READINGS for 2007-08-04

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



This is John the Baptist... – Matthew 14:2

One bonus in life is to have friends in high places. I mean, people you look up to. I have a friend priest, one of my priest confessors, who is now assigned bishop of Papua New Guinea. His name is Bishop Francesco Panfilo. He is Italian but his heart is for the Filipinos.

I really look up to him, firstly because he is 6’4” tall, and more so because of his piety.When you hear him speak, you will know the meaning of holiness.

On one of his visits to our parish, he told us about how he goes around the different churches of his diocese. Because Papua New Guinea is a country separated by waters, he needs to ride the boat more than a hundred times a year. The funny thing is, his greatest fear is water and he doesn’t know how to swim. So he just invented a motto that he told the seafarers to follow: “Men, whatever happens, save the bishop!”

Bishop Panfilo is an angel to the people of the islands but the boatmen are angels to their dear bishop. Most of all, Bishop Panfilo is a herald of Jesus, just like John the Baptist. Arun G.


People who love you are God-sent angels to you.

Help me not to forget, Lord, that I have friends in high places. 



Leviticus 25:1, 8-17

The laws regarding the structure of the Jewish state were an attempt to ensure a just distribution of the resources of the nation. It would be interesting to see what effect such laws would have if implemented today. I know that it is not possible to do such a thing but it is equally obvious that we are not living in a world where everyone has the same level of opportunity. Something ought to be done to “level the playing field” so to speak.

1 The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai, 8 “Seven weeks of years shall you count — seven times seven years — so that the seven cycles amount to forty-nine years. 9 Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month let the trumpet resound; on this, the Day of Atonement, the trumpet blast shall re-echo throughout your land. 10 This fiftieth year you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when every one of you shall return to his own property, every one to his own family estate. 11 In this fiftieth year, your year of jubilee, you shall not sow, nor shall you reap the aftergrowth or pick the grapes from the untrimmed vines. 12 Since this is the jubilee, which shall be sacred for you, you may not eat of its produce, except as taken directly from the field. 13 In this year of jubilee, then, every one of you shall return to his own property. 14 Therefore, when you sell any land to your neighbor or buy any from him, do not deal unfairly. 15 On the basis of the number of years since the last jubilee shall you purchase the land from him; and so also, on the basis of the number of years for crops, shall he sell it to you. 16 When the years are many, the price shall be so much the more; when the years are few, the price shall be so much the less. For it is really the number of crops that he sells you. 17 Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God. I, the LORD, am your God.


Psalm 67: 2-3, 5, 7-8

R: O God, let all the nations praise you!

1 [2] May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. 2 [3] So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation. (R) 4 [5] May the nations be glad and exult because you rule the peoples in equity; the nations on the earth you guide. (R) 6 [7] The earth has yielded its fruits; God, our God, has blessed us. 7 [8] May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him! (R)


Matthew 14:1-12

Herod has arrested John because John has had the courage to challenge his irregular marriage situation. Herod knows that he should not have John killed but he is a “people pleaser” and lacks the courage to stand firm on principles. This is not good news for John who is beheaded! Let us pray that we will always have the grace to stand firm by the truth that we know and to never give in to expediency and compromise no matter how difficult the consequences may make our lives.

1 Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus 2 and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.” 3 Now Herod had arrested John, bound [him], and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, 4 for John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people, for they  regarded him as a prophet. 6 But at a birthday celebration for Herod, the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests and delighted Herod 7 so much that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests who were present, he ordered that it be given, 10 and he had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. 12 His disciples came and took away the corpse and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.

my reflections

think: Let us pray that we will always have the grace to stand firm by the truth.



God’s special verse/thought for me today________________



Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________






We live in a day and age of the Green Movement, that is, when there are many political and other non-governmental bodies exhorting us all to care for the environment with far greater diligence than humanity ever has. More  so than ever before we are growing alarmed at the rate of extinction of animal species and the degradation of the environment in which we live. The big question that some are now asking is: what is going to be left for our children, or our children’s children?

God sets out a system of land use and ownership for the Israelites that is very radical. Take a look at it for yourself in detail and I am sure you will begin to see the wisdom it contains. Unfortunately there is little or no evidence of it ever having been put into practice, and it is certainly not practiced today! Most economic decisions are governed by the law of dollars and cents. Will it make money or won’t it? If it will, we will go ahead; if not, then what is the point of even considering it. One of the phrases you will hear often is ‘sustainable development.’ This concept makes no sense at all! There is no such thing! It is not possible to go on developing or exploiting the earth’s resources with the understanding that we can keep getting more out of the same starting resource through the better application of science and technology and so on. The earth’s resources are finite and they will run out if we continue to consume them at the rate we are doing so today.

Somewhere along the line we are going to have to put a stop to this socalled development or we will find ourselves in a position where we are living according to a particular lifestyle that is not sustainable. Ask yourself the question, ‘How is it going to be possible for the people in China to sustain the same level of affluence as the people in the USA?’ There is a question here that concerns our individual use/consumption of the world’s resources. We would do wisely to consider the moral implications of this issue and how it relates to our personal lifestyles. Fr. Steve T.

REFLECTION QUESTION: Am I living a life that is reasonable in comparison to the way the rest of the world lives? Do I have a moral responsibility to the generations that will follow me to cut back on my consumption and probable waste of the world’s finite resources?

Father, You have given us the stewardship of creation. Help us to take this role seriously and address the issues of waste and consumption that have reached moral proportions in today’s society.

 St. Agabius, bishop, pray for us.


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