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Saturday, August 31, 2013

I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you - Daily Bible Readings August 31,2013

COMPANION

1ST READING
 
There will always come a time when we will be tempted to draw attention to something we have done or achieved for the Lord. Let the glory rest where it should rest (with the Lord) and allow yourself to save your reward for heaven. This is what the true disciple will do as he knows it is useless to gain the acclaim of men if it means losing that of God.
 
1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Brothers and sisters: On the subject of fraternal charity you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another. 10 Indeed, you do this for all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Nevertheless we urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more, 11 and to aspire to live a tranquil life, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you.
 
P S A L M
 
Psalm 98:1, 7-8, 9
R: The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm. (R) Let the sea and what fills it resound, the world and those who dwell in it; Let the rivers clap their hands, the mountains shout with them for joy. (R) Before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to rule the earth; He will rule the world with justice and the peoples with equity. (R)
 
GOSPEL
 
Use your gifts to give glory to God. If we follow this principle we will never stray far from the road that leads to the Kingdom of God. People who fail to follow this principle very easily fall into the traps of the world and sin. Lives of excess in just about everything we can imagine are plentiful in today’s world — multiple spouses, excessive drinking, drugs and other vices, violence and sexual impropriety of all kinds, to name but a few. Is this the sort of life you want to live?
 
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.
 
Matthew 25:14-30
14 Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one — to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately 16 the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. 17 Likewise, the one who received two made another two. 18 But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ 22 Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ 24Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; 25 so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ 26 His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? 28 Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. 29 For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”
LIST
think:  Use your gifts to give glory to God.
 
T O D A Y’S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: __________________
 
____________________________________
 
God’s special verse/thought for me today_
_____________________________________
 
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Isaiah 64-66
 
SABBATH

YOUR GIFT — A BLESSING OR A CURSE?

 
A Christian is expected to be productive. The parable of the talents tells us that when the time comes, the Lord will ask us to account for the gifts He has given us. It also reminds us that all of us were given gifts. The different circumstances of the receiver and what they did with their gifts distinguish God’s requirement.
       First, we must acknowledge that God gave us gifts. There was nothing we generated on our own. Life itself is a gift. Anything coming out of living the life we were given should be attributed to God’s generosity. Do we recognize those gifts? No one can say that he has no gifts at all. If we look closely at ourselves, we will see that God has given us something that we can use to serve others: our time, talent or treasure. Even a poor person can be of service and, thus, become fruitful.
       Merely recognizing our gifts is not enough — we must use them. We have a saying in Filipino,“Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?” (For what good is the fodder if the horse is already dead?) Some people know they have talents but do not use them for one reason or another. I always share the story of a friend who has a good singing voice. He elected not to join the choir because of “over-humility.” One day, he woke up with a very hoarse voice, making his singing voice disappear. A curse? Maybe, maybe not. But he realized how selfish he was. So, he vowed to make amends once he recovered. And he did!
       But it is not enough to use our talents; we must use them for the good. It was God who gave them, so we should use them according to His will. We see women endowed with beautiful bodies who display them with abandon. And there are those who have propensity for numbers but they use their talent to cheat or shortchange others. A gift that is used against God’s will becomes a curse. Fr. Benny Tuazon

REFLECTION QUESTION: How are you using the gifts God has blessed you with? Be careful not to use them against His will.
 
Lord, thank You for Your gifts. May I learn to use them to help build Your Kingdom on earth, not tear it down.

How are you using the gifts God has blessed you with? Be careful not to use them against His will - Daily Reflections August 31,2013

YOUR GIFT — A BLESSING OR A CURSE?

 
A Christian is expected to be productive. The parable of the talents tells us that when the time comes, the Lord will ask us to account for the gifts He has given us. It also reminds us that all of us were given gifts. The different circumstances of the receiver and what they did with their gifts distinguish God’s requirement.
       First, we must acknowledge that God gave us gifts. There was nothing we generated on our own. Life itself is a gift. Anything coming out of living the life we were given should be attributed to God’s generosity. Do we recognize those gifts? No one can say that he has no gifts at all. If we look closely at ourselves, we will see that God has given us something that we can use to serve others: our time, talent or treasure. Even a poor person can be of service and, thus, become fruitful.
       Merely recognizing our gifts is not enough — we must use them. We have a saying in Filipino,“Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?” (For what good is the fodder if the horse is already dead?) Some people know they have talents but do not use them for one reason or another. I always share the story of a friend who has a good singing voice. He elected not to join the choir because of “over-humility.” One day, he woke up with a very hoarse voice, making his singing voice disappear. A curse? Maybe, maybe not. But he realized how selfish he was. So, he vowed to make amends once he recovered. And he did!
       But it is not enough to use our talents; we must use them for the good. It was God who gave them, so we should use them according to His will. We see women endowed with beautiful bodies who display them with abandon. And there are those who have propensity for numbers but they use their talent to cheat or shortchange others. A gift that is used against God’s will becomes a curse. Fr. Benny Tuazon

REFLECTION QUESTION: How are you using the gifts God has blessed you with? Be careful not to use them against His will.
 
