READINGS for 2009-09-22
“My mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” – Luke 8:21
I love my family. I do my best to love my relatives from both “sides” — the Fernandezes and the Pecañas. I’ve learned to love my sisters and brothers in community — my second family. I strive to love my friends, both old and new. But I guess my “loving” is still limited to those whom I consider as “family.”
And family for me is about relationships — by blood, by friendship, by faith. Jesus’ definition of family encompasses every type of relationship and more. He considers part of His family “those who hear the word of God and act on it.” Having a personal relationship with God and obeying His will are what it takes to become part of Jesus’ big, wonderful family.
I struggle to become worthy of being called “daughter of God” and “sister of Jesus.” I struggle to love beyond the confines of my family. I believe I shall do so until the end. Only by God’s grace and mercy will I be able to embrace as “family” all those who love and are bound by a spiritual relationship with Him. Dina Pecaña
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” (Desmond Tutu)
Thank You, Jesus, for calling me to be part of Your family. What an honor and privilege it is to be Your brother, Your sister.
Ezra worked with Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem and the Jewish state after the Babylonian exile. It was an enormous task! They received help from the prophetic ministries of Haggai and Zechariah as well. Any work of the Lord will employ many of God’s people. It is not possible for us to change the Church or the world singlehandedly. Let us seek to live and work as a community of faith, striving to do God’s will in all that we set out to accomplish.
Ezra 6:7-8. 12b. 14-20
7 King Darius issued an order to the officials of West-of-Euphrates: “Let the governor and the elders of the Jews continue to work on that house of God; they are to rebuild it on its former site. 8 I also issue this decree concerning your dealing with these elders of the Jews in the rebuilding of that house of God from the royal revenue, the taxes of West-of-euphrates, let these men be repaid for their expenses, in full and without delay. 12 I, Darius, have issued this decree; let it be carefully executed.” 14 The elders of the Jews continued to make progress in the building, supported by the message of the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, son of Iddo. They finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus and Darius [and of Artaxerxes, king of Persia]. 15 They completed this house on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. 16 The Israelites — priests, Levites, and the other returned exiles — celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. 17 For the dedication of this house of God, they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, and four hundred lambs, together with twelve he-goats as a sin-offering for all Israel, in keeping with the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 Finally, they set up the priests in their classes and the Levites in their divisions for the service of God in Jerusalem, as is prescribed in the book of Moses. 19 The exiles kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 The Levites, every one of whom had purified himself for the occasion, sacrificed the Passover for the rest of the exiles, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.
P S A L M
Psalm 122:1-2. 3-4ab. 4cd-5
R: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
1 I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” 2 And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem. (R) 3 Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. 4 To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD. (R) According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. 5 In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David. (R)
G O S P E L
Faith is not just about pious feelings and prayers. Our faith must impel us to act according to the will of God against the injustices of the world. Yes, I know that no individual can change the sinful structures in our world. However, we can each do our part to ensure that we do not reinforce such structures by our actions. When it comes to sin, even endemic sin, a Christian must ensure that he or she is not part of the problem but a part of the solution. This will only be true if we are living a life of holiness where sin has no place at all in anything that we do!
19 The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. 20 He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.” 21 He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
think:Do I reinforce the sinful structures of the world through my actions? Am I a part of the problem or of the solution?
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 Songs 5-8
PrActicing the Word oF god
I think we need to spend more time reflecting upon the latter part of what Jesus tells us about being His disciple in today’s Gospel. It is easy to hear the Gospel; it is a whole different thing to actually put it into practice. But it is the living out of the Gospel that is crucial to its proclamation — if we are not willing to live the Gospel, what right have we to call others to it? Precisely none! We would be in the same situation as the Scribes and Pharisees when Jesus labeled them as hypocrites. To be a hypocrite is to lack integrity. This is not acceptable for a Christian because integrity is at the heart of the Gospel message. If an individual does not live the Gospel, he has no right to call himself a Christian. Herein lies the perennial challenge for those who believe: to ensure we have the same values as the Gospel we proclaim. Jesus is the perfect example of what it means to live a life of integrity. He was not at all worried by what others thought of Him; He knew what He believed and so He lived those values whether others accepted them or not. It is this level of commitment and indifference towards the thoughts of others that we will have to develop if we are going to successfully respond to the call of conversion.
If we are going to be worried about, or worse still, be guided by what others think of the way we live, then we will not be able to embrace the values of the Gospel as they are truly counter-cultural when lived to the full. Take, for example, modesty concerning dress: are we willing to dress modestly as a form of respect for our own dignity and in order to avoid being a temptation to others? This is a demand of the Gospel, not an option. Christian faith demands that we dress with modesty. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
Do I have attitudes that I need to change in order to be more faithful to living the Gospel? Am I willing to stand apart from the culture in which I live if it becomes necessary?
Jesus, help me to have the strength not only to recognize when I have to turn my back on the values of the world but grant me the courage to actually do it.
St. Emmeran, Bishop and Martyr, pray for us.
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