Tuesday, June 14, 2011

God's Message For You Today, June 14, 2011

14   June



"But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…" – Matthew 5:44

I was very angry with somebody. No… the word angry is mild. I was livid.
I had a mixture of emotions about something that transpired, and my human instinct told me that I needed to strike back to defend myself. But it was something I knew I didn't want to do. Instead, I lashed out at another person involved and said all the hurtful words I could say. The sleeping monster inside me awoke.
I carried this anger in my heart for many years. And each time I came across the chosen verse above, I would always cringe. Love my enemies? Pray for those who persecute me?... "Lord! Please make me do anything but that!"
To this day that remains a tall order for me. It is not easy. I prayed for the blessing of time, believing that it heals all wounds, and that in God's perfect time the anger in my heart will fade.
True enough, the time came. It felt as if a big thorn in my heart was pulled out. Only then did I actually know what it's like to forgive — the peace of Christ enveloped me and renewed my spirit.  
May His peace fill your heart every day. Nova Arias (nova.svp@gmail.com)
Was there ever a time when you loved your enemy? If you managed to do it once, you can do it over and over again.

Grant me a change of heart, O Lord

Didache | Companion | Sabbath | Top      


I am not a fan of forced or heavily encouraged or prescribed tithing. I believe it is far better to instill in people the knowledge of their responsibility for the work of the Church and the care of Her ministers and then preach on this text of generous giving. In this way those who are rich and who can afford to give way more than 10 percent have no excuse to hold back their wealth from the needs of the Kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 8:1-9
1 We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God that has been given to the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For according to their means, I can testify, and beyond their means, spontaneously, 4 they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part in the service to the holy ones, 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and to us through the will of God, 6 so that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun, he should also complete for you this gracious act also. 7 Now as you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also. 8 I say this not by way of command, but to test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others. 9 For you know the gracious act of our Lord
Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.


Psalms 146:2, 5-6, 7, 8-9
R: Praise the Lord, my soul!
2 Praise the Lord, my soul! I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live. (R) 5 Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD, his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them. (R) Who keeps faith forever, 7 secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free. (R) 8 The LORD gives sight to the blind. The LORD raises up those that were bowed down; the LORD loves the just. 9 The LORD protects strangers. (R)


Jesus commands us to love our enemies. This fact tells us something of the nature of love that today's world needs to learn anew, namely that love is a decision and is not necessarily dependent upon our feelings or emotions. What is important is that we decide to love every human being we meet! This is a command of the nature of the Gospel and the nature of love; if we do not have love for others, how will we be committed to proclaiming the Gospel to them?

R: Alleluia, alleluia
I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.
R: Alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 5:43-48
43 Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48 So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."

my reflections
t h i n k I : f we do not have love for others, how will we be committed to proclaiming the Gospel to them?

God's special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for:____________________________________



Job 10-13

Didache | Companion | Sabbath | Top      


Once again Jesus turns conventional norms into a topsy-turvy teaching in today's Gospel reading. And how He does so, specifically regarding concrete and practical matters such as loving and greeting.
The metaphors of sunlight and rainfall used by Jesus bring the message across very clearly. In the new dispensation already long since inaugurated by Jesus, we cannot be selective and "distinctive" (in the sense of making discriminatory distinctions) in our love anymore. The Israelites from of old would love their countrymen and "hate" their enemies. This second verb, by the way, is often misunderstood in the literal sense of hatred. But it simply meant that Israelites were allowed to prioritize their love for their own, and then apply a lesser love on the rest. (What a peculiarity!)  
The new law being promulgated now by Jesus mandates plainly that we love our enemies. Period. No ifs, no buts; no questions, no conditions.
In any case, should we fall short of such radical ideals taught by Jesus, we do ourselves a favor by not watering down or sugar-coating them. We need not despair if we don't attain to such ideals. In the words of popular Christian writer Philip Yancey, "[Jesus] gave [the Sermon on the Mount] to impart to us God's Ideal toward which we should never stop striving, but also to show that none of us will ever reach that Ideal. The Sermon on the Mount forces us to recognize the great distance between God and us, and any attempt to reduce that distance by somehow moderating its demands
misses the point altogether" (The Jesus I Never Knew).  
Yes, Jesus indeed turns our standards topsy-turvy. But it's OK. We will not attempt to put them back in order. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

Reflection Question:
Jesus' teachings vs. the world's teachings: Which do you follow?  

Make me Your faithful disciple, Lord. May Your teachings be always the standard for my life.

St. Mark of Lucera, pray for us.

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