Monday, August 19, 2019

August 25, 2019 The Lord’s Loving Discipline

Reading I:
Isaiah 66:18-21

Psalm: 117

Reading II: 
12:5-7, 11-13

Luke 13:22-30

In today’s Gospel, we find Jesus traveling toward Jerusalem where He will soon be paying the ultimate price for our redemption on the cross. While teaching and preaching to people, He is aware that this will be His last opportunity, in His human form, to impress upon them the importance of 
taking His words seriously if they wish to join Him in heaven when they die. Just associating with Him will not be sufficient to gain a heavenly reward.

The second reading, the Epistle (letter) to the Hebrews, reflects upon the ideas in Proverbs 3:11-12 in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). The unknown author (possibly Priscilla or Barnabas) says: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by Him, for whom the Lord loves, He disciplines.”  The writer notes that discipline can seem painful, but its fruits are peace and holiness.

In his preaching, Jesus calls for faith in Him, repentance for sin, and observance of His Commandments, especially his commandment of love. Jesus has designed a special path for us to follow to lead us to our heavenly home with Him. He asks that His followers make a firm commitment to follow that path so that when they knock on Heaven’s Door, it will be opened for them.

Jesus said of Himself: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The more we spend time with Jesus in Bible study and prayer, the more we learn about Him and how to live our own lives.

I have a favorite story called The Great Stone Face, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is about a little boy, named Earnest, who lived by the White Mountains in New Hampshire where there was a formation on the side of a mountain which resembled a man’s strong, benevolent face.

There was a prediction that someday a man with a face resembling this stone face would come and help the little town. For years, people waited and sometimes mistakenly thought that the man had come, only to be disappointed. Little Earnest in the meantime used to study the face regularly and grew into a young man. Finally, his resemblance to the Great Stone Face became recognized.

I had the privilege of seeing the “Old Man of the Mountain” image on the side of the mountain before it had to be taken down because it was posing a danger of pieces falling and injuring people. It always reminded me that if we study Jesus on a regular basis, we can end up resembling Him.

Most of us at one time or another have been asked by a well-meaning person: “Are you saved?”  Expecting a “Yes” or “No” answer, they are often surprised when a Catholic responds, “I am trying to live a good Christian life, and Jesus will be my judge.” While we know that Jesus understands our weaknesses and is very merciful, still He expects us to take His words seriously and do the very best we can.

 Reflection Question:  How can I make time to regularly study Jesus in the Bible so that I can develop a personal relationship with Him, and then grow to become like Him?

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
La Disciplina Amorosa del Señor

En el Evangelio de hoy, encontramos a Jesús viajando hacia Jerusalén, donde pronto pagará el precio máximo por nuestra redención en la cruz. Mientras enseña y predica a las personas, es consciente de que esta será su última oportunidad, en su forma humana, para inculcarles la importancia de tomar sus palabras en serio si desean unirse a Él en el cielo cuando mueran. Solo asociarse con Él no será suficiente para obtener una recompensa celestial.

La segunda lectura, la Epístol (carta) a los Hebreos,  reflexiona sobre las ideas en Proverbios 3: 11-12 en las Escrituras Hebreas (Antiguo Testamento). The unknown author (possibly Priscilla or Barnabas) says: Hijo mío, no desdeñes la disciplina del Señor ni te desanimes cuando sea reprendido por Él, a quien el Señor ama, Él disciplina”.  El escritor señala que la disciplina puede parecer dolorosa, pero sus frutos son la paz y la santidad.

En su predicación, Jesús pide fe en él, arrepentimiento por el pecado y observancia de sus mandamientos, especialmente su mandamiento de amor. Jesús ha diseñado un camino especial que debemos seguir para llevarnos a nuestro hogar celestial con Él. Pide que sus seguidores se comprometan firmemente a seguir ese camino para que cuando llamen a Heaven's Door se les abra.

Jesús dijo de sí mismo: “Yo soy el camino, la verdad y la vida”. Cuanto más tiempo pasamos con Jesús en el estudio de la Biblia y la oración, más aprendemos acerca de Él y cómo vivir nuestras propias vidas.

