loyalty to Jesus that is most important. We cannot afford to allow the world and its ways and doctrines to get a foothold in our lives as this is a sure recipe for disaster as regards our life of faith. Jesus prays that all who will follow after Him be protected from the world and its lies. This is why He consecrates us to the truth as He knows that it is only the truth that can set us free from all the powers and dominions that seek to lead us astray. 

11 “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are. 12 When I was with  them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. 14 I gave them your Word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. 17 Consecrate them in the Truth. Your Word is Truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. 19 And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in Truth.”
my reflections
Only the truth can set us free.



God’s special verse/thought for me today_______________________



Thank You Lord for: ______________________________________





Today we read and listen to a beautiful prayer of Jesus. Jesus did not suggest that His followers leave the “evil world” and live a contemplative life in monasteries. That is only for a few who have a special calling (and even they are not free from the attacks of evil). The rest must live IN the world with the great task to transform the world, to “inject” the values of Christ into its cultures and societies. When Jesus prayed that we have to live in the world but not be of the world, He means that we are inspired by a completely different set of values than those proposed by the world. When the world lives out selfishness, we try to follow the example of Christ and live a life of service to others. When the world proposes violence and revenge, hatred and division, we are called to live out forgiveness and peace, love and unity. When the world stresses happiness found in wealth and power, we counteract this attitude with a simple lifestyle, with respect for life and human dignity, and sharing what God has given us. This is extremely difficult as all of us have experienced already. And so Jesus prays,“Consecrate them!” To consecrate means to separate his followers from anything evil. Of course, we have to cooperate with grace. We have to be prudent in what we read and watch, and with whom we live. We cannot be consecrated, as Jesus wants it, if we expose ourselves to anti-Christian, or anti-Catholic TV shows and pamphlets, or if we expose ourselves to immoral literature, movies and Internet websites. We cannot be consecrated, separated from anything evil, if we associate ourselves with people for whom dishonesty and corruption is their daily bread. Even the Word of God and the prayer of Christ cannot protect us if we are careless and throw ourselves in the hands of the Evil One. Evil rules for a while but not forever. Eventually it will be defeated and it is good to be on the side of the victor: Jesus Christ who has overcome Satan and death. Fr. Rudy H.

REFLECTION QUESTION: Am I afraid to be different from others around me? Do I have the courage to stand up for Christian values? Do I focus on the difficulty of this task or do I look beyond the present to a victory with Christ?

Lord, I am weak and a coward. I know what You expect me to do in my corrupt environment. Just help me to begin more courageously injecting Your values into the people around me.

St. Didier, bishop, pray for us.

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