The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
How good are you at reading warning signs?
Jesus expects his disciples to accurately read the signs of the times! Farmers and seafarers know the importance of spotting weather conditions for safe travel and planting. A lot of effort is made today, with the help of science and technology, to discern potential natural dangers, such as tropical storms, hurricanes, floods, tornados, earth quakes, and erupting volcanoes, so that people can be warned to take shelter before disaster hits. Our need for accurately discerning spiritual danger is even more necessary if we want to avoid a spiritual crisis or a moral disaster. Jesus used a vivid illustration to point out the urgency of getting right with God before it is too late. If you got into serious trouble with your neighbor and did something that could get you severely penalized (like being thrown into jail and loosing everything you owned), would you not try to settle the case out-of-court to avoid the worst consequences?
None of us has the power and strength of will for overcoming sin and evil on our own. We stand in constant need of God’s grace, help, strength, and protection. That is why scripture uses vivid language to describe God as our rock, refuge, fortress, and mighty defense. We are also vulnerable to Satan’s lies and deceptions as well as our own spiritual blind-spots for recognizing sin and moral weakness in our own lives. That is why we need God’s help and discernment for distinguishing between truth and error, right and wrong, good and evil. Fortunately the Lord Jesus, who is a just judge, is also a merciful advocate who pleads for us at the right hand of the Father in heaven. The light of Jesus Christ reveals what is in our hearts and his grace frees us from the tyranny of sinful habits, hurtful desires, and harmful addictions. God’s call is urgent and his grace is available for total freedom and transformation in Christ. If we want to turn away from sin the Lord is ready to give us the grace and help we need to choose for his way of love and holiness. Are you ready for his saving grace and healing action in your life? “Lord Jesus, flood my heart with your love and free me from all that would keep me from doing your will. Transform my mind that I may discern what is right and have the courage to choose what is good and pleasing to you.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
“Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin.” Ephesians 4:3 To live lives worthy of our calling as Christians, we must become one as Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are One (see Jn 17:21). We are called to live in divine, Trinitarian, multi-faceted unity. There are seven major facets to our unity with God. “There is but one body and one Spirit, just as there is but one hope given all of you by your call. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all” (Eph 4:4-6).
These many facets themselves are multi-faceted. There is one bread and one body when we receive the body and blood of Jesus in Holy Communion (1 Cor 10:17). In Christian community, we are “of one heart and one mind” (Acts 4:32). In marriage, the husband and wife “are no longer two but one flesh” (Mt 19:6) as they grow to be more deeply of one heart and one mind. Unity is like a diamond of divinity and Trinity. Unity from God’s perspective is pure simplicity. From our human perspective, unity is a rich complexity. Unity is a mystery and a “great gift of the Holy Spirit” (Lay Members of Christ’s Faithful People, Pope John Paul II, 20). Let us live lives worthy of our call to be one through, with, and in Him. We were created and redeemed to be one. Let us “make every effort to preserve” and deepen our love in the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:3).
Prayer: Father, “how good it is, and how pleasant, where brethren dwell at one!” (Ps 133:1) Give me a heart for Trinitarian unity.
Promise: “Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain.” Ps 24:3-4
Praise: St. Anthony continued to preach Christ in the face of several assassination attempts. (For more teaching on unity, order our booklet, Introduction to Small Christian Communities.)
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