Readings 20150210

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

NEW CREATIONS (Part 2)

“God created.” —Genesis 1:27
On the threshold of Lent, we pray for a new springtime in the Spirit resulting in new creations. The Lord continues to create through His Spirit, Word, and light.

In God’s light, we see the “formless wasteland” (see Gn 1:2) of our lives. We see the need to establish God’s order, harmony, shalom. Accordingly, we begin to separate things in our life, just as God separated the light from the darkness (Gn 1:4), the waters above from the waters below (Gn 1:7), and the land from the sea (Gn 1:9). A re-ordering is necessary for re-creations and new creations. We must “come out from among them and separate [ourselves] from them” (2 Cor 6:17); that is, we must separate from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (see 1 Jn 2:16, RSV-CE). We must separate from the ways of the world, for Jesus has chosen us out of the world (Jn 15:19). In the darkness of the world, the growth of God’s creations is stifled.

Additionally, for God to create anew in our lives, we must “be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Gn 1:28). We must bear fruit for God’s kingdom by sharing our faith and leading others to new life in Christ. If we don’t co-create with God by sowing the seed of God’s Word, then we don’t want and don’t receive God’s new creations that much.

This Lent, be separated from the world and fruitful in the Spirit. Be newly created and creative.

Prayer: Father, create in me a creative spirit. Promise: “God created man in His image; in the divine image He created him; male and female He created them.” —Gn 1:27 Praise: St. Scholastica was absolutely pure her entire life and lived for Jesus as a nun. Her life of faithfulness was hidden with Christ in God (see Col 3:3). (We offer a Women’s Retreat entitled Modeling Mary on March 21, 2015. You can register by calling 513-373-2397 or register online at http://www.presentationministries.com.)
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
What makes a person unclean or unfit to offer God acceptable worship? The Jews went to great pains to ensure that their worship would conform to the instructions which God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. God’s call to his people was a call to holiness: “be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44; 19:2). In their zeal for holiness many elders developed elaborate traditions which became a burden for the people to carry out in their everyday lives. The Scribes and Pharisees were upset with Jesus because he allowed his disciples to break with their ritual traditions by eating with unclean hands. They sent a delegation all the way from Jerusalem to Galilee to bring their accusation in a face-to-face confrontation with Jesus.
Jesus dealt with their accusation by going to the heart of the matter – by looking at God’s intention and purpose for the commandments. Jesus gave an example of how their use of ritual tradition excused them from fulfilling the commandment to honor one’s father and mother. If someone wanted to avoid the duty of financially providing for their parents in old age or sickness they could say that their money or goods were an offering “given over to God” and thus exempt from any claim of charity or duty to help others. They broke God’s law to fulfill a law of their own making. Jesus explained that they void God’s command because they allowed their hearts and minds to be clouded by their own notions of religion.

Jesus accused them specifically of two things. First of hypocrisy. Like actors, who put on a show, they appear to obey God’s word in their external practices while they inwardly harbor evil desires and intentions. Secondly, he accused them of abandoning God’s word by substituting their own arguments and ingenious interpretations for what God requires. They listened to clever arguments rather than to God’s word. Jesus refers them to the prophecy of Isaiah (29:31) where the prophet accuses the people of his day for honoring God with their lips while their hearts went astray because of disobedience to God’s laws.

If we listen to God’s word with faith and reverence, it will both enlighten our mind and purify our heart – thus enabling us to better understand how he wants us to love and obey him. The Lord invites us to draw near to him and to feast at his banquet table. Do you approach with a clean heart and mind? Ask the Lord to cleanse and renew you with the purifying fire of his Holy Spirit.

“Lord Jesus, let the fire of your Holy Spirit cleanse my mind and my heart that I may love you purely and serve you worthily.”

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