READINGS for 2009-01-02
CallEd TO SERvE
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert...” – John 1:23
It was a three-day business conference in Kuala Lumpur and my wife and I were the main speakers. We were scheduled to give five 45 to 90-minute talks to an audience of 1,500 to 2,000. A combined feeling of excitement and anxiety came over me, for being in that position was both a privilege and an honor.
During my prayer time, it dawned on me that I was there to serve — to serve the attendees. We were there to reach out and share to people, and not to be expert speakers. When that was clear, everything fell into place. I became more relaxed and confident because I took the focus off myself but rather on the mission at hand. Needless to say, the Lord blessed the conference tremendously. In today’s Gospel, John’s response was a reflection of his servant’s heart. He dismissed the “titles” offered to him by his detractors. Rather, he stated clearly what his mission was: He was there to serve.
In this New Year, may we always realize that every situation is an opportunity to serve our neighbor and glorify the Most High!Ariel Driz
Do I have a servant’s heart at all times?
Lord Jesus, make me a better servant this year in my heart, in my mind, in my being at all times. Amen.
We live in a world and at a time when things like faith and religion are rapidly taking a secondary role in peoples’ lives. It is as though people would rather entrust everything on their own abilities and resources. This is a fatal mistake as there are many aspects in life over which we have very little control. It is not that faith gives us control over these things but it does allow us a different perspective from which to view them!
1 John 2:22-28
Beloved: 22 Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life. 26 I write you these things about those who would deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; just as it taught you, remain in him. 28 And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming.
P S A L M
Psalm 98:1. 2-3ab. 3cd-4
R: All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
1 Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; his right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm. (R) 2 The LORD has made his salvation known; in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. 3 He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. (R) All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. 4 Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; break into song; sing praise. (R)
G O S P E L
I am sure we all need to focus at least a little upon the humility of John the Baptist. I think we all struggle to be humble at times and thus need to draw inspiration from his example. It must have been terribly tempting to accept the title of Christ or Messiah and thus be feted and acclaimed among the people. Yet John knew he was not the Messiah and was humble enough to admit it. Likewise when we proclaim the Gospel to others, we must avoid the temptation to act as their savior and leave that role to Jesus. After all, He is the only one who can actually save anyone from sin.
19 This is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites [to him] to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” 23 He said: John the Baptist’s Testimony “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord,”’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” 24 Some Pharisees were also sent. 25 They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, 27 the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” 28 This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
think: When we proclaim the Gospel to others, we must avoid the temptation to act as their savior.
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 Mathew 4-6
facing The comPleTe me: “i am noT… and i am…”
The beginning of the year is a time for making “projections.” We make resolutions for a better personal and moral life. Self-made sages and soothsayers proclaim their fearless forecasts for events, places and persons. Business persons and economists try to predict optimal trends in commerce and finance. Many even go through some rituals perceived to usher in good luck.
John the Baptizer appears in today’s liturgy as a good guide for us. Amidst the tendency to overshoot our optimism at the onset of the year — a false optimism that leads many to place their faith in superstition and magic — John the Baptist stands out as a true mouthpiece of God’s truth:
l Earthly reality has two sides: “I am… and I am not…” We live in a finite world and we are creatures on a journey. Perfection is not a state but a process. We are always moving: there are limits that we have to accept; there are possibilities which we have to claim. To pretend that everything and everyone is limitless is an illusion, a heresy even. Our optimism is good but for it to be a virtue, we have to couple it with humility and tentativity.
l Let us always affirm that we live in God’s Presence, Providence and Mystery. John the Baptist said it well: “…there is one among you whom you do not recognize.” Our plans and projections rest on God’s compassion and mercy. There is no such thing as pure science or pure rationality. We are thankful that as humans, we are the best of creation. Our progress, our civilization, our history and our technologies prove this. But we are not gods. We remain to be humble creatures, subjects not of some unknown elemental powers, but loved images of a Loving and Personal God. To believe in something less than this makes us not Christians, but practitioners of“New Age.” Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP
Gather all your plans for the new year — plans for yourself, for your family and for your career. Bow your head in prayer and submit everything to “Abba, Father.”
Pray this Prayer of Humility: “Loving God and Father, You see that my trust is not based on human actions. I trust in Your mercy and love. By myself I can do nothing, but with You, I can do everything. For the love of You, I want to do my best in all things. To You, my God, be the honor. For myself, I only desire to be with You in heaven. Amen.”
Sts. Basil and Gregory Naziazen, Bishops, pray for us.
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