READINGS for 2009-02-26

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
My grandmother had lived with us since the day I was born. Mom is her eldest child and the doctor of the family. As far as I can remember, Lola had depended on her for everything.
For Mom, Lola was never wrong. She always obeyed and we always had to give in to what Lola wanted. Our schedules revolved around Lola’s preferences and desires. And no matter how difficult Lola could be at times, Mom always made it a point to remain respectful.
When I was much younger, I admit, I resented this setup. But as I grew older, I realized that the whole thing was about love. Self-denial. Sacrifice. Something I didn’t understand at first but now want to learn in full.
Mommy woke up every day, attended to Lola, denied herself, sacrificed her own comfort and desires, turned away from worldly pleasures and simply loved Lola. She loved her in the true sense of the word. She died to herself for Lola’s sake.
Jesus lived a life of love. Mommy followed Him closely. Every single day, ‘til the day Lola went home to God. George Gabriel
Who do you need to die (or live) for today?
Lord, You laid down Your life for me. Help me lay it down for others as well.


Life is a series of choices that all add up to a decision concerning what lifestyle we are going to adopt. Whether we like it or not, a lot of the choices we are called to make will be choices between right and wrong. If we choose the latter, we will be setting our lives on a path that will not prosper in terms of leading us to eternal life with God. Often the right choice is the more difficult and lonely road to travel, nevertheless, it is the only path that leads to eternal life.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
15 Moses said to the people: “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. 16 If you obey the  commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous, and the LORD, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy. 17 If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen, but are led astray and adore and serve other gods, 18 I tell you now that you will certainly perish; you will not have a long life on the land which you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy. 19 I call heaven and earth today to witness against you. I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, 20 by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you  to live on the land which the LORD swore he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
Psalm 1:1-2. 3. 4 and 6
R: Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
1 Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, 2 but delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night. (R) 3 He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers. (R) 4 Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes. (R)
Jesus chose a path of suffering for His life because He knew that this was the path that would lead to our salvation. If this is what Jesus had to do to remain obedient to His Father’s will, how much more can we expect to confront similar struggles and obstacles in our own lives? Jesus has shown us the way; all that remains is for us to choose to follow in His footsteps.
Luke 9:22-25
22 Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” 23 Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?
my reflections
think: Life is a series of choices that all add up to a decision concerning what lifestyle we are going to adopt.

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR 2 Thessalonians 1-3


The choice iS yourS
The people led by Moses are entrusted with the Law of God. The Law was God’s way of communicating life to His people. To obey the Law was to obey God, the Deliverer and Savior, who had led them thus far. The people had experienced blessing after blessing from God, who provided for them throughout their journey and who would be with them as they entered into the “promised land” of Canaan. Moses reminds the people about God who has always been with them. He tells them very simply that in order to live fully under the blessing of God, one must love the Lord, heed His voice and hold fast to Him. To do this, life was theirs. But then there is always the “if.” If you turn away from God, if your hearts and minds refuse to listen and obey, then death will be their fate. The choice is theirs. Moses exhorts them to choose life.
The Israelites were moving into foreign territory and their eyes must have widened when they saw the idolatry and pagan worship before them. At this time they only knew the One God, the Lord of Heaven and earth, yet as they moved further into territory, a new world was waiting to tempt and entice them. Already some of them had heard stories of their ancestors and experienced the idolatry of the people when Moses found them idolizing the gold calf. In life, we have to make many decisions, from the moment we wake up to the time we sleep. Some of those decisions have good repercussions; others bad. We live and learn by the choices we make daily. We decide what path to take regarding career, study, vocation. We decide what food to eat, what clothes to wear, what to do today. And we live with the consequences of our decisions!
Whatever choice we make, life should always be the motive, not death. The Lord wants us to live life to the full. He Himself came to give life and abundantly. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live — by loving the Lord, heeding His voice and holding fast to Him. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
Reflection Question:
What decisions do I need to make today? Am I choosing life?
Lord, I choose life today. Help me to love with the power of Your life and love through the grace of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
St. Porphyry of Gaza, Bishop, pray for us.

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