READINGS for 2009-08-25
We did not try to get praises from anyone, either from you or from others. – 1 Thessalonians 2:6
“For 16 years, I was in prison,” I shared to a Charismatic community in a metropolitan jail. I told the convicts how I would laugh on the outside but cry on the inside knowing that my beloved husband was sick and I couldn’t take care of him until his death. “But in prison, I realized how much God loves me. Everyone will leave you and me but Jesus will never abandon us!” I ended with tears. Many approached me and praised me for giving them hope. Some of them had cases that had delayed trials or were neglected. Still others had been abandoned by their families in so short a time.
Their praises for me continued. “Imagine, in so short a time you were able to build yourself a house. And to think that you were out of prison barely a year ago!” “And you’re employed so soon? How did you do that?” In the past, I would have loved all these acclaim. But as the prisoners heaped praises on me, I knew that it wasn’t by my own efforts that I’ve attained what I have today. Everything in my life has become possible because of God’s grace and my conviction to do things in accordance to His purpose (Romans 8:28), not to mention the support of my community and friends.Beth Corral
Do you take credit for what God is doing in your life? Give the glory back to Him!
Let not pride again rule over me, Oh Lord. I offer to You everything that I say, think and do — all for Your greater glory. Amen.
Paul was not one to let a few minor hardships put a stop to his proclaiming the Gospel in a city. The determination he put behind his service of the Kingdom ought to be enough to inspire us to double our own efforts. Let us pray that we will always seek to grow in our commitment to Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
1 You yourselves know, brothers, that our reception among you was not without effect. 2 Rather, after we had suffered and been insolently treated, as you know, in Philippi, we drew courage through our God to speak to you the gospel of God with much struggle. 3 Our exhortation was not from delusion or impure motives, nor did it work through deception. 4 But as we were judged worthy by God to be entrusted with the gospel, that is how we speak, not as trying to please human beings, but rather God, who judges our hearts. 5 Nor, indeed, did we ever appear with flattering speech, as you know, or with a pretext for greed — God is witness — 6 nor did we seek praise from human beings, either from you or from others, 7 although we were able to impose our weight as apostles of Christ. Rather, we were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children. 8 With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us.
P S A L M
Psalm 139:1-3. 4-6
R: You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
1 O LORD, you have probed me and you know me; 2 you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. 3 My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar. (R) 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know the whole of it. 5 Behind me and before, you hem me in and rest your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; too lofty for me to attain. (R)
G O S P E L
It is always much easier to speak a truth than to live it. This is why we have the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” Yes, words are important in explaining a position taken or introducing a new truth to someone. However, words must always be accompanied by the lived witness of the truth being proclaimed. Without the lived witness, a skeptic will remain skeptical; there will be little chance of conversion. With a lived witness of a truth, words may be superfluous.
23 Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”
think: With a lived witness of a truth, words may be superfluous.
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 Maccabees 3-4
Jesus’ Angry side
We again see the angry side of Jesus in our Gospel reading today. Once again, His target was the hypocritical and legalistic attitude of the Pharisees.
It all stemmed from a misplaced zeal on their part, in their putting more value on the trivial, while at the same time neglecting or forgetting about the essential. This is precisely what Jesus exposes in the first part of His indictment. It’s true that the Mosaic Law levied tithes on agricultural produce; but the Pharisees scrupulously applied the precept to the most insignificant of plants (mint and dill and cummin). They ignored what really was supposed to matter most (judgment, mercy and fidelity). And in similarly exaggerated contrasts, Jesus castigates them who “strain out the gnat and swallow the camel,” and who “cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.” If only we too can get our priorities and values right — for indeed, we can also be guilty of such a misplaced zeal. Against what can possibly be the worst thing that can happen, may we never reach the point which the great writer Blaise Pascal warns about: “People never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”
That would be a pity! And yet we see this happening time and again in human history. There is a name for it: religious fundamentalism.
More than any religious prescription or doctrine, more than any sacred regulation or dogma, is the person of Jesus Christ. If our Faith has brought us to the living God (not merely to a ritual), if it has given us a deep sense of belonging (not just having our name in a baptismal register), if it has ever given us “the real thing” (and “the real thing” here is a real person, Jesus Christ) — then we shouldn’t mind at all if ever our Lord will show us His angry side, too. To Him be all majesty and glory! Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB
Do I also hear Jesus castigating me for the way I live my life?
Lord, may I be always mindful of the reason behind every ritual that I do — which is You.
St. Joseph Calasanz, Priest, pray for us.
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