READINGS for 2009-08-26
SAy IT louD
And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly... – 1 Thessalonians 2:13
I’ll never forget that day. It began bright and early with a phone call from my boss telling me to implement the suggestions I gave for FiSH, the youth magazine of which I’m managing editor. I felt so good. So positive. So eager to go and get work done.
On my way out, Dad asked me where I was going. I answered, “To work… and I’m excited!”
“Why?” he asked. Then a million thoughts popped up in my head and as I opened my mouth they came rushing out one by one. “Because I’m valuable to my company. And I love my work. And God has blessed me with passion, creativity and zeal….” I couldn’t stop. I went on and on. I was fired up the whole day, and every day after that.
Yes, we have problems. Yes, we experience hardships. But equally and more importantly real is the fact that we are blessed, loved and well cared for by our God. If we focus on all the good things we have going for us and constantly give thanks instead of complaining, then our days will be filled with joy. Because what we confess out loud is what will occupy our thoughts.
Give it a try. George Gabriel
List down five things you would like to thank God for today. After that, list down another five. And another five after that…
Thank You, Lord, for…
The call to enter the Kingdom of God is a call to share in the glory of God. God’s glory is greatest in His Kingdom and we are called to share in it. Perhaps we will better understand what this means if we consider the truth that God’s glory will surpass anything we have on earth or could even dream of having. God’s glory is certainly worth whatever price God might ask us to pay.
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
9 You recall, brothers, our toil and drudgery. Working night and day in order not to burden any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers. 11 As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, 12 exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you conduct yourselves as worthy of the God who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 13 And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly, that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received not a human word but, as it truly is, the word of God, which is now at work in you who believe.
P S A L M
Psalm 139:7-8. 9-10. 11-12ab
R: You have searched me and you know me, Lord.
7 Where can I go from your spirit? From your presence where can I flee? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I sink to the nether world, you are present there. (R) 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall guide me, and your right hand hold me fast. (R) 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light” — 12 for you darkness itself is not dark, and night shines as the day. (R)
G O S P E L
We all await the coming of the Son of Man in glory. When He will come none of us knows. In fact the Scriptures says that not even Jesus knows the date of His return. The truth of the matter is that it does not really matter when Jesus comes again as the imperative to respond to the Gospel proclamation is upon us now. Paul tells us unequivocally that the Day of Salvation is here… now! What are you going to do about it? The answer is simple — respond to God’s call of love in the best way you possibly can!
27 Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. 28 Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing. 29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ 31 Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; 32 now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”
think:It does not really matter when Jesus comes again as the imperative to respond to the Gospel proclamation is upon us now.
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 5-6
When our religion boomerAngs on us
Chapter 23 of the Gospel according to Matthew gives a total of seven “woes” against the Pharisees, denouncing them for their hypocritical religious style. (See the reflections yesterday and last August 22.) Our Gospel passage today contains the last two of such woes.
The Pharisees’ high standards of purity and holiness (particularly on Sabbath observance and ritual cleanliness) “boomeranged” on them. They often treated non-observant Jews as Gentiles, shutting them out of local councils, boycotting their businesses and ostracizing them. But now Jesus turns the tables on them.
In another Gospel passage (Luke 18:9-14, the so-called Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector), Jesus contrasted the genuine spirit of repentance of the tax collector against the high-and-mighty, holier-than-thou attitude of hypocritical religion (symbolized by the Pharisee). The latter even goes to the extent of putting himself way above the former in a display of self-righteousness: “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.” But for us who read that parable, that exactly can be the trap: we might react in the same way against such a model of crookedness (“I thank you, Lord, that I am not like that Pharisee”), presumptuous and complacent as we often are.
The antidote is simple. Let us not read Jesus’ words against the Pharisees as if they do not apply to us at all. We have to remind ourselves that maybe there is a bit of the Pharisee in us.
For how often we put premium on form and ritual (at the expense of interiority and substance) in religion? We think that we can buy our way to heaven or cover our wrongdoing by offering a Mass or two, by doing some prescribed ritual, or by donating to the church. God forbid that our religion be dichotomized from our spirituality. Let us carry out our religious practices, yes, but let us not allow them to boomerang on us. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB
Do I condescend on people who are outrightly doing sinful deeds? What does Jesus dictate me to do when dealing with such people?
Lord, grant me compassion, not self-righteousness, so I may be truly another Jesus to other people.
St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet Ibars, Virgin, pray for us.
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