Wednesday, 10 September 2008

My Thoughts on Today's Bible Reading

Today's reading from the gospel of Luke is another list of beatitudes (which literally means happiness or blessedness). Unlike the one from Matthew, this one is shorter and has a list of Woe's.

Looking at all the beatitudes, it seems that access to heaven is restricted to a certain class of people, i.e. the poor. In other words, the rich Christian has no chance of going to Heaven. This reading of the beatitudes is incorrect. After all Jesus came to save all humankind, regardless of any manner of stratification. It is more accurate to say that those who are too much concerned with this world (its ambitions, power struggle, rat race, divisions, desires, etc.) find it more difficult to enter Heaven. For the ways of the world are not God's ways. How can one approach God then if one identifies oneself with the world? Thus emptying oneself of all that would shut God out of one's heart is necessary to approach the kingdom of God. And the ways of the world influences people to forget about God and His ways.

St. Paul has a similar message in his letter to the Corinthians. If you know that Jesus would come for you tomorrow what would you do today? Would you marry? Leave your spouse? Would you mourn over losses? Rejoice that you have gained something? Buy more possessions? Chase after worldly possession and recognition? Eat and drink some more? None of the above matters in Jesus' kingdom. So why do them on that day? Let's think about things we would do if we were in the above situation and do them every day.

Memorial of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino

Let's find out who this saint is (source: Wikipedia)

- known as the Patron of Holy Souls
- born circa 1246 A.D. at Sant'Angelo in Pontano, Italy
- named after St. Nicholas of Myra
- became an Augustinian Friar at the age of 18, became a monk at Recanati and Macerata,
and was ordained at the age of 25
- moved to Tolentino in 1274 as result of a vision he had
- famous for Saint Nicholas Bread, a certain type of bread roll that had been dipped in water - distributed these rolls while praying to Mary as result of a vision he had
- preached, worked wonders, healed people, visited prisoners (always telling those he helped, "Say nothing of this"), received visions (including images of Purgatory), and had a great devotion to the recently dead
- died in 1305 A.D.

Bible Readings for This Day (10 Sep, Wed - 23rd Week)

1 Corinthians 7: 25-31
With regard to the question about people who have never married, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one shown mercy by the Lord to be trustworthy. Because of the impending crisis I think it best for you to remain as you are. The one bound to a wife should not seek divorce. The one released from a wife should not seek marriage. But if you marry, you have not sinned. And if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face difficult circumstances, and I am trying to spare you such problems. And I say this, brothers and sisters: The time is short. So then those who have wives should be as those who have none, those with tears like those not weeping, those who rejoice like those not rejoicing, those who buy like those without possessions, those who use the world as though they were not using it to the full. For the present shape of this world is passing away.

Luke 6: 20-26
Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God belongs to you.
“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you and reject you as evil on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and jump for joy, because your reward is great in heaven. For their ancestors did the same things to the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your comfort already.
“Woe to you who are well satisfied with food now, for you will be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
“Woe to you when all people speak well of you, for their ancestors did the same things to the false prophets.”

Daily Bible Verse

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