Daily Bible Reflections

Help show what a forum like this can accomplish.

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:17 am

July 11, 2010


15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dt 30:10-14
Ps 69 (or Ps 19)
Col 1:15-20

Lk 10:25-37



The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test [Jesus] and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” 27He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
29But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. 31A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. 32Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. 33But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. 34He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ 36Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” 37He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

True Religious Heroes

A.J. Cronin’s novel The Keys of the Kingdom tells the story of Fr. Francis Chisholm, a missionary in China. The priest has a friend, Dr. Willie Tulloch, who follows him to the mission, not because he shares the priest’s belief in God, but because he loves his friend and is a dedicated physician. In fact, the doctor is an atheist.
While attending to Chinese patients during an epidemic, Dr. Tulloch is likewise stricken. Dying in the arms of Fr. Francis, the doctor says he has loved him for not trying to bully him into heaven.
The priest in turn tells his friend that though he cannot believe in God, God believes in him. Fr. Francis pictures God at the Judgment Seat welcoming Dr. Tulloch: “I’m here, you see, in spite of all they brought you up to believe. Enter the Kingdom which you honestly denied.”
The doctor resembles the Samaritan in the Gospel parable. Both are not “religiously” motivated when they come to the rescue of the needy. Both are anti-heroes in a religious drama. The doctor is an agnostic; the Samaritan is a schismatic, treated worse than an unbeliever by the Jews. Yet they become the embodiment of love for neighbor. They are sincere, dedicated and merciful; they are fully human. And this humanity brings them to God and eternal life.
The parable of the Samaritan does not belittle the status of the priest and the Levite. Nor does it honor the Samaritans as a religious group. After all, Jesus says that the Samaritans worship what they do not understand while the Jews worship what they understand, and salvation is from the Jews (Jn 4:22).
But religious obligations, if not rightly interpreted, may inhibit a person from showing pity and kindness which are at the heart of the greatest commandment of love. The regulations on defilement from contact with a bloodied and possibly dead body restrain the two representatives of official Jewish religion from practicing the love of neighbor. The Samaritan knows that these regulations also apply to him, yet his pity and kindness transcend the restrictions of the Law.
We cannot look down on people who are at the fringes of official religion. We should also be wary of presumption, the thought that occupying a sacred office means automatic salvation. The commandment of love of God and neighbor is the only supreme criterion of holiness. And love of God and service to neighbor are inseparable.

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:12 pm

July 12, 2010


St. John Gualbert
Monday of the 15th Week

Is 1:10-17
Ps 50
Mt 10:34—11:1


Jesus: A Cause of Division

[Jesus said to the Twelve,] 34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. 35For I have come to set a man ‘against his father,/ a daughter against her mother,/ and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;/ 36and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’
37“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
40“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. 41Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
1When Jesus finished giving these commands to his twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

MORE THAN FATHER OR MOTHER

In the cultural world of Jesus, the family (kinship) is the central institution. Kinship provides the economic, religious, educational, and social foundations of life. To leave one’s family is to risk losing all.
The Hebrew word for “family” is beth-ab, meaning “house of the father.” The family is patriarchal or father-centered. “Father” refers to one who holds the authority, be he the father, grandfather, or great-grandfather.
The mother loves the children, instructs and disciplines them, and is concerned with their relation to God.
The family also includes sons, daughters, grandparents, and other kinsmen. The household is really a “clan.” And in a world where there is little or no social security, the family provides for one’s protection and social identity.
Jesus’ requirement that his followers love him more than they love their father, mother, and other family members is shocking to his listeners. To leave one’s family is equivalent to suicide.
Jesus, however, sets up a “replacement”—a surrogate family, composed of people not linked by blood ties but by bonds of commitment to him. Those who do the will of the heavenly Father become his mother, brothers, and sisters (Mt 12:50).

