Readings 20141012

Reflections:
The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

What can a royal wedding party tell us about God’s kingdom? One of the most beautiful images used in the Scriptures to depict what heaven is like is the wedding celebration and royal feast given by the King for his newly-wed son and bride. Whatever grand feast we can imagine on earth, heaven is the feast of all feasts because the Lord of heaven and earth invites us to the most important banquet of all – not simply as bystanders or guests – but as members of Christ’s own body, his bride the church! The last book in the Bible ends with an invitation to the wedding feast of the Lamb – the Lord Jesus who offered his life as an atoning sacrifice for our sins and who now reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Spirit and the Bride say, Come! (Revelations 22:17).  The Lord Jesus invites us to be united with himself in his heavenly kingdom of peace and righteousness. Whose interests come first – God or mine? Why does Jesus’ parable of the marriage feast seem to focus on an angry king who ends up punishing those who refused his invitation and who mistreated his servants? Jesus’ parable contains two stories. The first has to do with the original guests invited to the marriage  feast. The king had sent out invitations well in advance to his subjects, so they would have plenty of time to prepare for coming to the feast. How insulting for the invited guests to then refuse when the time for celebrating came! They made light of the King’s request because they put their own interests above his. They not only insulted the King but the heir to the throne as well. The king’s anger is justified because they openly refused to give the king the honor he was due. Jesus directed this warning to the Jews of his day, both to convey how much God wanted them to share in the joy of his kingdom, but also to give a warning about the consequences of refusing his Son, their Messiah and Savior. An invitation we cannot refuse! The second part of the story focuses on those who had no claim on the king and who would never have considered getting such an invitation. The “good and the bad” along the highways certainly referred to the Gentiles (non-Jews) and to sinners. This is certainly an invitation of grace – undeserved, unmerited favor and kindness! But this invitation also contains a warning for those who refuse it or who approach the wedding feast unworthily. God’s grace is a free gift, but it is also an awesome responsibility. Cheap grace or costly grace? Dieterich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor and theologian in Germany who died for his faith under Hitler’s Nazi rule, contrasted “cheap grace” and “costly grace”. “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves… the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance… grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate… Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.” God invites each of us as his friends to his heavenly banquet that we may celebrate with him and share in his joy. Are you ready to feast at the Lord’s banquet table? “Lord Jesus, may I always know the joy of living in your presence and grow in the hope of seeing you face to face in your everlasting kingdom.” The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com   DEATH TOLLED   “On this mountain He will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; He will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces.” —Isaiah 25:7-8   Isaiah prophesied that the Lord would “destroy death forever” (Is 25:8). Jesus fulfilled this prophecy. By His death on the cross, He took away death’s victory, robbed “the devil, the prince of death, of his power” and freed “those who through fear of death had been slaves their whole life long” (Heb 2:14-15). “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor 15:54). Thus, Jesus holds “the keys of death and the nether world” (Rv 1:18). He proclaims and promises: “I am the Resurrection and the Life: whoever believes in Me, though he should die, will come to life; and whoever is alive and believes in Me will never die” (Jn 11:25-26). “Christ must reign until God has put all enemies under His feet, and the last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15:25-26). At Judgment Day, “death and the nether world” will be “hurled into the pool of fire, which is the second death” (Rv 20:14). Jesus “has robbed death of its power and has brought life and immortality into clear light through the gospel” (2 Tm 1:10). Praise Jesus! Alleluia!   Prayer: Jesus, may our celebrations each Sunday of Your resurrection-victory permeate my life and the world. Promise: “My God in turn will supply your needs fully, in a way worthy of His magnificent riches in Christ Jesus.” —Phil 4:19 Praise: Praise Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life! (Jn 11:25) Praise Him always and forever!   (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, Risen Life, or our audio tapes AV 4A-1, AV 4A-3, AV 4B-1, AV 4B-3 or video V-4A, V-4B.)    Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 24, 2014.  The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

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