READINGS for 2007-09-30
THE BOXING MATCH
Compete well for the faith. – 1 Timothy 6:12
I watched Manny Pacquiao defeat Erik Morales on the 12th round.
I pitied their bruised faces. People around Manny hugged him and kissed him. Our officials traveled all the way to Las Vegas to witness the bout personally, spending thousands of dollars in doing so.
I cannot help but compare it with our fight for our faith. Or even our fight for a better country, a better family, a better society. If our life were a 15-round championship match, how would we fare? Would we win or lose? Would we be tired or going strong?
Or would we be down for the count?
Many temptations around distract us from our spiritual journey. But as in a match, we need a spiritual coach to help us to always go back on track. And we need to go to great lengths – spend time for prayer, read spiritual materials, attend formation sessions – in order to win the fight.
With our faith firmly grounded, we can be sure we will always be victorious, whatever the fight is, because God, who is always by our side, has already won it for us! Tess VA.
How is your fight for your faith going?
Lord, with You by my side, I know I will be able to finish the race and win.
Amos has moved from condemning the actual acts of injustice to the immorality that follows on from them. Amos condemns the rich who could not care less about the plight of the poor. Regardless of whose fault it may or may not be that they are poor, this never justifies anything that even approaches unconcern for their situation. The hedonism of our age stands condemned by this text. The wasteful expenditure of money on parties that are morally degenerate and empty is likewise condemned.
1 Woe to the complacent in Zion! 4 Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall! 5 Improvising to the music of the harp, like David, they devise their own accompaniment. 6 They drink wine from bowls and anoint themselves with the best oils; yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph! 7 Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.
P S A L M
Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
R: Praise the Lord, my soul!
6 Blessed is he who keeps faith forever, 7 secures justice for the oppressed, gives good to the hungry. The LORD sets captives
free. (R) 8 The LORD gives sight to the blind; the LORD raises up those that were bowed down. The LORD loves the just; 9 the LORD protects strangers. (R) The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts. 10 The LORD shall reign forever; your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia. (R)
1 Timothy 6:11-16
The life of faith is always going to be a battle with the secular forces of our day. Spiritually speaking, we are never going to be far from one sort of war or another. The question is whether or not we will take up the cudgels of battle and fight or will we surrender to the temptations of the world. This is a very real question for us all – one that has eternal consequences. It is easier to give in to the world but such a course of action may well result in our depriving ourselves of the gift of eternal life.
11 But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. 12 Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge [you] before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession, 14 to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ 15 that the blessed and only ruler will make manifest at the proper time, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, and whom no human being has seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal power. Amen.
G O S P E L
The rich man was given a multitude of opportunities to respond to the plight of Lazarus. Each day he refused to help him out. We should not be surprised that this resulted in his being deprived of eternal life and Lazarus receiving it. Let us learn from this parable that we have to take the call to care for the poor seriously. It is not something that we can afford to ignore. Jesus makes it abundantly clear that we will be judged according to the way that we have exercised our moral responsibilities.
19 “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. 20 And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. 22 When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ 25 Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. 26 Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ 27 He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”
think: Let us take the call to care for the poor seriously.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Malachi 1-4
REVIEW OF THE QUARTER
Did I fulfill my last Quarter Goals?
What were the most important words the Lord gave to me this quarter?
What were my greatest blessings these past three months?
What are my most pressing needs for the next quarter?
GUILTY BECAUSE INNOCENT
Guilty or not guilty? How do we plead?
The rich man in the parable today, was he guilty or not guilty? How should he plead?
The parable neither explicitly states nor implies that the rich man amassed his wealthy through illegal means. It does not also mention the rich man being uncharitable to Lazarus who sits by his door. Perhaps, he was even kind enough to allow Lazarus and his miserable sight to stay at his door so that Lazarus could eat the scraps that fell from his table. But the rich man did nothing more than that, when he could have taken Lazarus in and employed him so that he may earn his own keeping. The rich man was not guilty of anything evil against Lazarus. He was innocent, but it was precisely his innocence that brought him to hell.
It does not mean that because we are not guilty of any wrongdoing that we are innocent. There are times when our own innocence in itself pleads our guilt. We are guilty not because of any evil deed done but because of some good we failed or refused to do. It is not our guilt that judges us; our innocence may also condemn us. When we think of our sins against our neighbor, do we focus only on the evil we have committed and neglect the good we have omitted? When we examine our conscience, do we consider as sins only the wrong we have done to others but brush aside the good we have withheld from them? When we are sorry for our sins, are we sorry because we have hurt others, but not as sorry because we were indifferent to them? Do we mean what we say when we pray, “I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, for I have sinned through my own fault, in what I have done and IN WHAT I HAVE FAILED TO DO?” We do indeed fail in many aspects, though we may not be guilty on several counts.
Do we need Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn us and convince us that our innocence is precisely our guilt? But if we do not listen to the living, are we sure that we will listen to the dead? And if someone rises from the dead, will that someone not rise to convict us instead?
Someone already came back from the dead. His name is Jesus. But have we really seriously considered His warning? Fr. Bobby T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: Our innocence in itself pleads our guilt.
“I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sister, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do. And I ask Blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord, our God.” (Confiteor of the Mass)
St. Leopardus, martyr, pray for us.
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