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:21 pm

July 13, 2010


St. Henry, king
Tuesday of the 15th Week

Is 7:1-9
Ps 48
Mt 11:20-24



Reproaches to Unrepentant Towns

20[Jesus] began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. 21“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23And as for you, Capernaum: ‘Will you be exalted to heaven?/ You will go down to the netherworld.’ For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

TYRE AND SIDON

A major Phoenician city, Tyre was in ancient times located on an island off the Mediterranean coast. As modern Sur, it is now situated on a peninsula. The people of Tyre used to ply the Mediterranean routes, carrying dyed goods, timber, wheat, oil, wine, metal products, and slaves. They also established a number of important commercial colonies, the most successful of which was Carthage, the arch-enemy of Rome.
Now located at modern Saida, Sidon is another ancient Phoenician city-state, about 40 kms. north of Tyre. Though a fertile plain inland from the city supported agriculture, the people of Sidon, like those of Tyre, were dependent on sea trade for their livelihood. Sidon replaced Tyre in prominence with the advent of the Persian empire.
During his Galilean ministry, Jesus withdraws “to the region of Tyre and Sidon” (Mt 15:21-29). People from this region are among the “large number of people” that come to Galilee to hear Jesus preach (Mk 3:8). While the prophets denounced Tyre and Sidon for their arrogance and threatened them with divine judgment (Is 23:1-4; Jer 25:22; Ez 26:3-7; Am 1:9), Jesus speaks more favorably of these Gentile cities than of the Jewish towns of Galilee that have not responded to his preaching. Jesus utters a prophetic lamentation against Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum on which he has worked his mighty deeds, signs that the kingdom has come to them. But they have not believed or repented. Jesus shakes them out of their complacency with a warning of judgment.

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:24 am

July 14, 2010


St. Camillus de Lellis, priest
Wednesday of the 15th Week

Is 10:5-7, 13b-16
Ps 94
Mt 11:25-27


The Praise of the Father

[On one occasion,] 25Jesus said, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. 26Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. 27All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

GOD’S FAVORITES

“Patron” or “godfather” may sound irreverent when applied to God because of The Godfather movies, but in the patron-client systems of the Mediterranean world in Jesus’ time, God is considered as the ultimate patron.
Patrons are powerful individuals who control resources and are expected to use their positions to hand out favors to inferiors. They are benefactors who are expected to support a city, village, or client. Clients, on the other hand, are those dependent upon the largesse of patrons in order to survive well in their society. In return for the favor, they show loyalty to the patrons and publicly acknowledge the honor of their benefactors.
Relationships and the giving of resources are mediated by brokers. Under imperial Rome, major public officials often act as brokers of imperial resources.
In the religious sphere, God is the patron because, in the words of Jesus, he is “Lord of heaven and earth.” He is the source of human existence and of all creation. Human beings are his clients. In this relationship, holy men such as the prophets are God’s brokers. But the broker par excellence is Jesus, God’s Son, who intercedes in behalf of men and women.
In the world of Jesus’ time, a patron selects clients and treats them as members of his immediate and extended “family.” His favorites are loyal family members, military officers, and political officials. What about God? Who are his “favorites”? In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus reveals that the primary objects of the Father’s patronage are not “the wise and the learned.” These are people who are capable of looking after themselves, who may be patrons themselves of those in the lower strata of society. Rather, God favors the “little ones.” These are not innocent children but the “powerless,” those who are unable to do or obtain anything for themselves. God bypasses the wise and the intelligent in favor of the simple ones. And Jesus praises the Father for this “gracious will” to which he gives witness in his own ministry.

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:21 pm

July 15, 2010


St. Bonaventure, bishop and doctor

Is 26:7-9, 12, 16-19
Ps 102
Mt 11:28-30



The Gentle Mastery of Christ

[Jesus said,] 28“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

MEEK AND HUMBLE OF HEART

Matthew uses meek and humble interchangeably. Jesus’ meekness and humility point to him as the “Servant of God” who accomplishes God’s purpose without using force and violence (Mt 12:18-21) and as the “Messiah-King” who enters the city of Jerusalem not as a conquering hero but as an ordinary man astride a beast of burden (Mt 28:1-8).
Here, the traits are manifested in Jesus’ solidarity with those burdened by life’s struggles and troubles. Where the scribes and the Pharisees burden the people with their onerous interpretations of the law, Jesus issues a heartwarming invitation. Observance of God’s will remains to be a “yoke,” but if the commandments and laws are seen in the spirit of Jesus and are carried as “his yoke,” they become light. Jesus himself willingly bears the burden by obeying the will of the Father. With his example and his gift of the Holy Spirit, people experience the liberating way of following God and his commandments.

