READINGS for 2008-12-11

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



“Fear not, I will help you.” – Isaiah 41:13
Helping is a wonderful trait that we Filipinos are known for. The bayanihan spirit is still very prominent today, even in the cities.
We love to help. It’s our nature. We experience natural calamities and we volunteer. We band together after disasters, whether natural or man-made, and go out of our way to be of assistance.
But sometimes the problem is that we do not think about the kind of help we give. For instance, during the Mt. Pinatubo calamity, the whole nation rushed to gather used clothes and food. But there was a funny thing I noticed with the dry goods collected. Some gave clothes so old that they were practically unusable. Like a sando shirt that was so loose, three people could fit in it. Or shorts that didn’t have a garter. Or a long sleeve polo that looked like it was starched with cement from being stored for 28 years in the closet!
There were some who gave slightly used clothes but which were still unusable. There were almost-new ball gowns, prom dresses and outfits fit for a beauty pageant. The beneficiary of those clothes would probably have go to a beauty parlor just to wear them!
Oh yes, we like to give and we love to help. But let’s consider the best possible way we can help our brethren. Arun Gogna
Are you helping the right people correctly?
Lord, please help me be a helping hand for others today.


Jesus is there to lead us through every time of trial and difficulty, as well as to rejoice with us in all our victories. God has not distanced Himself from us. He chooses to be a part of every aspect of our life except sin. As regards sin, all He wants to do with it is destroy it – if we will let Him do this. Only through true surrender to the love of God will we be able to put all the sin in our lives to death.
Isaiah 41:13-20
13 I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” 14 Fear not, O worm Jacob, O maggot Israel; I will help you, says the LORD; your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. 15 I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and doubleedged, to thresh the mountains and crush them, to make the hills like chaff. 16 When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off and the storm shall scatter them. But you shall rejoice in the LORD, and glory in the Holy One of Israel. 17 The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain, their tongues are parched with thirst. I, the LORD, will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 18 I will open up rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the broad valleys; I will turn the desert into a marshland, and the dry ground into springs of water. 19 I will plant in the desert the cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive; I will set in the wasteland the cypress, together with the plane tree and the pine, 20 That all may see and know, observe and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.
Psalm 145:1 and 9, 10-11, 12-13ab
R: The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
1 I will extol you, O my God and King, and I will bless your name forever and ever. 9 The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. (R) 10 Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you. 11 Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might. (R) 12 Let them make known to men your might and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations. (R)
Why does Jesus single out John the Baptist as the greatest person born of a woman? We will probably never know for sure why Jesus says this but we can hazard a guess at the answer. I think it has to do with the fact that we know John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit even while in the womb of Elizabeth. And then his life was a life of total humility, preparing the way for Jesus and His mission. There is no greater way to spend our lives than preparing the way for the Gospel to be proclaimed to the world.
Matthew 11:11-15
11 Jesus said to the crowds: “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. 13 All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. 15 Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
my reflections
think:There is no greater way to spend our lives than preparing the way for the Gospel to be proclaimed to the world.

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________


I wonder how John the Baptist would appear today and what he would preach to us in the 21st century. He would probably appear a bit more decently dressed but I think he would call with the same harshness for a change of heart, a change of lifestyle, a change of attitude towards God and fellowmen – and again he would be a “voice in the wilderness.” Again, some people would listen to him and be amused; others would be touched but then go home and continue their way of life because it is so hard to give up one’s routine. After all, to change and do what is right and good is much more difficult than to do what one is used to do: mix a bit of evil with a bit of good and wriggle through life’s ups and downs.
John called for action. It is not enough for him when people confess their sins, utter some pious prayers and have themselves baptized. He wants them to practice charity, to share food and clothes, to be honest, to be just and incorruptible – exactly what Jesus would later demand from us.
I am sure John the Baptist would have a difficult time again today. He would be a curiosity for a while and then put aside as irrelevant. He would fail because he demands too much and does not entertain as some priests do to attract fans.
Jesus is full of praises for John. He calls him greater than any person born so far. What strikes me especially in John the Baptist is his humility. John could have said he is the Messiah, but he claims to be unworthy to undo the sandal straps of the One to come. His success with the crowds never went to his head. He just prepared the way for Jesus. And when he saw Jesus he pointed at him saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God,” and let his loyal disciples to follow Jesus.
John the Baptist continues to speak to us. If we listen to him and try to put his firm and, at times, severe preaching into practice, we are prepared not just to welcome Baby Jesus in a few days, but accept the adult Jesus. Fr. Rudy Horst
Reflection Question:
Do I have the humility of John the Baptist and accept his preaching to be better prepared for my task as a disciple of Jesus?
Lord, thank You for presenting me John the Baptist today. I realize he continues to prepare me to become a true follower of Yours. Give me the strength to put his and Your teaching into practice.
St. Daniel the Stylite, priest, pray for us.

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