READINGS for 2008-09-06
IN THE FACE OF AN ENEmY
When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure. - 1 Corinthians 4:12
In one of the episodes of the TV series ER, Dr. Benton, a black American physician, was about to go home after working long hours in the hospital. It was his mom’s birthday and the family is throwing a party for her. On his way out, a skinhead is rolled into the ER with a tattoo on his arm saying “Die, Nigger, Die.” Dr. Benton attended to him and saved his life, consequently missing the birthday party of his mom.
It takes a lot of courage to face an enemy, and even a greater braveness to actually do him good. But it is a call to all of us who wish to be true disciples of Christ. It is never easy to be holy but every time we go through the fire, every time we pass the test, Jesus is there on the other side, waiting to say, “Good job! Well done!”Jane Gonzales
When you are treated like rubbish, do you try to get even or do you reply in kindness and try to heal the hurt?
Lord, grant me the gift of fortitude that I may handle well the adversities of life. Amen.
Paul paints a fairly bleak picture of life as a Christian in the first generation of the Gospel. At least he is being honest and not painting some sort of unreal picture of Christianity to prospective converts. Today the picture could be said to be much the same, particularly in the more secular parts of the Western world. Here Christians are often caricatured and made into an easy target for the secular apologists. We have to
be strong enough to stand on the truth and let the witness of our lives do the talking.
1 Corinthians 4:6b-15
6 I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, so that you may learn from us not to go beyond what is written, so that none of you will be inflated with pride in favor of one person over against another. 7 Who confers distinction upon you? What do you possess that you have not received? But if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it? 8 You are already satisfied; you have already grown rich; you have become kings without us! Indeed, I wish that you had become kings, so that we also might become kings with you. 9 For as I see it, God has exhibited us apostles as the last of all, like people sentenced to death, since we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and human beings alike. 10 We are fools on Christ’s account, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clad and roughly treated, we wander about homeless 12 and we toil, working with our own hands. When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we respond gently. We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all, to this very moment. 14 I am writing you this not to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
P S A L M
Psalm 145:17-18, 19-20, 21
R: The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
17 The LORD is just in all his ways and holy in all his works. 18 The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. (R) 19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him, he hears their cry and saves them. (R) 20 The LORD keeps all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. (R) 21 May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD, and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. (R)
G O S P E L
Why was the Sabbath given to man? What is the meaning of the Sabbath rest? These two questions ought to be at the forefront of the minds of the Pharisees at this time. And if they were, they would understand that the present understanding they have is a long way from the one God intended when He gave them the law. I am not saying that we can discard a law that does not suit us anymore, but we do have to be careful that we do not maintain a law or an interpretation of a law that is not in the spirit of the origin of the law.
1 While he was going through a field of grain on a sabbath, his disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating them. 2 Some Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” 3 Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry? 4 How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions.” 5 Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
think: We have to be strong enough to stand on the truth and let the witness of our lives do the talking.
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 Psalm 91-94
Jesus once again rebuts the Pharisees accusing His disciples of breaking the Sabbath prescriptions. This time He invokes an Old Testament incident concerning David and his men, who, in a moment of hunger, ate the bread of offering in the house of God. The point of our Lord is that satisfying human needs and performing works of mercy and kindness can and do take precedence even over religious prescriptions.
Religious beliefs, traditions and rituals need not and should not contradict our nature as human persons. Our nature, fallen and tainted as it is, has nevertheless been created in the first place by God as something good, and then sanctified by God’s Incarnation, and redeemed by Jesus’ work of Redemption. Religion can thus build on top of it, as it were, with its many positive qualities. Whereas we tend to look upon our lowly human nature as something negative, it need not be so. Our human needs and endeavors are there precisely to make up the “building blocks” or the raw material of God’s grace. The following passage, taken from the Anglican Digest, shows this —
The True Religion
At home, it is kindness.
In business, it is honesty.
In society, it is courtesy.
In work, it is thoroughness.
In play, it is fairness.
Toward the fortunate, it is congratulations.
Toward the weak, it is help.
Toward wickedness, it is forgiveness.
Toward God, it is reverence, love and obedience.
It would be too bad if “Mr. Christian,” who goes to Church and never misses a Sunday, would go to hell for what he did on Monday. Let us thank Jesus, who is the Lord of the Sabbath and the “owner of Sunday” for setting the record straight when it comes to the practice of our religion. Fr. Martin Macasaet
Have I made religious observances and prescriptions more important than satisfying my neighbor’s needs — of loving my neighbor?
Wake me up, Lord, when You see me become so religious, so set in my ways that I forget the more important aspects of the law: the law of love and mercy.
Blessed Thomas Tsughi, Japanese martyr, pray for us.
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