READINGS for 2009-07-01
… but those who seek the Lord lack for no good thing. – Psalm 34:11
I only had P9,000 left in my savings, tucked away in my desk drawer. Actually, I still had some P700 in my wallet but, even with that, I was probably the poorest chairman of the board in this universe. Then someone called up to say that her daughter was in the hospital. She needed P9,000 pronto! “Why do You always ask for all I have?” I whispered under my breath. Then I told her to pick up her money.
Shortly, another friend barged through our front door, weeping over her family problems and ended with, “Bo, can you give me P500?” I started laughing. “Not P700?” I pulled out my wallet and gave her P500. As I did that, a crumpled paper popped out of my wallet — it was another P500!
Suddenly, I felt God was telling me it was “miracle” time.
I went to my room to count the P9,000 in my drawer for my other needy friend. When I reached P11,000, I stopped, realizing that I had more money than I thought. Finally, when I reached P15,000, I knelt down, cried a little, and prayed, “Lord, You’re something else.”
I felt my Lord speak to my heart, “As you give your all, you will be empty. But in your emptiness, you will have more room for Me.” Bo Sanchez
What is the Lord asking from you? Are you willing to offer it?
Grant me the grace, Lord, to give You what You ask for. Let me have more room for You.
I sometimes try to wonder what the world would be like without sin. It would be a very different place. When we reflect upon today’s reading, we discover a series of events that are put into motion out of fear and jealousy. Sarah, the mother of Isaac, is worried that Hagar’s son, Ishmael, would supplant her son as the true descendant of Abraham, her husband. She thus gets Abraham to banish Ishmael from the house, and this leads to much hardship for Ishmael and Hagar. If only we could avoid jealousy and sin, I am sure the world in which we live would be a far richer and loving place.
Genesis 21:5. 8-20a
5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 8 Isaac grew, and on the day of the child’s weaning, Abraham held a great feast. 9 Sarah noticed the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham playing with her son Isaac; 10 so she demanded of Abraham: “Drive out that slave and her son! No son of that slave is going to share the inheritance with my son Isaac!” 11 Abraham was greatly distressed, especially on account of his son Ishmael. 12 But God said to Abraham: “Do not be distressed about the boy or about your slave woman. Heed the demands of Sarah, no matter what she is asking of you; for it is through Isaac that descendants shall bear your name. 13 As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a great nation of him also, since he too is your offspring.” 14 Early the next morning Abraham got some bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. Then, placing the child on her back, he sent her away. As she roamed aimlessly in the wilderness of Beer-sheba, 15 the water in the skin was used up. So she put the child down under a shrub, 16 and then went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away; for she said to herself, “Let me not watch the child die.” As she sat opposite him, he began to cry. 17 God heard the boy’s cry, and God’s messenger called to Hagar from heaven: “What is the matter, Hagar? Don’t be afraid; God has heard the boy’s cry in this plight of his. 18 Arise, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink. 20 God was with the boy as he grew up.
P S A L M
Psalm 34:7-8. 10-11. 12-13
R: The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
6  When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him. 7  The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. (R) 9  Fear the LORD, you his holy ones, for nought is lacking to those who fear him. 10  The great grow poor and hungry; but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing. (R) 11  Come, children, hear me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12  Which of you desires life, and takes delight in prosperous days? (R)
G O S P E L
The miracles that Jesus worked were not meant to draw attention to Himself per se, but to demonstrate the power God has over any human situation. God shows here that He is more powerful than any evil spirit as He cleanses the demoniacs. The question is, “Are we convinced by this demonstration of power to believe in God or not?” If so then we need to put our faith in God and we will begin to see miracles work in our lives and in the life of the Church. Here is the difficult thing — it is through faith that we will see such things happen regularly.
28 When Jesus came to the other side, to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road. 29 They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” 30 Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding. 31 The demons pleaded with him, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32 And he said to them, “Go then!” They came out and entered the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea where they drowned. 33 The swineherds ran away, and when they came to the town they reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.
think:It is through faith that we will see miracles happen regularly in our lives.
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 1 Kings 13-16
Wrestling With our devils
Once again, we hear the healing account of Jesus with the exorcism of the demoniacs. It was clearly depicted how Jesus Himself was up and against the demons. Even until now, it is but natural for us to want to overcome evil, for they cause adversity, oppression, danger, chaos and even disease. What was funny though in our Gospel is that the devils themselves recognize the power and might of Jesus. The devils were convinced they have no power over Him, that is why they desperately asked Jesus to cast them into the swine and throw them into the sea.
Perhaps, even the swine knew how bad it will be for them to be possessed by evil. They must have felt the fear of being taken by the demon. They preferred death to demonic possession; they ran towards the sea and were drowned altogether.
One thing is sure about the truth of our spiritual life. Devils will come and go, always ready to take us, always geared up to posses us, but the mighty power of Jesus will take them nowhere. Jesus will always emerge victorious. Sadly though, just like the people of the Gospel, there are times when we fail to recognize the battle that Jesus Christ fought for us. We fail to understand His mission. There are even times when we ask Jesus to leave and not bother us again, not because we do not want to be healed but rather we enjoy wrestling with our devils alone, or maybe we really do enjoy mud-wrestling with the devil! The good thing is that God does not always do what we tell Him. Instead, He always heals us and calls us back. Any force of evil cannot overcome His work of healing. Fr. Joel O. Jason
We read in the Scripture that Jesus casts out from Mary Magdalene seven demons (see Mark 16:9). Some Scripture scholars understand this to mean the casting out of the seven capital sins, i. e., pride, avarice, anger, lust, greed, envy, sloth. What are the devils that you harbor within you? Have you asked Jesus lately to help you out in wrestling with them?
Lord, Your might and power have won for us against the forces of evil. Grant us the grace and the courage to seek You always to win over our daily “devils.” Amen.
St. Shenute, Abbot, pray for us.
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