READINGS for 2008-01-21

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



“… to obey is better than sacrifice….” – 1 Samuel 15:22b 
“You’re too weak to join the sisters in tonight’s vigil,” her Mother Superior told her. St. Faustina wrote in her diary how she desired so much to be with Jesus in their Thursday adoration but her poor health was a concern. Yet she obeyed.
        While alone in her cell, she heard Jesus speak to her. “I am pleased with your obedience and humility before your superior,” the Lord said. And He poured out His Spirit on her and let her enjoy the peace and consolation of His presence. She experienced deep joy in the presence of Jesus as if she was there with Him before the Blessed Sacrament where her fellow nuns were spending the night in vigil.
        We know how tempting it is to insist on our ways when told otherwise. Many times we can’t let go of what we want to do. We defy rules — of our school or office, of our doctors, of our community, of our church… and worst of all, God’s laws, too. St. Faustina’s experience affirms that Jesus is drawn to the humble, obedient one who is willing to set aside personal preferences, opinions, plans and so on in favor of obeying our elders. Cristy Galang
Think: If Jesus had a list of people He was pleased with because of their virtue of obedience, would your name be on it?
For the many times I asserted my will over Yours, pardon, Lord, pardon. Please help me to be obedient to You always, for my own good. Amen.  


God looks for total obedience to His commands, not a partial fulfillment of His will. The focus here is not meant to be the destruction of the enemy but the lack of obedience of Saul. It is not possible for God to work in us unless we are going to be obedient to all He asks us to do. Partial obedience will eventually result in disaster. Let us seek to give our all in obeying the Lord’s call.
1 Samuel 15: 16-23
16 Samuel said to Saul “Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.” “Speak!” he replied. 17 Samuel then said “Though little in your own esteem, are you not leader of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king of Israel 18 and sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction. Fight against them until you have exterminated them.’ 19 Why then have you disobeyed the LORD? You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD.” 20 Saul answered Samuel “I did indeed obey the LORD and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me. I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban. 21 But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen, the best of what had been banned, to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal.” 22 But Samuel said “Does the LORD so delight in holocausts and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the LORD? Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams. 23 For a sin like divination is rebellion, and presumption is the crime of idolatry. Because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”
Psalm 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21, 23
R: To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
8 Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you, for your burnt offerings are before me always. 9 I take from your house no bullock, no goats out of your fold.” (R) 16 “Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, 17 though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?” (R) 21 When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it? Or do you think that I am like yourself? I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes. 23 He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.” (R)
Comparing what God asks of us and with what He asks others to do is never going to help the work of the Kingdom.  Ultimately, the only thing that matters is that we respond to God’s call on our lives, not His call on someone else’s life. We cannot live another person’s life or calling. Our own calling ought to keep us busy enough as it is.
Mark 2: 18-22
18 The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to him and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
20 But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. 22 Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
Luke -4
my reflections
think: We cannot live another person’s life or calling. Our own calling ought to keep us busy enough as it is.

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________


on fastinG and feastinG
The Eucharistic fast was strictly followed in the old days but now many Catholics do not observe it. In many offices, Masses are celebrated during the noon break. Instead of  beginning the Mass at 12 noon and eat lunch afterwards, the priest has to wait until 12:15 or even later because employees eat their lunch first and then come to Mass – and receive Communion. Some people are still ready to fast if only to slim down. Instead of fasting, feasting is “in” with the prolonged merienda breaks, and the full restaurants and fastfood chains show. It is ironic then that about half of the population do not have enough to eat and thousands of people die of hunger all over the world each day.
        In today’s gospel, Jesus does not seem very keen when it comes to fasting. He defends His disciples who are with Him, who “celebrate” with Him the arrival of the Kingdom of God. But He explains that after He has gone would His disciples fast. Jesus knows that “the flesh is weak” and that it needs some exercise to curb its desires. But to fast in order to present God with a beautiful soul is something very few are ready to do.
      Feasting makes us lazy, fasting makes us strong. Feasting dulls the mind, fasting clears the mind. Feasting fills the stomach, fasting fills the soul. Feasting weakens our will  and self-control, fasting strengthens our will and helps us to be in control when all kinds of temptations come our way. Feasting can lead to self-indulgence, fasting gives inner strength and spiritual growth. But fasting falls in the category of sacrifice, a word many of us have erased from our vocabulary and practice. And so heroes of faith have become rare, a species endangered by extinction.
          H o w a b o u t reducing the feasting and embracing the sacrifice of fasting for the sake of  spiritual growth? Fr. Rudy Horst
Reflection Question:
Do I have my appetites under control or am I a slave of them? How can I begin a healthy “fasting” for the sake of the Kingdom and for my spiritual growth?
Lord, You pricked my conscience. But I realize that my spiritual growth is slowed down by too much self-indulgence. Thank You for reminding me of the importance of fasting and sacrifice. After all, You offered Your life for me as a supreme sacrifice. I will try to learn from You.
St. Alban Bartholomew, missionary and martyr, pray for us. 

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