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:53 pm

July 16, 2010


Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Friday of the 15th Week

Is 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8
Is 38
Mt 12:1-8


Picking Grain on the Sabbath

1At that time Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. 2When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.” 3He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, 4how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? 5Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent? 6I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. 7If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men. 8For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”

WHAT DAVID DID

The Torah of Moses forbids the Israelites to do work on the sabbath so they can rest and celebrate the Lord’s work of creation (Ex 20:8-11) as well as the salvation he offered them when he freed them from the slavery of the Egyptians (Dt 5:12-15). In their zeal to safeguard the sabbath rest, the rabbis have come up with a list of 39 kinds of work prohibited on the sabbath. By the Pharisees’ reckoning, picking the heads of grain corresponds to “reaping,” which is one of these prohibited works.
In defense of the disciples, Jesus shows a new attitude toward the sabbath. It corresponds to “mercy” which the Lord really desires (v 7). Scripture itself bears witness to acts done by responsible persons who “violated” the sabbath rest, and yet were not made to account for it: David took the “holy bread” in the Lord’s sanctuary to satisfy the hunger of his followers (1 Sm 21:1-6), and priests were authorized to break the rest in order to perform their temple duties on the sabbath (Nm 28:9-10). “Mercy,” expressed in showing compassion toward those in need, is more pleasing to God than “sacrifice,” the burnt offering in the sanctuary or the temple, or a ritual behavior, including strict sabbath observance.

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:06 am

July 17, 2010


St. Alexis
Saturday of the 15th Week

Mi 2:1-5
Ps 10
Mt 12:14-21


The Chosen Servant

14The Pharisees went out and took counsel against [Jesus] to put him to death. 15When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place. Many [people] followed him, and he cured them all, 16but he warned them not to make him known. 17This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet: 18“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,/ my beloved in whom I delight;/ I shall place my spirit upon him,/ and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles./ 19He will not contend or cry out,/ nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets./ 20A bruised reed he will not break,/ a smoldering wick he will not quench,/ until he brings justice to victory./ 21And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

THE CHOSEN SERVANT

In presenting the identity of Jesus, Matthew uses the oracle of Isaiah on the Ebed Yahweh, God’s Servant (Is 42:1-4), emphasizing the meekness and gentleness of the Servant. The oracle explains why Jesus withdraws from the synagogue where the Pharisees are gathered and why he deliberately avoids making his true identity known to the public. The oracle also voices out who Jesus truly is: the beloved one in whom God is pleased. It recalls the heavenly voice at Jesus’ baptism (Mt 3:17) and the voice from the clouds at the transfiguration (Mt 17:5). The oracle identifies Jesus as the bearer of the Holy Spirit.
The plot hatched by the Pharisees foreshadows the suffering and death of Jesus, the meek Servant. But with his death comes victory, a victory which brings hope to the pagans. Indeed, the victory of the resurrection opens the door to preaching to the Gentiles. If, during his public ministry, Jesus limited himself to the lost children of Israel, now with his resurrection, the good news is preached to all the nations. The risen Christ gives the apostles this command: “Go… and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19).

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:59 am

July 18, 2010


16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gn 18:1-10a
Ps 15
Col 1:24-28

Lk 10:38-42


Martha and Mary

38[Jesus] entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. 39She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 40Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” 41The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 42There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

A Place in the Heart of the Christian Community

St. Therese of the Child Jesus had a powerful and unsettling longing for martyrdom. But since she was a contemplative nun in the convent of Lisieux in France, she could not possibly die a martyr.
She turned to the epistles of Paul in the hope of finding an answer and chanced upon the 12th and 13th chapters of the first Letter to the Corinthians. Here the Apostle insists that the greater gifts like martyrdom and apostleship are nothing at all without love, and this same love is surely the best path leading directly to God.
Thereupon, Therese found peace of mind. She proclaimed: “Oh Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God.”
In the Gospel, Mary has similarly found her place. It is by the Master’s feet, listening to his words. Martha thinks that her sister’s place should be beside her preparing food and being hospitable to their guests: Jesus and the apostles. She asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her.
Jesus certainly appreciates Martha’s love in serving him. If he corrects her, it is with all gentleness. But he is more honored by Mary who listens to his words. In her anxiety to attend to the demands of hospitality, Martha fails to realize that Jesus wants to give more than to receive, and that the best way to serve him is to listen to his words and put them into practice.
The story of Martha and Mary follows Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. In this parable, the Samaritan obeys the commandment of love by coming to the rescue of a man victimized by robbers even if the victim is an “enemy” (a Jew) and risking ritual impurity by approaching a person presumed dead.
In Mary the evangelist gives another illustration of loving. It consists in sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him.
Some people do not have the opportunities to practice “active” service, like ministering directly to the poor and the sick. Contemplative religious, for example, spend their whole lives within the convent or monastery, working and praying and meditating on the Word of God. But they are as useful and as effective as anyone else for the building of the kingdom of God here on earth.
Like Mary and Thérèse, they have found their place in the heart of the Christian community, and this place will not be taken away from them.

