READINGS for 2009-06-25
FORGIVING THE DRAGON
“But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.” – Matthew 7:25
I could feel my heart palpitating and my blood rushing up to my head. The more I thought about what had happened, the angrier I got. This woman was the dragon lady of the workplace and she made it a habit to put down people she didn’t like for no justifiable reason. On this particular occasion, I happened to be the victim. She released another one of her scathing emails and copy furnished the entire management team I was a part of.
Although her malicious act was something expected, she nevertheless succeeded in causing me enough stress to make my blood pressure shoot up. What would Jesus do if He were in my place?
I was scheduled to meet with my lawyer for a possible libel case against her. Unexpectedly, I got a text reminding me to be a healing minister for our healing night. I was dumbfounded. I had been praying for guidance from the Lord and the answer came in a remarkable fashion. How could I minister to others with bitterness in my heart?
I decided to forgive her. As I write this reflection, I’m still hurting and continue to have palpitations. But the word of God has been planted on solid rock. Why should I let it collapse now?Mari Sison-Garcia
Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
Lord I trust in Your faithfulness. Give me the grace and the strength to forgive those who persecute me.
Here is the human solution to the dilemma of the barrenness of Sara. For us today we would call it adultery. In the time of Abraham, this was a legitimate solution to the problem of the lack of an heir. Yet God will not be satisfied with such a solution. He will work the first of many miracles when it comes to barren women in the history of Israel to demonstrate that He does not need any human help in order to be faithful to His promises. We need to know that what God says He will do, He will do!
Genesis 16:1-12. 15-16
1 Abram’s wife Sarai had borne him no children. She had, however, an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar. 2 Sarai said to Abram: “The LORD has kept me from bearing children. Have intercourse, then, with my maid; perhaps I shall have sons through her.” Abram heeded Sarai’s request. 3 Thus, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, his wife Sarai took her maid, Hagar the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his concubine. 4 He had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant. When she became aware of her pregnancy, she looked on her mistress with disdain. 5 So Sarai said to Abram: “You are responsible for this outrage against me. I myself gave my maid to your embrace; but ever since she became aware of her pregnancy, she has been looking on me with disdain. May the LORD decide between you and me!” 6 Abram told Sarai: “Your maid is in your power. Do to her whatever you please.” Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her. 7 The LORD’S messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the road to Shur, 8 and he asked, “Hagar maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.” 9 But the LORD’S messenger told her: “Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment. 10 I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’S messenger, “that they will be too many to count. 11 Besides,” the LORD’S messenger said to her: “You are now pregnant and shall bear a son; you shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard you, God has answered you. 12 He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone, and everyone’s hand against him; in opposition to all his kin shall he encamp.” 15 Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.
P S A L M
Psalm 106:1b-2. 3-4a. 4b-5
R: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. 2 Who can tell the mighty deeds of the LORD, or proclaim all his praises? (R) 3 Blessed are they who observe what is right, who do always what is just. 4 Remember me, O LORD, as you favor your people. (R) Visit me with your saving help, 5 that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones, rejoice in the joy of your people, and glory with your inheritance. (R)
G O S P E L
Words are not enough to bring salvation. They must be accompanied by deeds. James knows this and says so in his letter which is why Luther wanted to delete the Letter of James from the Canon of Scripture. Deleting it from the Canon would not change the truth. Jesus clearly tells us in the Gospel that we must follow our beliefs and words with concrete actions so as to give witness to those around us as to what
21 Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ 24 “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. 26 And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” 28 When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
think:Words are not enough to bring salvation. They must be accompanied by deeds.
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 2 Samuel 17-20
steWArDship oF the blessinGs oF GoD
Living the life of the Kingdom of God is all about exactly that — the life we are living. Our life of faith is not just confined to our belief in a series of doctrines. It is about what we do with the lives God gave us. It is upon this basis that we will be judged by God on the Last Day. It is imperative that we take seriously the call to discipleship or Judgment Day may be a very rude shock to us.
In the Gospels, when Jesus called people to discipleship, we can clearly see that they experience His words in a way that surprises them. Jesus teaches with an authority that they have not previously been known. This is so because Jesus lives what He proclaims and, therefore, there is no easy excuse not to follow His commands. This is why it is important for us to hear Jesus calling us to obedience to His will. If the call only comes from another human being whose life witness is surely imperfect, we will look for and find excuses why we should not follow his or her commands. With Jesus, this is impossible as His example is perfect that we will be unable to fault it.
The etymology of the word “obedience” has its roots in Latin: “to listen carefully.” The implication in Latin is even deeper than just mere listening. Implied within this sort of deep listening is the movement to action. That is, we listen so deeply that we are impelled to follow what we hear — we are moved to action through the act of listening. If we read today’s Gospel carefully, we will see that this is implicit in the words of Jesus when He tells us that it is not enough to hear His words, we need to act upon them. This should be a constant reflection in our lives. Have I accomplished today that which the Lord has asked me to do or not? Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
What can I do to focus more fully on carrying out God’s will for my life? Are there things I need to let go of in my life to make more time for my faith?
Holy Spirit, You are my advocate and guide on the journey to eternal life. Help me to know what it is that God wants me to do and give me the courage to act upon His call.
St. Gohard, Bishop, pray for us.
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