READINGS for 2009-02-21
… he rewards those who seek him. – Hebrews 11:6
I remember the time when my Mom would make sure she brought her card along every time we went shopping in one particular establishment. She would diligently keep her receipts, too. “For the rewards program,” she would justify to us with a smile.
When we speak about receiving rewards, it automatically makes us excited. And these are just material things. What more when we speak of heavenly rewards — the kind that the Lord cooks up from heaven? If I think of all of those, it just blows my mind. Honestly, where do I begin? The many wonderful experiences in my life because I came to know the Lord. The inexplicable joy of having Him as Constant Friend and Companion. The reward of my husband and being his wife. (We met in the Lord’s service!) And our latest blessing — 15-month-old Helene, our firstborn after eight years of waiting.
When we said, “Take control now, Lord. We seek Your will,” He gave the most precious, greatest miracle ever. The rewards of faith? Innumerable. Immeasurable. Unsurpassable. Just believe! Lallaine Gogna
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Thank You for the infinite bonuses of following You, Lord. But I seek You for You! I look to You alone and know everything else in my life will fall into place.
The beginning of Chapter 11 of the Letter to the Hebrews celebrates the wonder of faith and some of the great men of faith of the Old Testament. Let us reflect upon the lives of these great patriarchs of the faith and seek to learn from them what it truly means to open ourselves to the power of God and allow Him to use us as His instruments.
1 Brothers and sisters: Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. 2 Because of it the ancients were well attested. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice greater than Cain’s. Through this he was attested to be righteous, God bearing witness to his gifts, and through this, though dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and “he was found no more because God had taken him.” Before he was taken up, he was attested to have pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, warned about what was not yet seen, with reverence built an ark for the salvation of his household. Through this he condemned the world and inherited the righteousness that comes through faith.
P S A L M
Psalm 145:2-3. 4-5. 10-11
R: I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
2 Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD and highly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable. (R) 4 Generation after generation praises your works and proclaims your might. 5 They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty and tell of your wondrous works. (R) 10 Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you. 11 Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might. (R)
G O S P E L
The coming of Elijah as a precursor to the Messiah is not meant to be a literal return of the Prophet Elijah himself, but that there will be someone, or perhaps even a people, who will prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah in the spirit of the Prophet Elijah. Thus, we can see John the Baptist as a man in this mold as well as the others that worked with him, and independently of him, to prepare the way for the ministry of Jesus our Messiah and Lord.
2 Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. 4 Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. 7 Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” 8 Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. 9 As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant. 11 Then they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 12 He told them, “Elijah will indeed come first and restore all things, yet how is it written regarding the Son of Man that he must suffer greatly and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”
think:Let us seek to learn from the great patriarchs of the faith what it truly means to open ourselves to the power of God.
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 Ephesians 1-3
This is a famous Filipino expression — “secret!” It is not learned in language schools but is learned by way of relating to the Filipino. A number of people I know say this to me and I am often frustrated. “Why can’t you tell me? Why is it a secret? Tell me!”
Jesus uses this form of expression in the Gospel. He tells them not to relate what they had seen to anyone — secret! Throughout the Gospel of Mark, there is a tension building up: the messianic secret, which is to be revealed at the death and resurrection of Jesus. Until then it remains a secret. However, like all “good” secrets, some had the better advantage of knowledge.
What an experience it must have been for the companions of Jesus: Peter, James and John. There they were on top of the mountain with Jesus, Elijah and Moses. No wonder Peter wanted to capture the experience — a Kodak moment. Let us make three tents. Let us keep this moment, Let us make it last. And we have the same kinds of experiences— moments of consolation. We need these times to strengthen our faith and to aid us on the journey of life. On the mountain, the companions caught a glimpse of who Jesus is. He is the Messiah, the one who was to free the people from slavery through the passing over from death to life.
However, as all good things must come to an end, so, too, this experience. But the disciples remembered this. Peter wrote to his community that he was there on the mountain with Jesus. We, too, must remember the goodness of the Lord in our own lives. The Lord is always with us. He reminds us of His presence in many and various ways.
Let us listen to His voice in the events and circumstances of our daily lives, in the Word proclaimed at Mass. Let us listen to His voice through wise counsel, in confession, in pastoral care, in the signs of the times. As we listen, let us respond and not allow His voice to fall on deaf ears. His voice is not a secret but there for “anyone who has ears.” Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
What is the Lord saying to me in my life at this time — through Mass, wise counsel, the events of my life, the signs of the times?
Lord, it is good to be here. Help me to listen to Your voice. Amen.
St. Peter Damiani, Bishop and Doctor, pray for us.
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