READINGS for 2008-09-28

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



He said in reply, “I will not,” but afterwards he changed his mind and went. – Matthew 21:29
My friend Albert (not his real name) is a confessed womanizer. He is also a smoker whom you will smell from several feet away. Every time I mention the word “Jesus” or “Bible,” he would almost always sneer at me.
“Saka na lang” (“Next time”) would be his standard answer whenever I invite him to a seminar or prayer meeting. But I never gave up on him. One day, a common friend invited him to come to my birthday party. What Albert didn’t know was that the “party” included a Bible study.
When I led the group into a prayer of salvation, I saw Albert repeating after me. I know in my heart that the Lord “had” him. Since then, he has been attending our Bible studies, even offering his house to host a gathering. The man who used to reply, “Sorry, I can’t,” changed his mind and joined! With St. Paul, I say, “I am confident of this, that he who began a good work in [Albert] will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Danny Tariman
Do we easily give up on our call to evangelize?
Holy Spirit, empower me to lead people to Jesus!
St. Wenceslaus, martyr, pray for us.




We have no basis for complaint when the suffering we undergo is a result of our own sin. Ezekiel is making this point to the People of Israel when they complain of their trials and tribulations. He counters their complaints with a challenge for them to look at the state of their relationship with God, and acknowledge that their plight is a result of their own decisions and not vengeance being wreaked on them by God.
Ezekiel 18:25-28
25 You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!” Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair? 26 When a virtuous man turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die. 27 But if a wicked man, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; 28 since he has turned away from all the sins which he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R: (6a) Remember your mercies, O Lord.
4 Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior. (R) 6 Remember that your compassion, O LORD, and your kindness are from of old. 7 The sins of my youth and my frailties remember not; in your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O LORD. (R) 8 Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. 9 He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. (R)
Paul beseeches the Philippians to consider the love of God for them and if it is not enough, to inspire them to live in unity of mind and heart. After all, what more could they ask God to do than to give His Son as a sacrifice for their sins? We can very easily fall into the sin of ingratitude and presumption towards the goodness of God. We tend to blame God for our troubles rather than accept the responsibility for our own sins and their consequences. This has to change if we are truly going to become disciples of Jesus.
Philippians 2:1-11
1 Brothers and sisters: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. 3 Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, 4 each looking out not for his own interests, but [also] everyone for those of others. 5 Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, 6 Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. 7 Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, 8 he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. 9 Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
G O S P E L  
True obedience and loyalty is expressed most in deed and not just in word. The problem with words is that they are yet to be acted upon whereas deeds always leave a lasting testament to one’s intentions. It is important as disciples of Jesus that we be men and women who act upon our word and do not just speak the right words. People will respect the witness of a life without words but not the other way around.
Matthew 21:28-32
28 Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. 30 The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. 32 When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.”
my reflections
think:True obedience and loyalty is expressed most in deed and not just in word.

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
My weekly time with God
Things to be grateful for from the past week
Things to ask God for in the coming week
Most important word God told me this week


lEt’s dO it!
Aided with a little bit of imagination, I have thought of a “sequel” to today’s gospel of the Parable of the Two Sons.
The second son (the one who said no to his father at first, but went all the same later) was there indeed, working at the vineyard. The first son, instead, actually ended up playing billiards. In the meantime, the father saw that one of his sons was working in the vineyard. Since he just saw him from afar, he didn’t recognize which of the two it was. He had no idea of what really happened. All the while he was thinking that everything was okay.
While the elder son was playing billiards, he also saw his father from afar and suddenly had qualms of conscience. Making matters worse for him was when he also saw from afar his younger brother, working in the vineyard. He never felt so sorry as then. So went to the vineyard to work as well.
Later, the father went to the vineyard and was taken aback when he saw two young men working there. Upon seeing his second son there working, he was pleasantly surprised. Then came the explanation: “I regretted what I did, and so here am I now working.” The other one also admitted the truth: that although he said yes, he actually escaped to the billiard hall to while away his time. He confessed and begged forgiveness from his father.
The father was more than willing to forgive them both. After several months, the vineyard yielded a big harvest of quality grapes. Jesus’ original parable was specifically addressed to the chief priests and elders of the Israelite people of his time. You can just imagine their consternation when told by Jesus that because of their complacency and self-righteousness, tax collectors and prostitutes are overtaking them in the race to heaven. Salvation isn’t a race to the finish line. We can gain a head start by not dilly-dallying with our repentance and conversion. Let’s not just say, “Yes, sir.” Let’s do it!  Fr. Martin Macasaet
Reflection Question:
Are you dilly-dallying in responding to the Lord?
I am a self-righteous dilly-dallier, Lord. How easy to deceive myself. Save me, Lord.
St, Wenceslaus, martyr, pray for us.

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