Thứ Tư, 17 tháng 10, 2012

Daily Reflection _ wednesday of 28th week OT

In today's Gospel, Jesus used the example of tithing to show how far the Pharisees had missed the mark. God had commanded a tithe of the first fruits of one's labor as an expression of thanksgiving and honor for His providential care for His people.
The scribes, however, went to extreme lengths to tithe on insignificant things, such as small plants, with great mathematical accuracy. They were very attentive to minute matters of little importance, but they neglected to care for the needy and the most challenged in life. Jesus Christ admonished them because their hearts were not on the right path. They were filled with pride and contempt for others. They put unnecessary burdens on people while neglecting to show charity, especially to the most needy. They went through the correct motions of conventional religion while forgetting the realities of life and what was happening around them.
The saint whom we remember today is Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius followed St. Peter as head of the Church at Antioch and, like Peter, he was a bishop and martyr. Ignatius had the same commitment in faith as Abraham did. We know about him primarily through the letters he wrote. One theme in his writings remains as important for the Church today as it was in his time. He encouraged the Church to live in unity, sustained by love, while standing on sound doctrine. He believed that dying for one's Faith was to be considered a privilege. He trusted Jesus' Words in the Gospels. St. Ignatius of Antioch is an example of one whose service required that he give everything, including his life. He didn't miss the mark!
Our Responsorial Psalm can help us to reflect on our Christian journey. The response is taken from John's Gospel, "Those who follow You, Lord, will have the light of life" (Jn 8:12), but the Psalm continues, "He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does prospers" (Ps 1:3). We are children of God! When we know our heavenly Father, then we know there is a purpose behind this difficult world in which we live. There is a loving Hand behind our lives, a gentle Touch in all we do, and a constant Presence within us day by day. It is then that we are able to steer the ship of our lives and help those who are unable to steer their own course and define their own way. We need security in an insecure world and it is God's will and His loving Presence that will bring security within our hearts.
Please read today, in the first reading, the beautiful passage on the Holy Spirit. We could say that everything St. Paul wrote to the Galatians up till now is expressed in this final verse. "If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit" (Gal 5:25). Theologians consider the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit to be supernatural and permanent; given by God to make a baptized person attentive to His voice and receptive to the workings of grace. They empower one to remain zealous for the things of God and, consequently, obedient to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. The Gifts of the Spirit will produce the Fruits that are needed to live a good life, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
As Jesus had said so clearly, "A tree is known by its fruit" (Lk 6:44), so we, too, are known by the Fruit we bear. We thank You, Lord, as the tree thanks the water and the earth.  

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