Tengo una historia favorita llamada La Gran Cara de Piedra, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Se trata de un niño pequeño, llamado Ernesto, que vivía junto a las Montañas Blancas en New Hampshire, donde había una formación en la ladera de una montaña que se parecía al rostro fuerte y benevolente de un hombre.

Había una predicción de que algún día un hombre con una cara similar a esta cara de piedra vendría y ayudaría a la pequeña ciudad. Durante años, la gente esperó y, a veces, erróneamente pensó que el hombre había venido, solo para decepcionarse. Mientras tanto, Little Earnest solía estudiar la cara regularmente y se convirtió en un hombre joven. Finalmente, su parecido con el Gran Rostro de Piedra fue reconocido.

Tuve el privilegio de ver esta imagen en la ladera de la montaña antes de tener que desmontarla porque representaba el peligro de que se cayeran piezas e hirieran a las personas. Siempre me recordó que si estudiamos a Jesús regularmente, podemos terminar pareciéndonos a Él.

La mayoría de nosotros en un momento u otro nos ha preguntado una persona bien intencionada: “¿Estás salvado?” Esperando una respuesta de “Sí” o “No” a menudo se sorprenden cuando un católico responde: “Estoy tratando de vivir una buena vida cristiana, y Jesús será mi juez”. Si bien sabemos que Jesús entiende nuestras debilidades y es muy misericordioso, todavía espera que tomemos sus palabras en serio y hagamos lo mejor que podamos.

 Pregunta de Reflexión:   ¿Cómo puedo hacer tiempo para estudiar regularmente a Jesús en la Biblia para poder desarrollar una relación personal con Él y luego llegar a ser como Él?

Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita
Do you have a few quiet moments with your cup of coffee or tea, when you might think about this week’s menu or draft a memo? Could you start these quiet moments with a brief review of that day’s scriptural readings or with a psalm? You can find the daily readings on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; this site has audio versions – they will read the scripture to you. Do you have some sacred songs on your playlist? Do you have a few favorite hymns? Can you spend a few minutes thinking about some of the special meanings a phrase or refrain has for you? God has given us 24 hours today; can we give Him a few extra minutes?

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
I have mentioned before how very much I cherish my morning time alone with the Lord, my “Jesus and Java time” as I like to refer to it. My day starts around 4:00 am, and it always goes much better when I start the day nourished with reflection on His Word. My Type A personality drives me to cling to schedules, and sometimes it is obsessive. But when it comes to creating space to optimize my prayer time, my routine grounds me. What works for me is to set aside a specific time and place each day, to have my Bible and devotionals in place, and to set my intention every time I begin.
My kitchen table is the meeting spot where I connect with Jesus each morning. It is quiet, comfortable, and I find that sitting upright in a hard-back chair keeps me focused and alert. My Bible and daily devotionals remain on the table just fingertips away. My intention is to hear the message, relevant word or phrase that God wants me to hear for that day. My day is off to a gentle, peaceful start…and then my morning commute begins. During my drive to work, I play a CD of the Rosary that keeps me prayerful as I navigate through the morning rush hour. Instead of cussing at those aggressive drivers that cut me off, pass me by or plant themselves firmly on my bumper, I assail them with a Hail Mary. Now take that and have a blessed day you maniac!
The morning readings often come to mind during the day, and, as a result of long-term adherence to this spiritual practice, I am more conscious of Christ’s Presence in my life and in the world. Conversation with the Lord, while driving to work, performing tasks at the office, carrying out household chores and errands, and any activity in which I am involved, is comfortable. I ask Jesus how He would like me to handle situations. This practice helps me to respond respectfully and responsibly to people and circumstances. My desire is to be more Christ-like in all my interactions.
Episcopal priest Matthew Fox writes: “There is something in everyone …that waits, listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself and if you cannot hear it, you will never find whatever it is for which you are searching.”  I believe this to be true and regard the process of waiting and listening as moving toward becoming the person I was created to be. For me, entering into solitude is a necessity if I am to quiet the chatter in my mind long enough to allow for connecting with and befriending Spirit who will guide me ever closer to Jesus and to my
true self.

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