READINGS for 2021-09-16

Didache | Companion | Sabbath

DIDACHE
Don’t Give Up
Do not neglect the gift you have. – 1 Timothy 4:14

In late 2019, I almost gave up on my passion for writing and poetry. I deleted my Wordpress blogs that I’ve been updating since 2014 without thinking if I had to back up its contents. I also deleted the Facebook pages of those blogs. I even stopped working on my poetry collection, not meeting my December 16, 2019 target launch, and stopped going to poetry events.

At one point, dancing seemed to be the only thing that kept me sane. Transitions in the different areas of my life took a toll on me and made me want to give up on what I love to do. But God rescued me from that challenging season and sent people to help and encourage me. He led to me discover my niche as an author and poet and made me realize my priorities. I had to let go of the unnecessary things so He could take over once again.

We’re easily tempted to quit when nothing good seems to be happening in our lives. We focus on the gifts and forget about the Giver of those gifts. Let’s align our lives with His will, remembering His encouraging words in Scripture. Kring Talladen (kringtalladen@gmail.com)


reflect

“God gave you ten gifts. Why are you using only eight?” (Arun Gogna)

Dear Lord, refresh me and lift me up whenever I feel like giving up. Amen.


Sts. Cornelius, pope, and Cyprian, bishop, martyrs, pray for us.

COMPANION

First Reading | 1 Timothy 4:12-16

When it comes to God’s Kingdom, what matters is His will and not our age or educational attainment. God continues to call unlikely people to play key roles in establishing His Kingdom on earth. He has a role for each of us to play, and we should make it our goal to discover what that is.

12 Beloved: Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. 13 Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the presbyterate. 15 Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to everyone. 16 Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.


Responsorial Psalm | Psalm 111:7-8, 9, 10

R: How great are the works of the Lord!

7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; sure are all his precepts, 8 reliable forever and ever, wrought in truth and equity. (R) 9 He has sent deliverance to his people; he has ratified his covenant forever; holy and awesome is his name. (R) 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it. His praise endures forever. (R)


Gospel | Luke 7:36-50

The claim to forgive sins seems to be the most scandalous aspect of Jesus’ ministry. As Christians, we understand Jesus because we know He is the Son of God. The Jews, however, cannot accept that Jesus was the Messiah. For them, He is a mere human being and does not have the authority to forgive sins. When defending our faith, let us remember the person we are speaking with has a different premise from ours. If so, it is impossible to reach agreement on the issue being discussed.

Gospel Acclamation

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.

36 A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. 42 Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. 47 So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” 48 He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”


Reflect:
“For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)

Read the Bible in one year! Read JEREMIAH 49 - 52 today

 

SABBATH

A _________________ Sinner!

Netizens all over the world, especially digital natives or those who have always had the use of the Internet all their lives, are too familiar with the sad reality of fake news and a no-holds-barred style of discourse characterized by a lot of negative labeling and heaping judgmental accusations against others. The level of such discourse is so shrill that newly coined (bad) words have become mainstream. They arose in the context of social media and are mostly associated with the never-ending battle royale between political parties and their idolized leaders.

Well, the Pharisee who invited the Lord to dinner had no Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account, but he sure did not miss a beat in labeling the woman who happened to be associated with Him. The woman did an unthinkable and downright scandalizing deed. She washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, anointed them with expensive perfume, and dried them with her hair. No sooner had she began doing this act of repentance and love than the Pharisee started cutting her down. He labeled her—she was dirty, she was immoral, she was a sinner! The target, of course, was not really her but the Rabbi who not only welcomed her but forgave her and sent her on her way in peace.

Negative labeling—we all are guilty of it. We are also probably victims of it. Contemporary culture is deeply steeped in it that most people consider it as the new normal. (Read: nothing morally objectionable.) Put plainly, “all men and women have fallen short of the glory of God.” (Read: we all are sinners, just like the woman in the story.)

But there is a big difference between her and perhaps the rest of us. She redeemed herself. She obviously did not intend nor wanted at that point in time to remain condemned by society. It was perhaps her only shot at getting a chance to slowly reform her image as a (repentant) sinner.

True, every saint has a past and every sinner a future. Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB


reflection questions

Do you also engage in negative labeling? Or have you been a victim of it? How did you handle the criticisms?

Dearest Lord, You showed us how a sinner can be a saint. May the lives of saints inspire us to live saintly lives. Amen.

Today, I pray for: ____________________


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