READINGS for 2008-01-19

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. – Mark 2:14
Follow me. The instructions given by Jesus seemed simple enough. Just two words — nothing fancy. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to get what it means.
        Simple, maybe. But easy? I don’t think so. All of us struggling Christians can attest to the difficulty of living up to this instruction and invitation. So many times, we stray from the narrow path — because the alternatives always seem to be easier, more enticing, more convenient.
        But Jesus doesn’t mince His words.
        He said, “Follow me.”
        Follow Jesus — not the call of convenience, or fame, or money, not even of other people. He says to follow — to walk in His path, no matter how bumpy or difficult it may be. Because on that road, He is there, in front of us, beside us, all around us — keeping us safe, loving us always. Cess Cosico
Recall the past decisions you have made. Who have you been following?
Lord, keep my feet firmly on the path to You. When I stumble, help me see that You are right there, holding me, helping me get back on my feet again. 


One of the most difficult aspects of serving the Lord is learning to think like Him. Often we do not tend to focus on the things that God sees. Thus, we do not understand why God does the things He does. Sometimes we have to unlearn certain ways of acting in order to conform our minds and hearts to His. This is usually a life-long task.
1 Samuel 9: 1-4, 17- 19; 10:1
1 There was a stalwart man from Benjamin named Kish, who was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite. 2 He had a son named Saul, who was a handsome young man. There was no other Israelite handsomer than Saul; he stood head and shoulders above the people. 3 Now the asses of Saul’s father, Kish, had wandered off. Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go out and hunt for the asses.” 4 Accordingly they went through the hill country of Ephraim, and through the land of Shalishah. Not finding them there, they continued through the land of Shaalim without success. They also went through the land of Benjamin, but they failed to find the animals. 17 When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD assured him, “This is the man of whom I told you; he is to govern my  people.” 18 Saul met Samuel in the gateway and said, “Please tell me where the seer lives.” 19 Samuel answered Saul “I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place and eat with me today. In the morning, before dismissing you, I will tell you whatever you wish. 10: 1 Then, from a flask he had with him, Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head; he also kissed him, saying “The LORD anoints you commander over his heritage. You are to govern the LORD’s people Israel, and to save them from the grasp of their enemies round about. “This will be the sign for you that the LORD has anointed you commander over his heritage.”
Psalm 21: 2-3, 4-5 , 6-7
R: Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
1 [2] O Lord, in your strength the king is glad; in your victory how greatly he rejoices! 2 [3] You have granted him his heart’s desire; you refused not the wish of his lips. (R) 3 [4] For you welcomed him with goodly blessings, you placed on his head a crown of pure gold. 4 [5] He asked life of you: you gave him length of days forever and ever. (R) 5 [6] Great is his glory in your victory; majesty and splendor you conferred upon him. 6 [7] For you made him a blessing forever; you gladdened him with the joy of your face.
Jesus can work with anyone in the proclamation of the Kingdom as long as they desire to give their lives in the service of the Gospel. There lies the problem, I hear you think. True, this is a hard life to live but it is very rewarding. As Jesus says elsewhere in the Gospel, there is always a need for more workers to bring in the harvest. Are you going to be one of them?
Mark 2: 13-17
13 Jesus went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. 14 As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 15 While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. 16 Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 Jesus heard this and said to them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
Mark 9-
my reflections
think:: There is always a need for more workers to bring in the harvest. Are you going to be one of them?

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________


Jesus liKes to annoy
Today’s gospel shows that Jesus was a person who annoyed a lot of people. First, He shocked all who were around by not only talking to a tax collector but also by inviting him to follow Him and become part of His group of disciples. This was unheard of; this was a scandal. Tax collectors were hated in Palestine because they collected taxes for the oppressors and enriched themselves at the same time. But, as somebody wrote, “Jesus wanted the man no one else wanted. He offered His friendship to the man whom all others would have scorned to call friend.” Not only that — Jesus accepts an invitation from Levi to dine in his house —  together with other tax collectors and questionable characters. Now He annoys the Pharisees, for no pious Jew would enter the house of a tax collector, nor have a meal with him. It would make him unclean.
        Jesus doesn’t care what they think. For Him, those who were considered sinners by those pious people were very important. By breaking through the barriers society erected, He reached out to outsiders and assured them that God loves them also and does not reject them as their fellowmen did. He proclaims, “I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.” This was not only annoying — it was shocking for His contemporaries. For us, it is Good News. With all our weaknesses,
shortcomings, failures and even sins, we have no reason to despair or be discouraged. The Lord is always there for us, especially in moments when we are rejected or others distance themselves from us because we have done something wrong. We can always approach our Divine Physician – and He will not charge a centavo for His treatment.
        But there is still an annoying challenge we have to face. Let us be honest. We are tempted to erect barriers between us and those we consider different from us, who belong to a lower social class and who come in conflict with the law. That is an annoying reality Jesus makes us face today. He means well — He only wants to heal us. Fr. Rudy Horst
Reflection Question:
Do I allow myself to be annoyed by Jesus’ words and so change my attitude towards others?
Lord, this was a shocking realization. Yes, I easily join the so-called “pious” ones and judge and condemn others. That is not what You want me to do. Help me to become more a compassionate healer than be a harsh, hypocritical judge.
St. Wulfstan, bishop and reformer, pray for us.

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