READINGS for 2007-09-26
“For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached to the heavens.” – Ezra 9:6
My son, Miro, has always been fascinated with the magnifying glass of my Swiss knife. Every chance he gets, he takes it from the glove compartment of our van, whips it out and goes on looking at all sorts of stuff through the lens. But what excites him the most is when he concentrates the sun’s rays (supervised, if I may add) on objects to see them gleam, and then slowly let out fumes before burning up altogether. Tree barks, dead leaves, dry grass – all these shrivel up and smolder when exposed to the sun’s powerful rays.
Ezra did a similar thing in our reading today. He confessed before the Lord the sins of His people. His confession on the people’s behalf shone light on the dark areas that the Israelites would otherwise want hidden. He realized that until they confess their sin, they will never achieve the victory that God intended for them.
We hold on to some areas of our life that prevent us from experiencing everything that God has in store for us. What areas do we need to confess and turn over to God’s control? Roy M.
What areas do we need to confess and turn over to God’s control?
Teach me to hold on only to those things that we need to and turn over those that only You have control over.
The concept of a faithful remnant here in the Book of Ezra occurs elsewhere in the prophets and is also important in Paul’s understanding of the Jewish role in the history of salvation. He will eventually conclude that a remnant of faithful Israelites, the ones who have faith in Christ are the ones through whom salvation is ultimately conveyed to the whole world (See Romans 9-11). This idea is also found in the story of Noah and his family who alone survive the primordial flood. It seems to teach us that God will work through the lives of those who are faithful to Him no matter how small that number of people may be. The size of the remnant is not important; the faithfulness of those of whom it consists is all-important.
5 At the time of the evening sacrifice, I rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the LORD my God. 6 I said “My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you, O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven. 7 From the time of our fathers even to this day great has been our guilt, and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered over, we and our kings and our priests, to the will of the kings of foreign lands, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace, as is the case today. 8 “And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place; thus our God has brightened our eyes and given us relief in our servitude. 9 For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us; rather, he has turned the good will of the kings of Persia toward us. Thus he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins, and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.”
P S A L M
Tobit 13:2, 3-4, 6, 6, 7-8
R: Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
2 He scourges and then has mercy; He casts down to the depths of the nether world, and He brings up from the great abyss. No one can escape His hand. (R) 3 Praise Him , you Israelites, before the Gentiles, for though He has scattered you among them, 4 He has shown you His greatness even there. (R) 6 So now consider what He has done for you, and praise Him with full voice. Bless the Lord of righteousness, and exalt the King of the ages. (R) In the land of my exile I praise Him, and show His power and majesty to a sinful nation. “Turn back, you sinners! do the right before Him: perhaps He may look with favor upon you and show you mercy. 7 Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones, and may all of you praise his majesty. 8 Celebrate days of gladness, and give him praise. (R)
G O S P E L
Every gift and power that we exercise as the sons and daughters of God is a gift from God. It is not something that we have earned; God freely bestows it on us out of His love for us and His desire for the Good News to be spread to the ends of the world. This means that every good thing that we have in life stems directly from the blessing of God. Thus, we always have much for which to give thanks to God. May we never forget to thank and praise Him for this.
1 He summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. 3 He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. 5 And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” 6 Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
think: We always have much for which to give thanks to God.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Haggai 1-2
CRAZY ABOUT HIM?
The advice Jesus gives His apostles today sounds rather very impractical. No one goes on a mission without any provision. To do so today is imprudence, if not foolishness.
Are we ready to be imprudent for Jesus? Are we ready to be foolish for Jesus? Are we ready to be crazy about Him?
It demands so much to be a friend of Jesus. One oftentimes runs the risk of being imprudent and foolish in the eyes of the world. The Lord has few friends, and, St. Teresa of Avila explained, because He allows His friends to suffer.
Many want to be friends of Jesus, but few want to suffer for His sake. Many consider friendship with Him only as a privilege to enjoy, but not a mission to fulfill. Many think of sainthood in terms of prestige, but not in terms of suffering. Many look at the martyr’s crown, but not at the martyr’s cross.
If we are true friends of Jesus, our lives must show it. Are we ready to suffer for it? Fr. Bobby T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: Am I crazy about Jesus?
Lord Jesus, it is not easy to be Your friend, You know that. Please help me be Your friend always. Amen.
St. Vigilius, bishop, pray for us.
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