The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Where does evil come from and can we eliminate it from our personal lives? Jesus deals with this issue in response to the religious leaders’ concern with ritual defilement (uncleanness) – making oneself unfit to offer acceptable worship and sacrifice to God. The religious leaders were very concerned with avoiding ritual defilement, some no doubt out of reverent fear of God, and others because they wanted to be seen as observant Jews. Jesus points his listeners to the source of true defilement – evil desires which come from inside a person’s innermost being. Sin does not just happen from external forces. It first springs from the innermost recesses of our thoughts and intentions, from the secret desires which only the individual mind and heart can conceive.
When Cain became jealous of his brother Abel, God warned him to guard his own heart: “Sin is couching at the door; it’s desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:7). Cain unfortunately did not take God’s warning to heart. He allowed his jealousy to grow into spite and hatred for his brother, and he began to look for an opportunity to eliminate his brother all together. When jealously and other sinful desires come knocking at the door of your heart, how do you respond? Do you entertain them and allow them to overtake you? Fortunately God does not leave us alone in our struggle with hurtful desires and sinful tendencies. He gives us the grace and strength we need to resist and overcome sin when it couches at the door of our heart.
The Lord Jesus wants to set us free from the burden of guilt and from the destructive force of sin and wrong-doing in our personal lives. He wants to purify our hearts and renew our minds so we can freely choose to love and do what is right, good, just, and wise. The Lord Jesus is ready to change and purify our hearts through the grace and help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God through his Word and Spirit first brings sin into the light that we may recognize it for what it truly is and call upon his mercy and grace for pardon, healing, and restoration. The Spirit of truth is our Counselor and Helper. His power and grace enables us to choose what is good and to reject what is evil. Do you believe in the power of God’s love to heal, change, and transform your heart and mind?
“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and make my heart like yours. Strengthen my heart, mind, and my will that I may freely choose to love what is good and to reject what is evil.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
GOD IS GOOD
“The Lord God planted a garden in Eden…and He placed there the man whom He had formed.” Genesis 2:8
People frequently blame God for the cruelty and tragedies that occur in this world. This attitude of blaming God stems from the assumption that He created and orchestrated every situation and circumstance in the present, visible world. Today’s first reading debunks this attitude and proclaims that what God created was “delightful” and “good” (Gn 2:9).
God freely and lovingly created man and gave him the breath of life. God not only provided man with an abundance of good food, but He also blessed man’s spirit by creating an environment that was “delightful to look at” (Gn 2:9). All of this was a sheer gift from God. In the world He created, God did not require man to produce his own food; that requirement was chosen by man when Adam and Eve decided to handle their own affairs (Gn 3:19). God appointed man to “care for” the earth (Gn 2:15), and man “didn’t care.” People might say that “God just doesn’t care,” but the truth is that the injustices of this world occur because man didn’t and doesn’t “care” for God’s creation.
The Scripture readings for Mass this Friday reveal that the free choice of man is what has caused the disorder that exists in our present world. Even that tragic choice can’t change the nature of God. God is good. He loves the people He has created and He provides everything necessary for each one of them. He has not changed (see Heb 13:8), and He still sends forth provisions to this earth to provide for our needs (see Mt 5:45; 6:30; Phil 4:19). “O Lord, my God, You are great indeed!” (Ps 104:1)
Prayer: Father, thank You for giving me the breath of life. I will spend my life giving thanks and praise to You. Promise: “When You send forth Your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth.” Ps 104:30 Praise: Glenda was devoted to Our Lady of Lourdes. She rejoiced when her confessor assigned her to pray to her patroness. (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
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