Daily Archives: October 16, 2007

Wednesday, October 17 – God’s Word As Our Guide

17 Oct – Memorial for St. Ignatius of Antioch, bishop, martyr

St. Ignatius of Antioch (50-107) was a convert to Christianity from paganism. He succeeded Peter as bishop of Antioch, Syria, and served during the persecution of Domitian. During the persecution of Trajan, he was ordered to be taken to Rome to be killed by wild animals.

On the way, a journey which took months, he wrote a series of encouraging letters to the churches under his care. He was the first writer to use the term “the Catholic Church”.

An apostolic Father and a martyr, his name occurs in the “Nobis quoque peccatoribus” in the Canon of the Mass. Legend says that he was the infant that Jesus took into his arms in Mark 9.

– Patron Saint Index
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Romans 2:1-11

So no matter who you are, if you pass judgement you have no excuse. It is yourself that you condemn when you judge others, since you behave in the same way as those you are condemning. We are well aware that people who behave like that are justly condemned by God. But you—when you judge those who behave like this while you are doing the same yourself—do you think you will escape God’s condemnation? Or are you not disregarding his abundant goodness, tolerance and patience, failing to realise that this generosity of God is meant to bring you to repentance? Your stubborn refusal to repent is only storing up retribution for yourself on that Day of retribution when God’s just verdicts will be made known. He will repay everyone as their deeds deserve. For those who aimed for glory and honour and immortality by persevering in doing good, there will be eternal life, but for those who out of jealousy have taken for their guide not truth but injustice, there will be the fury of retribution. Trouble and distress will come to every human being who does evil—Jews first, but Greeks as well; glory and honour and peace will come to everyone who does good—Jews first, but Greeks as well. There is no favouritism with God.
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Luke 11:42-46

Jesus said, ‘But alas for you Pharisees, because you pay your tithe of mint and rue and all sorts of garden herbs and neglect justice and the love of God! These you should have practised, without neglecting the others. Alas for you Pharisees, because you like to take the seats of honour in the synagogues and to be greeted respectfully in the market squares! Alas for you, because you are like the unmarked tombs that people walk on without knowing it!’

A lawyer then spoke up. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘when you speak like this you insult us too.’ But he said, ‘Alas for you lawyers as well, because you load on people burdens that are unendurable, burdens that you yourselves do not touch with your fingertips.’
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These days I feel judged, and with each judgement pronounced I feel more useless by the day. I also sense that God is showing me that I should be living by His Word, not the measures of the world which I struggle to match myself against.

The latter may seem trivial to some, but in prolonged periods of difficulty, there is no telling what one will do. Will we take the right path, easy path, or a strange path someone else has laid in front of us? Here in today’s readings, we read what appears to be instruction that is redundant to us. When the crunch comes and we have to make a choice between right and wrong, God’s words should be our reference for our decisions. All other measures will fall into nothing. The same goes when we feel discouraged, unloved, lost. Let us allow God to guide us with His Word today.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Regina Xie)
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Prayer:
Holy Spirit, be our Paraclete and remind us to act upon God’s Word. Let us experience Your love everyday so that we can live it.

Give thanks to the Lord for: His wisdom.

Upcoming Readings:
Thu, Oct 18 – 2 Timothy 4:10-17b; Luke 10:1-9; Feast of St. Luke, evangelist
Fri, Oct 19 – Romans 4:1-8; Luke 12:1-7; Memorial for St. Paul of the Cross, priest
Sat, Oct 20 – Romans 4:1-8; Luke 12:1-7
Sun, Oct 21 – Exodus 17:8-13; 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:2; Luke 18:1-8; Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.

Tuesday, October 16 – Freedom of Truth

16 Oct – Memorial for St. Hedwig, religious

Today we remember St. Hedwig, not the owl that was died at the hands of a Death Eater.

Hedwig (1174-1243) was daughter of the Duke of Croatia and aunt of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. She married Prince Henry I of Silesia and Poland in 1186 at the age of 12 and became the mother of 12. She cared for the sick personally and by founding hospitals. Upon her husband’s death, she gave away her fortune and entered the monastery at Trebnitz.

– Source: Patron Saint Index
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Romans 1:16-25

I am not ashamed of the Good News: it is the power of God saving all who have faith – Jews first, but Greeks as well – since this is what reveals the justice of God to us: it shows how faith leads to faith, or as scripture says: The upright man finds life through faith.

The anger of God is being revealed from heaven against all the impiety and depravity of men who keep truth imprisoned in their wickedness. For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them since God himself has made it plain. Ever since God created the world his everlasting power and deity – however invisible – have been there for the mind to see in the things he has made. That is why such people are without excuse: they knew God and yet refused to honour him as God or to thank him; instead, they made nonsense out of logic and their empty minds were darkened. The more they called themselves philosophers, the more stupid they grew, until they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for a worthless imitation, for the image of mortal man, of birds, of quadrupeds and reptiles. That is why God left them to their filthy enjoyments, since they have given up divine truth for a lie and have worshipped and served creatures instead of the creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen!
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Luke 11:37-41

Jesus had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house. He went in and sat down at the table. The Pharisee saw this and was surprised that he had not first washed before the meal. But the Lord said to him, “Oh, you Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness. Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too? Instead, give alms from what you have and then indeed everything will be clean for you.”
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One thing that modern-day philosophers seem to have in common is that they make an unfair assumption – they assume that God do not exist, and then they exclude all arguments that lead to the conclusion that God exists. One example we find is that modern-day philosophers prefer not to discuss about the purposes of things, because discussing about purposes frequently lead to discussion about God. Hence, by disallowing certain arguments that lead to conclusions that they do not accept, such philosophers, as St. Paul says, “keep the truth imprisoned”. In other words, such philosophers are keeping the truth imprisoned with a lie that says that God does not exist.

Then there are those who say that only what is observable is reality, and anything that cannot be observed, do not exist. Once again, this is another way of keeping the truth imprisoned. The truth is kept imprisoned by a lie that says that only that which can be observed exists.

Finally, there is a third kind of people which keep the truth imprisoned. It is a kind of people that we would least expect to do such a thing. These are the Pharisees that Jesus encounters in the gospel reading. They keep the truth imprisoned when they choose to focus on something else that is less important. In the past, the Catholic Church was somewhat guilty of this when they chose to focus on the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of the law.

The Church has been trying to change this since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, bringing Catholicism back to the roots of Christianity by looking at the early Church and how the faith was practised then. Yet, there are still some who choose to imprison the truth behind legalism. This is what we must be on our guard against.
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Prayer:
Dear Lord, reveal to us the ways in which what we say and do imprison the truth. Help us to seek the truth in all that we do. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Those who bring the truth to light.

Upcoming Readings:
Wed, Oct 17 – Romans 2:1-11; Luke 11:42-46; Memorial for St. Ignatius of Antioch, bishop, martyr
Thu, Oct 18 – 2 Timothy 4:10-17b; Luke 10:1-9; Feast of St. Luke, evangelist
Fri, Oct 19 – Romans 4:1-8; Luke 12:1-7; Memorial for St. Paul of the Cross, priest
Sat, Oct 20 – Romans 4:1-8; Luke 12:1-7
Sun, Oct 21 – Exodus 17:8-13; 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:2; Luke 18:1-8; Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.