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:50 pm

July 19, 2010


St. Justa
Monday of the 16th Week

Mi 6:1-4, 6-8
Ps 50
Mt 12:38-42



The Demand for a Sign

38Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to [Jesus], “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 40Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. 41At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. 42At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.”

SIGN OF JONAH THE PROPHET

Jonah, the reluctant prophet, tries to defy God’s command to preach repentance to Nineveh. Instead, he travels to Tarshish which is in the opposite direction. Jonah flees because he knows God will be merciful and gracious to the Ninevites, Israel’s enemies. The Assyrians had destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel and exiled most of the inhabitants to Nineveh, their capital city. Jonah is stopped by a large fish from escaping. Despite his unwillingness, the prophet eventually lands and preaches in Nineveh. And, very much to his chagrin, the pagan people accept his message of repentance, which spares them from destruction (Jon 3:1-10).
This then is the background of Jesus’ reply to the scribes and the Pharisees who ask him for a “sign.” Jesus aligns himself with the figure of Jonah even as he insists that he is greater than the prophet. He contrasts the positive response of the Ninevites to the prophet with the negative response that is given him by the scribes and the Pharisees. Notwithstanding the many mighty acts of Jesus that they have seen, they still want authentication that Jesus is truly from God. The despised pagan Ninevites fared better than these religious leaders.

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:26 am

July 20, 2010


St. Apollinaris, bishop and martyr
Tuesday of the 16th Week

Mi 7:14-15, 18-20
Ps 85
Mt 12:46-50



The True Family of Jesus

46While [Jesus] was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. 47[Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.”] 48But he said in reply to the one who told him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

DOING THE WILL OF THE HEAVENLY FATHER

God’s relation to Israel is based on God’s gracious election and takes the form of the covenant. In later post-exilic times, however, when there was a move to purify the people from pagan elements, there was a tendency to narrow down this special relation to special groups, for instance, those who avoid marriages to non-Jews or those who are strict in their observance of the law and the traditions.
Though he is a Jew in all aspects, Jesus chooses to uphold the will and the designs of the heavenly Father in the new order that he inaugurates. Everyone, Jew or non-Jew, is entitled to God’s love and promises by virtue of one’s relationship with Jesus. And a relationship with him is based not on being a member of his natural family but on doing the will of the Father. It entails the acceptance of the message of Jesus who alone fully reveals the Father’s gracious will.
The New Testament bears this out. Jesus himself, Son though he was, has to learn obedience. He says, “Behold I come to do your will, O God” (Heb 10:5-7). He teaches his disciples to pray: “Your will be done on earth as in heaven” (Mt 6:10). While he agonizes in Gethsemane, he prays: “Not as I will, but as you will” (Mt 26:39). His obedience is the test of his authentic sonship. So it is for his disciples. So it is for Mary, his mother.

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:00 pm

July 21, 2010


St. Lawrence of Brindisi,
priest and doctor
Wednesday of the 16th Week

Jer 1:1, 4-10
Ps 71
Mt 13:1-9


The Parable of the Sower

1On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. 2Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. 3And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, 6and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. 7Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. 8But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. 9Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

