Saturday, April 4, 2015

Before we can aspire for holiness, we must die to ourselves - Daily Bible Readings April 5,2015

The seven Mass readings for the celebration of the Easter Vigil trace salvation history from the beginning of Creation (Genesis 1:1-2:2) to the present. We remember the covenant that God made with Abraham and the beginning of the People of God, the Nation of Israel (Genesis 22:1-18). The Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 14:15-15:1) is a watershed in the history of the People of God and it set them on the path to the Promised Land. We are reminded of God’s commitment to love His People (Isaiah 54:5-14) and His promise to fulfill His will in their lives (Isaiah 55:1-11) even against the odds. Baruch reminds us to obey God’s Word (Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4) and Ezekiel tells us that God places a new heart within His People (Ezra 36:16-28), a heart that will desire to know Him and to obey Him forever.
Genesis 1:1-2:2
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Thus evening came, and morning followed — the first day. Then God said, “Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters, to separate one body of water from the other.” And so it happened: God made the dome, and it separated the water above the dome from the water below it. God called the dome “the sky.” Evening came, and morning followed — the second day. Then God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin, so that the dry land may appear.” And so it happened: the water under the sky was gathered into its basin, and the dry land appeared. 10 God called the dry land “the earth,” and the basin of the water he called “the sea.” God saw how good it was. 11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it.” And so it happened:12 the earth brought forth every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it. God saw how good it was. 13 Evening came, and morning followed — the third day. 14Then God said: “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years, 15and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky, to shed light upon the earth.” And so it happened: 16 God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day, and the lesser one to govern the night; and he made the stars. 17 God set them in the dome of the sky, to shed light upon the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw how good it was. 19 Evening came, and morning followed — the fourth day. 20 Then God said, “Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky.” And so it happened: 21 God created the great sea monsters and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems, and all kinds of winged birds. God saw how good it was, 22and God blessed them, saying, “Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth.” 23 Evening came, and morning followed — the fifth day. 24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds.” And so it happened: 25 God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle, and all kinds of creeping things of the earth. God saw how good it was. 26 Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.” 27 God created man in his image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.” 29 God also said: “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; 30 and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food.” And so it happened. 31 God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed — the sixth day. 2: Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
R: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. 2Let the house of Israel say, “His mercy endures forever.” (R) 16 The right hand of the Lord has struck with power; the right hand of the Lord is exalted.” 17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. (R)22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 23By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. (R)
There can never be a resurrection if there is no death. Paul tells us that we have to die with Christ in the sacrament of baptism before we can receive the new life of the resurrection. This is a spiritual death where we leave sin behind us and embrace the call to holiness that is the foundation of the life of Jesus’ disciple. This Easter, let us die to ourselves and renew our baptismal promises. Let us live the fullness of the power of the resurrection of Jesus.
Romans 6:3-11
Brothers and sisters: Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. For a dead person has been absolved from sin. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. 10 As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. 11 Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus. 
Easter proclaims that Jesus has risen from the dead. The tomb is empty! This truth is the kerygma (proclamation) of the Gospel. As we reflect on its meaning, let us open our hearts to any new revelation that Jesus desires to bring to us so that we will be drawn more deeply into the experience of His resurrection and victory over sin. It must have been a shock to those who saw the empty tomb. However, as the truth dawned upon them, what a wonderful experience it must have been to allow the truth and meaning of the event to sink into their minds and hearts.
Mark 16:1-7
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’ ”
think: Before we can aspire for holiness, we must die to ourselves.
Thank You Lord for: __________________
God’s special verse/thought for me today_

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