Thursday, January 18, 2018

Why do we envy the happiness and the goods of others? Because we are proud……..

Envy shoots at others and wounds itself. (English proverb)

 Scripture Text: (1 SM 18:6-9; 19:1-7)
When David and Saul approached
(on David's return after slaying the Philistine),
women came out from each of the cities of Israel to meet King Saul,
singing and dancing, with tambourines, joyful songs, and sistrums.
The women played and sang:

"Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his ten thousands."

Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought:
"They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me.
All that remains for him is the kingship."
And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David.

Saul discussed his intention of killing David
with his son Jonathan and with all his servants.
But Saul's son Jonathan, who was very fond of David, told him:
"My father Saul is trying to kill you.
Therefore, please be on your guard tomorrow morning;
get out of sight and remain in hiding.
I, however, will go out and stand beside my father
in the countryside where you are, and will speak to him about you.
If I learn anything, I will let you know."

Jonathan then spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him:
"Let not your majesty sin against his servant David,
for he has committed no offense against you,
but has helped you very much by his deeds.
When he took his life in his hands and slew the Philistine,
and the LORD brought about a great victory
for all Israel through him,
you were glad to see it.
Why, then, should you become guilty of shedding innocent blood
by killing David without cause?"
Saul heeded Jonathan's plea and swore,
"As the LORD lives, he shall not be killed."
So Jonathan summoned David and repeated the whole conversation to him.
Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and David served him as before.

Anger, jealousy and envy are framed in the first reading from today’s Mass with Saul ready to strike and harm David. David is saved from Saul’s threat through the wonderful willingness of Saul’s son to step forward, warn David and provide his father Saul with another ‘lens’ to view David.

The danger of jealousy and envy is that it is as much damaging to others as it is to ourselves. When we are envious, or even ambitious for the purpose of outdoing others, it knocks us off our center and we lose our orientation toward Christ. To his disciples, Jesus presented the model of a child - one who thrives under authority, strives for obedience, and lives in the present.

Envy lives in the past and the future, but God's grace is available now.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

“Legalism says God will love us if we change. The gospel says God will change us because He loves us.”

Moral stupidity comes in two different forms: relativism and legalism. Relativism sees no principles, only people; legalism sees no people, only principles – Peter Kreeft: is a professor of philosophy at Boston College 

Gospel text: (MK 3:1-6)
Jesus entered the synagogue.
There was a man there who had a withered hand.
They watched Jesus closely
to see if he would cure him on the sabbath
so that they might accuse him.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
"Come up here before us."
Then he said to the Pharisees,
"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
But they remained silent.
Looking around at them with anger
and grieved at their hardness of heart,
Jesus said to the man, "Stretch out your hand."
He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel
with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

In today’s Gospel reading Jesus disputes with the Pharisees about their interpretation of the Sabbath law: "What does the Law allow on the sabbath? To do good or to do harm? To save life or to kill?" Despite the opposition of the Pharisees Jesus cures the man with the paralyzed hand on the sabbath: the Pharisees had hardened their hearts and were blind to the real intent of the Sabbath law.

Jesus tried to reach out to the Pharisees and to teach them to be open­
minded to his teaching and actions.

Are we close-minded to what God has revealed to us in the teaching and life of Christ? Or in the many happenings in our lives? Do we rely more on ourselves or do we live our trust in God?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

“The busyness of things obscures our concentration on God … Never let a hurried lifestyle disturb the relationship “

The Sunday is the core of our civilization, dedicated to thought and reverence. It invites to the noblest solitude and to the noblest society.—Ralph Waldo Emerson: (1803 – 1882: was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid- 19th century.)

Gospel Text: (MK 2:23-28)
As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
"Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?"
He said to them,
"Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?"
Then he said to them,
"The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."

Sunday is a day when we remember that we are on this planet for just a short few years and that we are here to prepare for eternal life. Every Sunday is meant to be a foretaste of heaven, because every Sunday is meant to be a day of rest, and a day devoted to God. Sunday is a day when we remember that we are not just bodies but that we are body and soul. We are hopefully nourishing our souls every day but we do so above all through our Sunday Eucharist when God speaks his word to us in the Scripture readings, when we receive God’s love for us in the Eucharist. Sunday is a day to remember that we are just passing through this life. Sunday is a reminder that there is a spiritual side to each of us and that we cannot expect to be fully happy if we do not feed our souls

Monday, January 15, 2018

“Obedience is always followed by blessings”

Christ said, “I am the Truth”; he did not say “I am the custom.” St. Toribio: (1900 – 1928: was a Roman Catholic priest and Mexican martyr who died in the Cristero War)

Scripture Text: (1 SM 15:16-23)
Samuel said to Saul:
"Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night."
Saul replied, "Speak!"
Samuel then said: "Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
'Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.'
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD."
Saul answered Samuel: "I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal."
But Samuel said:
"Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion,
and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he, too, has rejected you as ruler."

Obedience is better than sacrifice…….

God's ways are indeed not our ways: "Obedience [to him] is better than sacrifice, and submission better than the fat of rams."

Fasting and penance are good and most helpful. Jesus has come to stress the law of love as he declared when he washed the feet of his disciples at the last supper: "If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also must wash one another's feet."  (Jn 13: 14)

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (Jn 14:15)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

“Commandment #1: Believe in yourself. Commandment #2: Get over yourself.”

If we turn from self towards God, our understanding and our will become nobler and readier to embrace all that is good: if we never rise above the slough of our own miseries we do ourselves a great disservice. (St Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle)

Gospel Text: (JN 1:35-42)
John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
"Behold, the Lamb of God."
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
"What are you looking for?"
They said to him, "Rabbi" — which translated means Teacher —,
"where are you staying?"
He said to them, "Come, and you will see."
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
"We have found the Messiah" — which is translated Christ —.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
"You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas" — which is translated Peter.

Like Peter in today’s gospel reading, we are called by name when God speaks to us. God knows us better than we know ourselves, much like our parents who know us and call us by name (or names). Children often try to deceive themselves and others about what they’ve done, and who they are. But parents, who give life itself to their children, know their children. Parents understand their children’s faults, as well as their strengths. Children often don’t want to work to develop the skills and talents they have, and, trying to convince themselves and others, will say, “I’m just not good at that. I can’t do it.”

Of course, it’s not only children who think this. We adults are just as good at running away from something that we don’t want to do, using the handy excuse that we’re “just not able to do it.” St. Peter did this all the time. But God, the Father of each one of us, knows us better than we know ourselves. When He calls us by name, He’s calling us to be honest to the truth about who we now are, and who He wants us to be.