The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Are you critical towards others, especially those who may be close to you? The most severe critics are often people very familiar to us, a member of our family, a relative, or neighbor or co-worker we rub shoulders with on a regular basis. Jesus faced a severe testing when he returned to his home town, not simply as the carpenter’s son, but now as a rabbi with disciples. It would have been customary for Jesus to go to the synagogue each week during the Sabbath, and when his turn came, to read from the scriptures during the Sabbath service. His hometown folks listened with rapt attention on this occasion because they had heard about the miracles he had performed in other towns. What sign would he do in his hometown?
Jesus startled his familiar audience with a seeming rebuke that no prophet or servant of God can receive honor among his own people. The people of Nazareth took offense at Jesus and refused to listen to what he had to say. They despised his preaching because he was a mere workman, a carpenter, and a layman who had no formal training by a scholar or teacher. They also despised him because of his undistinguished family background. How familiarity can breed contempt. Jesus could do no mighty works in their midst because they were closed-minded and unbelieving towards him. If people have come together to hate and to refuse to understand, then they will see no other point of view than their own and they will refuse to love and accept others. How do you treat those who seem disagreeable to you?
The word “gospel” literally means “good news”. Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to the afflicted who suffered from physical, mental, or spiritual oppression (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus came to set people free not only from their physical, mental, and spiritual infirmities – but also from the worst affliction of all the tyranny of slavery to sin, Satan, and the fear of losing one’s life. God’s power alone can save us from hopelessness, dejection, and emptiness of life. The gospel of salvation is “good news” for everyone who will receive it. Do you know the joy and freedom of the gospel?
“Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and desires. Your Spirit brings grace, truth, freedom, and abundant life. Set my heart on fire with your love and truth.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
HAVING OUR DIFFERENCES
“Do not disdain the discipline of the Lord.” Hebrews 12:5
When many of today’s Christians hear about the discipline of the Lord, they think of getting up early for Mass, being faithful to daily prayer and Bible reading, fasting, and persevering in a commitment. When the writer of Hebrews thought of discipline, he thought of Christians having their blood shed (Heb 12:4) and being martyred. The people to whom the book of Hebrews was addressed also knew discipline to be public insult and trial, imprisonment, and the confiscation of their possessions by the government (Heb 10:33-34). Our disciplines seem to be luxuries compared with their discipline.
The difference in the ways we and the Hebrews look at discipline shows that we live in different times. Violent persecution has not hit that close to home for most of us. However, our differences may also indicate that our lives in Christ are watered-down, sissified, non-threatening to the devil, and sinfully bland. What do you think?
Prayer: Father, I come to light a fire on the earth (see Lk 12:49). Promise: “Strive for peace with all men, and for that holiness without which no one can see the Lord. See to it that no man falls away from the grace of God; that no bitter root springs up through which many may become defiled.” Heb 12:14-15 Praise: Jesus gave Benny a special birthday present. Jesus delivered him from smoking three packs of cigarettes a day for thirty-five years. (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Obedience School, or our tape Obeying God on audio AV 62-3 or video V-62.)
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