Daily Archives: October 26, 2007

Saturday, October 27 – Spirit of God

27 Oct

All the desolation of the poor, not only their material poverty but their spiritual wounds as well, need to be redeemed. We should share with them because only if we are united with them can we redeem them, bringing God to their lives and they, in turn, to God.

– taken from “Mother Teresa In Her Own Words” by Jose Luis Gonzalez-Balado
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Romans 8:1-11

The reason why those who are in Christ Jesus are not condemned, is that the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. God has done what the Law, because of our unspiritual nature, was unable to do. God dealt with sin by sending his own Son in a body as physical as any sinful body, and in that body God condemned sin. He did this in order that the Law’s just demands might be satisfied in us, who behave not as our unspiritual nature but as the spirit dictates.

The unspiritual are interested only in what is unspiritual, but the spiritual are interested in spiritual things. It is death to limit oneself to what is unspiritual; life and peace can only come with concern for the spiritual. That is because to limit oneself to what is unspiritual is to be at enmity with God: such a limitation never could and never does submit to God’s law. People who are interested only in unspiritual things can never be pleasing to God. Your interests, however, are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you. In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him. Though your body may be dead it is because of sin, but if Christ is in you then your spirit is life itself because you have been justified; and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.
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Luke 13:1-9

Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.’

He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”’
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The spirit of God resides in the heart of every Christian person through the effects of Baptism. St Paul tells us in the first reading that it is this Spirit that gives us life and peace.

Our bodies are a gift from God; our lives belong to God. We are supposed to bring out the life and spirit of God in our lives to everybody. Every Christian’s fundamental duty is to share the love of God in him with those around him. Ignorance and negligence is no excuse for us to fail in this aspect. The consequence of our inability to manifest his love is spelled out in the Gospel’s parable: the barren tree is an analogy to the Christian who neglects his fundamental task.

Just as bearing fruit is the main reason for a vineyard owner to plant a tree, spreading the message of Christ is also the main responsibility of every Christian. If we do not perform what we are required to do then we must be prepared for the after-effects of our actions.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that we cannot take the love of God for granted but share this love with others.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nick Chia)
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Prayer:
Mother Mary, we commit ourselves in your care. Guide our every action and enable us to follow your patient love for your Son.

Give thanks for: the gift of God’s love.

Upcoming Readings:
Sun, 28 Oct – Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14; Thirtieth 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.

Friday, October 26 – TOB-TOB

26 Oct

Once more, today and yesterday, Jesus comes to his own and his own refuse to welcome him (John 1:11).

He comes in the broken bodies of the poor.

He also comes in the rich who are drowning in the loneliness of their own riches. He also comes in their lonely hearts, when there is no one to offer them love.

– taken from “Mother Teresa In Her Own Words” by Jose Luis Gonzalez-Balado
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Romans 7:18-25

I know of nothing good living in me – living, that is, in my unspiritual self – for though the will to do what is good is in me, the performance is not, with the result that instead of doing the good things I want to do, I carry out the sinful things I do not want. When I act against my will, then, it is not my true self doing it, but sin which lives in me.

In fact, this seems to be the rule, that every single time I want to do good it is something evil that comes to hand. In my inmost self I dearly love God’s Law, but I can see that my body follows a different law that battles against the law which my reason dictates. This is what makes me a prisoner of that law of sin which lives inside my body.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
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Luke 12:24-59

Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud looming up in the west you say at once that rain is coming, and so it does. And when the wind is from the south you say it will be hot, and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the face of the earth and the sky. How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?

“Why not judge for yourselves what is right? For example: when you go to court with your opponent, try to settle with him on the way, or he may drag you before the judge and the judge hand you over to the bailiff and the bailiff have you thrown into prison. I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the very last penny.”
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When I read the first reading today, I really feel that St. Paul is writing something that strikes a chord in me. I am sure you feel the same way too. How often do we want to do good things, but end up doing bad things instead? How often despite knowing what is the right thing to do, we fall for the same trap and do the bad thing instead? How often do we sometimes wish that we were free from our earthly bodies so that we can do all the good that we want to do! Yet, is our body the cause of all our sin? Is our body bad and our spirit good?

St. Paul tells us the answer when he asks the question: Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death? Through Jesus Christ our Lord! How does Jesus rescue us? Jesus become one of us. He took the form of a human, born from a woman, grew up, worked, preached, made enemies, suffered, and died. Jesus smiled, wept, got angry, laughed… he ate and drank, made friends and dined with them. He fasted, he prayed, he worshipped, he travelled, he did all the things that we do today, and we know he did this because he had a body.

What I mean here is that if Jesus didn’t have a body, we would not have been able to see him do all these things. Jesus came to show us that it is not true that the body is bad, and the spirit good. God made us body and spirit, and it was good. The Hebrew word for good is ‘tob’. Not just ‘tob’, but when God created humans, it was ‘tob-tob’, that is, very good!

The ‘tob’ takes on new meaning for us when we realise that TOB also stands for Theology of the Body, that is, the study of God of the body. It is through our bodies that we can find God’s plan for us as humans – imaged after the communion of persons that God himself is. God made us to love and to be love, just the way God himself is love.

In order for us to love, we need our bodies as well. We show love through the things that we do for our loved ones. All that we do out of love requires us to have bodies. We can empathize strongly with St. Paul because like us, Paul too had a body. And like us, Paul too went through the difficulties of conflicting desires – that of his spirit and that of his body.

Each of us sins but often we are not quick to notice it. We are often quicker to notice when another person is sinful and we are quick to find fault with that person. Let us remember that the other person is just like us because we all have a human body. We all want to do good things, but sometimes what our spirit wants and what our bodies want are conflicting. When we see another person’s faults, let us remember that we too are just as guilty of sin.

But Paul offers us hope – that through Jesus Christ who also had a body, we can be good. Not just good, but ‘tob-tob’ as we were made to be.
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Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help us to have a better appreciation of our own bodies, which were made with God’s plan of love for each of us to experience and to, in turn, love others. St. Paul, pray for us. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: The gift of our bodies, and for the theology of the body to understand how God is present in us through our bodies.

Upcoming Readings:
Sat, 27 Oct – Romans 8:1-11; Luke 13:1-9
Sun, 28 Oct – Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14; Thirtieth 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.