READINGS for 2009-02-04
My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by Him. – Hebrews 12:5b
When we were growing up, our parents, teachers and other people in authority exacted discipline from us. Then it probably felt that discipline curtailed our actions and limited us. But reading God’s Word made me understand better that discipline is more about love than control. When we discipline other people out of love for them, we earn their respect and obedience.
I have two teenaged household help, Alma and Belle, and I teach them the discipline of household work. At first, it wasn’t easy because they were stubborn. Out of exasperation, I knelt down in prayer and God encouraged me. I introduced them to the Bible and took time to have sharing sessions with them. I also brought them to prayer meetings and worship services. As months passed, they came to realize what discipline means. Alma thanked me for my efforts in teaching them. She even voluntarily gave up the use of her cell phone for a time, when she realized that it contributed to strife in her relationships. Knowing Jesus truly makes the burden of discipline easy for me and for others, too. Donna España
Have you discovered how God shows His love through discipline?
Lord, I pray that the rigors of Your discipline would eventually bring the peaceful fruit of righteousness in me. Amen.
The root word of discipleship is ‘discipline.’ This means that whether we like it or not, we will have to embrace the tedium and repetitiveness associated with learning a new way of life. In order to do this, it will be helpful if we are able to keep our eyes fixed on the goal of our discipleship, namely, the enjoyment of eternal life in heaven. There will be suffering involved when we choose to follow Jesus, just as there is suffering in any path of life we choose. However, with Jesus the suffering is given meaning in terms of the goal of our lives.
Hebrews 12:4-7. 11-15
4 Brothers and sisters: In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. 5 You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; 6 for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.” 7 Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline? 11 At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. 12 So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. 13 Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God, that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble, through which many may become defiled.
P S A L M
Psalm 103:1-2. 13-14. 17-18a
R: The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him.
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (R) 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him, 14 for he knows how we are formed; he remembers that we are dust. (R) 17 But the kindness of the LORD is from eternity to eternity toward those who fear him, and his justice toward children’s children 18 among those who keep his covenant. (R)
G O S P E L
It seems that those who know Jesus best are the first to reject Him as He begins His ministry claiming to be the Messiah. His relatives and friends cannot see past the boy they grew up with and thus fail to make the step of faith that will have them recognize Jesus as Lord and Savior. Familiarity sometimes leads to contempt! This is something we need to consciously work against so that our faith will always be fresh and ready to respond to whatever the call of God happens to be for us today.
1 Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! 3 Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the
brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” 5 So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.
think:Are we able to keep our eyes fixed on the goal of our discipleship — the enjoyment of eternal life in heaven?
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 Acts 13-16
faiTh: a gifT of god
The Catechism teaches us that faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by Him. Often we take this for granted. Faith needs to be developed, strengthened and matured. There has to be cooperation on our part. God doesn’t just give us faith — the human will and intellect submit to divine grace and allows it to be moved by interior grace of the Holy Spirit. In the Gospel today, we hear that Jesus was amazed at the people’s lack of faith. They could not bring themselves to submit their intellect and will to the truth that Jesus wished to convey to them.
We are the same. At times, we fail to submit to God’s ways. We analyze, rationalize and criticize the truth of God, but God is bigger than our minds. The people during Jesus’ time were certain they knew Him: the son of a carpenter, the son of Mary. They had analyzed, criticized and rationalized all about Him. But Jesus was bigger than their minds.
We do the same. We think we know all about God. We put Him in a box and say we have Him all worked out. But God is bigger than that. Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith. They weren’t willing to think otherwise — their minds were already made up as to who He was. We also have a tendency to think that way. We know who Jesus is and have already made up our mind. Isaiah the prophet says about God, “Your ways are high above our ways; Your thoughts high above our thoughts.”
What a shame it was that Jesus could not work many mighty deeds there except to lay hands on a few. The Lord wants to give us many blessings. He wants to perform many mighty deeds in our days, yet like the neighbors of Jesus, we have too often closed our minds and hearts to Him.
Let us ask the Lord to increase our faith in Him. Perhaps we need to let go of our old mindset about Jesus and ask Him to reveal Himself to us anew. Let us be among those whom the Lord will be pleased with because of our faith — like what we heard about in the Gospel yesterday. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
Do I believe in Jesus? Do I place my faith and trust in Him?
Lord, I believe but help my unbelief. Strengthen my faith in You. I thank You for this wonderful gift of faith You have given to me. Amen.
St. Rhabanus Maurus, Abbot, pray for us.
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