READINGS for 2009-10-22
Paul reminds us again that the choice is ours. We must choose to place our lives and bodies in the service of righteousness. This requires persistence on our part for, even though the devil has been defeated by Jesus, he has not given up and he still hopes to lure people away from a life of righteousness into a life of sin and despair. Judging from the state of the world, he is not totally unsuccessful. Let us pray that we would not become part of his army but that we would choose to be soldiers for Christ.
19 Brothers and sisters: I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature. For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawlessness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. 21 But what profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
P S A L M
Psalm 1:1-2. 3. 4 and 6
R: Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
1 Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, 2 but delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night. (R) 3 He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers. (R) 4 Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes. (R)
G O S P E L
Jesus knows that He has been given a task by His Father in Heaven, namely to save humanity from sin. It is this longing to complete His assigned task out of loving obedience to His Father that is the source of Jesus’ cry in today’s Gospel. We should all have a similar cry in the depths of our hearts — crying out to God for our and all humanity’s salvation — and seeking to do all we can to contribute to the reaching of this goal.
49 Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! 50 There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
think: Let us pray that we would choose to be soldiers for Christ.
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 Isaiah 21-24
Jesus — the sign Of cOntRAdictiOn
Haven’t we praised Jesus at His birth as “Prince of Peace”? Didn’t Jesus pray during the Last Supper for unity? Didn’t Jesus come to bring healing and salvation?
These are questions I have heard from many who read today’s Gospel passage. Here, Jesus seems to contradict Himself and His very mission when He
denies to have come to bring peace, where He announces division and fire. More than reflection, this passage needs explanation.
When James and John once planned to ask God to send fire to destroy a village that did not welcome them, Jesus rebuked them. So, the fire Jesus came to send cannot be a destructive fire. Many Church fathers explained it as the fire of the Holy Spirit which Jesus actually sent on Pentecost Day.
What about peace? When old Simeon was holding the baby Jesus in his arms he had called Him already a “sign of contradiction.” The person and teaching of Jesus will never please everybody. Wherever the message of Christ is proclaimed, it will cause controversy and even rejection.
Jesus certainly came to unite; He came to bring peace — but not at the cost of compromise. We remember that scene when many people, even disciples, left Him because they could not accept His words about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. He turned to His disciples and asked, “Do you also want to leave?” In an uncompromising way, He actually said, “Take it or leave.”
This makes us think. There are trends to water down Jesus’ message. But Jesus’ teachings and ethical demands are not sweet and soothing. They are rather a call to arms to fight with the help of the Holy Spirit the powers of darkness and sin. To follow Jesus, the sign of contradiction, challenges us to become also signs of contradiction in a world of cheap compromises. The future of the Church depends very much on the courage of Christ’s disciples, on us, to carry His challenging words into the next generation. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
Do I have the courage to voice out unpopular demands of Christ and of the Church? Or do I rather swim with the current?
Lord, it is not easy to follow You. Often I am a coward and don’t have the courage to stand up for what You demand. Fill me with the fire of the Holy Spirit so that I will be able to do Your will without watering down Your teachings.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Religious, pray for us.
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