READINGS for 2008-09-17
THIRST FOR GOODNESS
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way. – 1 Corinthians 12:31
Even as a child, I was fascinated with topics concerning God and faith. I enjoyed reading Bible stories. I attended Bible studies for kids. I even joined a summer Bible school at a Protestant church only because there was nothing like that in our parish at the time. I was searching for something. I wanted to know what it took to be a good person. That thirst for goodness has been a blessing to me through the years. I was never always a good girl. Many times in my life I had been bad… really bad. But each time I would slip into waywardness, a Voice within would always tell me to look inside and seek the goodness in me.
I feel very special because I know that God planted in my heart that desire to be good. Whenever I’m derailed, He gets me back on track. And significantly, He continues to give me opportunities to be of service to Him. He gets me involved in church activities, in charity causes, and more recently, He led me to where I am now so I could share with you my wonderful experience of Him through the written word.Nova Arias
Do you consciously strive to be good every day?
Holy Spirit, lead me to the path of righteousness.
This may well be the most famous passage of all of Paul’s writings. Like all favorite scriptural passages there is a danger that familiarity breeds contempt. It is important that we do not form the attitude that we know this Scripture passage so well that we do not properly reflect upon its application to our lives. Let us never grow so familiar with the Word of God that we think we have exhausted its meaning. There is always a deeper truth for the Holy Spirit to reveal to us.
1 Corinthians 12:31–13:13
31 Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way. 13: 1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, 5 it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, 6 it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. 9 For we know partially and we prophesy partially, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. 12 At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. 13 So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
P S A L M
Psalm 33:2-3, 4-5, 12 and 22
R: Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
2 Give thanks to the LORD on the harp; with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises. 3 Sing to him a new song; pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness. (R) 4 For upright is the word of the LORD, and all his works are trustworthy. 5 He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full. (R) 12 Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he has chosen for his own inheritance. 22 May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us who have put our hope in you. (R)
G O S P E L
We will never be able to please people all of the time with our preaching. In fact, the goal of pleasing one’s audience is probably the wrong focus anyway. We should seek to challenge and transform those to whom we preach. Such a goal ought to leave people uncomfortable after hearing the Word of God, as this is what will inspire them to look deeper into their lives and seek a deeper conversion. It is not for us to be pleasing orators but to proclaim the truth so that it strikes at the heart of the listener.
31 Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance. We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’ 33 For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
think:It is not for us to be pleasing orators but to proclaim the truth so that it strikes at the heart of the listener.
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 136-140
dEdiCatiOn Or dEFianCE?
We honor today the Italian Jesuit, St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1620). He was distinguished for his brilliant disputations in defense of the Catholic faith, and for his teaching theology in the Roman College. He was nominated a Cardinal and appointed Bishop of Capua. He helped solve several questions and controversies as a consultant to various Roman Congregations.
From a treatise On the Ascent of the Mind to God, Robert wrote, “Sweet Lord, you are meek and merciful. Who would not give himself wholeheartedly to your service, if he began to taste even a little of Your fatherly rule? Who would not be glad to bear a yoke that does not press hard but caresses? Who would not be glad for a burden that does not weigh heavy but refreshes? What is easier, sweeter, more pleasant, than to love goodness, beauty and love, the fullness of which you are, O Lord, my God?”
Such words of deep devotion stand in stark contrast with Jesus’ lament on His contemporaries, found in today’s Gospel. Like grouchy children who will play none of the make-believe games, so also the Jews reject all God’s urgings. Instead of a passionate commitment to the Lord’s decrees, the Jewish contemporaries of Jesus preferred an ambiguous and apathetic attitude.
We have to discern well what we do in our everyday life, in keeping with God’s holy will. St. Robert Bellarmine advised, “Prosperity and adversity, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, honors and humiliations, life and death, in the mind of the wise man, are not to be sought for their own sake, nor avoided for their own sake. But if they contribute to the glory of God and your eternal happiness, then they are good and should be sought. If they detract from this, they are evil and must be avoided.”
God’s wise design always wins out in the end. It is independent of any attitude confronting it, and so its success is its own vindication. Fr. Martin Macasaet
Have we tried to seek God’s glory in the life that we live and in the choices we’ve made?
I have been most selfish, Dear Lord, in many of my decisions in life. Enlighten me that I may give glory to You.
St. Robert Bellarmine, bishop and doctor of the Church, pray for us.
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