READINGS for 2008-06-20
“No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other.” – Matthew 6:24
A woman asked a priest to officiate the blessing of her newly-opened grocery store. The blessing was scheduled on a particular date. On that day, a typhoon hit Metro Manila and all the streets surrounding her grocery were flooded. The priest called the lady and asked if they could postpone the blessing of the place. But the lady insisted since her “stars” revealed that that was a lucky day. So, with their feet submerged in water, the blessing pushed through.
How often do we succumb to these kinds of practices? On New Year’s Eve, some people wear polka dots, put coins in their pockets or buy 12 kinds of round fruits for good luck. Others consult their horoscopes or a fortuneteller to guide them in their decisions.
Most people say, “I’ve got nothing to lose when I do these things.” But as professed Christians, we need to be vigilant regarding what we get ourselves into. By believing in superstitions, we are offending God and opening ourselves to danger. The first commandment states, “I am the Lord Your God; you shall not have strange gods before Me.”
Who do you worship? Our choices and our actions reveal whose side we are on. Judith Concepcion
Makea decision today to worship God alone and renounce all other gods in your life.
Lord, forgive me for having offended You. You are my Lord and my All.
The Old Testament times were seemingly often bloody and violent. But isn’t God a God of love? I have always found this question a bit of a mystery. Nonetheless, I find some consolation in the idea that the peoples’ understanding of God changed over the centuries as they grew in relationship with Him. The demands of a life of love and forgiveness took quite a long time to be understood by the people. This is why the Church understands that revelation ended with the death of the last apostle.
2 Kings 11:1-4, 9-18, 20
1 When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son was dead, she began to kill off the whole royal family. 2 But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash, his son, and spirited him away, along with his nurse, from the bedroom where the princes were about to be slain. She concealed him from Athaliah, and so he did not die. 3 For six years he remained hidden in the temple of the LORD, while Athaliah ruled the land. 4 But in the seventh year, Jehoiada summoned the captains of the Carians and of the guards. He had them come to him in the temple of the LORD, exacted from them a sworn commitment, and then showed them the king’s son. 9 The captains did just as Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each one with his men, both those going on duty for the sabbath and those going off duty that week, came to Jehoiada the priest. 10 He gave the captains King David’s spears and shields, which were in the temple of the LORD. 11 And the guards, with drawn weapons, lined up from the southern to the northern limit of the enclosure, surrounding the altar and the temple on the king’s behalf. 12 Then Jehoiada led out the king’s son and put the crown and the insignia upon him. They proclaimed him king and anointed him, clapping their hands and shouting, “Long live the king!” 13 Athaliah heard the noise made by the people, and appeared before them in the temple of the LORD. 14 When she saw the king standing by the pillar, as was the custom, and the captains and trumpeters near him, with all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, she tore her garments and cried out, “Treason, treason!” 15 Then Jehoiada the priest instructed the captains in command of the force: “Bring her outside through the ranks. If anyone follows her,” he added, “let him die by the sword.” He had given orders that she should not be slain in the temple of the LORD. 16 She was led out forcibly to the horse gate of the royal palace, where she was put to death. 17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD as one party and the king and the people as the other, by which they would be the LORD’s people; and another covenant, between the king and the people. 18 Thereupon all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and demolished it. They shattered its altars and images completely, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. After appointing a detachment for the temple of the LORD, Jehoiada. 20 All the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the royal palace.
P S A L M
Psalm 132:11, 12, 13-14, 17-18
R: The Lord has chosen Zion for his dwelling.
11 The LORD swore to David a firm promise from which he will not withdraw, “Your own offspring I will set upon your throne.” (R) 12 “If your sons keep my covenant and the decrees which I shall teach them, their sons, too, forever shall sit upon your throne.” (R) 13 For the LORD has chosen Zion; he prefers her for his dwelling. 14 “Zion is my resting place forever; in her will I dwell, for I prefer her.” (R) 17 “In her will I make a horn to sprout forth for David; I will place a lamp for my anointed. 18 His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon him my crown shall shine.” (R)
G O S P E L
Jesus is always calling His disciples to focus on the life to come and not the pleasures of this mortal life. We must remember that the goal of this life, which is a passing reality, is to prepare us for eternal life afterwards. Let us seek to remain faithful to this goal in all we do and say.
19 Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. 22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”
think: How am I preparing myself for eternal life?