Lord, thank You for Your gifts. May I learn to use them to help build Your Kingdom on earth, not tear it down.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Be vigilant at all times and pray, that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man - Daily Bible Readings August 30,2013


1ST READING
 
The first and primary calling of any Christian is the call to holiness — it captures every aspect of a truly Christian life. Being holy does not mean praying all the time — it simply means getting to know what God wants you to do at any particular time and actually doing it. We live in a world of excess where people are too concerned about personal pleasure. One of the first calls of holiness is recognizing and living this principle: live simply so that others may simply live.
 
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
1 Brothers and sisters, we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God — and as you are conducting yourselves — you do so even more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 This is the will of God, your holiness: that you refrain from immorality, 4 that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself in holiness and honor, 5 not in lustful passion as do the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 not to take advantage of or exploit a brother or a sister in this matter, for the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you before and solemnly affirmed. 7 For God did not call us to impurity but to holiness. 8 Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.
 
P S A L M
 
Psalm 97:1, 2, 5-6, 10, 11-12
R: Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
1 The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many isles be glad. 2 Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne. (R) 5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the  earth. 6 The heavens proclaim his justice, and all peoples see his glory. (R) 10 The Lord loves those that hate evil; he guards the lives of his faithful ones; from the hand of the wicked he delivers them. (R) 11 Light dawns for the just; and gladness, for the upright of heart. 12 Be glad in the Lord, you just, and give thanks to his holy name. (R)
 
GOSPEL
 
This parable is all about being ready for whatever we are called to do in our lives. We cannot be disciples of Jesus if we are not willing to prepare ourselves to do what He asks us to do, whatever that may be. We do not know when God might call us to something new; are we ready to respond? It is unlikely that God will uproot us unless there is a very serious reason to do so, but we should be ready for anything just in case .
 
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Be vigilant at all times and pray, that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.
 
Matthew 25:1-13
1 Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, 4 but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. 11 Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ 12 But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
LIST
think:  The first and primary calling of any Christian is the call to holiness.
 
T O D A Y’S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: __________________
 
____________________________________
 
God’s special verse/thought for me today_
_____________________________________
 
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Isaiah 61-63
 

If the world will end in an hour, what will you do? - Daily Reflections August 30,2013


Judgment Day Certainties And

Uncertainties

 
The theme for today’s Gospel is usually heard during Advent or Lent, when preparation for the end-time or Judgment Day is dealt with. The parable of the 10 virgins talks about a Jewish marriage tradition. Everyone prepares for and anticipates the coming of the groom by having vigil lamps equipped with oil. The virgins represent all of us who are awaiting the coming of the Lord Jesus, represented by the groom.
       Nobody knows the exact date and time of the Lord’s coming. What is sure is it will come and everyone should be prepared. If we are caught unprepared, like the five virgins who went out to look for oil, we will not be allowed to enter the Kingdom.
       Judgment Day may mean the ultimate day when the world will end and be subject to God, but it could also mean our death. When we die, we face judgment. We know that death is a mystery, but it is also a certainty. It comes to anyone at anytime and in any place. And in death, age does not matter. No one can say he is too young or too healthy to die.
       We ask, “Why does the Lord not inform us fully when these things will happen?” Would it really matter? If we know the time and place of our death, how will we live our lives? We will be more time conscious rather than be more concerned with living a meaningful and fruitful life.
       Let me end with an anecdote. Once, in the seminary, a formator was seated on his rocking chair, reading a newspaper. I approached him and asked, “Father, if the world will end in an hour, what will you do?” The priest stopped rocking his chair and stared at me. After probably sensing that I was serious with my question, he answered, “I will just continue reading and rocking my chair!” Indeed, we must always be prepared. When Judgment Day comes, there is nothing we can really do but continue what we were doing. Fr. Benny Tuazon
 
REFLECTION QUESTION: If the world will end in an hour, what will you do?
 
