READINGS for 2008-01-01
Daily Bible Reflections For Catholics
DIDACHE (dee-da-ke), the Greek word for teaching, is a quarterly Catholic Daily Bible Reflection Guide. It wishes to encourage the use of Sacred Scriptures among Catholics. It also wishes to reach the entire Christian people. Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament © 1986 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.
Reprinting or reproducing any part of this magazine must be done with permission from the publishers.
Editor: RISSA SINGSON-KAWPENG Proofreaders: DINA PECAñA
Layout: REY DE GUZMAN Editorial Asst. ANGIE brIoNES
Cover Design: ISRAEL NUEVAORLANDA Cover Photo: RAYMUND STO. DOMINGO
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SecretS of Sainthood
There Are No Formulas. Only Great Relationships.
By Bo Sanchez
Saint Francis. Saint Augustine. Saint Dominic. Saint Teresa.
Is it the food they eat? Do they bathe with holy water (Do they drink it?) Or is it the posture they take for praying? (Kneeling down on pebbles. The sharper, the better.) The length of their prayers? (Seven hours a day, not counting “levitation” exercises.) How about mortification and penance? (Sleep on the floor, take no sweets, watch no TV, never go to movies, put no makeup on, listen to Christian music only, and always, always, always wear barriotic, baduy, losyang, promdi, bakya clothes.)
What does it take to be a saint?
Aha! Become a nun or a priest! Then you’ll wear white a habit, sandals, with rosary beads the length of your intestines hanging from your belt, and a black dog-eared Bible in your hand. Put on a pious, quiet, serene, composed, won’t-bebothered- by-another-Pinatubo-eruption look on your face, and voila, everyone will call you a saint.
I must admit that for years, I bought this line of thinking.
Well, not anymore.
Pharisees declared, “Don’t ever work on the Sabbath. Ritually wash your hands and utensils before eating. Offer the prescribed kind of temple sacrifices. Tithe. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.”
Each time, Jesus lambasted them when they went against the higher law of love to fulfill these laws.
Today, Christian leaders say something similar, “Don’t smoke. Don’t drink.
Don’t disco. Don’t watch TV or movies. Don’t wear these kinds of clothes. Pray and read Scripture every day. Attend a weekly prayer meeting. Tithe. Obey your leaders. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.”
If you do that, you’re holy.
Then, my name is Brad Pitt.
Now I admit: This list may be a great help to holiness. But it isn’t a great barometer for it. It won’t tell you if a person is holy or not.
Because I know a lot of people who fulfill that list, and are terrible sinners. If I want to know whether one is holy or not, I’d check one thing: His relationships. (Notice that this wasn’t on the list at all.)
I’ll check how much he has grown in love.
By the fruits you shall know them, says Jesus.
I’ll ask boring questions like, “How constantly loving is he towards his spouse? His kids? His parents? His offi cemates? His house helpers?” I’ll check whether he’s judgmental or forgiving. Self-righteous or humble? Is he honest or does he cover up his sins? Is he able to serve others faithfully? (Is he also able to say “no” to someone because that’s the loving thing to do?) Is he a gentle and tough lover?
The problem with this criteria is that it’s not very black and white.
But so is life.
And so is sainthood.
So here are a few crazy steps to sainthood that’s not very black and white.
1. Know You’re Short.
I love the story of Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10). You see, ol’ Zachy was a short fellow who knew he was short. That was why he climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus. But not only did he know he was physically short, but he knew he was spiritually small as well. Because Zaccheus was a chief tax collector. To everyone, he was the official cheater of the republic of Israel.
But because he knew he was short, Jesus saw him up on the tree.
Our problem today is that many short people think they’re tall. So they don’t climb trees. They just stand with the crowd, thinking that perhaps Jesus will see them since they’ll stand out anyway.
My first point: Saints aren’t giants.
Saints aren’t guys who stand out of the crowd, naturally.
Saints are very small people, and they know it.
But the reason they stand out is because they stand on top of a tree.
On a specific kind of tree: The cross of Calvary.
2. Know You’re Tall.
But that’s the magic of the Cross: we become very, very tall. And like Zaccheus, Jesus sees us from the crowd and says, “Hi, Zacchs. Do you have some shawarma for me at home? I’d love to have lunch with you today.”
“Wait a minute,” the crowd murmurs. “There’s something catastrophically wrong here. Why is Mr. Thief being invited by Jesus?”
But that’s Jesus: He loves you when you least deserve His love.
Saints know they’re big-time sinners, but they also know they’re relating to a big-time Lover. They stand tall, happy at the undeserved forgiveness that they have received from Jesus.
Zaccheus goes down from the tree taller than Michael Jordan.
Note that Jesus doesn’t first say things like, “Repent Zaccheus!” or “Change your ways, and then I’ll eat with you.” Instead, He shows him His love.
