READINGS for 2007-09-09
ALL OR NOTHING
“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:27
I confess — I’m guilty as charged. I’m a certified addict when it comes to Korean novelas. And take note — I prefer the ones with English subtitles.
For the past two years, I have enjoyed watching these kinds of shows on the Korean channel. Weird, huh? I guess I just got sick and tired of watching the same thing —heavy drama and the like. The Koreans have a way of making things light for the audience. First, their stories are simple; second, you can easily relate with the characters; and third they have less sexy or kissing scenes. Oh! And they onlyrun for three weeks at the most. What makes it more fascinating is that most lovers in the story are risk takers when it comes to love. Which means, they care less about their inheritance and their own families disowning them — because they have each other. In the same way, it’s not an easy job being a Christian. It simply means giving your all for God. No but’s — no if’s, no room for being lukewarm and, for some, it also means giving up your own life for the love of Christ. Marissa E.
Have you ever loved unconditionally? Love is the best gift God has ever given mankind. After all He showed His love by offering His life for us.
“Lord I give You my heart, I give You my soul I live for You alone, every breath that I take, every moment I’m awake, Lord have Your way in me.”
We will always struggle to fully understand God’s will. This, however, should not become a source of frustration or negativity. It is simply the truth that God’s ability to do anything, except sin, is far greater than ours that we cannot keep up with Him. Perhaps, and I say this very guardedly, the only thing that we can get as near to God’s ability is in laying down our lives in love for another. There is no greater love than this and we human beings can make the supreme sacrifice of love if we choose to do so.
13 For what man knows God’s counsel, or who can conceive what our LORD intends? 14 For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans. 15 For the corruptible body burdens the soul and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns. 16 And scarce do we guess the things on earth, and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty; but when things are in heaven, who can search them out? 17 Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given Wisdom and sent your Holy Spirit from on high? 18 And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.
P S A L M
Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
R: In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
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)
Christian love is a love that liberates and frees people to be the God-given gift that they are for others. No person has a right to hold the freedom of another in an arbitrary form. This principle leads to many others including a just wage for a day’s work and so on. Love and freedom are the two sides of the same coin. We cannot have one without the other. The challenge for us is to discover how the two, and the many other aspects of life, interact such that they enhance our being both as individuals and the community of the People of God.
9 I rather urge you out of love, being as I am, Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus. 10 I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment, 12 I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. 13 I should have liked to retain him for myself, so that he might serve me on your behalf in my imprisonment for the gospel, 14 but I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary. 15 Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me, but even more so to you, as a man and in the Lord. 17 So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.
G O S P E L
Do not make a commitment that you know you won’t be able to keep. With the grace of God, all things having to do with the Christian life of discipleship are possible! This means that we should be seeking to live lives free of sin and full of virtue. It alsomeans that it is always possible to forgive those who sin against us. Let us pray that we will never give up trying to live lives of holiness and righteousness.
25 Great crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and addressed them, 26 “If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? 29 Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him 30 and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ 31 Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? 32 But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. 33 In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
think: We human beings can make the supreme sacrifice of love if we choose to do so.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Daniel 10-12
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
Is there anything new we can say about what Jesus says in the Gospel? None. There is nothing new we can add to the demands that Jesus makes on us who wish to follow Him because His demands never change. Likewise, there is nothing we can subtract from them because His demands are nonnegotiable. We should neither exaggerate them nor water them down. In no uncertain terms, Jesus says, “Whoever does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Let us examine our selves on the basis of the following questions. First, am I a disciple of Jesus? If I am then I should not only obey Jesus; I must follow Him by carrying my cross. Second, what is my cross and how do I carry it? Third, do I carry my cross each day or just for a day or two?
Many times, the heaviest cross we have to bear is not what we need to embrace but what we must let go of. In following Jesus, in becoming more like Him, many tend to think only in terms of what they have to do. But there is also so much that we need to undo in order to truly and fully carry our cross each day. We have to undo our pride, our inordinate attachments, our selfish motives, our illicit relationships, our doubts, our indifference, our self-sufficiency, our greed, our sins, etc. We need to undo our selves and allow the grace of God to re-invent us from deep within. We must die to our selves so that we may be a new creation in Christ. The challenge is just too difficult. It requires more than just serious thought.
Thus, after stating His demands, Jesus advises us to think well before deciding to follow Him. The demands are heavy and the considerations they require are great. Difficult demands involve difficult decisions. And difficult decisions are best made on one’s knees. We must pray and discern well. Following Jesus is not simply a matter of one’s personal efforts. It is always greatly a matter of God’s grace. Grace makes the demands of Christian discipleship bearable with inner peace and quiet joy. Grace enlightens an otherwise dark journey in faith. Grace empowers an otherwise weak resolve. Grace transforms sinners into saints. It is ultimately grace, not our efforts, that configures us to Jesus whom we follow. Prayer opens us to grace. Fr. Bobby T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: Am I disciple of Jesus? What is my cross? How do I carry it?
My Lord, I am Your disciple and my ultimate joy is to become like You. Help me carry my cross each day with so much love and humility. Hear my prayer and let my cry come unto You. Amen.
St. Omer, bishop, pray for us.
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