READINGS for 2008-09-24
WHAT’S IN YOUR HAND?
He told them: “Take nothing for the journey — no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.” – Luke 9:3
When I was just about knee-high, James Bond’s job was the biggest in the world. He was given missions greater than all other superheroes combined: to save the world from some weird brainiacs. And he didn’t have to worry. He could trust in his mega-superduperhigh- tech gadgets supplied by the British Secret Service. And he won over all his enemies (except one — sex addiction)! But James Bond can’t do these things: 1. Proclaim the Kingdom; 2. Exorcise demons; 3. Heal the sick. These tasks are reserved for those who are big-time in God’s eyes: you and me.
Funny that even as we disciples are given an infinitely tougher charge, unlike Mr. Bond, we are asked to “take nothing for the journey.” God simply says, “No extra. What’s in your hand is enough.” If it’s a guitar, let the miracle of your music heal wounded souls. If it’s a chalk, then cast out the demon of ignorance and bring young students to Kingdom wisdom. If you’re a mother holding a ladle, then raise your family in the love of God.
Yours is a big-time mission, here and now. What’s in your hand? You don’t need anything more.Jon Escoto
What’s in your hand?
Lord, open my eyes to see the purpose of this Present Moment. Help me do the work of Your Kingdom, here and now.
The author of the opening lines to today’s reading is quite clear that God’s word can stand on its own without being buttressed by other authorities. An alloy is normally a compound made up of more than one type of metal. That God’s word and principles are unalloyed means they are original to Him and not a result of synthesizing other religious authorities with His. We can be sure that when we are looking for direction in life we need only look to one source – everything that comes from the mouth of God — and that will be sufficient to guide us.
5 Every word of God is tested; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6 Add nothing to his words, lest he reprove you, and you be exposed as a deceiver. 7 Two things I ask of you, deny them not to me before I die: 8 Put falsehood and lying far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need; 9 lest, being full, I deny you, saying, “Who is the LORD?” Or, being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God.
P S A L M
Psalm 119:29, 72, 89, 101, 104, 163
R: Your word, O Lord, is a lamp of my feet.
29 Remove from me the way of falsehood, and favor me with your law. (R) 72 The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces. (R) 89 Your word, O LORD, endures forever; it is firm as the heavens. (R) 101 From every evil way I withhold my feet, that I may keep your words. (R) 104 Through your precepts I gain discernment; therefore I hate every false way. (R) 163 Falsehood I hate and abhor; your law I love. (R)
G O S P E L
When on mission there is only one word we need to speak, the Gospel, and one source from which to draw strength, inspiration and provision: the Lord Himself. This may seem to be somewhat fundamentalist but I remember the time in my formation when we were sent out to preach for 10 days with similar instructions and what a freeing and grace-filled experience it was. We never lacked for food and shelter. There was always someone around whom to share the Gospel.
1 Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. 3 He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. 5 And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” 6 Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
think: We can be sure that when we are looking for direction in life we need only look to one source – everything that comes from the mouth of God — and that will be sufficient to guide us.
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 Proverbs 17-20
PaCkinG UP FOr thE MissiOn
Did it ever happen to you that coming back from a long out-of-town trip, you discover numerous items in your luggage which you brought along and yet you never really used them at all?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives a practical advice to the Twelve as He sent them on their mission. They were to bring little along with them. They were not to be cluttered with material possessions, especially with unnecessary belongings. They were to be poor, dedicated healers and heralds of the reign of God.
For us, more than specifying what exactly to bring or not as we undertake our God-given mission in life, Jesus simply invites us to entrust ourselves into the hands of Divine Providence. God, the generous and provident Father, always gives us “today our daily bread.” If He gave us a month’s or a year’s supply, the bread would become stale! Moreover, the present-day drama of poverty involving millions of people in the world cannot make us simply indifferent. Such a grave situation compels us to give an authentic witness in our life of faith, a witness of simplicity and even detachment from goods.
Of course, we can always argue that the task of proclaiming the Good News today also requires resources and funds, including the latest audio-visual media and gadgets. That may be true, but we should not forget that underlying all those is the irreplaceable attitude of the authenticity of the evangelizer, an authenticity from which all else derive their value. Without such an underlying authenticity, the mission is jeopardized because of a possibly misplaced focus. The result would be no more than just a “noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
And so next time around, think twice on what you need to pack in your traveling bag for the mission of Christian life — ooops! On second thought, Jesus even prohibited the bringing of a traveling bag! What’s inside the “bag” of our heart is what truly counts. Fr. Martin Macasaet
What kind of witness are you in terms of simplicity and detachment from material goods?
I live in a high-technology, fast-moving world, Lord. Help me to see the eternal in the midst of this that I may live a detached life.
St. Ysarn, abbot, pray for us.
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