READINGS for 2007-08-19
ST. EZEKIEL MORENO
In your fight against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. – Hebrews 12:4
Today is the feast day of St. Ezekiel Moreno. He did not die a martyr. He died of cancer. But he lived a holy life.
Born in Spain, he was ordained priest in Manila as a member of the Augustinian Recollects. The first 15 years of his missionary life was in the Philippines, especially in Palawan where up to this day a well that he dug is a source of healing water.
In one of his letters he wrote, “With God’s help, I should use whatever time I have in this world to prepare as best I can for a blessed and eternal life, for this is the one real good I should desire with all my heart and seek with all my strength.”
Records show he was engaged in many different kinds of apostolic work. He renewed the spiritual zeal of the religious and began a new age of missionary activity. He was consecrated bishop and was undaunted in his defense of the rights of the Church. He was canonized in 1992. And until this day innumerable cures, especially from cancer, are attributed to him. Cristy G.
Will you be able to one day fight against sin to the point of shedding blood?
St. Ezekiel Moreno, pray for us.
Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10
Jeremiah suffered many hardships and deprivations in his service as a prophet. He often complained that being a servant of God was a terrible job because of these difficulties. However, he perseveres through to the end. Here is the example that we must follow – no matter what trials may confront us, it is important that we do not lose our faith in God and that we remain true to Him. It is in remaining true to God that we will see His amazing power at work in our lives transforming us from sinner to saint!
4 “This man ought to be put to death,” the princes said to the king; “he demoralizes the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such things to them; he is not interested in the welfare of our people, but in their ruin.” 5 King Zedekiah answered, “He is in your power”; for the king could do nothing with them. 6 And so they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Prince Malchiah, which was in the quarters of the guard, letting him down with ropes. There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud. 8 Ebed-melech went there from the palace and said to him, 9 “My lord king, these men have been at fault in all they have done to the prophet Jeremiah, casting him into the cistern. He will die of famine on the spot, for there is no more food in the city.” 10 Then the king ordered Ebed-melech the Cushite to take three men along with him, and draw the prophet Jeremiah out of the cistern before he should die.
P S A L M
Psalm 40:2, 3, 4, 18
R: Lord, come to my aid!
1  I have waited, waited for the LORD, and he stooped toward me. (R) The Lord heard my cry. 2  He drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the swamp; he set my feet upon a crag; he made firm my steps. (R) 3  And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God. Many shall look on in awe and trust in the LORD. (R) 17  Though I am afflicted and poor, yet the LORD thinks of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, hold not back! (R)
We will never stand alone if we trust in the Lord. Not only will God be standing beside us, so will all the angels and saints, not to mention all our fellow journeymen and women on the earthly pilgrimage. We always stand as one among many giving witness to the work of God’s grace in a world that more often than not ignores God. It is not easy to stand for God in the complicated moral morass that the world is today but this simply means that it is all the more urgent that we do stand for God so that life according to the Gospel will be seen as the only long-term viable alternative.
1 Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us 2 while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. 3 Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
G O S P E L
Jesus knows that the truth will necessarily cause division even in families. Some will take a stand for it and others will allow the temptation of sin to water down their commitment to absolute truth. This may sound a little harsh, but if we are honest with ourselves and with God, this is precisely what discipleship is all about. Who is willing to pay the price associated with following Jesus and who is not? What will your answer be when the time comes to answer that question. By the way, we will each have to answer it hundreds, no, thousands of times in our lives!
49 “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! 50 There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-inlaw against her mother-in-law.”
think: It is important that we do not lose our faith in God and that we remain true to Him.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Jeremiah 51-52
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
BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus longs for the time when all men and women will be ablaze with the love of God as He is. This will only come about when we accept the need for the Holy Spirit in our lives and surrender our hearts into His hands. It is the Holy Spirit who has been sent from the Father and the Son in order to lead us all into the truth and the truth is that we must decide for Christ and put away the ways of the world. The Gospel reminds us that as disciples we will necessarily bring division into any group to which we belong! Why is this so?
The simple truth of the matter is that there are many people who refuse to accept the need to surrender their lives to God. This means that they are insisting on living according to their own means and strength. When we as Christians stand in their midst, we stand in apparent judgment on their choice as to live the Gospel is to proclaim it and challenge others to place their lives under the grace of the Kingdom of God. The apostles have seen the power that comes with a lived proclamation of the Gospel in the person of Jesus their Master and Lord. It will soon be their turn to put this into practice as they go forth from the experience of Pentecost to proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth.
Today it is up to us to be the living witness of the power of the Gospel to change lives and bring about salvation. We are all filled with the power of the Holy Spirit at baptism. It is up to us as adults to release that latent power through acts of faith and trust in God. As we do so we will see the Holy Spirit go to work amongst those around us convicting people of sin and calling them into a faith response to Jesus.
Let us do our best to be faithful to all God asks of us in terms of being living witnesses to the power of His love to transform lives. Fr. Steve T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: Am I too scared of the possible ramifications of standing up for my faith in the varied communities to which I belong? If this is so then it is time for me to pray for the grace to let go of this fear and leave the worrying up to God and get on with living my life as a Christian.
Come Holy Spirit and renew in me the conviction to be a disciple of Jesus. Help me to live as Jesus’ disciple every moment of my life.
St. Rufinus, martyr and priest, pray for us.
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