READINGS for 2008-02-08
PROOF OF LiFE
Then you shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness. – Psalm 51:19
My friend Rene always says, “I pray the Rosary every day. In fact, I pray every time I have to wait for my wife as she shops.” Often, he would boast of his prayer time — how long it is and how often he does it. When I hear this, I cannot help but squirm.
I met Rene in high school. He came from a poor family but through hard work, determination and shrewdness, he is now a millionaire. In his business, he handles all his accounting books so he can hide how much he earns. His employees are underpaid. He pirates business deals from friends. He overprices, gives bad service and has no scruples in supplying his client with poor materials, as long as they don’t notice. In other words, he always puts one over another just to earn a buck.
Yesterday, he told me about a friend of ours whose business had gone sour. He also lost his wife to cancer and his house burned down. Rene reasoned that the string of calamities befell our friend because he never prayed. He also said that this is why he always gives time to pray many times during the day.
I wonder if God is pleased with Rene’s offering. Is it a sacrifice of righteousness? Chelle Crisanto
The proof is in the pudding. What does your life prove?
Lord, let my life be a living proof of my relationship with You.
The herald who brings correction to a wayward people is often ignored and even persecuted at times. Look at the lives of the Old Testament prophets if you doubt me. True humility of heart means always being willing to listen to correction brought by a good spirit and being ready to respond with repentance if necessary. Let us pray that we will have humble and teachable hearts in the presence of the Word of God.
1 Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up your voice like a trumpet blast; tell my people their wickedness, and the house of Jacob their sins. 2 They seek me day after day, and desire to know my ways, like a nation that has done what is just and not abandoned the law of their God; they ask me to declare what is due them, pleased to gain access to God. 3 “Why do we fast, and you do not see it? Afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?” Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers. 4 Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw. Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high! 5 Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance that a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? 6 This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; 7 sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. 8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am!
P S A L M
Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19
R: A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
1  Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. 2  Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. (R) 3  For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always. 4  “Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight.” (R) 16  For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it. 17  My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. (R)
G O S P E L
Let us embrace the call to fast during this Lent as a sign of our willingness to pay the cost of growing in holiness as disciples of Jesus. We often hear talk about self-denial but do we practice it? What can we give up this Lent as a sign of our desire to grow deeper in our relationship with Christ? Self-denial is something that helps us to keep a good balance in our lives between our desires and what we know will help us grow in the spiritual life.
14 The disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
think: True humility of heart means always being willing to listen to correction brought by a good spirit and being ready to respond with repentance if necessary.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR 1 Corinthians 5-8
the truth aBout fastinG
People fast for different reasons. There are those who have discovered the health benefits of fasting so they do it to be in good physical shape. Others on the vain side know of the aesthetic benefits of it; they fast to fit in their sexy outfits. But there are those who do it for purely altruistic ends—they fast so that others can eat.
We are familiar with this situation which I am sure we may have somehow experienced in our own families: mothers getting meager portions at table and letting the children get the lion’s share or foregoing meals altogether just so the children can have their fill.
Fasting has religious dimensions. In our church we fast to somehow experience the sacrificial suffering of Christ and be in solidarity with Him. As we are told in our catechetical classes, we continue or fill up whatever is lacking in the suffering of Christ with our own suffering on earth. We fast also in solidarity with all the hungry people in the world, those who have few or those who have not been as privileged as we. We fast because we know that by denying ourselves of food and things we are able to prevent over consumption or excessive lifestyle knowing that such excess results to other people not getting even the basic things one needs to live a decent life.
Denying oneself of food disciplines the body. It trains the egocentric self to get out of its self-serving design that it can get whatever it wants. This way it becomes a means by which one learns a potent lesson in this life. And if seriously observed can surely help in achieving the next. Fr. Sandy Enhaynes
Do we fast for the right reasons?
Lord, fasting is a valuable lesson we need to learn that we may experience even a little of Your sacrificial suffering on the cross. Give us the grace to learn it well.
St. Jerome Emiliani, priest, pray for us.
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