READINGS for 2007-12-15
Then there arose the fiery prophet Elijah, whose words blazed like a torch. – Sirach 48:1
I was in medical school and was trying to explain something to a relative twice my age. She cut me short and said in a loud voice, “Just because you’re a doctor doesn’t mean you know everything.” I fell silent and fought back the tears that were threatening to come out. Up to this day, I automatically shut up when I see her and refuse to speak unless I absolutely have to.
But receiving unexpected affectionate text messages from friends and family has a completely opposite effect on me. Being a
relatively undemonstrative person, I am blessed to know people who regularly tell me that they love me and that I am special to them. After receiving such messages, my day completely shifts into high gear and I believe that I am, indeed, significant.
More importantly, having this kind of selfworth inspires me to be more expressive as well, especially towards the people who, like me, need a boost of confidence every now and then. Thanks to one thoughtful message, a wave of kindness can spread from person to person.
A harsh word is poison; a caring word, an impending miracle. Anna dG.
Do you watch what you say?
Lord, may my words build up Your Kingdom.
The author of Ecclesiasticus or Sirach, depending upon the translation of your Bible, reminds us of the battle Elijah had with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. He promises that there will be a new Elijah or that Elijah will return. What does he mean by this? Simply that there will arise in Israel a man of similar stature to Elijah. He will speak God’s word in power and draw the people back to God. He will strive for the restoration of the glory of Israel.
1 In those days, like a fire there appeared the prophet whose words were as a flaming furnace. 2 Their staff of bread he shattered, in his zeal he reduced them to straits; 3 by God’s word he shut up the heavens and three times brought down fire. 4 w awesome are you, ELIJAH! Whose glory is equal to yours? 9 You were taken aloft in a whirlwind, in a chariot with fiery horses. 10 You are destined, it is written, in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD, to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons, and to reestablish the tribes of Jacob. 11 Blessed is he who shall have seen you before he dies.
P S A L M
Psalm 80:2, 3, 15-16, 18-19
R: Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
2 O shepherd of Israel, hearken, O guide of the flock of Joseph! From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth. 3 Rouse your power. (R) 15 Once again, O LORD of hosts, look down from heaven, and see; take care of this vine, 16 and protect what your right hand has planted the son of man whom you yourself made strong. (R) 18 May your help be with the man of your right hand, with the son of man whom you yourself made strong. 19 Then we will no more withdraw from you; give us new life, and we will call upon your name. (R)
Jesus equates the arrival of John the Baptist with the prophecies of the return of Elijah. This is a tremendous compliment to John as well as an indication that Jesus is aware of His own mission in the light of the understanding that the return of Elijah is a sign of the coming of the Messiah! Jesus’ self-consciousness and the extent of it is one of the often-debated points of Scripture and Theology. Exactly how full Jesus’ selfunderstanding was we will never know, but it was certainly full enough for Him to realize and fulfill His mission on earth.
G O S P E L
10 The disciples asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11 He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; 12 but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.
think: Are we striving enough to be like Elijah?
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR 1 Timothy 1-6
GOD’S KINGDOM: A KINGDOM OF HEARTS
It is interesting to note that while the Church – after a long period of persecution – converted the pagan ways of the Roman empire, the organizational structures of the Roman empire, on the other hand, became the basis of the Church’s expanding organization. Terms we use today – like “provinces” and “regions” of religious congregations, and “dioceses”– are imports from the Roman empire’s organizational vocabulary. All these terms signify the land based boundaries that are under the competence of specific superiors and bishops.
Not all organizational structures of the Church are, however, land based in boundaries. The “Military Ordinarate” under its bishop, for example, has jurisdiction over military personnel wherever they are… scattered in the various camps of the country. The “Opus Dei” is considered a personal prelature, and its members all over the world are under a superior-bishop who reports to the Pope. Among us, we have transparochial renewal groups whose memberships crisscross parish and diocesan boundaries.
Our Gospel reading tells us a bit about God’s Kingdom. The reading underlines that, for one, God’s Kingdom has no territorial limits. It is a spiritual reality – and it exists in every heart and life that surrenders and submits to God’s power and greatness. It is hard to announce, because it is the product of two “yeses”… God’s unconditional “Yes” for someone, and that someone’s humble “yes” to God. Only the person concerned knows and feels it, for it is he or she who has opened the door of his or her heart and life to God. Fr. Domie, SSP
REFLECTION QUESTION: What instances and circumstances in life make you feel that you are close to God… and that God is indeed close to you?
I open my heart today, Lord, for all You want.
St. Zachary, priest, pray for us.
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