Father, help me to always be ready to meet You, anytime, any place.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven - Daily Bible Readings August 29,2013


1ST READING
 
Jeremiah, like many of the prophets, is a reluctant prophet. He realizes the incredible responsibility of speaking for God and directing the people of God according to His will. He knows that a lot of suffering will be involved, thus we can be sure that he is truly committed to all that he says.
 
Jeremiah 1:17-19 (or 1 Thessalonians 3:7-13)
17 The word of the Lord came to me thus: Gird your loins; stand up and tell them all that I command you. Be not crushed on their account, as though I would leave you crushed before them; 18 for it is I this day who have made you a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of brass, against the whole land: Against Judah’s kings and princes, against its priests and people. 19 They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.
 
P S A L M
 
Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17 (or Psalm 90:3-5, 12-13, 14, 17)
R: I will sing your salvation.
1 In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 In your justice rescue me, and deliver me; incline your ear to me, and save me. (R) 3 Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. (R) 5 For you are my hope, O Lord; my trust, O God, from my youth. 6 On you I depend from birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength. (R) 15 My mouth shall declare your justice, day by day your salvation. 17 O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds. (R)
 
GOSPEL
 
 
Herod is a coward and unwilling to follow his conscience. He is also a fool to make a promise as ridiculous as the one he made to the daughter of Herodias. We will be able to avoid many problems in life if we follow our consciences and think before we speak. Words are very powerful and have a way of creating situations out of very little. We should be careful with what we say, lest we come to regret a few rash words spoken with little thought.
 
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
 
Mark 6:17-29 (or Matthew 24:42-51)
17 Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. 18 John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. 20 Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. 21 She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. 22 Herodias’s own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” 23 He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” 24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 26 The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. 27 So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. 28 He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
 
think:  Words are very powerful and have a way of creating situations out of very little.
 
T O D A Y’S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: __________________
 
____________________________________
 
God’s special verse/thought for me today_
_____________________________________
 
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Isaiah 57-60

Who is your favorite saint? What about his or her life that struck you? How can you imitate his or her qualities in your own life? - Daily Reflections August 29,2013


A CERTAIN DYING, A CERTAIN LIVING

 
Why do we celebrate a violent and tragic event like John’s beheading? Didn’t he deserve a more honorable and meaningful death? But we have to see this in context. The real reason for his death should define it.
       Jesus also suffered a humiliating and seemingly meaningless death as far as the unbelievers were concerned. The Jews and Romans saw it as scandalous. But as far as God was concerned, Jesus died for everyone’s sake — that we may live. Christians see the crucifixion as an expression of God’s great love — love at the highest level!
       Though not on equal footing, the death of John should be defined similarly. John died proclaiming the Good News of Jesus’ coming. He became a nuisance to Herod. Aside from John’s revelation of Herod’s unfaithfulness, he was also gaining some following, which was beginning to threaten Herod’s leadership. John’s imprisonment eased the tension a bit. The request for his head was an opportunity and Herod was not able to resist it. He hoped that the death of John would dispel his fears.
       It was also the time for Jesus. John had prepared the way of Jesus. And Jesus had arrived to bring into fruition what John had lived for. John’s death, in a way, foretold of the fate of Jesus. Surely, the student is not greater than his Master. In both deaths, we see through them and beyond. To a Christian, an offering of life for God’s greater glory is not discounted. To some, it may be meaningless, absurd or scandalous. But for a Christian, it can be an expression of love and faith.
       There was a time in the history of the Catholic Church when Christians were being killed because of their faith. Many denied their faith for fear of death. But many braved the persecution and they became martyrs for the faith. In the Catholic Faith, death in the name of faith is always embraced. John’s death was not a waste. It must be celebrated. Fr. Benny Tuazon
 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Who is your favorite saint? What about his or her life that struck you? How can you imitate his or her qualities in your own life?
 
Lord, You gave us the example of saints. May we live and follow in their footsteps.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Whoever keeps the word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfected in him - Daily Bible Readings August 28,2013


1ST READING
 
Paul reminds us that working hard is part of living the full dignity of our humanity. In his Encyclical on Human Work, Laborem Exercens, Blessed John Paul II reminded the world that work is essential to the dignity of the human person, in that we participate in the creative work of God in the world. This is why one of the primary tasks of any government is to provide work for its people. A government that presides over crippling unemployment conditions is a government that has failed in its duty towards the people.
 
