#readings 20141021

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

If the Lord Jesus knocked on your door today would you be ready and eager to receive him? He wants us to be prepared for his coming – today, tomorrow, at the hour of our departure from this life (our death), and when he comes again at the end of this present world to reward those who have believed in him – the only begotten Son of the Father in heaven who was sent to deliver us from sin and death. The Lord Jesus calls to us each and every day. He says, “Listen! I am standing and knocking at your door. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and we will eat together” (Revelations 3:20). Be watchful and ready to serve the Lord when he calls Jesus told his followers a parable from everyday life that illustrated the necessity of being prepared to open the door at once when the Master of the house knocks and calls for his servants to let him in. Doors in the ancient world were often bolted from the inside, especially at night, to keep out thieves and troublemakers. Servants who knew their master’s voice were expected to be vigilant and prepared to unbolt the door and let him in without a moment’s delay. This required a listening ear and attentive spirit that could block out other noises and distractions. If the servants refused to answer the door or delayed too long, they could expect a rebuke or punishment from the master. The Lord and Master serves us But Jesus’ story adds an unexpected reward for those who open at once – even in the middle of the night when everyone is fast asleep. The master who returns from a wedding feast to his home late at night does the unthinkable when his servants greet him at the door. He puts on a servant’s uniform and apron and seats his servants at his own table. And then – to their astonishment no doubt – the master himself waits on his servants at table by serving them his choice food and drink. Jesus’ parable turns the world’s way of thinking upside-down. The master rewards his faithful servants by serving them himself with the best provision, care, and service he can offer. The Lord Jesus became a servant for our sake This story illustrates the amazing generous spirit, servant-hearted love, and profound humility of God who is the exalted Lord and Master over all he has created. The Father sent his only begotten Son to become a man for our sake who shed his blood for us on the cross to ransom us from slavery to sin, Satan, and death. Paul the Apostle tells us that Jesus who was equal with the Father, nonetheless, humbled himself and became a servant for our sake (Philippians 2:5-8). Do you listen for the voice of the Lord calling to you? And are you ready to receive him today so that you may be nourished with his life-giving word that has power to transform you into his likeness and way of love, mercy, and truth, and goodness? The Lord offers us rich food and provision for our daily lives. But we can miss his daily provision if we allow our hearts, ears, and minds to be distracted with other things – even good things that crowd out his voice and invitation to let him enter and feast with us. The Lord loves faithfulness Jesus’ parable also has an important lesson for each one of us as well. Just as Jesus was faithful and ready to obey his Father in everything – even to the point of laying down his life for us on the cross, we, too are called to be faithful and ready to do whatever our heavenly Father’s commands us. How can we serve as Jesus served and be faithful to the end of our days? Only love – the love which God has poured into our hearts through the Spirit which has been given to us (Romans 5:5) – can transform us and fill us with joy and courage in offering our lives in humble service to God and one another. The Lord Jesus sets us free from fear and selfish pride so we can love and serve  as he has loved us (Ephesians 5:2). Ask the Lord to give you a servant heart and a willing spirit that is ready to listen and eager to obey. “Lord Jesus, you loved me first and you gave your life for me. Fill me with a joyful heart and a generous spirit that is ready to serve and to do whatever you command.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com  

DRY WALL   “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near through the blood of Christ. It is He Who is our Peace, and Who made the two of us one by breaking down the barrier of hostility that kept us apart.” —Ephesians 2:13-14   The phrase rendered “barrier of hostility” above is literally “the dividing wall of the barrier.” We all experience the pain of being separated by a dividing wall. Some experience this in troubled marriages; it feels like the Great Wall of China stands between you and your spouse. Invisible, dividing walls and barriers of hostility are all too often present in family relationships. Some who read this are in prison: for you, the “dividing wall of the barrier” is not invisible but is a physical, harsh daily reality. Others suffer hunger, persecution, poverty, and injustice due to the dividing walls of social classes based on money, prejudice, ethnicity, and power. Whatever dividing wall stands in your life, bring that wall to Jesus. He is constantly praying that all His people would be one, as He and the Father are one (Jn 17:21). Jesus alone walks through walls (Jn 20:26). He breaks down the walls that keep people apart (Eph 2:14). The Lord broke down the walls of Jericho when His people came before Him in obedience, trust, and praise (Jos 6:20). While behind the wall, “fix your eyes on Jesus” (Heb 3:1) instead of the wall. The Lord is writing on the wall to convict the hearts of people on both sides (see Dn 5:5). He stands by the wall with a measuring line, plotting its destruction (see Am 7:7-9). Only in Jesus do walls come tumbling down. Your body may be trapped but your heart, mind, and spirit are not. Pray: Lord, “by the help of my God I leap over a wall” (Ps 18:30) into Your arms.   Prayer: Father, I am trapped behind a wall now, but by Your grace, I will live forever behind the walls of the heavenly city (Rv 21:14). Promise: “It will go well with those servants whom the Master finds wide-awake on His return.” —Lk 12:37 Praise: Louise led her kidnapper to give his life to Jesus. He felt Jesus take away the hatred from his life.   (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)   

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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