READINGS for 2008-05-23

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



The Pharisees approached and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him. – Mark 10:2
When we were young, my mother had a stick that she used to spank us with when we did a misdemeanor, like snack on the baby’s formula milk. Once, all five of us siblings ate the baby’s powdered milk. When Mom found out, she lined us up for interrogation. Every child who fessed up got 10 whacks until he or she cried. To my surprise, one of my siblings denied eating the milk even though we were all guilty. My mother believed him and didn’t spank him. My sibling escaped that time.
In Mark 6:18, we find that Herod Antipas, the ruler of the land during Jesus’ time, actually married his brother’s wife and became a prominent exception to the Jewish rule against divorce. So by asking Jesus about divorce and adultery, the Pharisees were trying to trip Him by making Him a confessed critic of Herod Antipas. They were probably doing this to build a case against Jesus. However, all they accomplished was to make everybody listening realize that Herod Antipas was guilty of adultery!
We may sometimes escape punishment by denying our sins or turning a blind eye. But the Lord knows. And the truth will sooner or later catch up with us. Jomar Hilario
When we sin, we sometimes feel we can “get away with it.” But do we really?
Lord, make me sensitive to sin in my life. Let me not tolerate it but instead repent of it quickly.


I wonder why James does not have a very high opinion of oaths? Perhaps it is because he recognizes that a Christian’s word ought to be enough. No amount of swearing is going to make us any more likely to be faithful to a given commitment. The energy spent in swearing to do what one has already comitted to do can be better used in fulfilling one’s word.
James 5:9-12
9 Do not complain, brothers, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates. 10 Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, because “the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” 12 But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,” that you may not incur  condemnation.
Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 11-12
R: The Lord is kind and merciful.
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (R) 3 He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills. 4 He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion. (R) 8 Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. 9 He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever. (R) 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us. (R)
The world views marriage as a contract two people make with each other — simply that and nothing more. In the eyes of God, it is a mutual self-giving whereby two people exchange their lives with each other. It is a union of the two with the hope and desire of giving birth to a third. It is the foundation of human society, the proper place where children are raised in an atmosphere of security and love. If we fail to protect these aspects of marriage, society as we know it will crumble and disintegrate.
Mark 10:1-12
1 Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom, he again taught them. 2 The Pharisees approached and asked, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” They were testing him. 3 He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They replied, “Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her.” 5 But Jesus told them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. 7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” 10 In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. 11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
my reflections
think:Does my “Yes” really mean yes and my “No” really mean no?

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________


When the Pharisees approached Jesus, they asked: “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?” The law is premised on the virtue of justice: that each one has an inherent value, and accordingly, each one has a due that must be given and respected at all cost. The law defines the lowest tolerable limit of respect and observance of the person’s inherent rights and dignity. Hence, we have a “Bill of Human Rights,” and a “Declaration on the Rights of Children.” We also have legislations that set the minimum wage. To invoke the law in a relationship such as marriage is then to be interested about living the relationship at its minimum, at its lowest tolerable level.
In contrast, Jesus exhorts us, His followers, to live on the level of God’s plans and expectations. God’s way always invites us to greater compassion and genuine generosity. God’s way of dealing with others is always on the level of heart and gut-feel rather than in the measure of exacting reason. In the face of weakness and failure, the law underlines sanctions and consequences, while God’s way of the heart goes for expanded understanding and continuous reaching out. It is noteworthy that even in the way the human body thrives and lives, it is the human heart that compensates when there are problems of the lungs, increases in sugar level, or accumulation of bad cholesterol. The heart pumps double and sustains the body for as long as it can for its failure to do so means the end. Fr. Domie Guzman
Reflection Question:
Examine every significant relationship that you have at this moment. For each relationship, ask at which level are you operating: the level of the law or the way of the heart?
Bless my significant relationships, Lord, and give me the grace to always relate with others in compassion and love.
St. John Baptist Rossi, priest, pray for us.

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