EXTRAVAGANT HARVEST

While the land of Israel could boast of fertile oasis-towns like Jericho (held to be the oldest inhabited place on earth) which produces abundant fruits, flowers, and spices, unfortunately this is not common throughout the country. In many places, farming can be difficult. As the Gospel parable points out, rocky and uneven soil predominates, and farmers have to work hard to render the ground arable (see Is 5:2).
After the early rain has softened the soil, plowing begins. Sowing is done either before or after the plowing. In the parable, the sower may be sowing with care, but he ends up wasting seed because conditions are so difficult.
But the extravagant harvest gives a clue to the message of the parable. On the average, one might expect a four- or five-fold return on sowing. So thirty-, sixty-, or a hundredfold is really unexpected. If a tenant farmer produces such a harvest, he will satisfy the landowner, provide seed for the next sowing, and leave enough for his family to eat.
The extravagant harvest, which boggles the imagination, tells us that this is clearly due to God rather than the human effort. The parable may describe an ordinary scenario, but it always points out to “something more.” The yields are clearly exaggerated, but not when applied to the sowing of the “seed of the word” done by God or by Jesus. God is a generous provider. The parable points to what the prophet Isaiah declares: just as the rain and snow do not return to the heavens without having watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, so is the word that goes forth from the mouth of God: it shall not return to him void (Is 55:10-11).

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:31 am

July 22, 2010


St. Mary Magdalene

Sg 3:1-4b
[or 2 Cor 5:14-17]
Ps 63
Jn 20:1-2, 11-18



The Appearance to Mary of Magdala

1On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
11But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. 13And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. 17Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” 18Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her.

GO TO MY BROTHERS AND TELL THEM

Mary of Magdala has been unfairly called a sinner, a prostitute. The basis is probably a note that she had been delivered by Jesus of seven demons (Mk 16:9), a reference to her grave condition, but not necessarily pointing to a promiscuous life. She is mistaken for the unnamed sinful woman who bathes Jesus’ feet with her tears and wipes them with her hair in Galilee (Lk 8:37-38) and for Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who anoints Jesus’ feet with costly perfumed oil (Jn 12:3).
Today’s Gospel gives us a true picture of Mary. She has seen the risen Lord, a privilege given only to a few followers of Jesus. With the vision comes the mission: she is sent to tell the disciples that he has risen. Rightly is she therefore called “the apostle to the apostles.”
The apostle Paul traces his own calling to the appearance of the risen Christ: “Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” (1 Cor 9:1). With the vision comes his mission: “God… was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles” (Gal 1:15). Mary of Magdala, therefore, belongs to a rare group of men and women granted a vision of the risen Christ and commanded to announce this to others.

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:32 am

July 23, 2010


St. Bridget, religious
Friday of the 16th Week

Jer 3:14-17
Jer 31
Mt 13:18-23



The Explanation of the Parable of the Sower

[Jesus said to his disciples,] 18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. 20The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. 21But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. 22The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. 23But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

THE SEED SOWN

The parable of the sower can be viewed on two levels. In the context of Jesus’ earthly ministry, it explains why some Jews accepted Jesus’ “word of the kingdom” while others rejected it. The parable lists the reasons why the Jews did not accept and act upon Jesus’ preaching: the evil one is at work; some people are too shallow, while others are preoccupied with worldly concerns and the desire for material possessions. The ideal disciple, on the other hand, is one who “hears the word and understands it.”
The parable can also be read in the context of the experiences of Matthew’s early Christian community as it sought to define its identity as regards the Jews. Again, it explains why Jesus’ preaching elicited a mixed reception from the Jews. On the one hand are the disciples, the Jewish-Christians. On the other hand are the Jews who heard the gospel but did not accept Jesus. The members of the Matthean community probably identify themselves as the seed that fell on rich soil and now yields a hundredfold. But believers down the ages ought to realize that the parable also alludes to the internal problems of the community. The obduracy of outsiders can prevent them from living fruitful lives as Christians.

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:09 am

July 24, 2010


St. Sharbel Makhlouf, priest
Saturday of the 16th Week

Jer 7:1-11
Ps 84
Mt 13:24-30



The Weeds among the Wheat


24[Jesus] proposed [a] parable to [the crowds]. “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. 26When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. 27The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ 28He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. 30Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”

