READINGS for 2008-04-29
GRIEF AND GRACE
“…grief has filled your hearts.” – John 16:6
My friend’s text message said: “Please help me accept this. We are not ready. I do not understand why this has to happen.” Her mom was diagnosed with stage two cancer.
Grief is a difficult emotion. It could be debilitating. We have experienced sorrow one time or another. It’s a natural, universal occurrence. We all pass through it at different levels. But the question is how. How should we grieve?
Do you know that as much as we have the capacity to feel grief, we have the greater ability to heal? Studies show that diseased cells can regenerate, livers that have been cut can grow back and muscle tissues can repair themselves.
Our bodies do heal. And so do our spirits. We can naturally overcome. And that’s from a human point of view. Now, what if we put God in the picture?
If you are in sorrow now, I speak to you: See the Lord walking with you every painful step of the way. Picture Him embracing you every millisecond, never leaving your side. Feel Him beside you, quietly bearing everything, enduring the anguish with you.
Grief can fill our hearts but Grace shall never depart. Lallaine Gogna
Know that after the rain, comes a rainbow.
Dear God, be with me when I need You most. When it seems like You have disappeared, remind me of Your great love and presence. Amen.
Today is the feast of St. Catherine of Siena. She was a woman of tremendous faith who was never afraid to speak the truth whether to worldly or Church authorities. Undaunted, her sole desire was to give her life in the fulfillment of God’s will. In the reading we find that Paul and Silas are under attack from the people in Philippi, but they do not despair. Today’s Church is in need of more people like these.
Acts 16: 22- 34
22 The crowd joined in the attack on them, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely. 24 When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake. 25 About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, 26 there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew [his] sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted out in a loud voice, “Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.” 29 He asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.” 32 So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. 33 He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once. 34 He brought them up into his house and provided a meal and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.
P S A L M
Psalm 138: 1- 2ab, 2cde-3 , 7c-8
R: Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
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
There is always a positive aspect to most, if not all, negative events in life. When a loved one dies there is always grief and sorrow. However, there should also be thanksgiving for a life of blessing lived as well as joy in knowing that person has moved on to eternal life with God. Jesus reminds His disciples not to despair when He leaves them, but to look forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit.
5 “Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: 9 sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
think:What blessings have come out of my negative experiences?
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 Deuteronomy 8-11
THE BITTER PILL
A cliché goes, “The truth hurts.” By experience, we know that this is true. However, we also know that only the truth sets a man free. The truth is like a bitter pill that heals. Lying is a disease. Only the truth can restore to health anyone who is sick with lying.
The truth that Jesus had to leave His disciples was a big blow to the men who left everything to follow Him. They were sad. “Still,” Jesus said, “I must tell you the truth.” He had to go. Jesus did not give them a code to declassify; He spoke in the clearest terms about Himself. Telling them the truth helped them face the issue squarely. Facing issues in life is the first step to conquering them and growing in maturity through them.
When the disciples confronted the issue about Jesus’ farewell, they realized that Jesus’ physical absence from them actually meant the presence of the same Jesus in each of them. From then on, they themselves became an alter Christus, “another Christ.” From then on, they would see Jesus no longer with their physical eyes but with their eyes of faith. The presence of Jesus made the apostles strive to be Jesus to one another and recognize Him in each other as well.
The absence of Jesus paved the way for His abiding presence. In John 17:24, did not Jesus pray to the Father that all those whom the Father gave Him be with Him always? And departing from their sight was part of the answer to this fervent prayer of His. For by vanishing from their midst, Jesus became present in their very midst. His own Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the living Principle of His life and power, the very Breath of God, came not only upon but also into the hearts of His disciples even as Jesus went away. Letting go of Jesus was like the bitter pill the disciples had to take. It was, however, a bitter pill that gave them the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.
The truth hurts. It is like a bitter pill. Anyone who refuses to take it can never be healed. But one who takes it is healed and becomes a healer himself. Fr. Bobby Titco
Have you taken the “truth pill” today?
I am scared of the truth, O Lord, because the truth often hurts. But only the truth can set me free. Hold me by the hand as I face the truth about myself and never leave me. Heal me and set me free, Jesus. Amen.
St. Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor of the Church, pray for us.
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