Readings 20150117

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

HE COULDN’T CARE MORE

“So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and favor and to find help in time of need.” —Hebrews 4:16
We see others and ourselves beset with problems, which don’t get better but get worse. Then we wonder whether God cares.

We pray, and our prayers are not answered as we hoped. In fact, things often get worse after we pray. If God is blessing us, it seems impossible to recognize this.

We see people falling on the ice, suffering in pain, shivering in the cold, treated unjustly, and consumed with fear. Then we wonder again whether God cares.

The truth is: GOD CARES. He even became a human being to suffer with us. The crucified Christ communicates to even the most broken and confused people that God cares about each one of them (1 Pt 5:7). “We do not have a High Priest Who is unable to sympathize with our weakness” (Heb 4:15). God cares about each one of us more than we care about ourselves. He cares about us far more than even those who love us most claim to care about us. God cannot care about us more than He already does. He cares about us and loves us perfectly, infinitely, unconditionally, sacrificially, and eternally. “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and favor and to find help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).

Prayer: Abba, by faith I have supreme confidence in Your love. Promise: “Jesus said to them, ‘People who are healthy do not need a doctor; sick people do. I have come to call sinners, not the righteous.’ ” —Mk 2:17, our transl. Praise: St. Anthony let go of the old wineskin (see Mk 2:22) by selling all his possessions and received new wine by choosing to live as a religious. (For a related teaching, order our tape on Jesus the Redeemer, on audio AV 50-3 or video V-50.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 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

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What draws us to the throne of God’s mercy and grace? Mark tells us that many people were drawn to Jesus, including the unwanted and the unlovable, such as the lame, the blind, and the lepers, as well as the homeless such as widows and orphans. But public sinners, like the town prostitutes and corrupt tax collectors, were also drawn to Jesus. In calling Levi, who was also named Matthew) to be one of his disciples, Jesus picked one of the unlikeliest of men – a tax collector who by profession was despised by the people.
Why did the religious leaders find fault with Jesus for making friends with sinners and tax collectors like Levi? The orthodox Jews had a habit of dividing everyone into two groups – those who rigidly kept the law of Moses and its minute regulations and those who did not. They latter were treated like second class citizens. The orthodox scrupulously avoided their company, refused to do business with them, refused to give or receive anything from them, refused to intermarry, and avoided any form of entertainment with them, including table fellowship. Jesus’ association with sinners shocked the sensibilities of these orthodox Jews.

When the Pharisees challenged his unorthodox behavior in eating with public sinners, Jesus’ defense was quite simple. A doctor doesn’t need to visit healthy people; instead he goes to those who are sick. Jesus likewise sought out those in the greatest need. A true physician seeks healing of the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Jesus came as the divine physician and good shepherd to care for his people and to restore them to wholeness of life.The orthodox Jews were so preoccupied with their own practice of religion that they neglected to help the very people who needed care. Their religion was selfish because they didn’t want to have anything to do with people not like themselves.
Jesus stated his mission in unequivocal terms: I came not to call the righteous, but to call sinners. Ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The Lord fills us with his grace and mercy. And he wants us, in turn, to seek the good of our neighbors, including the unlikeable and the trouble-maker by showing them the same kindness and mercy which we have received. Do you thank the Lord for the great kindness and mercy he has shown to you?

“Lord Jesus, our Savior, let us now come to you: Our hearts are cold; Lord, warm them with your selfless love. Our hearts are sinful; cleanse them with your precious blood. Our hearts are weak; strengthen them with your joyous Spirit. Our hearts are empty; fill them with your divine presence. Lord Jesus, our hearts are yours; possess them always and only for yourself.” (Prayer of Augustine, 4th century)

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