READINGS for 2007-07-07

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



People do not put new wine into old wineskins... – Matthew 9:17

Let’s have an ECG today. No, not electrocardiogram but an Examination of Core Grace. Do you ask why God’s blessings seem to be fleeting? Why He’s unfair?
     I think the reason for these negative feelings is that the “new wine” of God’s grace is wasted because our hearts are old. The heart is made old by the collection of “garbage” of sin and unpleasant emotions stored within it. Thus all sorts of evil come out. No wonder we feel this way – the evils dumped by the world blur our sight and numb our feeling for  God’s true blessing.
      Let God give us a heart transplant today: “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Let’s allow a new HE- A-R-T to function: Humility to serve many; Enthusiasm to love passionately; Availability to be present-moment-oriented; Responsibility to fulfill all our duties in life; and Trustworthiness to make God-entrusted things grow. Have a new heart and experience new wine – the Holy Spirit working within!
Joie C.

Do I allow my heart to decay because of worldly influence?

Change my heart O God, make it ever true, may I be like You!



Genesis 27:1-5.15-29

There are times when it seems that God is rewarding deception, as in today’s reading where Rebekah and Jacob conspire to receive the blessing supposedly reserved for the first-born son. This is not really the focus of the story; I think the author is trying to depict for the reader the idea that God will choose whomever He wants to choose regardless of human traditions and customs. He is in control and hence the deception.
1 When Isaac was so old that his eyesight had failed him, he called his older son Esau and said to him, “Son!” “Yes, father!” he replied. 2 Isaac then said, “As you can see, I am so old that I may now die at any time. 3 Take your gear, therefore — your quiver and bow—and go out into the country to hunt some game for me. — 4 With your catch prepare an appetizing dish for me, such as I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my special blessing before I die.” 5 Rebekah had been listening while Isaac was speaking to his son Esau. So when Esau went out into the country to hunt some game for his father, 15 Rebekah then took the best clothes of her older son Esau that she had in the house, and gave them to her younger son Jacob to wear; 16 and with the skins of the kids she covered up his hands and the hairless parts of his neck. 17 Then she handed her son Jacob the appetizing dish and the bread she had prepared. 18 Bringing them to his father, Jacob said, “Father!” “Yes?” replied Isaac. “Which of my sons are you?” 19 Jacob answered his father: “I am Esau, your first-born. I did as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your special blessing.” 20 But Isaac asked, “How did you succeed so quickly, son?” He answered, “The LORD, your God, let things turn out well with me.” 21 Isaac then said to Jacob, “Come closer, son, that I may feel you, to learn whether you really are my son Esau or not.” 22 So Jacob moved up closer to his father. When Isaac felt him, he said, “Although the voice is Jacob’s, the hands are Esau’s.” 23 (He failed to identify him because his hands were hairy, like those of his brother Esau; so in the end he gave him his blessing.) 24 Again he asked him, “Are you really my son Esau?” “Certainly,” he replied. 25 Then Isaac said, “Serve me your game, son, that I may eat of it and then give you my blessing.” Jacob served it to him, and Isaac ate; he brought him wine, and he drank. 26 Finally his father Isaac said to him, “Come closer, son, and kiss me.” 27 As Jacob went up and kissed him, Isaac smelled the fragrance of his clothes. With that, he blessed him, saying, “Ah, the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of a field that the LORD has blessed! 28 “May God give to you of the dew of the heavens and of the fertility of the earth abundance of grain and wine. 29 Let peoples serve you, and nations pay you homage; be master of your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, and blessed be those who bless you.”

Psalm 135:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R: Praise the Lord for the Lord is good!

1 Praise the name of the LORD; praise, you servants of the Lord 2 who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God. (R) 3 Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, which we love; 4 for the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel for his own possession. (R) 5 For I know that the LORD is great; our LORD is greater than all gods. 6 All that the LORD wills he does in heaven and on earth, in the seas and in all the deeps. (R)


Matthew 9:14-17

If we become disciples of Jesus, we must always be ready to embrace new ideas and ways of doing things. God changes His methods in order to reach out to different times and cultures. The Gospel adapts in the same way. The core message will never change, but the ways and means by which it is communicated must and always will be changing so that it will continue to speak powerfully to people of all ages and cultures.

14 Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. 17 People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh  wineskins, and both are preserved.”
my reflections
: God changes His methods in order to reach out to different times and cultures.



God’s special verse/thought for me today________________



Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________





Jesus’ use of analogies to get his message across seems to work very well for his hearers. They indeed understand that religious practices (foremost among which is fasting, as we have it in our Gospel passage today) have their value only insofar as they nourish the person in his or her relationship with God. In fact, if we are not careful, we can be fossilized in our practices of piety, and we in turn become victims of a merely external spirituality, bereft of depth and quality.
      Instead, the Good News brings us liberation and newness. “New wine into new wineskins” was how Jesus put it. Practical as He was, He knew that if this norm was kept, the result is something mutually beneficial to both the beverage and the container.
      True, there is a value also in old traditions and practices, but even these have to be experienced constantly anew, viewed from new perspectives and with fresh new eyes. And it is even possible that such traditions and practices be modified (if not altogether removed), when they become no longer effective or helpful in the living of our Faith.
      Just as analogies or metaphors can be helpful in explaining otherwise lofty topics, so also should religious traditions and practices be when it comes to nourishing our Faith — a Faith which is, after all, “ever ancient, ever new.”  Fr. Martin M.

REFLECTION QUESTION: Is your faith ever ancient yet ever new?

Lord, refresh me daily with Your word. Your example of following the Law of Love alone make me new.

St. Ampelius, bishop, pray for us.

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