READINGS for 2007-08-03
And they took offense at him. – Matthew 13:57
When I left my family to serve the Lord in fulltime ministry, they didn’t send me off with a festive despedida. No, it wasn’t like I had landed a muchcoveted position in a job abroad. Or like I had topped the medical or dental board exams like my sisters did. In fact, if my parents had had their way, they wouldn’t have allowed me to leave and do lay missionary work. They would have wanted me to have a lucrative career like everybody else.
But I knew the Lord had called me and I just had to obey. In fact, I wanted to do nothing else but to serve Him. Consequently, my decision to follow Jesus didn’t make me popular with everyone in my family.
When we choose to follow Jesus, there will always be people who will not agree with our beliefs. There will be times when our choices will go against what is generally acceptable to others, even times when our decisions will hurt others. It wasn’t any easier for Jesus. Often, His teachings stung the hearts of His listeners. His righteous ways convicted others of sin. His obedience to the Father all the way to His crucifixion caused His mother great pain. There were even others who were outrightly offended by Him.
But He didn’t let those things keep Him from following the Father’s call.
Neither should we. Rissa S.
What are the things you consider when you have to make a difficult choice? Is Jesus on top of your list?
Lord, help me be steadfast in following You. Amen.
Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37
Ritual is an important part of our faith life. In the rituals of the church we celebrate the defining moments of our faith in such a way that they are reinforced into our psyche and thus become foundational to the way that we think and live. We should never doubt the efficacy of the Sacraments if we celebrate them with faith. God is the assurance behind their promise of efficacy and I am sure that God will be faithful to His promises. 1
The LORD said to Moses, 4 “These, then, are the festivals of the LORD which you shall celebrate at their proper time with a sacred assembly. 5 The Passover of the LORD falls on the fourteenth day of the first month, at the evening twilight. 6 The fifteenth day of this month is the LORD’s feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first of these days you shall hold a sacred assembly and do no sort of work. 8 On each of the seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD. Then on the seventh day you shall again hold a sacred assembly and do no sort of work.” 9 The LORD said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you come into the land which I am giving you, and reap your harvest, you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest, 11 who shall wave the sheaf before the LORD that it may be acceptable for you. On the day after the sabbath the priest shall do this. 15 Beginning with the day after the sabbath, the day on which you bring the wave-offering sheaf, you shall count seven full weeks, 16 and then on the day after the seventh week, the fiftieth day, you shall present the new cereal offering to the LORD. 27 The tenth of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement, when you shall hold a sacred assembly and mortify yourselves and offer an oblation to the LORD. 34 The fifteenth day of this seventh month is the LORD’s feast of Booths, which shall continue for seven days. 35 On the first day there shall be a sacred assembly, and you shall do no sort of work. 36 For seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD, and on the eighth day you shall again hold a sacred assembly and offer an oblation to the LORD. On that solemn closing you shall do no sort of work. 37 These, therefore, are the festivals of the LORD on which you shall proclaim a sacred assembly, and offer as an oblation to the LORD holocausts and cereal offerings, sacrifices and libations, as prescribed for each day.
P S A L M
Psalm 81:3-4, 5-6, 10-11
R: Sing with joy to God our help.
2  Take up a melody, and sound the timbrel, the pleasant harp and the lyre. 3  Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our solemn feast. (R) 4  For it is a statute in Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob, 5  who made it a decree for Joseph when he came forth from the land of Egypt. (R) 9  There shall be no strange gods among you nor shall you worship any alien god. 10  I, the LORD, am your God who led you forth from the land of Egypt. (R)
G O S P E L
How difficult it can be to convince members of one’s household of the truths of the Gospel! It was like this for Jesus and it is still much the same today in the experience of God’s people. I do not know why it is like this. Perhaps an answer lies with the fact that the people who know us best find it the most difficult to accept that we have changed sodramatically without their contributing to the change. Whatever the case, I do know that God calls us to persevere in our Christian witness and trust that one day the breakthrough will come.
54 He came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? 55 Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? 56 Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” 58 And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.
think: In the rituals of the church we celebrate the defining moments of our faith.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Isaiah 61-63
WE LOOK FOR WISDOM TODAY
The people who heard Jesus speak marveled at the wisdom with which He taught them. Wisdom is a very interesting commodity that is rarely looked upon with great esteem today. Modern society seems to rejoice in its ability or tendency to be able to disregard the wisdom of the ages and do what it wants, when it wants to and however it feels like doing it! I often wonder about the wisdom of such a dismissive attitude to wisdom!
There is something to be said for the willingness to recognize that others may have wisdom to share with us concerning issues and decisions we have to make in our own lives. In the first book of Kings we listen to a story about the Queen of Sheba who comes from afar to seek out the wisdom of Solomon for her life. It is Solomon’s wisdom and not his power, glory or might that attracts her. I believe that today’s society of independently minded individuals is dangerously close to losing access to an enormous font of knowledge when it refuses to give the proper credence to the value of the wisdom of the ages.
It is too easy to dismiss the experience and learning of our elders with the statement that they are too old fashioned and caught in some sort of a time warp of yesteryear. Yes, we need and have the right to discern the applicability of the lessons learnt 50 years ago to our modern day society, but I do not believe that the fundamental values of human society have changed that much so as to negate what was learned then in relation to today’s experience of life. Some adaptation may be necessary but there is no need to reinvent the core values and meanings given to life’s experiences. As we seek to discern how to live our lives in the midst of an ever more confusing world situation it is probably getting more and more important to reinforce the key values of yesteryear in order to give us something to work with in making our moral decisions. Jesus tells us at the end of chapter 5 of Matthew’s Gospel that it is the wise man who knows how to bring out of the storehouse things that are both new and old! Let us pray that we will grow in wisdom and thus know for sure that which we must cling to and never lose and those attitudes and emphases in life that are open to change. Fr. Steve T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: Do I tend to disregard or take seriously the wisdom offered to me by those who are older than I am?
Lord Jesus, help me to be able to discern the core values of human life and cling to them no matter what the pressures to disregard them may be.
St. Gamaliel, teacher, pray for us.
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