READINGS for 2008-02-14
EMbRACED bY THE LigHT OF THE WORLD
“… seized with mortal anguish…” – Esther C:12 (or Esther 4:28)
She was the first contestant in the famous TV show American Idol. She entered the room full of confidence that she was going to move on to Hollywood. Unfortunately, her self-ssurance way exceeded the quality of her voice. She didn’t make the cut. She stood there flabbergasted before the judges then broke down and cried uncontrollably. She left the audition room and ran to the arms of her mom. She was inconsolable. I felt her pain.
Then I watched her mom. I could feel her anguish as I saw it etched on her face. It almost read, “Can I take this pain for you?”
I’ve been there. When my husband and I came home from the funeral of our 11-monthold son, we just hugged each other as we entered our bedroom. No words could speak of our anguish. And right at that moment, it felt like a group hug. No words. Just God embracing us. It was so real, we could almost see it etched in His Son’s hands: “I can take this pain for you.” Ronna Ledesma
Have you allowed yourself to feel the hug of the Lord in the midst of your crisis? This Valentine’s Day, let Him embrace you.
Lord, use my arms whenever You want to hug some people who are grieving silently.
Esther knows that she is about to enter into a situation where there are no guarantees for her life. It is a moment of life and death for her just as it is a moment of life and death for her people. Esther is not hesitating — she is doing what any wise and faith-filled person would do in her situation – place her welfare in the hands of God. It is God alone who can move the heart of the king to accede to Esther’s request and she knows it.
Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25 (or Esther 4:28, 30-32, 39-41)
28 [C:12] Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, likewise had recourse to the Lord. 30 [C:14] Then she prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, saying “My Lord, our King, you alone are God. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, 31 [C:15] for I am taking my life in my hand. 32 [C:16] As a child I was wont to hear from the people of the land of my forefathers that you, O Lord, chose Israel from among all peoples, and our fathers from among all their ancestors, as a lasting heritage, and that you fulfilled all your promises to them. 39 [C:23] Be mindful of us, O Lord. Manifest yourself in the time of our distress and give me courage, King of gods and Ruler of every power. 40 [C:24] Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion, and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and those who are in league with him may perish. 41 [C:25] Save us by your power, and help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O Lord. You know all things.”
P S A L M
Psalm 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 7c-8
R: Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
1 I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth; in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise; 2 I will worship at your holy temple and give thanks to your name. (R) Because of your kindness and your truth; for you have made great above all things your name and your promise. 3 When I called, you answered me; you built up strength within me. (R) 7 Your right hand saves me. 8 The LORD will complete what he has done for me; your kindness, O LORD, endures forever; forsake not the work of your hands. (R)
G O S P E L
Esther gives an example of the willingness to seek the Lord and to request His aid in the task she is about to perform. There is never anything lost in commending to the Lord our needs and hopes. If they are within the ambit of His will for our lives, it will confirm God’s intention to work with us in that way. If they are not, then at least we will have a sign that we need to rethink our desires in life if the Lord is not responding to our repeated requests.
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, 10 or a snake when he asks for a fish? 11 If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. 12 “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”
think:Esther is not hesitating — she is doing what any wise and faith- filled person would do in her situation — place her welfare in the hands of God. Do we do this when we’re in a fix?
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Galatians 1-3
God’s Way, not ours
There was a movie starring Jim Carrey entitled, “Bruce Almighty.” It was an instant hit, perhaps because it gave the people a glimpse of how it is to be God. There were so many scenes that made “being God” so exciting: breezing through a long road clogged with cars; pulling the moon closer to set a more romantic mood for the wife, walking on water, being in splendid locations in an instant, manipulating astonishing life situations to make the climb to the corporate ladder swift.
Towards the end of the movie, the main character, Bruce, discovered being God was not that cool. This was shown when he started to hear voices of people raising their petitions to God. He thought what seemed a brilliant solution—answer ‘yes’ to all the prayers through email. What resulted was mayhem. The movie captures a very effective point to illustrate that God’s way in dealing with our prayers is not in the same way we think. Who of us would not go by what Bruce did and agree to always say “yes” to everything we ask God in prayer? It would really be amusing to make a petition to God and get a positive response in return. But will it be beneficial to us? Will it be helpful for man to get anything he wants, every time and anywhere he wants it? Bruce discovered it is not. And surely those who saw the film can say that it is rightly so.
If our father on earth will weigh our requests first before giving in, so as not to spoil us, certainly our Father in heaven would manifest His benevolence in far better ways. He will listen to and answer all our prayers, but not in the way we see fit. He’ll do it in His time and in His terms, knowing what is really best for us. Fr. Sandy Enhaynes
Have you accepted that God’s ways are not our ways?
Lord, give me the wisdom to understand and accept that You answer our prayers differently from what we expect but always in a way that is best for us.
Sts. Cyril and Methodius, monk and bishop, pray for us.
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