Saints stand tall because they’re loved, not because they’re holy.
3. Know You’re Loved.
But when they’re loved, they love back.
And Zaccheus did: He repented. And Jesus forgave him.
Mother Teresa gives her advice for holiness: “We must cling to Jesus, grasp Him, have a grip on Him, and never let go for anything. We must fall in love with Jesus.” No gimmicks. No formulas. No secret knowledge.
Just be loved. And love back.
In short, be in a relationship with Jesus—as Person. He’s got to be alive! He’s not just an idea, a concept, a tradition, a force, a theory, a historic figure, a cute belief to keep you sane. He’s got to be a breathing, thinking, moving, touching, loving Person in your life!
Next time you pray, let this Person love you, enter your home, eat meals with you, and tell you how important you are to Him.
That, my friends, is the first part of sainthood.
It’s being loved to goodness.
(continued after February 14 reflection)
Solemnity of Mary Mother of God
DREAMS CAN COME TRUE
It had been just as the angel had told them. – Luke 2:20
I came home from a prayer meeting, overwhelmed by one thought: that God has given us the power to create our future. It was utterly mind-boggling. “How is this possible?” But the more I reflected and prayed, the more I realized this was true. God has given us the power to choose what we want to do with our lives. And if He did, my gosh, I was going to do it!
So I wrote down everything I wanted to do for the next 20 to 30 years of my life. I wrote that I would be the greatest husband my wife can ever have. (After eight years of married life, you can ask my wife if this has come true.) I wrote that I would be the greatest father my kids can ever have. I also wrote down that I would be a bestselling author, have a TV show, a daily radio program and dozens of other dreams.
Friends, I’ve written eight bestsellers, I have a weekly TV show and a daily radio program. (Log on to www.preacherinblujeans.com for our daily Internet show!) I’m not writing these to impress you (because I am very imperfect), but to impress upon you that dreams do come true if you know what you want and pursue them with all your heart — with God on your side.
Friend, write your dreams! Bo Sanchez
Do you dream the same dream God dreams for you?
Lord, help me fulfill my dreams for 2008.
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the new american Bible with revised new testament © 1986 Confraternity of Christian doctrine. all rights reserved. no part of this work may be reproduced without permission from the copyright owner.
Note: discrepancies between readings used in Companion and at Mass may be possible. Most of the differences are minor (slight variations may be found in the biblical references given). Companion lists all biblical references using chapter and verse numbers of the new american Bible. Such discrepancies are particularly common in the books of Sirach, tobit, and Prayer of azariah (Book of daniel).
Design & layout
rey de Guzman
Reflections for Readings
Fr. Steve tynan, MGl
One-year Bible plan
Cover design by israel nuevaorlanda
Copyright 2008 © by
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Do You Need a Spiritual Family?
I travel a lot.
And I love my missionary trips. But no matter how beautiful the place is or how warm the people are, I long for my family and I can’t wait to go
Yes, when God said it’s not good for man to be alone, He really meant it. He gave us our families as our home of love.
But next to my “blood” family, my strongest bond is with my spiritual family — the Light of Jesus Family. The Light of Jesus Family is a borderless, non-physical, virtual community spanning the entire world. We provide our members a complete spiritual support system to keep them growing in their personal life.
You know what? I don’t see many of Light of Jesus Family members because they’re scattered all over the world. (Sometimes, I meet them when I preach in their country.) So how do we get in touch? Through daily emails, Internet, TV, radio… and prayer. Yes, prayer! More than anything else, it’s
prayer that binds us together. Because I pray for members of the Light of Jesus Family — and they pray for me.
Because Light of Jesus Family members give a monthly financial support to the work of the Lord, I say a big “thank you” by sending each of them our monthly Kerygma magazine, our monthly newsletter called Light of Jesus Family Insider, plus our latest books — for FREE!
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I remain your family,
P.S. Come, join us, and satisfy your longing for a spiritual family. Call Tina, (632) 9312711 or text her at +639178424101, or log on to www. kerygmafamily.comWe are here for you.
Be Renewed by His Word
I’ve been writing reflections for Companion for the past 11 years. If you’ve been reading that long, I hope I am not repeating the same things over and
over again! But even if I am, I’m not in the least bit worried about it.
Because I know that if we honestly set aside time to reflect upon the Word of God, He will be faithful in drawing forth lessons for us that will deepen our faith and experience of His loving mercy.
Isaiah promises us that the Word of God never goes forth without ultimately achieving the purpose for which it was sent (Isaiah 55:10-11).
It’s because I choose to believe this promise that I never tire in reading the Scriptures no matter how many times I’ve read them already!
If we approach reading God’s Word with faith and trust that the Holy Spirit will guide us, we will never fail to draw something from our reflections
on the Word of God.
