READINGS for 2008-10-26

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



“You shall love the Lord your God… You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37, 39
“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired,” said Mother Teresa. I was asking the Lord how I could love Him more last Holy Week when I remembered this quote which my brother sent me on my birthday.
I realized that far too many times, I think of love as something that must be extraordinary, something heroic and cinematic just like what the saints did: dying as a martyr, going to a faraway land as a missionary, fasting often and the like. I forget that more often, love is an everyday, ordinary thing. Waking up early to cook for the family. Working hard to be able to send the children to school. Trying to be patient with an irritating officemate. So on that day, I prayed for the grace of an untiring love.
For many of us who are called to an ordinary and sometimes seemingly humdrum existence, we have to realize that loving Jesus is always extraordinary — whatever everyday form it might take. Because everything we do, as long as it is done in the spirit of love, is special to Him and comes from Him who is Love. Joy Sosoban
Love and do what you like. (St. Augustine)
Dear Lord, increase my love that everything I do will be an offering of love to You.


We have a duty to care for the strangers in our land. Governments have a moral responsibility in this regard, and an even bigger moral responsibility if the strangers are refugees from their homeland due to persecution or other troubles. Some countries of the world take this responsibility seriously but many do not. It is important that we don’t keep silent as citizens when there is a clear call to stand up for and protect those who have little or no voice to defend themselves.
Exodus 22: 20-26
20 Thus says the Lord: “You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. 21 You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. 22 If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry. 23 My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans. 24 “If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people, you shall not act like an extortioner toward him by demanding interest from him. 25 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you shall return it to him before sunset; 26 for this cloak of his is the only covering he has for his body. What else has he to sleep in? If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate.
Psalm 18: 2-3, 3-4, 47, 51(2 )
R: I love you, Lord, my strength.
1 [2] I love you, O LORD, my strength, 2 [3] O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. (R) My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold! 3 [4] Praised be the LORD, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies. (R) 46 [47] The LORD live! And blessed be my Rock! Extolled be God my savior. 50 [51] You who gave great victories to your king and showed kindness to your anointed. (R)
Paul commends the Thessalonians for their witness in their region in the way of Gospel living. However, we will see later that all is not well in the Thessalonian community. They are not yet perfect in their lifestyle. This is true of all communities. It is important that we all remain open to the correction of our faults so that the witness we give will continue to grow in both authenticity and strength.
1 Thessalonians 1: 5c-10
5 Brothers and sisters: You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the holy Spirit, 7 so that you became a model for all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth not only in Macedonia and [in] Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. 9 For they themselves openly declare about us what sort of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God 10 and to await his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath.
Jesus summarizes the moral law of the Gospel with two all-encompassing laws of love. They equally summarize the Ten Commandments well – namely the love of God and the love of our neighbor. It is not enough just to do what we think might be the loving thing according to our feelings. The love Jesus is speaking about here is the love that comes from the heart, yes, but it is also a love that is ALWAYS guided by moral truth. This makes it a far greater challenge to implement.
Matthew 22: 34-40
34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them [a scholar of the law] tested him by asking, 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and the first commandment. 39 The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
my reflections
think:It is important that we all remain open to the correction of our faults so that the witness we give will continue to grow.

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 us never forget the answer Jesus gives to the above question as it is the basis of how we should prioritize our lives. We neglect to reflect upon this Gospel to our own detriment and pain. One of the reasons we experience so much disorder and struggle in our lives is that we do not surrender them to God. Rather, we focus upon our own limited understanding of what we want out of life. I can assure you now that God’s will for your life will bring far greater fulfillment than anything you could imagine or ask for from Him. Do you believe that?
Before you answer the question, think a bit about the structure of your day and where you place your daily prayer time and Scripture reading – is it given top priority? Or do you fit it in whenever there is a spare moment? Jesus knew His need for quiet and so goes off into the desert or into the mountains to pray at regular intervals. He does so to maintain His relationship with His Father and His commitment to His Father’s will and not just His own. This is the model for Christian discipleship that we all must take up.
Even the Pharisees and men of the law in Israel knew that love of God must have the priority in their lives, yet so often it was the law that intervened. Why does this happen? I think it happens simply because one of the tendencies of human beings is to seek to control their environment, and in particular the people around them. This is what the focus on the law helps the Pharisees to do and thus why they have such a commitment to it: It maintained their authority and governance over the people according to their own ideals so long as they could make them look as though they were coming from the law of God.
The human heart can be very deceiving. This is why it needs to be placed directly under the guidance of God so that we do not have an intervening reality, in this case the Law, to complicate, confuse or to even hide the true object of our faith, namely God. Let us seek God above all things, even the law. Fr. Steve Tynan
Reflection Question:
Is God the center of my life? Does He take first priority in all my thoughts and actions? How can I better honor God in all that I do?
Holy Spirit, help me to put aside the temptations of sin so that I can focus my life on responding to Your love and will for my life.
St. Bean, pray for us.

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