Readings 20141031

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

How do you approach the commandment to observe the sabbath as a day of rest to honor the Lord? The Pharisees were convinced that Jesus was a reckless Sabbath-breaker. The Gospels record seven incidents in which Jesus healed people on the Sabbath – the seventh day of the week set apart for rest and the worship of God. You would think Jesus’ miracles on the Sabbath day of rest would draw admiration and gratitude from all. Unfortunately, each incident seemed to incite increasing hostility from the religious leaders who held an interpretation that went beyond God’s intention for the Sabbath day of rest. They were certain that Jesus was a dangerous and irreligious man, a Sabbath-breaker, who must be stopped at all costs! Why did the Pharisees invite Jesus to dinner on the Sabbath, after he had already repeatedly broken their Sabbath regulations? Luke, a physician and keen observer of the human condition, notes the disposition of the Pharisees as they bring Jesus into their table fellowship. Body language often communicates more truthfully than words. Luke says the scribes and Pharisees were watching Jesus, no doubt with great suspicion. They wanted to catch Jesus in the act of breaking the Sabbath ritual so they might accuse him of breaking God’s law and find some way to discredit him. Jesus’ attention and affection quickly turned to a person who had a physical ailment called dropsy. How did such a pitiable person get into this dinner party? In the hot arid climate of Palestine, homes were open and people freely dropped in without much fuss or attention. For the religious minded it was considered uncharitable to exclude beggars. And if a rabbi came to dinner, it would be expected for him to speak a few words. So, famous rabbis obviously drew crowds of bystanders wherever they went. God’s work of love and mercy never rests Jesus already knew that his hosts wanted to catch him in the act of breaking their Sabbath rituals. So when Jesus gave his defense for healing on the Sabbath, they treated him with cold silence. They were ensnared in their own legalism and could not understand or see the purpose of God in allowing a work of healing to take precedence over rest. Why did God give the commandment to keep holy the Sabbath and enjoined his people to refrain from work on that day? The “Sabbath rest” was meant to be a time to remember and celebrate God’s goodness and the goodness of his works, both in creation and redemption. It was a day set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on our behalf. It was intended to bring everyday work to a halt and to provide needed rest and refreshment. It was not, however, intended to put a stop to love of God and love of neighbor. The law of love supercedes the law of rest! Jesus shows the fallacy of the Pharisees’ legalism by pointing to God’s intention for the Sabbath: to do good and to heal. God’s word has power to heal and to set us free from ignorance, error, intolerance, and prejudice. Do you honor the Lord’s Day with appropriate rest and worship of God, and do you treat your neighbor with love and mercy in all situations? “Lord Jesus, may I always honor you, both  in my work and in my rest, and in the way I treat my neighbor. Fill me with your love and keep me free from a critical and intolerant spirit that I may always seek to please you and to bring good to my neighbor as well.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com   FINISHING SCHOOL   “He Who has begun the good work in you will carry it through to completion.” —Philippians 1:6   Hours before His death, Jesus Himself prayed to His Father: “I have given You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave Me to do” (Jn 17:4). At His death, Jesus “said, ‘Now it is finished.’ Then He bowed His head, and delivered over His spirit” (Jn 19:30). Paul, having the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16), stated in the last years of his life: “I put no value on my life if only I can finish my race and complete the service to which I have been assigned by the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:24). Paul proclaimed: “The Lord stood by my side and gave me strength, so that through me the preaching task might be completed” (2 Tm 4:17). Before his death, Paul also proclaimed: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tm 4:7). Paul assured the church of Philippi: “I am sure of this much: that He Who has begun the good work in you will carry it through to completion, right up to the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). The Lord has called us to make our lives beautiful temples of the Spirit to His glory (see 1 Pt 2:5). Our concern is that we may not “complete the work” (Lk 14:29). Then all who see our lives will not give glory to God; rather, they will jeer at us and say: “They began to build what they could not finish” (see Lk 14:30). However, because we have been baptized into Christ and have the mind of Christ, we can confidently say: “The Lord will complete what He has done for me” (Ps 138:8).  
Prayer: Father, may I cross Your finish line. Promise: “He took the man, healed him, and sent him on his way.” —Lk 14:4 Praise: Charles prays, studies the church’s teachings (especially the Bible), and reads the lives of the saints to help increase his faith.   (For a related teaching, order our tape Am I Going to Heaven? on audio AV 54-3 or video V-54.)   

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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