Friday, 8 August 2008

My Thoughts on Today's Bible Readings

If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
What does the above mean? I believe it means that if we really want to be disciples of Jesus we must first turn our backs on desires for the world and of the flesh in us, accept the rejection of the world for turning to Jesus and following him, and obey Jesus' will for us. And what is His will for us? Let's start at these two great commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. This means putting God above everything else- money, possessions, desires, ambitions, fears, hobbies, dislikes, friends, enemies, family, society, etc., and to chase after Him, to want God in your life, to want to do His will, with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. It also means putting yourself as no less and no more important than your neighbor (i.e. every single human being on this earth, from the baby in the womb to the person in the process of dropping dead), and putting these two things as second most important (i.e. after the importance you put on God).
Why would the world reject you for doing these things? For one thing, the above way of living (i.e. according to the two great commandments) is not the way the world wants you to live. Either the world wants you to embrace it wholeheartedly or deny it wholeheartedly. The Christian way of life put you right in the middle- not to deny the world, but to use whatever the world gives you to do God's will and thus live life to the fullness. The world would have you thinking that in obeying God you can't live life to the fullness, that to live life to the fullness you have to indulge in things we Catholics would consider sin (sexual immorality, gluttony, overachieving ambitions, etc.) IT IS WRONG. Thus the world rejects you, as it rejects everything that does not fit in its idea of right and wrong (which, funnily, changes through the ages).
So let's do some soul-searching to find out what we deem most profitable and worthwhile in our lives. Is it God? If not, should we change it to God and doing His will? I'll let you decide :)

Memorial of Saint Dominic

Today we celebrate the memory of Saint Dominic, who (according to Wikipedia) was:

- founder of the Friars Preachers, a.k.a. the Dominicans or Order of Preachers (OP)
- patron saint of astronomers and the Dominican Republic
- born in Caleruega, Old Castile, Spain in 1170
- educated in the schools of Palencia (afterwards a university) where he devoted six years to the arts and four years to theology
- in 1203 / 1204 accompanied Diego de Acebo (Bishop of Osma) on a diplomatic mission for Alfonso VIII (King of Castile) in order to secure a bride in Denmark for crown prince Ferdinand. In this journey Saint Dominic made an important and significant observation: many of the heretical preachers he encountered during the journey were not ignorant fanatics, but well-trained and cultured men, and that entire communities seemed to be possessed by a desire for knowledge and for righteousness. Thus he saw that only preachers of a high order, capable of advancing reasonable argument, could overthrow heretical beliefs.
- In 1215, subjected himself and his companions to the monastic rules of prayer and penance and had written authority to preach throughout the territory of Toulouse.
- in December 1216 and January 1217 was granted written authority by Pope Honorius III for an order to be named "The Order of Preachers" which has as its motto "to praise, to bless, to preach"
died in the convent of St Nicholas at Bologna, Italy at noon on 6 August 1221,
- famous quotes:
- "Would you have me study off these dead skins, when men are dying of hunger?"
- "It is not by the display of power and pomp, cavalcades of retainers, and richly-houseled palfreys, or by gorgeous apparel, that the heretics win proselytes; it is by zealous preaching, by apostolic humility, by austerity, by seeming, it is true, but by seeming holiness. Zeal must be met by zeal, humility by humility, false sanctity by real sanctity, preaching falsehood by preaching truth."

Bible Readings for this day (Memorial of St. Dominic)

Below you can read the readings for today Fri 8 Aug:

Nahum 2: 1, 3; 3: 1-3, 6-7
See, upon the mountains there advances the bearer of good news, announcing peace! Celebrate your feasts, O Judah, fulfill your vows! For nevermore shall you be invaded by the scoundrel; he is completely destroyed. For the Lord will restore the majesty of Jacob, as well as the majesty of Israel, though their enemies have plundered them and have destroyed their fields.
Woe to the city guilty of bloodshed! She is full of lies; she is filled with plunder; she has hoarded her spoil! The chariot drivers will crack their whips; the chariot wheels will shake the ground; the chariot horses will gallop; the war chariots will bolt forward! The charioteers will charge ahead; their swords will flash and their spears will glimmer! There will be many people slain; there will be piles of the dead, and countless casualties – so many that people will stumble over the corpses.
I will pelt you with filth; I will treat you with contempt; I will make you a public spectacle. Everyone who sees you will turn away from you in disgust; they will say, ‘Nineveh has been devastated! Who will lament for her?’ There will be no one to comfort you!

Matthew 16: 24-28
Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”