READINGS for 2009-08-13
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know I am with you…” – Joshua 3:7
It’s amazing how God, in our weakest and darkest hours, ever lovingly sends His power over us, to lead and guide us where He intends us to be.
When my relatives in Sydney registered me to participate in the Hillsong Conference ‘07, I was the least excited. Not knowing what to expect and what it will yield and lead me to, I resorted to begging off a ridiculous number of times. Not to mention that I was extremely “busy” minding some intense emotional and personal issues at that time.
However, in one prayer of submission to our Lord two nights before my departure date, God impressed upon my heart “His grip” that assured me that He wanted me there and that He had everything under control.
As if a strong arm held me through a raging river so I could safely cross, I felt suddenly secure. And so I went. Now my friends, you are reading one of the very reasons why God wanted me there: to bear witness to it here, in my very first reflection for Didache. Eugene Cailao
The Lord can only gain control over us as much as we allow Him to. Let us be humble in our prayers and accept that we are incapable without Him.
I humble myself under Your Mighty Hand, Lord, that in due time You may exalt me. I cast all my cares unto You, Father God. Bless me.
It must have been an amazing sight — the River Jordan, stopped in its tracks by the power of God allowing the Israelites to pass into the Promised Land with dry feet. I think we tend to overlook some of the happenings in the past as so remarkable they have little relevance for us today. This is a mistake! If God did it then, and He did, He can work the same miracles, even greater ones, in our day as well! The problem is, we seldom believe this is true and thus do not ask or expect Him to work in such ways.
Joshua 3:7-10a. 11. 13-17
7 The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know I am with you, as I was with Moses. 8 Now command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant to come to a halt in the Jordan when they reach the edge of the waters.” 9 So Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD, your God.” 10 “This is how you will know that there is a living God in your midst, who at your approach will dispossess the Canaanites. 11 The ark of the covenant of the LORD of the whole earth will precede you into the Jordan. 13 When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the ark of the LORD, the Lord of the whole earth, touch the water of the Jordan, it will cease to flow; for the water flowing down from upstream will halt in a solid bank.” 14 The people struck their tents to cross the Jordan, with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant ahead of them. 15 No sooner had these priestly bearers of the ark waded into the waters at the edge of the Jordan, which overflows all its banks during the entire season of the harvest, 16 than the waters flowing from upstream halted, backing up in a solid mass for a very great distance indeed, from Adam, a city in the direction of Zarethan; while those flowing downstream toward the Salt Sea of the Arabah disappeared entirely. Thus the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 While all Israel crossed over on dry ground, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD remained motionless on dry ground in the bed of the Jordan until the whole nation had completed the passage.
P S A L M
Psalm 114:1-2. 3-4. 5-6
1 When Israel came forth from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of alien tongue, 2 Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his domain. (R) 3 The sea beheld and fled; Jordan turned back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like the lambs of the flock. (R) 5 Why is it, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? 6 You mountains, that you skip like rams? You hills, like the lambs of the flock? (R)
G O S P E L
Another essential aspect of truly living the Gospel is learning to forgive the sins of others. This should not be too difficult for us as we have already received the forgiveness of God for our sins. It is this truth that has to become the basis for our forgiveness of others. If we fail to forgive others their sins against us, how can we expect God to forgive our sins against Him? God is a God of justice; we are therefore expected to live just and holy lives.
21 Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. 23 That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. 25 Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. 26 At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ 27 Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. 28 When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ 29 Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30 But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. 31 Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. 32 His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. 33 Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ 34 Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. 35 So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.” 19: 1 When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.
think: If we fail to forgive others their sins against us, how can we expect God to forgive our sins?
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 Judith 13-16
something deePer About Forgiveness
Peter’s question triggered Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness in today’s Gospel. His question focused more on the frequency of forgiveness (how often), presupposing already the need and importance of forgiveness. Jesus not only answered the question; He went beyond it. For Him, it was not just a question of quantity (how often) but, more importantly, a question of quality (why). Jesus touched on something deeper, which is the timeless and timely issue of the reason for forgiveness. We ask, “Why forgive?” I recall the striking Time magazine cover several years ago, showing the late Pope John Paul II sitting side-by-side with the man who would have killed him, his would be assassin Mehmet Ali Agca. The Pope actually visited him in prison, offered him words of pardon and consolation. The famous question “Why forgive?” served both as caption and title. The cover caught the imagination of a world which glorifies vengeance and reprisal. It is actually “our” question.
Since we are talking about quality here (and not quantity), Shakespeare’s famous sentence also comes to mind: “The quality of mercy is not strained” (from The Merchant of Venice). Such quality stems from the direct association between God’s mercy and forgiveness on one hand, and ours on the other hand. In His parable, Jesus shows us the connection and tells us that in some mysterious way, divine forgiveness somehow depends on our forgiveness. Shakespeare wrote, again from the same play, “How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?” But it’s as if it was the king in Jesus’ parable who pronounces them to the wicked servant.
If it was Peter’s question which gave occasion to Jesus’ parable, then this last question from the great English dramatist/poet should serve as a wake-up call and make us realize our own unworthiness, if God were to grant us His mercy. Never mind that other question, “Why forgive?” We forgive those who wrong us, because otherwise God will not forgive us. Conversely, that’s why we forgive others — because we have been forgiven by God. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB
Is there someone I need to forgive today?
Lord Jesus, create in me a forgiving heart that I may be worthy of Your forgiveness for my own iniquities.
Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus, Priests and Martyrs, pray for us.
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