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
9 You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery. Working night and day in order not to burden any of you, we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers. 11 As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, 12 exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his Kingdom and glory. 13 And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly, that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God, which is now at work in you who believe.
 
P S A L M
 
Psalm 139:7-8, 9-10, 11-12
R: You have searched me and You know me, Lord.
7 Where can I go from your spirit? From your presence where can I flee? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I sink to the nether world, you are present there. (R) 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall guide me, and your right hand hold me fast. (R) 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light” — 12 For you darkness itself is not dark, and night shines as the day. (R)
 
GOSPEL
 
St. Augustine is arguably the theologian who has most contributed to the thinking of the Church. He is the most quoted person in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. His writings cover virtually every topic and subject that can be thought of and his analysis is never lightly dismissed by any thinker with integrity. People may not agree with all his conclusions but his thoughts have to be taken seriously.
 
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Whoever keeps the word of Christ, the love of God is truly perfected in him.
 
Matthew 23:27-32
27 Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. 28 Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing. 29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ 31 Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; 32 now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”
 
think:  Through our work, we participate in the creative work of God in the world.
 
T O D A Y’S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: __________________
 
____________________________________
 
God’s special verse/thought for me today_
_____________________________________
 
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Isaiah 53-56

Are you true to what you believe in? Does your life reflect it? - Daily Reflections August 28,2013


ST. AUGUSTINE, TRUE —

THROUGH AND THROUGH!

 
Today is the feast of a great saint, St. Augustine. His life was not holy from the very beginning. He was a true sinner, but he went through a lot of purification. Like Philip, he had no guile within himself. He never denied it. He loved women especially — their bodies, beauty and youth. He was intelligent but used it for his own popularity. He lived an extremely immoral life from the Christian point of view. His mother, St. Monica, spent a lot of time on her knees, begging the Lord for his enlightenment. One day, her prayers were answered, but not without difficulty.
       While in Milan, St. Augustine heard St. Ambrose preaching. St. Augustine heard of the technique and power of the latter’s preaching. Wanting to learn those qualities, he listened to him and got caught in the faith, and later converted and was baptized by St. Ambrose. In his Confessions, he recalled his struggles. He was honest enough to say to God that it was hard for him to let go of his carnal and other desires. He begged for compromise, but God would not let him. St. Augustine decided to make a 180-degree turn from his evil ways. After his conversion, he used his intelligence and  speaking prowess to proclaim the Gospel and defend the faith. He became one of the Catholic Church’s greatest apologists. He was a true convert.
       God leaves us free to use our talents and qualities. In the Gospel, the Pharisees elected to use their positions and qualities in hypocrisy. They said one thing but did another. The Lord Jesus was against it. Christians should be perfect as their Father is perfect. Lukewarmness has no place in Christianity. Let us be true through and through.
       St. Augustine was true in his evil life. He used the same attitude in his new life of grace. We have the same challenge. We have hope no matter how sinful we are. We can be true to our faith. We were borne out of truth in the first place. St. Augustine, pray for us! Fr. Benny Tuazon
 
 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Are you true to what you believe in? Does your life reflect it?
 
Lord Jesus, grant me the courage to accept my sinfulness but also have hope that I can change and be holy through Your grace.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart - Daily Bible Readings August 27,2013


1ST READING
 
St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, is an inspiring figure in the life of the Church in terms of her commitment to intercession and trust in God. She interceded for Augustine’s conversion for many years when most of the time it would have seemed hopeless. Yet, she never gave up! This is how we need to intercede — with hope and trust in God’s goodness and never giving in to the temptation to give up.
 
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
1 You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our reception among you was not without effect. 2 Rather, after we had suffered and been insolently treated, as you know, in Philippi, we drew courage through our God to speak to you the Gospel of God with much struggle. 3 Our exhortation was not from delusion or impure motives, nor did it work through deception. 4 But as we were judged worthy by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, that is how we speak, not as trying to please men, but rather God, who judges our hearts. 5 Nor, indeed, did we ever appear with flattering speech, as you know, or with a pretext for greed — God is witness — 6 nor did we seek praise from men, either from you or from others, 7 although we were able to impose our weight as Apostles of Christ. Rather, we were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children. 8 With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us.
 
