READINGS for 2008-11-18
He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was a little man and could not see Jesus because of the crowd. So he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus, who was going to pass that way. – Luke 19:3-4
In one of my business trips, I visited a huge mall in Jakarta. My plan was just to buy toys for my kids and go back to my hotel. But after 30 minutes, I still couldn’t find a toy store. It was getting late so I asked a saleslady for directions. She didn’t speak English and couldn’t understand me. But after I showed her a picture of my kids, she led me to the escalator and pointed her finger up to the next level.
I went up but my excitement died when I didn’t see any toy section. Again I asked for help and I was directed to the next level. Still no toy section. The same thing happened three more times until I was ready to give up. That’s when I saw the mall directory right beside me. I finally found what I was looking for. So five minutes before closing time, I was able to buy toys for my kids. My perseverance paid off. Zacchaeus in today’s Gospel was determined to see Jesus. In our lives, we should have the same determination in looking for Jesus even if we are faced with obstacles. Alvin Fabella
How often do you seek the presence of Jesus?
Lord, I seek You even when I find it difficult to feel Your presence.
The Church in Rome has always held certain preeminence among all the Churches from very early times. Tradition has associated both Sts. Peter and Paul with foundational work in the Church of Rome. Exactly what they did is difficult to determine, but needless to say, the plethora of Churches dedicated to these men including the two huge basilicas, is testimony to the esteem in which they were held.
Revelation 3:1-6, 14-22
1 I, John, heard the Lord saying to me: “To the angel of the church in Sardis, write this: “ ‘The one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says this: “I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent. If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you. 4 However, you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy. 5 “ ‘ “The victor will thus be dressed in white, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father and of his angels. 6 “ ‘ “Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ 14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea, write this: “ ‘The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God’s creation, says this: 15 “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 “ ‘ “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. 21 I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne. 22 “ ‘ “Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ”
P S A L M
Psalm 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5
R: I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.
2 He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart 3 and slanders not with his tongue. (R) Who harms not his fellow man, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor; 4 by whom the reprobate is despised, while he honors those who fear the LORD. (R) 5 Who lends not his money at usury and accepts no bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be disturbed. (R)
G O S P E L
It is important to maintain good relationships within our communities. In the midst of the busyness of our lives we must prioritize our relationships as they are the only things that will potentially endure. If we neglect giving quality time and effort to our relationships, we will discover that they will deteriorate to the point that every other aspect of our life and mission will also suffer. People are the most important aspect of our lives and we must learn to prioritize accordingly.
1 At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. 2 Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, 3 was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. 5 When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he came down quickly and received him with joy. 7 When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
think:We must prioritize our relationships as they are the only things that will potentially endure.
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 Jeremiah 39-42
GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
Saint Agnes, the patron saint of chastity, gardeners, girls, engaged couples, rape victims and virgins, was born in 291 in Rome. She belonged to a wealthy Christian family.
At a young age, the beauty of Agnes attracted many suitors. She refused them, insisting that she offered her virginity to her true spouse, Jesus Christ. She was denounced a Christian by her suitors and was brought before the magistrate. Agnes was threatened to be tortured. But there was none they did which turned her away from her faith. She was brought to the house of prostitution but the powerful aura of purity she exuded kept the men from harming her. Infuriated, the judge ordered that she be beheaded instead. This sentence Agnes accepted joyfully.
Other stories state that the prefect Sempronius wanted her to marry his son. When she refused, she was condemned to death. According to the Roman law, virgins must not be executed ; thus, he ordered her to be raped. Miraculously, her virginity was preserved. When sentenced to die, she was tied to a stake but the bundle of wood would not burn ; thus, the officer in charge cut her head with a sword.
Saint Agnes was martyred at the age of 13 under the Eastern Roman Emperor Diocletian on January 21, 304.
ELLSBERG, Robert. All Saints : Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time. Quezon City : Claretian Publications. 2001. p. 39.
Saint Fructuosus of the third century was bishop of Tarragoña, Spain. One night, as the bishop and his deacons Saints Augurius and Eulogius were about to go to bed, the guards came to arrest them. The bishop gladly followed.
In prison, they spent their time in fervent prayer. Fructuosus blessed those who visited him and gave baptism to those who asked. Five days later, the priest and his deacons were brought before the governor for their fate. The prisoners affirmed their faith in Go. As a result, the martyrs were sentenced to death by burning. During his processsion, Christians and pagans proved their love for the bishop and his rare virtues.
Saints Fructuosus and Saints Augurius and Eulogius were martyred in 259. Traditions even say that two Christian servants of the governor saw the heavens open and the saints raised up with crowns on their heads.
Saint Ildephonsus (607-667) belonged to a distinguished family from Toledo, Spain. He was the nephew of St. Eugenius, his predecessor in the See of Toledo. Ildephonsus embraced the monastic way of life in the monastery of Agli despite objections from his father. As a monk, he founded and supported a monastery of nuns in Deibiensi villula. After which, he was ordained a deacon in 630 by Helladius, elected Archbishop of Toledo then an Abbot of Agli. Towards the end of 657, Ildephonsus was called by King Reccesvinth in order for him to fill the archiepiscopal throne. And finally, for a liitle more than nine years, he governed the Chruch of Toledo.
Saint Ildephonsus died on January 23, 667 and he was buried in the Basilica of Saint Leocadia.
Today we remember the dedication of two of the four major basilicas of the Catholic Church. St. Peter’s Basilica, the present residence of the pope, is located at the Vatican while the Basilica of St. Paul is in the Ostian Way. Both completed in the fourth century, the dedication of these two basilicas were already celebrated annually as early as the twelfth century. They were both built atop the tomb of the two great apostles after whom they were named: St. Peter’s Basilica over the tomb of St. Peter, the Prince of the apostles, and the Basilica of St. Paul on top of the tomb of St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles.
Peter and Paul are the two greatest apostles of the Lord. The credit, however, is not theirs, but the Lord’s. Peter expressed it very well when he said once to Jesus, “Depart from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.” Just like the rest of us, both Peter and Paul, and all the other apostles for that matter, were sinners. They were not worthy of the Lord, but the love of the Lord made them worthy anyway. Had they not welcomed the love of the Lord, they would have not been great apostles.
There are times when the feeling of unworthiness overwhelms us that we refuse, or at least hesitate, to answer the call of the Lord. If we want to be worthy first before answering the call of the Lord, then we will never answer His call as we will never be worthy. I heard this lesson for the first time from the lady I once loved and who loved me in return. When I decided to go back to the seminary to pursue my priestly studies, I confided to her the greatest of my difficulties: I felt I was not worthy to become a priest anymore. She said, “You are a proud man! You want to be worthy first before you say ‘yes’ to God. You will never answer His call at all because no one is worthy anyway.” I was taken aback by such wisdom; my mind was opened and so did my heart follow. I returned to the seminary and became a priest 10 years after.
Not worthy? Who is? Fr. Bobby Titco
The love of the Lord makes us worthy.
I am not worthy of You, O Lord, and never will I ever be worthy. But because of Your love, I never despair. I continue each day to answer Your call. Your love inspires me to strive to be less unworthy of Your gratuitous choice. Amen.
St. Rose Philipine Duchesne, virgin, pray for us.
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