READINGS for 2008-04-03

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE

 

I AM A PREACHER!
 
The One whom God has sent speaks God’s Words, because God gives Him the fullness of His Spirit. – John 3:34
 
I felt drained. I had just given a whole-day recollection and even if I had been giving talks since I was a youth, I still avoided the label “preacher.” Why? Because I felt unworthy. Hence, I didn’t internalize my mission.
Then I got a phone call. “Brother Obet,” said a man’s voice, “who am I is not as important as what I am about to say. I now have a happy family, am now a loving husband and father, an auto shop owner and so blessed in life. Most importantly, I’m now free — from my past and from the prison I came from. Brother, I was one of the Malabon City Jail inmates you gave a recollection to. I was converted through your talk and testimony. I just called to thank you and tell you that you are such an anointed preacher. God is using you to help people like me.”
I froze. I couldn’t believe what I heard. The very title I was avoiding was the same ministry God was using to touch and change people’s lives. Only then did I internalize my call. Yes, I am a preacher! Not because I am worthy but because I am a forgiven sinner overwhelmed by God’s grace and entrusted with His ministry. Obet Cabrillas
 
REFLECTION:
Do you “call” His call?
 
Lord, let me live up to my calling today. Amen.
 
COMPANION

 

1st READING
 
One of the fundamental truths of human dignity is that we all have a right to freedom of religious belief and the expression of that belief provided that it does not harm another person’s rights. This means that while we can demand the right to believe what we want we must also give that same right to others. When there is a conflict of beliefs we must look to see whether or not human dignity and rights are respected by both sets of beliefs.
 
Acts 5:27-33
27 When they had brought them in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, 28 “We gave you strict orders did we not? To stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, as is the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.” 33 When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.
 
P S A L M
 
Psalm 34: 2 and 9, 17-18, 19- 20
R: The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
1 [2] I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. 8 [9] Taste and see how good the LORD is; blessedthe man who takes refuge in him. (R) 16 [17] The LORD confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth. 17 [18] When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. (R) 18 [19] The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. 19 [20] Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the LORD delivers him. (R)
 
G O S P E L
 
Jesus is clearly making a distinction between two very different levels of revelation. There is revelation that comes from humanity and revelation that comes from above or the divine. It is the revelation from the divine that has the greater authority and, in some cases, supercedes that from below. It is critical that we see the preaching of Jesus on a new level and authority with regards the revelation He brings.
 
John 3: 31-36
31 The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. 34 For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.
 
my reflections
think:When there is a conflict of beliefs we must look to see whether or not human dignity and rights are respected by both sets of beliefs.
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God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
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T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Exodus 34-36
 
SABBATH

 

NICODEMUS
 
Nicodemus appears only three times in the Gospel of John: when he visits Jesus during the night, when he defends Jesus’ right for a fair trial before the Sanhedrin and when he joins the burial entourage of Jesus.
Nicodemus’ inclusion in Jesus’ story shows that not all the members of the Sanhedrin were hostile toward Jesus. Even among the ruling political party members, Jesus had admirers and, perhaps, even followers. This is important because when we think of the Sanhedrin, the chief priests, the scribes, and the Pharisees, we are inclined to consider all of them as enemies of Jesus. But Jesus was able to capture some hearts among them, like He did with Nicodemus. They listened to Jesus and wanted to learn from Him. Gradually, they came to believe in Jesus as the Son of God or, perhaps a more correct way to put it is, faith in Jesus as the Son of God gradually came to them.
Faith comes upon us even as we come to faith. In another part of John’s Gospel, Jesus said that no one knows the Son except the Father. Unless the Father Himself leads us to faith in Jesus, we cannot believe in Jesus as the Son of God.
While faith is our response to God’s revelation, it is also God’s gift to us. We cannot believe without God willing it so. But God wills for us to believe because He wants everyone to be saved and salvation comes only through Jesus, His Son.
God gave the gift of faith to the Sanhedrin and the others but they wasted such a precious gift. Nicodemus is an example of one who valued, and responded to that gift. He searched for answers to his questions. And He asked, not to contest faith in Jesus, but to confess faith in Him.
Theology – the study of God – is fides quaerens intelectum (St. Anselm).  It is “faith seeking understanding.” Faith is evidently presupposed because it has already been given. But it seeks to understand because it wants to respond. Nicodemus personifies this definition. Fr. Bobby Titco
 
Reflection Question:
Does my faith seek understanding?
 
Enlighten my heart and mind, O Father, with the light of the Holy Spirit and lead me unto a more genuine faith in Your Son, Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
 
St. Richard of Wyche, bishop, pray for us.
 



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