P S A L M
 
Psalm 139:1-3, 4-6
R: You have searched me and You know me, Lord.
1 O Lord, you have probed me and you know me; 2 you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. 3 My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar. (R) 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you  now the whole of it. 5 Behind me and before, you hem me in and rest your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; too lofty for me to attain. (R)
 
GOSPEL
 
Hypocrisy will always be a temptation for a person who seeks holiness, as any temptation to sin involves at least a modicum of hypocrisy. The problem with the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ time is that many of them were blatant hypocrites — they said one thing and did exactly the opposite! Let us try to avoid damaging the work of the Gospel in this way and seek to remain faithful to the call of the Spirit at all times.
 
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
 
Matthew 23:23-26
23 Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! 25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”
 
think:  Let us intercede with hope and trust in God’s goodness and never give in to the temptation to give up.
 
T O D A Y’S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: __________________
 
____________________________________
 
God’s special verse/thought for me today_
_____________________________________
 
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Isaiah 49-52
 

Is there a negative truth in your life that you are still hiding? What’s keeping you from letting it out? - Daily Reflections August 27,2013


ACCEPT THE TRUTH TO CHANGE

 
We continue the Gospel yesterday. Jesus now delivers the next two “woes”against the teachers and the Pharisees. Here, He points out their stress on the material (offerings of mint, anise and cummin seeds) than the spiritual (justice, mercy and faith); on what is deceptively good (offers out of crimes) than the truly and essentially good. The teachers and Pharisees must have felt threatened by the truth that Jesus was revealing. It was a moment of decision for them.
       Yes, that had always been the case with Jesus. There is no middle ground. You either leave your evil ways or be continuously hounded by His Spirit. Desperate moves would only worsen things. As what happened,  they plotted Jesus’ death. Rather than admit their iniquities, they elected to hide them and tried to eliminate their accuser. But they were mistaken. The truth continues to prevail and will continue to destroy its enemies. The Marcos-Ninoy issue comes to mind. Ninoy Aquino was a very staunch critic of Marcos. In the process, he was killed on the airport tarmac, which now bears his name. The rest is history. The message is clear: You cannot silence the truth by killing its spokesperson.
       Accept the truth! That has always been Jesus’ challenge and offer to the Pharisees and to the Jewish people. Pilate must have known it, or was completely ignorant of it, when he himself did not get an answer when he asked Jesus about what is truth. Jesus was the Truth staring him in his face. Pilate, not knowing what to do, washed his hands, and gave Jesus into the hands of the Pharisees. Later, Pilate will reveal his understanding of Jesus by putting atop Jesus’ head on the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” And no one could influence him to remove that truth.
       Change for the truth! Peter, Magdalene, Zacchaeus, Matthew, Paul and all others who had once offended the Lord accepted Jesus and changed. The Pharisees were given all the chances to do so. They still could. Nicodemus did. We still can. Will we? May I ask right now, “Did we?” Fr. Benny Tuazon
 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Is there a negative truth in your life that you are still hiding? What’s keeping you from letting it out?
 
Jesus, You showed us how the truth can change a person. Help me to always cling to Your truth, no matter what.

Monday, August 26, 2013

My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me - Daily Bible Readings August 26,2013

1ST READING
 
Paul does not doubt the power of the Gospel to save us all. The best way to proclaim the Gospel is through the witness of our lives. It is when people see the Gospel lived in action that they are usually most convinced of its truth. It is not a matter of knowing all the intellectual answers to questions of faith, but having the faith to trust that the Holy Spirit will help us to know what we need, when we need it.
 
1 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 8-10
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen. For our Gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction. You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. In every place your faith in God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves openly declare about us what sort of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God 10 and to await his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath.
 
P S A L M
 
Psalm 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9
R: The Lord takes delight in His people.
Sing to the Lord a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their king. (R) Let them praise his name in the festive dance, let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory. (R) Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy upon their couches; Let the high praises of God be in their throats. This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia! (R)
 
GOSPEL
 
A person who fails to live the Gospel can never properly guide another person in it. This is the same as the principle of not being able to give away something we do not have. I cannot introduce you to a person I do not know myself. Let us then seek to be faithful witnesses to the truth of the Gospel, so that no one will call us hypocrites.
 
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.
 
Matthew 23:13-22
13 Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter. [14] 14 15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves. 16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’ 17 Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’ 19 You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; 21 one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; 22 one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.”
think:  The best way we can proclaim the Gospel is through the witness of our lives.
 
T O D A Y’S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: __________________
 
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God’s special verse/thought for me today_
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Isaiah 45-48

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