READINGS for 2007-07-15

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

BEYOND HUMAN REACH

“The command... is not too difficult or beyond your reach.” – Deuteronomy 30:11

“Please do not touch my laptop,” I said firmly to my three-year-old nephew. He was watching a DVD on my computer, and I had to leave him for a few minutes while I attended to something else. I had not even left his side when he started pressing some keys. “What did I say? Please don’t touch anything or I’ll remove the disk!”

To this, my nephew solemnly said, “Ok, Iwon’t touch anything,” and put his hands on his lap. I stood up, moved a few paces and glanced back. My screen was filled with new windows.

Many times I imagine God’s frustration when He gives me simple instructions. “Forgive the people who hurt you.” “Be patient.” “Love the unlovable.” Like a child, I still stay in my comfort zone and choose the path of least resistance, which oftentimes means I don’t follow God’s commands. But is unconditional love really beyond human reach? Jesus — through His earthly example — gives us a resounding “no.” Anna dG.

REFLECTION:

Is it really too difficult to follow the Lord’s commands?

Jesus, may I know You more so I may learn to love as You did.

COMPANION

1st READING

Deuteronomy 30:10-14

The effectiveness of any law is ultimately measured by the degree to which people are willing or can be convinced to take it to heart. If a law remains “out there” as some sort of principle to be applied, there are always going to be times when people choose to ignore it or forget that it exists. Once a law is internalized, then and only then, will it become a part of the moral fabric of peoples’ lives. God’s word and His law have been available to us for thousands of years and yet still remain to be internalized. This only goes to show that there is a long way to go before we are fully converted to the Kingdom of God! 10 “If only you heed the voice of the LORD, your God, and keep his commandments and statutes that are written in this book of the law, when you return to the LORD, your God, with all your heart and all your soul.

11 For this command which I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. 12 It is not up in the sky, that you should say, ‘Who will go up in the sky to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’ 13 Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’ 14 No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.”

P S A L M

Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37

R: Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

13 [14] I pray to you, O LORD, for the time of your favor, O God! In your great kindness answer me with your constant help. 16 [17] Answer me, O LORD, for bounteous is your kindness; in your great mercy turn toward me. (R) 29 [30] I am afflicted and in pain; let your saving help, O God, protect me. 30 [31] I will praise the name of God in song, and I will glorify him with thanksgiving. (R) 32 [33] “See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts revive! 33 [34] For the LORD hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.” (R) 35 [36] For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. 36 [37] The descendants of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall inhabit it. (R)

2nd READING

Colossians 1:15-20

We, the Church, are the Body of Christ. Together we are called to make manifest the person and teaching of Christ to the world. It is the People of God who are the primary Church, not the buildings of bricks and stones that we so often call “church.” The buildings are important but only insofar as they are instrumental in bringing forth the primary reality of the People of God as the living witness of Church to today’s world. Let us pray that we will faithfully bear witness to the Gospel by living our lives together as the Body of Christ

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether  those on earth or those in heaven.

G O S P E L

Luke 10:25-37

How selective are we in the way we serve those around us? Are we always mindful of whether or not they can or might repay the good deed done for them? Or are we as selfless as the example of the Good Samaritan in today’s Gospel? Herein lies a big challenge for us – in a world that encourages us to get out of life what we can, we are faced with a Gospel that tells us that it is more important to give – and to give withoutworrying about what we may or may not get in return for our efforts or generosity.

25 There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” 27 He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” 29 But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. 32 Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. 33 But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. 34 He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ 36 Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” 37 He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

my reflections

think: We, the Church, are the Body of Christ.

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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 Isaiah 6-9

SABBATH PAUSE

My weekly time with God

 

THANK YOU LIST

Things to be grateful for from the past week

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SPECIAL NEEDS

Things to ask God for in the coming week

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 HIDDEN TREASURE

Most important Word God told me this week

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SABBATH

JUST DO IT!

The well-known manufacturer of sports shoes will hopefully pardon ourswiping their famous tagline as the title now of our reflection, but we simply couldn’t resist using such a catchy command. After all, that is perhaps what our Lord Jesus is telling us in our Gospel for today.

It’s easy enough to talk about love — meaning to say, to remain merelyon the level of verbal swordplay and theological discussion (just like the lawyer discussing with Jesus). The challenge is to proceed unto decisive action, to carry out and actually live the ideals of Christian charity. Twice in our passage the Lord Jesus states it explicitly and very simply: “Do thisand you shall live,” and “[Go] and do the same.”

Definitely, this is an entirely different matter altogether, and it is noteasy. The summons is to go beyond our boundaries: first, in the sense of not remaining stuck with words (as we pointed out earlier), and also in the sense of being expansive and all-embracing in our deeds of love. Asking and speculating about “who is my neighbor” is really fruitless and even perhaps counterproductive. Rather, we should think, “To whom can I be a neighbor?” Similarly, we shouldn’t inquire, “Why should I care? Ano’ng pakialam ko?” Rather, let us ask, “What can I do to help? Ano’ng magagawa ko?”

Such orientation to action cannot be skipped. Anybody who is in needis my neighbor. Difficult as it may be, it is nevertheless simple. (It’s often we ourselves perhaps who tend to complicate things — again, because of our penchant for discussion.) God (through our First Reading) tells us, “[T]his command which I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. . . . No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.”

And so, then? What are we waiting for? “Just do it!” Fr. Martin M.

REFLECTION QUESTION: To whom can you be a neighbor?

I pray for the grace to tarry no longer, to just finish the task You set for me.

Blessed Anne Jahouvey, missionary, pray for us.

 




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