The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Are you good at reading signs? Signs tell us what is coming ahead. The people of Jesus’ time expected that the coming of the Messiah would be accompanied by extraordinary signs and wonders. The religious leaders tested Jesus to see if he had a genuine sign from heaven to back his Messianic claims. False messiahs in the past had made extraordinary claims to attract their followers, such as claiming that they could cleave the Jordan River in two or cause the walls of Jerusalem to fall. Jesus knew the hearts of those who came to test him. They were more interested in seeing signs and supernatural phenomena than they were in hearing the word of God. Simeon had prophesied at Jesus’ birth that he was “destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that inner thoughts of many will be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35). Jesus gave them no sign except himself and the ultimate proof of his divinity when he rose from the dead.
The Lord reveals himself and makes his presence known to us in many ways – in his word and in the “breaking of the bread” in the Eucharist, in his church – the body of Christ, in his creation, and even in the everyday circumstances of our lives. If we seek the Lord, we will surely find him. And we can be confident that he will give us whatever we need to understand and carry out his will. Most of all the Lord assures us of his daily presence and the promise that he will never leave us. Theresa of Avila’s prayer book contained a bookmark which she wrote: Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you; All things pass: God never changes. Patience achieves all it strives for. Whoever has God lacks nothing, God alone suffices. Is God enough for you?
“Lord Jesus, may I always recognize your saving presence in my life and never forget your promises when I encounter trials and difficulties. Give me a faith that never wavers, a hope that never fades, and a love that never grows cold.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
THE BEST OR THE REST?
“Abel, for his part, brought one of the best firstlings of his flock.” Genesis 4:4
Both Cain and Abel brought offerings to the Lord. God accepted Abel and his offering, but He did not look with favor on Cain and his offering. Although we don’t know the details of this event, Scripture does provide us with a clue into what God looks for in a sacrifice. Abel brought to the Lord his “best” (Gn 4:4). Cain simply brought “an offering” (Gn 4:3).
The Lord repeatedly emphasizes offering the best we have, without blemish (see Lv 1:10). What we give to the Lord should be as perfect as we are capable of making it. The prophet Malachi bluntly accused priests who offered tarnished sacrifices of despising the Lord (Mal 1:6ff). These priests kept the best lambs for their own meals, and burned the weak, blind, and lame ones as offerings to the Lord, in opposition to the command of the law of Moses. Malachi says to those who offered these half-hearted, self-seeking sacrifices: “Present it to your governor; see if he will accept it, or welcome you” (Mal 1:8).
Would our boss be happy to receive the same quality we give to the Lord, Who created our boss? Do we give our best time to our jobs, recreation, TV, and friends, and then give God the leftovers? Give the Lord your best, and He will multiply the rest (see Mal 3:10).
Prayer: Father, I give You my life, my energies, my entire will. Promise: “If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.” Gn 4:7 Praise: Louise greets each dawn with praise. She obeys the psalm: “From the rising to the setting of the sun is the name of the Lord to be praised” (Ps 113:3). (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