READINGS for 2007-09-02
What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not. – Sirach 3:20
Let me tell you about my nephew, Victor. He’s 19 now, is in his last year in high school abroad, and isn’t proceeding to University. And we love him to pieces.
I have to give it to his mom and dad for accepting him and his decision without giving in to the natural tendency of parents to panic that their son isn’t going to get a college education. It must have been especially hard for them since my sister was Valedictorian and Summa Cum Laude in her day and her husband had completed a Ph.D. in the US. We did have a pretty good idea that Victor wasn’t going to be going to college some time ago though. You see, he wasn’t very good in academics. He slaved to get the grades to do that, but he knew it just wasn’t his thing, this studying business. But he was good with feelings. His own as well as others’. In this day and age, that’s called having a high EQ. That’s why he feels he would make a good tourist bus driver.
I’d like to think that in an ideal and healthy society, no one individual should be pressured to produce A’s and B’s if it is beyond their capacity. The key is to know yourself, your strengths, your talents. My nephew has more than smarts. He has wisdom. Victoria L.
Have you wisened up to the truth about your capabilities?
Where we are weak, others are strong. Help me to accept this truth and rejoice that each one of us can celebrate in our uniqueness.
Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
Essential to our salvation is the virtue of humility. One of the first steps in the process of salvation is admitting that we need help. That is, we must come to the position of admitting that we cannot do it on our own. Today’s reading tells us precisely this when it says that there is no cure for a proud man’s malady. If pride is going to be the primary feature of our life, then we had better get used to the idea that we are not going to besaved.
17 My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. 18 Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. 20 What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not. 28 The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the wise man’s joy. 29 Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins.
P S A L M
Psalm 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11
R: God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
3  The just rejoice and exult before God; they are glad and rejoice. 4  Sing to God, chant praise to his name, whose name is the LORD. (R) 5  The father of orphans and the defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. 6  God gives a home to the forsaken; he leads forth prisoners to prosperity. (R) 9  A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance; you restored the land when it languished; 10  your flock settled in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy. (R)
The heavenly Jerusalem or Mount Zion is often synonymous with heaven. They are meant to evoke the images spoken of here by the author to the Hebrews – the multitudes gathering to worship and adore God. Through faith in Jesus Christ we are born into this multitude and become one with them. This is the hope of eternal life! Namely, that we will join with all creation in giving the praise and honor due to God for the rest of our lives.
18 You have not approached that which could be touched and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm 19 and a trumpet blast and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them. 22 No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, 23 and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect, 24 and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.
G O S P E L
True giving of alms is giving such that we do not expect anything in return. If we are giving with an understanding that we will receive something in return, then it is not almsgiving but just a different form of economic transaction. There is little or no virtueattached to this. As men and women who have freely received so much from God, it is important that we recognize the call to give of our own resources to others. Let us pray that we will respond generously when we hear God’s call to give.
1 On a sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. 7 He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, 9 and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. 10 Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 12 Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. 13 Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 14 blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
think: One of the first steps in the process of salvation is our admitting that we need help.
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When I was a kid, Superman fascinated me a lot. I often wondered how it was to have his superpowers and what I would do if I had them. One of his superpowers that intrigued me a lot was his X-ray vision. Superman could see through walls with his naked eyes.
But as I grew older and continued watching my favorite superhero, I noticed that his X-ray vision was limited after all. He could see through closed doors and thick walls, but Superman could not see through a person’s heart. His X-ray vision was simply just that – an X-ray vision – as an X-ray machine reveals a person’s bones but not a person’s bone marrow.
I wonder what would happen if we were all gifted with an X-ray vision that makes us see not only that lies behind closed doors but also within closed hearts. What would happen if, through our naked eyes, we could perceive the motives of every person for every thing he or she does? Everything revealed; nothing concealed. Then we would know why we are invited to a party and others would also know why we invited them to ours. Motives would be clear like never before. The revelation might really be very surprising!
Superman had his X-ray vision but still could not see people’s motives crystal-clear because X-rays do not reveal a person’s intention and the eyes can be deceived so easily. But God can see the heart and all that is in it. And God cannot be deceived. Fr. Bobby T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: What are the motives behind every good deed I do?
Jesus, pure and lowly, cleanse me from all impure motives and grant me the grace of true humility. May I always place the value of my whole person in You and may I value people as You value them. Make my heart like Yours. Amen.
St. Elpidius, bishop, pray for us.
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