READINGS for 2009-02-10
MadE TO PROCREaTE
God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply…” – Genesis 1:28
It’s the most natural thing in the world. A woman falls in love, gets married, gets pregnant and has children. But in our ever increasingly complex world, it doesn’t always happen that way.
Young women get pregnant out of wedlock and end up aborting their babies. Meanwhile, childless married couples line infertility clinics to seek the aid of science to make them a baby.
So when I got pregnant for the first time at the age of 38, joy and excitement flooded in — with fears in tow. Suddenly, I started to hear all kinds of horror stories about pregnancies.
First, there were the high risks associated with my age. Then, there were the 1,001 complications that come with getting pregnant and the ever-present possibility of miscarriages. The fears can be overwhelming. But the Lord was quick to assure me that my body was engineered for this. After all, He created man and woman and commanded them to procreate.
When God gives a mandate, He also gives us the blessing to carry it out. So instead of focusing on our fears, let’s concentrate on what God has told us in His Word.Rissa Singson-Kawpeng
Do you listen to your fears or to God’s Word?
Lord, help me to put more weight on what You say instead of what others say. Amen.
The creation of humanity indicates a certain complementarity of man and woman as it is as male and female that humanity fully images God. The blessings and commands are given to both the man and the woman indicating that they are equal in the mind of God. At the end, we have God resting on the seventh day indicating to us our need for rest as well. Only when we are at rest can we properly reflect upon our relationship with God, and as Socrates tells us, ‘The unreflected life is not worth living!’
20 God said, “Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky.” And so it happened: 21 God created the great sea monsters and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems, and all kinds of winged birds. God saw how good it was, 22 and God blessed them, saying, “Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth.” 23 Evening came, and morning followed — the fifth day. 24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds.” And so it happened: 25 God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. God saw how good it was. 26 Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.” 27 God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.” 29 God also said: “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; 30 and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food.” And so it happened. 31 God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed — the sixth day. 2: 1 Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. 2 Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation. 4 Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation.
P S A L M
Psalm 8:4-5. 6-7. 8-9
R: O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
3  When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you set in place — 4  what is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him? (R) 5  You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. 6  You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet. (R) 7  All sheep and oxen, yes, and the beasts of the field, 8  the birds of the air, the fishes of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas. (R)
G O S P E L
All ancient religions developed quite intricate practices concerning the eating of food. Some of these practices have survived and are still in evidence today. Most of them result from very practical health considerations that were given theological meaning in order to reinforce the reasons why people should obey them. The health reasons may or may not be as serious or urgent today. Nevertheless, the discipline of washing our hands before a meal still stands as a sensible thing to do.
1 When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2 they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. 3 (For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. 4 And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles [and beds].) 5 So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” 6 He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 7 In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’ 8 You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” 9 He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’ 11 Yet you say, “If a person says to father or mother, ‘Any support you might have had from me is qorban’ ” (meaning, dedicated to God), 12 you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. 13 You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”
think: Only when we are at rest can we properly reflect upon our relationship with God. As Socrates tells us, “The unreflected life is not worth living.”
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 Romans 9-12
PuriTy of hearT
Jesus calls “blessed” those who are pure in heart for they shall see God. This is a grace that we must continue to ask from the Lord. We know too well that our hearts are often far from the Lord, as Jesus Himself says in today’s Gospel. “This people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” Jesus is replying to the complaint of the Pharisees who asked why is it that His own disciples do not follow the tradition of the elders, especially the purification rites.
Jesus challenges their hypocrisy. The hypocrite is the one who hides behind a mask. In ancient Greece, for example, the actors of the play would hide behind masks, their faces concealed and their character hidden from the audience. They were on show. The hypocrite is one who conceals his true character. What you see on the outside is for show and is not the true identity of the person.
The Pharisees were hypocritical. They were on show as religious, law-abiding and good living people, yet their lives were masked by falsehood and deception. Jesus could see that their hearts were far from pure. They may do all the right things yet their hearts were not in right order. God judges the heart, not the appearance of man. The prophet Jeremiah says that the heart is most devious; who can understand or comprehend the ways of the human heart? We are hypocrites at times. The Pharisee resides in us also and this must be purified. We must always check the motive of our heart. What is the motivation behind my thoughts, words and actions?
Let us take St. Scholastica as an example, who the Church honors today. Scholastica was the twin sister of St. Benedict. She desired to live a life wholly surrendered to the Lord and was always keen in participating in spiritual matters. The Lord had captured her heart and Scholastica burned with a holy love for the Lord. When the Lord sets us for Himself, we
can be consumed with a longing for Him to purify our heart. Let us invoke her intercession that we might be of pure heart. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
Is my heart pure? What areas in my life do I see impurity?
Lord, purify my heart. Cleanse me from my sin. Make me holy and let me be an instrument of Your grace and love. Amen.
St. Scholastica, Virgin, pray for us.
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