READINGS for 2008-06-25

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



“So by their fruits you will know them.” – Matthew 7:20
It is said that when you squeeze a lemon, what you get is lemonade. When you squeeze an orange, what you get is orange juice. But when you squeeze a Christian, what do you get?
Trials, crisis, misfortunes — they are a part of our lives. No one gets through life unscathed. What differentiates one from the other is how we take life’s adversities. Do we resist them or do we welcome them as opportunities for growth? Do we harness our strengths or are we weakened by our weaknesses?
The mark of a true Christian is if we can still see Christ in our setbacks.
Five years ago, we lost our mother. Her illness up to her death had been a trying time for all of us — we were squeezed hard, so to speak.
The experience left some scars but they enlarged my heart to take in the pain of another. By God’s grace, my mother’s death bore some good fruit in me: inner strength, compassion, fortitude. Tess Atienza
When trials come, what fruit comes out of you? Is it good or rotten?
Lord, only by Your grace can I bear good fruit in this life. May I always be open to the work of Your Spirit in me.


This is how a king ought to lead his people – calling them back to the Law of God and setting an example for them. If only more of our leaders would do this, our lives would improve greatly. Instead, we have politicians who are concerned only with their own gain and are oblivious to the welfare of their constituents. I am afraid that Judgment Day for them is going to be very harsh.
2 Kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3
8 The high priest Hilkiah informed the scribe Shaphan, “I have found the book of the law in the temple of the LORD.” Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, who read it. 9 Then the scribe Shaphan went to the king and reported, “Your servants have smelted down the metals available in the temple and have consigned them to the master workmen in the temple of the LORD.” 10 The scribe Shaphan also informed the king that the priest Hilkiah had given him a book, and then read it aloud to the king. 11 When the king had heard the contents of the book of the law, he tore his garments 12 and issued this command to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, son of Shaphan, Achbor, son of Micaiah, the scribe Shaphan, and the king’s servant Asaiah, 13 “Go, consult the LORD for me, for the people, for all Judah, about the stipulations of this book that has been found, for the anger of the LORD has been set furiously ablaze against us, because our fathers did not obey the stipulations of this book, nor fulfill our written obligations.” 23: 1 The king then had all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem summoned together before him. 2 The king went up to the temple of the LORD with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem priests, prophets, and all the people, small and great. He had the entire contents of the book of the covenant that had been found in the temple of the LORD, read out to them. 3 Standing by the column, the king made a covenant before the LORD that they would follow him and observe his ordinances, statutes and decrees with their whole hearts and souls, thus reviving the terms of the covenant which were written in this book. And all the people stood as participants in the covenant.
Psalm 119:33, 34, 36, 37, 40
R: Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord.
33 Instruct me, O LORD, in the way of your statutes, that I may exactly observe them. (R) 34 Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart. (R) 36 Incline my heart to your decrees and not to gain. (R) 37 Turn away my eyes from seeing what is vain; by your way give me life. (R) 40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your justice give me life. (R)
There will always be false prophets. Their teachings will tempt us to stray from the ways of the Lord. It is important that we study the teachings of the Church so that we will easily reject false teachings when we hear them. This may mean buying and reading the documents of the Church for ourselves.
Matthew 7:15-20
15 Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. 16 By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So by their fruits you will know them.”
my reflections
think: Am I well-informed about my faith and the Church’s teachings?

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________


We live in a day and age of moral and religious relativism. What do I mean by this? Simply that there is a modern culture of acceptance of any and everything that turns up. There is a reticence among most people to be critical of the beliefs of others out of a sort of false irenicism. This should not be the case among Christians. As Christians, we believe that the Gospel holds forth certain truths that are the basis of our judgment of religious statements. If something is contrary to the Gospel, then we cannot accept it as being true. This applies to both faith and morality and not to scientific judgments.
Jesus warns His followers that they are to be wary of false prophets who will “dress up” their doctrines so that they look right but are really not in accordance with the truth of the Gospel. Sometimes the doctrines may be all correct but the way of going about living them leads a lot to be desired. For example, there may be a sense of superiority in the lifestyle of certain movements or sects. It is for this reason we have to be prudent in what we accept and be ready to reject that which does not fully conform to the Gospel both in word and lifestyle.
One of the dangers of modern Christianity is the so-called Prosperity Gospel. The fundamental doctrines are sound but the way of applying them to an individual’s life leaves much to be desired. In fact, it is very deceptive in the way it deals with such realities as sickness, poverty and money to the point that it often leads people to disillusionment with Christianity as whole. It is not the fault of an individual that he or she is poor. It is not God’s will that he or she be born into poverty. Similarly, it is not a sign of God’s blessing that a person be born rich. For each person, it is up to them to hear God’s call for their life and to take the responsibility to follow it, such that righteousness and justice will prevail. I will leave it to you to discern what this might mean for the poor or for the rich. Fr. Steve Tynan
Reflection Question:
Have I allowed myself to be deceived by any false prophet? If so, what do I need to do to set my life back on the right path?
Jesus, help me to be discerning in all I believe and accept as true. I want to follow You. Help me to avoid all false doctrines and all false examples of Christian living.
St. Abban, abbot, pray for us.

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