READINGS for 2008-01-05
HOW DO i LOVE THEE?
My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action. – 1 John 3:18
“I love you.”
Seven years ago, I said those words to a woman who changed her name to spend the rest of her life with me. Those words passed between us every morning, every night. And until now, it takes a lot of courage for me to admit that there were a few times that I did not mean it what I said.
Seven years later, I pondered on the same three words that were elegantly scribbled on a parchment of paper that lay on the bedside table. It was our anniversary and my wife, Lei, gave me a card with a love letter.
And as she lay asleep on our bed, I turned to look at her face. At that moment, images of our seven years of marriage flooded my mind, drowning me in a plethora of emotions. Our relationship was anything but easy. I saw in Lei the struggle with a husband who is not always the easiest man to live with, and yet, to whom she committed herself to...
… take care of me when I was not strong.
… listen to me when I was not heard.
… forgive me when I was not faithful.
No words can give justice to the way she loved me, but her silent ways spoke of how God loves me every day of my life. Red Cerrer
Love is not a feeling. Act in a way that your love will give life.
Jesus, teach me how to love.
1 John 3: 11-21
Faith in God places practical demands upon us in terms of the way we live our lives. The Scriptures are clear, both here and elsewhere, that we have a moral duty to care for those who are less well-off than us. The Church has a lengthy teaching on this through its social justice teachings. We ought to do what we can to read these and so be aware of some of the fundamental principles of social justice espoused by the Church.
11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, 12 unlike Cain who belonged to the evil one and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter him? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous. 13 Do not be amazed, [then,] brothers, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. Whoever does not love remains in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him. 16 The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? 18 Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. 19 [Now] this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him 20 in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God.
P S A L M
Psalm 100: 1b-2, 3, 4, 5
R: Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; 2 serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song. (R) 3 Know that the LORD is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends. (R) 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; give thanks to him; bless his name. (R) 5 The LORD is good: the LORD, whose kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness, to all generations. (R)
G O S P E L
I find it fascinating to follow the links and networks that appear in the Scriptures and thus witness how the Holy Spirit can use the natural relationships we already have to further the spread of the Gospel. We should look at our own networks and relationships to see how we can bring the Gospel into them more strongly. Is it not telling that some networks are strongly faith-filled and others devoid of spiritual content? I wonder why this is so?
43 Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” 46 But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
think: Which of my relationships are devoid of spiritual content? How can I inject the Gospel more into these relationships?
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR John 13-15
CoMe and see
We are used to being well informed about what is going on around us and in distant parts of the world. Radio and television bring events that take place on the other side of the globe in a split second. What is lacking in media is personal touch.
How exciting it is when a friend or neighbor approaches us and tells us about a certain happening. We hear the voice, we see the emotion in the eyes and we may even feel the touch of the person’s hand on our arm.
In today’s gospel, Philip was called by Jesus and cannot keep it to himself. He runs to Nathanael and wants him to experience what he has experienced when he met Jesus Nathanael was skeptical and not eager to believe in a Messiah from Nazareth. Philip just did what Jesus had done when he called his first disciples saying, “Come and see.”
When it comes to bringing somebody to Christ, the best way to show Jesus to another person is to let him encounter Jesus. This is easier said than done. For we cannot do what Philip did – bring a friend in the presence of the man Jesus. We cannot see, hear, and meet Jesus as Philip and Nathanael did. But He is nevertheless present.
Read the gospels together with the person you want to bring to Christ. Bring the him to a genuine Christian community and to a place where charity is practiced among the poor. Share what Christ means to you.
In this time of mass media and instant information and communication, news about Christ no longer make the headlines in papers or breaking news on TV. Whether Christ will be known, loved and followed by the next generation depends on our conviction that He is our Savior and how excited we are to share about him. It depends very much on our gentle invitation: “Come and see!” Fr. Rudy Horst
Am I still excited by the Good News of Christ? Whom could I invite to take a closer look at Christ and His Church?
Lord, we can only thank You for modern means of communication and information. But there is also the danger that we forget the greatest news of all — the Good News that is You. Give us the grace to never get tired of this news. Give us the grace to never lose excitement and eagerness to share Your Good News with others.
St. John Neumann, bishop, pray for us.
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