Lord, increase my faith and trust in You. May I learn to surrender to Your will as I discover it through reflecting upon Your Word.
Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
Five Steps in Using the Companion
Pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit:
Father, speak to me,
I wish to receive Your Word into my
Send forth Your Spirit to me,
Reveal Your Face to me today…
Prayerfully read the Bible passages
assigned for the day, and underline
words, phrases or verses that strike you.
3. READ DIDACHE
Read your Didache reflection
for the day.
Write your reflections and prayers in
response to the Bible passages you
5. PRAY AGAIN
Thank the Lord for His message to
you, and pray that you may be able to
live it out in your daily life.
Father, I thank You,
Your Word is manna to my spirit,
May Your Word that I receive
today transform my soul.
Make me more like You. Amen.
PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT
The ultimate purpose of my life
Numbers 6: 22-27
In the Old Testament, the priests played a very important part in the “cult” of the Jewish religion. They were seen as intermediaries between the people and their God. In truth, this is still the same today, although perhaps we do not recognize the importance of the role of the priest as much as we should. I am sure Mary intercedes for priests all the time as she knows how important they are to the life of the people of God. Let us join her in praying for the priests who minister to us daily.
22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them: 24 The LORD bless you and keep you! 25 The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! 26 The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace! 27 So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
P S A L M
Psalm 67: 2-3, 5, 6, 8 (2a)
R: (2a) May God bless us in his mercy.
1  May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. 2  So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation. (R) 4  May the nations be glad and exult because you rule the peoples in equity; the nations on the earth you guide. (R) 5  May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you! 7  May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him! (R)
Jesus is truly both the Son of God and the son of Mary. It is through Him that we all gain sonship of the Father and share in the inheritance of Jesus. It is through our relationship with Jesus that we enter into faith and receive the gift of eternal life. As we celebrate the motherhood of Mary today, let us remember that she is mother to Jesus and to us all.
4 When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. 6 As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
G O S P E L
It was a beginning unfit for a king, yet it was the way God chose for His only Son to be born. Perhaps we will never fully understand why God chose to do it this way but that does not really matter. What matters is that we are willing to open our hearts to the great gift that Jesus gives us by becoming one with our human existence – namely, the salvation of our souls. Without the Incarnation there is no salvation! Now that Jesus has been born, we can once again be reunited with God.
16 So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. 18 All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. 19 And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. 21 When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
think: Without the Incarnation there is no salvation!
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR John 1-3ohn -
Scripture Meditations For Daily Life
SABBATH is a study guide for the Scripture readings of each day. Its purpose is to encourage Catholics to understand with greater depth the Word of God and thereby apply it in their personal lives. Reprinting or reproducing any part of this magazine must be done with permission from the publishers.
Editor in Chief
Design & Layout
Rey de Guzman
Raymund Sto. Domingo
of Spirit of the Risen Lord Catholic Community
Dagupan City, Philippines
Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
Fr. Bobby Titco
Fr. Sandy Enhaynes
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Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB
Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP
Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
Chairman of the Board
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Mary – Mother of God and our Mother
You Need a Spiritual Family?
It’s another New Year and I guess nearly every one of us today asks the same question: “What will this year bring?” Apart from the good things, we also experienced catastrophes, violence, terror attacks in different parts of the world; there might have been the death of someone close to us; there were personal problems, problems in the family. We feel so vulnerable, often helpless, in this our world and society. It is understandable then that most of us look with some anxiety toward the year we begin today.
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Blessed Mother under the title “Mother of God.” Mary is rightly called the Mother of God because Jesus, her Son, is God. Both cannot be separated from each other. Mary’s motherhood began when in Nazareth she gave her fiat (let it be done according to your word). But when she stood some decades later beneath the cross of her Son, her maternal vocation and mission received another dimension.
With the words, “Woman, behold your Son,” and “Behold your Mother,” Jesus gave His Mother to His future community, represented by His beloved disciple. The Mother of God also became our Mother.
Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother, was the best mother one can imagine. She always stayed close to her Son, especially when He was in danger, when He was persecuted, even when He was in His last agony.
We now look at the moving scene of Mother and Child in Bethlehem. We also look ahead to that moment when Mary was given the task to care for us as a loving Mother. Many of us have experienced her maternal closeness and help. We cannot but thank her for carrying us through the difficulties of life and for protecting us from danger and harm.
A consoling answer to our question earlier emerges from today’s feast — it will be another year with our heavenly Mother. Fr. Rudy Horst
In which area of my life do I most need the assistance of Mother Mary?
Mary, Mother of God and my Mother too, accompany my loved ones and me this New Year. With you at my side, I can face whatever is God’s plan for me. Mother, I need you. Please, never leave me alone.
St. Clarus, abbot, pray for us.
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