READINGS for 2007-08-05
I AM RICH!
“...though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” – Luke 12:15
“Ang yaman mo naman! Ang ganda ng bahay mo,” my auntie whispered to me the first time she saw our house last December.
It was then that the thought struck me again. I remember sitting by the Christmas tree that very night, looking around me. Are these things ours?
Is this house really mine? Those beautiful curtains. All mine? This airconditiner? Mine? Our car?
She’s right! I am rich!
I’m so thankful.
But you know what?
I dig deep down to my very core and ask myself – what is it that truly makes me happy?
What makes me over-the-top ecstatic about life? Here are my answers.
Snuggling with my husband.
Chats with my parents across the street.
Visits to my 90-year-old grandmother.
Calls from my brother abroad.
Emails. Dinner with friends.
Dropping by my in-laws.
Doing a favor for my sister or brother.
Prayer meetings. Community life.
Reading. Times of solitude.
Singing to the Lord.
Snuggling with my husband (again and again).
These are my wealth! Lallaine G.
Dig deep – what makes you rich?
I praise You, Lord, that You are my greatest Treasure! No one and nothing else cansatisfy me apart from You.
Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Vanity of Vanities – I love the sense behind this reading because I think it speaks directly to our so-called civilized world and challenges us to look at the things that we do and ask ourselves, “Is it really worth all the time, effort and money to gain the ‘bodybeautiful.’” What will all the money and effort spent on makeup and exercise machines and videos ultimately gain us in the end? There is no beauty contest in order to enter heaven! Yes, we need to care for our bodies, but changing the color of our hair is meaningless. Surely there are better things and ways to spend our money and time than this?
2 Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! 2: 21 Here is a one who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill, and to another, who has not labored over it, he must leave his property. This also is vanity and a great misfortune. 22 For what profit comes to a man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun? 23 All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation; even at night his mind is not at rest. This also is vanity.
Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
R: If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
3 You turn man back to dust, saying, “Return, O children of men.” 4 For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch of the night. (R) 5 You make an end of them in their sleep; the next morning they are like the changing grass, 6 which at dawn springs up anew, but by evening wilts and fades. (R) 12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. 13 Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants! (R) 14 Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days. 17 And may the gracious care of the Lord our God be ours; prosper the work of our hands for us! Prosper the work of our hands! (R)
It is war! We should be waging war every day against the sin in our lives. It is important that we take this “call to arms” seriously as our eternal life may depend upon it. We cannot allow ourselves to be dictated to by the powers of sin without fighting back. We have a responsibility to take a stand against sin and defeat it. God has given us the tools in Jesus Christ; let us use them and declare war against sin and its minions. Let us look forward to victory in this battle.
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. 9 Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.
G O S P E L
Vanity is not necessarily only attached to how we look; it can also be related to the way we desire or treat wealth. However, the result is the same as above. No one takes anything with them from this life to the next except our good works. In the Gospels, Jesus very clearly warns us of the danger of wealth. We ignore His warning at our own peril. Wealth is not bad in and of itself, it is what we do with it that is all important. Used only for ourselves we are in danger of losing everything including eternal life; used generously for the sake of the Kingdom of God we will be accruing good works in heaven at a great rate.
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” 14 He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” 15 Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. 17 He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ 18 And he said, “This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods 19 and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!’” 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ 21 Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”
think: We cannot allow ourselves to be dictated to by the powers of sin without fighting back.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Jeremiah 1-3
My weekly time with God
THANK YOU LIST
Things to be grateful for from the past week
Things to ask God for in the coming week
Most important word God told me this week
PUTTING ON THE NEW SELF
Sometimes in our conversation there can be a tendency to glory in past sins rather than dismissing them as something not worth dwelling on. I can remember times when I have sat around with old friends reminiscing on the days gone by and cataloging and laughing about all the misdeeds we got up to as school friends. When I reflect upon such an act I come to the conclusion that it is not the right thing to do – glorying in past wrongs, as it is not being faithful to the putting off of the old self and welcoming in the new one that comes with faith in Christ.
There is a time to remember past sins, but never to glory in them. Our remembrance of sin should always be along the lines of sharing how the power and love of Christ has transformed me from my evil ways into the person I am now! Anything less than this gives glory to Satan rather than Christ as it does not properly acknowledge the damage that may have been done by those willful actions of my youth.
St. Paul exhorts the Colossians to put on the new and be done with the old precisely because he wants to ensure that their focus will be the life that comes through faith in Christ and not the death dealing power of sin and Satan. The same should be true for us – we all need to focus on the positive possibilities of life lived under the power of God and not allow ourselves to be captured in any way by the seductive powers of sin. So often stories of sin seem to be so much more exciting than those of righteousness; nevertheless, we should focus on the latter and reject the former.
Jesus calls us to a new life of holiness lived for Him and with Him. Let us set our eyes, minds and hearts on being faithful to this call and leaving any of the attractions of sin and the world a long way behind us! Fr. Steve T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: Do I sometimes or even often glory in past escapades that are sinful or bordering on sin? If so, it is time to decide to leave these thoughts to themselves and focus upon all that is good and holy and perfect.
Holy Spirit, help me to see that sin should never be given any attention or glory except to talk about its defeat. Help me to renew my mind in the things that come only from Your love and truth.
St. Abel, archbishop and abbot, pray for us.
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