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 1 Chronicles 19-21
GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
Saint aquilina of Syria
Aquilina was a young martyr. She was born in 281 in Byblos and was martyred at the age of 12 on June 13, 293. The young saint received her catechetical education from Bishop Evthalios of Byblos. Her heart was so pure of her love for Christ that at the age of 12, she made it her mission to spread Christianity. She was able to convert pagans in faith through her example and teachings.
When the authorities learned about this, she was brought before Magistrate Volusian. He asked the girl about her activities, to which she enthusiastically replied, “I am a Christian.” The magistrate threatened her with horrible sufferings but Aquilina only remained strong in faith. As a result, Volusian ordered his men to tie the little girl then whip her. After which, he again asked the lass about Jesus. Aquilina was still faithful. Finally, he gave her a day to reconsider and renounce her faith, but Aquilina was willing to suffer and die for Christ. To end the persecution, the magistrate ordered for her death. The saint’s body was lacerated with a sharp rake and her eardrums were punctured with flaming iron rods. Volusian thought Aquilina was already dead so he commanded his men that she be thrown outside the city walls.
According to some, an angel helped the girl. When Aquilina regained consciousness, she presented herself to the magistrate. Volusian was so astonished he thought he was dreaming. However, he remained heartless. He ordered that the saint be put in prison then beheaded the next morning. The day after, Aquilina was found dead in her cell.
Landelinus of the seventh century grew up under the care of Bishop Saint Aubert of Cambrai. In his youth, he went astray with bad company and became a robber. One incident made him return to God. The young Landelinus was struck with terror when one of his companions died suddenly. He feared for his life thus, he immediately returned to Saint Aubert and asked for repentance.
For his penance, the good bishop made him stay in a monastery. He accepted this with fervor and contrition that Aubert ordained him deacon then priest.
Father Landelinus was asked to preach the Good News but he begged to live as a hermit. He retired to Laubach on the banks of Sambre. In Laubach, he attracted disciples. Together they formed the Lobbes (Lanbacum) Abbey. Since the priest desired to remain a hermit, he decided to leave his flock under Saint Ursmar and seek solitude. In his new abode, the saint was able to attract disciples and they founded Aulne Abbey in 656. This same pattern of leaving his flock, seeking hermitage, attracting disciples and establishing an abbey proved the same with Walers Abbey in 657 and Crespin Abbey in 670. Landelinus pondered on this cycle. He realized that the Lord wanted him to lead his flock. Thus, he decided to stay in Crespin Abbey and preach to people in nearby villages.
HOW WELL DO YOU SEE?
I cannot really imagine what it would be like to be blind. Having had sight all my life, it would be a debilitating experience to lose it as well as having to learn to rely upon a guide dog or a stick and learn “to hear my way through life.” But this is not the case — I have eyes and I use them every day.
For us who can see, the question is, are we using our eyes to guide ourselves to the Kingdom of God or are they fixed on the things of this world?
The advertising industry wields enormous power over us through the images and ideas it portrays in the various forms of media. Many of the internet services of which we avail ourselves are kept cheap for our use because companies are willing to pay high premiums to have their products appear as advertisements on the sites we visit. No company will spend money in this manner unless they think it is worth it. Therefore, their research and statistics must be telling them that they are selling more of their products because of this advertising.
I wonder whether you or I are allowing our eyes, hearts and minds to be caught up in our secular materialistic world. It does not take long for us to be caught in the never-ending process of having to have the next gadget the world is offering us – to upgrade our cell phone, laptop iPod to the latest models. Is this how God wants us to use our precious resources? Is this a responsible use of our resources? Will this use of our resources bear proportional fruit for the Kingdom of God? Only you and the Holy Spirit can answer these questions.
The Gospel tells us that the eye is the lamp of the body. It is through our eyes that a lot of images will enter our minds and hearts. We must be careful to discern whether or not these images are good for us or deserve our attention. It is not that the products of our modern world are evil, the critical question is whether or not we really need them or should we be spending our time and efforts pursuing such things?Fr. Steve Tynan
How balanced is my life in the way I spend my time, resources and energies in pursuing the things of the world in comparison with the things of the Kingdom of God?
Father, I want to live my life according to Your will. Help me to organize my life so that I make Your Kingdom my number one priority.
St. Albert of Magdeburg, monk, pray for us.
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