Readings 20150201

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

RATED “R”

“I have no desire to place restrictions on you, but I do want to promote what is good, what will help you to devote yourselves entirely to the Lord.” —1 Corinthians 7:35
We must accept certain restrictions if we wish to totally commit our lives to the Lord. Gospel poverty, celibacy, a large family, a faithful marriage, a demanding ministry — all restrict us significantly. However, any decision or commitment restricts us. Any successful athlete, business person, or celebrity has placed severe restrictions on themselves. How much more willing should we be to restrict ourselves out of love for the Lord!

Consider what Jesus did for us. When He became a man, He emptied Himself and took the form of a slave (Phil 2:7). There is no greater restriction than to be nailed to a cross. Jesus was the most restricted person who has ever lived, but also the most free. He broke all restrictions of space and time by rising from the dead and ascending to heaven. We too can be restricted and resurrected as He was.

Prayer: Jesus, give me the freedom to be committed and self-sacrificing. Promise: “The unclean spirit convulsed the man violently and with a loud shriek came out of him.” —Mk 1:26 Praise: Praise Jesus, Who gave up all freedom, both natural and supernatural, so that we may be free. (We offer a Discipleship Retreat entitled Extreme Make-Over: Who Am I in Christ? on February 20-21, 2015. You can register online at http://www.presentationministries.com or by calling 513-373-2397.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 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
Do you believe that God’s word has power to set you free and to transform your life? When Jesus taught he spoke with authority. He spoke the word of God as no one had spoken it before. When the Rabbis taught they supported their statements with quotes from other authorities. The prophets spoke with delegated authority – “Thus says the Lord.” When Jesus spoke he needed no authorities to back his statements. He was authority incarnate – the Word of God made flesh. When he spoke, God spoke. When he commanded even the demons obeyed.
Faith works through love and abounds in hope
Augustine of Hippo (354-430) remarked that “faith is mighty, but without love it profits nothing. The devils confessed Christ, but lacking charity it availed nothing. They said, ‘What have we to do with you’ (Mark 1:24)? They confessed a sort of faith, but without love. Hence they were devils.”
Faith is powerful, but without love it profits nothing (1 Corinthians 13). Scripture tells us that true faith works through love (Galatians 5:6) and abounds in hope (Romans 15:13). Our faith is made perfect in love because love orients us to the supreme good which is God himself as well as the good of our neighbor who is created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26,27).
Hope anchors our faith in the promises of God and purifies our desires for the things which will last for eternity. That is why the word of Christ has power to set us free from all that would keep us bound in sin, deception, and despair. Bede the venerable abbot of an English monastery (672-735) contrasted the power and authority of Jesus’ word with the word of the devil: “The devil, because he had deceived Eve with his tongue, is punished by the tongue, that he might not speak” [Homilies on the Gospels 1.8].

Faith must be nourished with the Word of God
Faith is both a free gift of God and the free assent of our will to the whole truth that God has revealed. To live, grow, and persevere in the faith to the end, we must nourish it with the word of God. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds that we may grow in his truth and in the knowledge of his great love for each of us. If we approach God’s word submissively, with an eagerness to do everything the Lord desires, we are in a much better position to learn what God wants to teach us through his word. Are you eager to be taught by the Lord and to conform your life according to his word?

“Lord Jesus, your word is power and life. May I never doubt your saving love and mercy, and the power of your word to bring healing and deliverance to those in need.”

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