READINGS for 2008-05-12
ONLY BY GRACE
Consider it all joy... – James 1:2
I looked up the synonyms of “joy.” Happiness, merriment, bliss, elation, delight. The author of the book of James says right at the beginning of his letter, “Yes, consider it all joy!”
How can all things be joy? Is cancer joy? Financial bankruptcy, unwanted pregnancy, unanswered prayers — all joy? How about being abandoned or getting swindled? Or hunger, broken relationships, death?
How can I consider all those joy?
Perhaps it’s possible because happiness is a choice. It’s a personal decision, an act of the will. It disregards circumstances. Joy does not rely on events. It comes from within. The famous author Leo Tolstoy once said, “If you want to be happy, be.”
As followers of Jesus, we are not free from trials. Bad things do happen even to good people. Ultimately, it’s our decision how we will react to the realities that beset us.
St. James exhorts that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. And perseverance perfects us.
How difficult it is to reach perfection. It is much easier to give up. That’s why we need God’s grace. The decision to be joyful is grace. The will to endure is grace. The longing for perfection can only be grace. Lallaine Gogna
Think of your greatest burden right now and say: “I consider this all joy!” How did that make you feel?
I open my life to Your grace, Lord! Grant me Your joy, Your perseverance and Your perfection.
James is quite cheerful in reporting that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. This is a reality but not necessarily a very nice process to have to endure. However, when we consider the graces involved and the end result, it is worth the trials and sufferings to get there. Our disposition in life will depend much on how we analyze our experiences. It is important we fix our eyes on the goal of eternal life or we will become very depressed.
1 James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, greetings. 2 Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. 6 But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways. 9 The brother in lowly circumstances should take pride in his high standing, 10 and the rich one in his lowliness, for he will pass away “like the flower of the field.” 11 For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass, its flower droops, and the beauty of its appearance vanishes. So will the rich person fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
P S A L M
Psalm 119:67, 68, 71, 72, 75, 76
R: Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I hold to your promise. (R) 68 You are good and bountiful; teach me your statutes. (R) 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes. (R) 72 The law of your mouth is to memore precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces. (R) 75 I know, O LORD, that your ordinances are just, and in your faithfulness you have afflicted me. (R) 76 Let your kindness comfort me according to your promise to your servants. (R)
G O S P E L
Jesus is not really interested in supposed disciples who are always seeking for signs in their lives. A disciple’s life is one of trust and obedience to God’s will, not doubt and looking for signs to confirm every step of the way. This can be a challenge for us. We will have to learn to overcome the natural reluctance within us to trust others and step out in faith. We must believe that God is indeed who He says He is and will do what He promises to do.
11 The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.
think:Do I trust God to do what He says He will do?
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 Judges 1-4
WHAT THEY LACKED WAS LOVE, NOT SIGNS
At first glance, there seems to be nothing wrong when the Pharisees and the other religious leaders pressed Jesus to give them signs or more indications that could attest to the Divine origin of Jesus’ mission. Our human logic is one that concludes truth from a preponderance of signs and symptoms. Rightly, Bishop Tagle of Imus writes in his book An Easter People: “In our ordinary language, seeing, believing and understanding are intertwined. Often when we see a frown on our students’ faces we ask, “Do you see the point?” We use the metaphor of seeing to indicate understanding.”
But why did Jesus not entertain the Pharisees and the traditional Jewish leaders in their requests? Jesus knew any signs and indications He will work out will only amount to naught. The Pharisees and their companions did not lack understanding, but love. They could not understand Jesus because they refused to understand Him. They refused to understand Him because they hated Him. It is love that makes us see clearly and openly the signs and truths laid before us by others. Hate blinds us, because whatever the other one puts before us, we have first labeled the other as “enemy.” We see nothing good with people whom we call “enemy.” Fr. Domie Guzman
Focus on these words of Bishop Tagle: “It is not always true that we need to believe first before we can love. Sometimes, it is the other way around – because we love, our belief deepens.”
Jesus, let Your love open my eyes, my heart, my soul and my mind that I may deepen my faith in You.
Sts. Nereus and Achilleus, martyrs, pray for us.
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