READINGS for 2007-07-04

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

RUN TO GOD

“And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.” – Matthew 8:34

I give regular talks to young professionals in Makati. One time, as part of my presentation, I asked if anyone might have questions. A young man raised his hand, stood up and asked, rather intensely, “Is it all right to be angry with God?”
      I’d been serving Jesus for 23 years, and finished my Masters in Theology with flying colors. I’d been a church leader for more than half my life. All these achievements came to my mind would help me answer him. So, I looked into his eyes, smiled a bit and confidently told the group, “Ok, let’s have our closing prayer, please.”
      I did not know what to say! And in times like this, I’m sure of one thing only — prayer. So I prayed silently.
      When I was granted an answer, I looked at this young man again, and said, “Bro, I cannot say that you are wrong for being angry with God. I do not know what you’ve been through. I only have one answer — if you are mad at Him, go to Him still. When you talk to Him, bring with you your remorse for He will always understand... because He is your God.”
      If you happen to be angry with God now, don’t run away from Him. Go to Him. Go to your God. He is waiting for you. Arun G.

REFLECTION:
Have you been hurt in life? Where do you run to? Run to your God!

Lord, when I am hurting, I will run to You.

COMPANION

1st READING

Genesis 21:5, 8-20

Even though Ishmael is a child born not according to the will of God, God does not abandon him. He promises Hagar that Ishmael will prosper and become a great nation as well. God is never stingy with His grace; we can never accuse Him of abandoning us to our fate. The gift of Jesus as our Savior will forever stand as a testament of God’s willingness and ability to care for us all.
  
5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 8 Isaac grew, and on the day of the child’s weaning, Abraham held a great feast. 9 Sarah noticed the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham playing with her son Isaac; 10 so she demanded of Abraham: “Drive out that slave and her son! No son of that slave is going to share the inheritance with my son Isaac!” 11 Abraham was greatly distressed, especially on account of his son Ishmael. 12 But God said to Abraham: “Do not be distressed about  the boy or about your slave woman. Heed the demands of Sarah, no matter what she is asking of you; for it is through Isaac that descendants shall bear your name. 13 As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a great nation of him also, since he too is your offspring.” 14 Early the next morning Abraham got some bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. Then, placing the child on her back, he sent her away. As she roamed aimlessly in the wilderness of Beer-sheba, 15 the water in the skin was used up. So she put the child down under a shrub, 16 and then went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away; for she said to herself, “Let me not watch the child die.” As she sat opposite him, he began to cry. 17 God heard the boy’s cry, and God’s messenger called to Hagar from heaven: “What is the matter, Hagar? Don’t be afraid; God has heard the boy’s cry in this plight of his. 18 Arise, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink. 20 God was with the boy as he grew up.

P S A L M 

Psalm 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13

R: The Lord hears the cry of the poor.


6 [7] When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him. 7 [8] The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. (R) 9 [10] Fear the LORD, you his holy ones, for nought is lacking to those who fear him. 10 [11] The great grow poor and hungry; but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing. (R) 11 [12] Come, children, hear me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 [13] Which of you desires life, and takes delight in prosperous days? (R)

G O S P E L

Matthew 8:28-34

The demons are totally aware of the identity of Jesus and that they have no choice but to obey whatever He commands them. We should pray we will have the same certainty of faith in the power of Jesus to work miracles in our lives. It is only then that we will see the extent to which God wants to work in our lives. Let us invite Him in so that His grace will abound in our lives and draw us into a deeper relationship with Him where His grace will abound even more.
  
28 When he came to the other side, to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road. 29 They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” 30 Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding. 31 The demons pleaded with him, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32 And he said to them, “Go then!” They came out and entered the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea where they drowned. 33 The swineherds ran away, and when they came to the town they reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.
  
my reflections
think:
God is never stingy with His grace; we can never accuse Him of abandoning us to our fate.

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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 Sirach 14-18

SABBATH

THE “PAGAN TERRITORIES” OF OUR LIVES

Today’s Gospel episode is surely a dramatic one, worthy perhaps of a being made into a horror movie replete with computer-generated special effects. And yet, for all the gripping suspense and drama, the narrative ends on a somewhat “strange” note: when word spread about what happened (particularly regarding the herd of swine), the entire town came out to meet Jesus, only to beg Him to leave their neighborhood.
     Why was it so? In the first place, this particular miracle of demonic expulsion took place in pagan territory. Biblical geography indicates that Gadara, to the east of the Lake of Galilee, was an area occupied by pagans. The herd of pigs moreover confirms this fact, since pigs were considered as repulsive animals to Israelites.
      Applying it now to our lives, we ask: Is it possible that there are still certain “areas” of our lives that are “pagan territory,” in which we would rather not have Jesus “meddling”? Perhaps He intends to purify and liberate us from the demons of our sinful habits, but we still prefer to “bargain” with Him. Or again, He wants to purge us from our penchant for New Age or neo-pagan beliefs and practices (horoscopes, feng shui, tarot cards, and whatnot), but we still do not want to let go of them.
      How then can we call ourselves genuine Catholics, if we are given to such compromises? For such an authenticity in our Faith, surely there is no need for cinematic special effects, right? We just have to welcome Christ into our lives and testify to Him authentically in all that we do. Fr. Martin M.

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you know what you still haven’t submitted to God?

Examine, me, Lord, for my “pagan territories” and conquer them.

St. Bertha, widow and abbess, pray for us.



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