WEEDING BELONGS TO GOD

In the allegorization of the parable of the weeds among the wheat, the enemy who sows weeds is the devil. But in the original setting of the parable, Jesus may just be speaking of two feuding farmers. Experts describe the society of the time as agonistic, that is, conflict oriented. When born into a given family, a person inherits a ready-made set of friends and enemies. Feuds develop and persist over a long period of time. One has to watch out when a feuding enemy seeks a chance to shame the family.
Shame is planted in the form of weeds as soon as the wheat seeds are sown, but it does not become full-blown until such time when the weeds are distinguishable from the wheat. Now, everyone in the village begins to laugh at the expense of the landowner. The laughter becomes even louder when the landowner prevents his servants from pulling up the weeds. The villagers expect revenge, but the landowner seems helpless before his enemy.
But the landowner proves himself to be a wise and clever farmer. He knows that the wheat is strong enough to tolerate the competition of the weeds for nutrients. At harvest time, he has not only wheat to fill his barn, but also weeds to serve as fuel for his needs. He and his servants have the last laugh—at the expense of his enemy.
The parable, however, has “something more” to teach—and Christians later allegorize it to suit their own situation. In the world and in their own community, they experience the children of the kingdom and the children of the evil one co-existing. Quite often, the righteous ones suffer while the evil ones prosper. Is weeding out the wicked the solution? The parable teaches that goodness will survive the effect of wickedness, and in the long run God “will get” the wicked.

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Daily Bible Reflections

Postby evolution8 » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:22 pm

July 25, 2010


17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gn 18:20-32
Ps 138
Col 2:12-14

Lk 11:1-13



The Lord’s Prayer

1[Jesus] was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” 2He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,/ your kingdom come./ 3Give us each day our daily bread/ 4and forgive us our sins/ for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,/ and do not subject us to the final test.”
5And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ 7and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ 8I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.
9“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.10For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.11What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? 12Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? 13If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

We Dare to Call God “Father”

at a concelebration in the cathedral of Kuta Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, after the consecration and just before the start of the Lord’s Prayer, I noticed a group at the rear end of the church silently making their way to the exit. Later, when I asked a friend why they did not stay for the entire Mass, I was told: “Father, they are catechumens preparing for baptism. As such they cannot yet pray the Our Father.”
That remark made a deep impression on me. At times we mumble the words of the prayer, rushing to finish it. But here is a group of people who look forward to the day when they can joyfully call God “Father!” We are reminded that, indeed, to do so is a privilege.
Luke hands on to us the “other” version of the Lord’s Prayer: shorter and less familiar than Matthew’s. But the Lucan version contains insights just as deep.
Luke says that Jesus teaches this prayer after he finished his own prayer, after the disciples who saw him praying asked him to teach them to pray. The Lord’s Prayer aligns the prayer of the disciples with the prayer of Jesus. On the other hand, it is a prayer intended for Jesus’ own disciples. Luke is implicitly saying that the prayer used in the Jewish community, even the prayer John the Baptist taught his disciples, is inappropriate for Jesus’ disciples who are to have a prayer that distinguishes them as Jesus’ very own. This does not mean that the disciples are not to pray like the rest of the people. What is emphasized here is the privilege they have because they believe and follow Jesus.
The heart of the prayer is the very first word: “Father!” This corresponds to the Aramaic word abba. In Luke, whenever Jesus speaks to God in direct speech, he addresses him as “Father!” which reveals his familial intimacy with God. In teaching them the prayer, Jesus allows the disciples to participate in his prayer, to dare use it after and with him.
The Lord’s Prayer is also important for the paraenesis or exhortation that accompanies it. Jesus exhorts the disciples to pray because God is so good. If an earthly father, wicked though he may be, knows how to give good things to his children, how much more will the Father in heaven give to those who ask him. The greatest of his gifts is the Holy Spirit (Lk 11:13). The Holy Spirit is the distinguishing mark of Jesus: he alone baptizes with (gives) the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is given to the believers so that they may be empowered to call God Abba! (Gal 4:6; Rom 8:15). St. Paul explains: “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom 8:16).
Jesus declares that people will know that we are his disciples if we have love for one another (Jn 13:35). In the same way, the Lord’s Prayer marks us as Jesus’ very own. It is the prayer that we are empowered and privileged to make. Realizing this, we are challenged to know what we pray, believe what we pray, and live what we pray! And living the Lord’s Prayer begins with the happy conviction that God is our loving Abba, more wonderful than the best father here on earth.

Source
evolution8
Administrator
Administrator
 
Posts: 9291
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:08 am
Location: Philippines

PreviousNext

Return to Prayer Requests and Devotionals

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron