READINGS for 2009-10-24
WoRlD WITHouT GoD
“The concern of the flesh is death…” – Romans 8:6
I received a signature campaign letter protesting the plan of the South African government to close down their child protection unit. The reasons cited were horror stories.
A three-year-old girl was raped in South Africa. And the rapist was released on bail. At the time of the petition letter, he was walking free. They said that there’s a myth that having sex with a virgin cures AIDS. And the younger the virgin, the more potent the cure.
This myth led to an epidemic of rapes committed by infested males. They further reported that in Cape Town, six men raped a nine-month-old baby How horrible! I wonder if it could have been worse in Sodom and Gomorrah. But this is what happens when the Spirit of God is absent. I dread to imagine that similar situations may be happening in other parts of the world. That’s why we Christians must work double time to keep the Spirit of God alive to save souls. Cristy Galang
What am I doing to build the Kingdom of God where He planted me?
My God, I offer all my joys and sorrows for the spread of Your Kingdom all over the world. Jesus, Mary, I love you. Please save souls. Amen.
Paul begins his exposé of life lived according to the Holy Spirit — that it is totally different to one lived according to the flesh, or the death-directed power at work in our lives and the world. The previous Pope, John Paul II, often spoke of the modern choice being the choice between a culture of life and a culture of death. This is precisely what Paul is talking about here. He challenges us to live under the grace of the Holy Spirit because this is the only way to life.
1 Brothers and sisters: Now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed you from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law, weakened by the flesh, was powerless to do, this God has done: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the righteous decree of the law might be fulfilled in us, who live not according to the flesh but according to the spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit. 6 The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace. 7 For the concern of the flesh is hostility toward God; it does not submit to the law of God, nor can it; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.
P S A L M
Psalm 24:1b-2. 3-4ab. 5-6
R: Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
1 The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. 2 For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. (R) 3 Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? Or who may stand in his holy place? 4 He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain. (R) 5 He shall receive a blessing from the LORD, a reward from God his savior. 6 Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. (R)
G O S P E L
God will never refuse the gift of the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks Him for it sincerely. Similarly, the graces associated with the Sacraments of the Church are always available to us if we believe in them. The Sacraments are never mere magic; they are the real presence of the grace of God bringing His people deeper into the mystery of salvation. Let us pray for the grace to open our hearts to the fullness of these graces.
1 Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. 2 He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? 3 By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! 4 Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? 5 By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” 6 And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, 7 he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. [So] cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ 8 He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; 9 it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’ ”
think: God will never refuse the gift of the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks Him for it sincerely.
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 29-32
the lAst chAnce
When something bad happens to a person, we often react with the word “Karma,” meaning that a person reaps what he sows. I will not discuss the theory of Karma here, but Jesus seemingly was not happy with this interpretation. What happened to those Galileans massacred by Pilate’s soldiers in the Temple, or to those killed by the collapsing tower at Siloam, was not a punishment for their sins but serves as a warning to all: turn away from sin and be ready any moment to face your Creator. Even though Jesus was referring to the parable of the fruitless fig tree to Israel, the message is timeless and causes to think all those who hear or read it.
The parable has actually two messages. The first is that, as a fig tree is supposed to bring fruit, a follower of Christ is expected to bring fruits, too. When we do not, we commit the sin of omission, a sin we often do not confess at all because we focus so much on sins we have committed. By omitting doing good, of “bearing fruit” in biblical language, we make place for evil deeds. Even when we are in heaven, we will still be doing good by interceding for those here on earth. In 1962, Bl. Mother Teresa wrote something very interesting to the Jesuit Fr. Joseph Neuner: “If I ever become a Saint — I will surely be one of “darkness.” I will continually be absent from Heaven — to light the light of those in darkness on earth. A follower of Christ is ever busy for others as Jesus was always busy to reach out, teach and show others the right way.
The second message is given by the owner of the vineyard. Even though he had all the right to cut down the fruitless tree, he shows patience and gives the tree another chance. That’s good news, and we recognize Jesus in these words of the owner who was and still is so patient with sinners. But the last word of the owner is threatening: There comes a moment when a chance will be the last chance. Jesus justifies in the end the drastic action when all efforts for the tree have failed. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
Do I take God’s patience for granted? Am I aware of the danger of the sin of omission?
Lord, You have given me so many chances to change and become a better person. I thank You for Your patience with me and for reminding me that there is a last chance. May I not miss it but use all Your effort, all Your blessings and graces to bring the fruits You expect from me.
St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop, pray for us.
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