The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What does the image of light and a lamp tell us about God’s kingdom? Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling. The Jews also understood “light” as an expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. In his light we see light ( Psalm 36:9). His word is a lamp that guides our steps (Psalm 119:105). God’s grace not only illumines the darkness in our lives, but it also fills us with spiritual light, joy, and peace.
Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God’s kingdom. In fact, our mission is to be light-bearers of Christ so that others may see the truth of the gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception.
Jesus remarks that nothing can remain hidden or secret. We can try to hide things from others, from ourselves, and from God. How tempting to shut our eyes from the consequences of our sinful ways and bad habits, even when we know what those consequences are. And how tempting to hide them from others and even from God. But, nonetheless, everything is known to God who sees all.
There is great freedom and joy for those who live in God’s light and who seek his truth. Those who listen to God and heed his voice will receive more from him; they will not lack what they need to live as Christ’s disciples, and they will shine as lights to those who hunger for God’s truth and wisdom. Do you know the joy and freedom of living in God’s light?
“Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
PRESENCE OR ABSENT?
“We should not absent ourselves from the assembly, as some do, but encourage one another; and this all the more because you see that the Day draws near.” Hebrews 10:25
When we gather in Jesus’ name, He has promised to be with us in a special way (Mt 18:20). In Jesus’ special presence, we are more deeply united with Him and with one another. In this deeper unity, we have greater knowledge of and openness to God’s will. Therefore, when we pray together, we express better the will of God, and our prayers are answered (Mt 18:19). In this great prayer-power, we are encouraged and roused to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24-25). In His presence, unity, will, intercession, and power, we are gathered as Jesus’ disciples were gathered in the upper room before the first Christian Pentecost (see Acts 1:14).
When the members of Christ’s Body repeatedly resist the temptation to absent themselves from the assembly, we will see a new Pentecost, hasten the final coming of Christ (2 Pt 3:12), and be ready for the end of the world and His coming (see Heb 10:25). When spouses get together for prayer, when families gather to hear God’s Word, when Christian communities cover the earth, when churches are packed for daily Mass, when prayer groups are abounding, then we will see God’s glory. Therefore, make any sacrifices necessary so as not to absent yourself from the assembly.
Prayer: Father, may I never imply by the choices I make that I don’t need the other parts of Christ’s Body (see 1 Cor 12:21). Promise: “In the measure you give you shall receive, and more besides.” Mk 4:24 Praise: Tony had no money to pay his bills when he was laid off. He refused to panic, and believed God would provide. On the day his bills were due, three separate individuals visited him to pay off old debts, which totalled the amount of what he owed. (For a related teaching, order our tape What is Christian Community? on audio AV 76-1 or video V-76.)
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