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Sep 27th
Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. Mar 22, 2010 - Monday Meditation (Discern the Truth!)
Mar 22, 2010 - Monday Meditation (Discern the Truth!) PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 21 March 2010 06:00


J esus chastises the Pharisees for judging based on appearances rather than discerning the truth.  How often do we judge by physical appearances and not by the underlying content of another’s character?  How true is our trust in the Lord?

Monday in the Fifth Week of Lent

Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 or 13:41c-62

Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

J ohn 8:12-20 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (13) The Pharisees then said to him, "You are bearing witness to yourself; your testimony is not true." (14) Jesus answered, "Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true, for I know whence I have come and whither I am going, but you do not know whence I come or whither I am going. (15) You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. (16) Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me. (17) In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true; (18) I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me." (19) They said to him therefore, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father; if you knew me, you would know my Father also." (20) These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Meditation by Tom Purcell

T emptation, testimony, truth – today’s readings contain wonderful settings that, coming during Lent, invite us to contemplate how we live our lives.    

The story from Daniel is a powerful one, since we probably all have either been or know someone we suspect has been wrongfully accused of some transgression.  It is like a great movie or short story, a morality tale, with several plot themes that attract us. We have a beautiful wife, a respected community leader, corrupt judges, and a hero.  Perhaps if we place ourselves in the scene, if we contemplate being there as these events unfold, we can find parallels to our own lives.

In the First Act we see the judges plot to do this wrong.  They know their actions are sinful and against their consciences, but they start down the path to gratifying themselves in spite of what they know God calls them to do.  How often do we ignore the inner voice that calls us to the right path?  How often do we turn our backs to God by not listening with an open heart?

Second Act – Susanna’s resistance to the temptation to commit adultery with the powerful judges is a courageous response to a dangerous situation.  She would rather resist (and avoid sin) by adhering to her moral principles than submit to this act of betrayal.  She understands that if she submits, she faces death for adultery, but if she resists, she will in all likelihood be raped.  How strong are we in our convictions to follow our moral compass?  Are we willing to stay with our principles even in the face of possible harm?  

Third Act – we watch as, when unjustly accused and condemned based on the judges’ perjury, Susanna calls on the Lord to intercede and right the wrong.  She realizes that public opinion is against her, but that ultimat ely she will be vindicated before the Lord.  How easily can we set aside the injuries done to us personally to find solace in God’s judgment?   How strong is our belief that God’s judgment is more important and lasting than the judgment of our neighbors?

Final Act – we see Daniel heroically resist this posse mentality of punish first and ask questions later.  He has the courage to speak out and through his wisdom and clever investigative technique, he is able to reach the truth and turn the tables on the evil judges.  The contrast between the lies told by the judges is even more apparent when one learns that a mastic tree is very small, while the oak is very large.  How often do we jump to conclusions and decide on emotion, resisting the call to listen to evidence and to be calmer and more reasoned?  How willing are we to speak out against injustice?  How often do we take the part of the underrepresented in helping them find justice at the hands of the majority?

The psalm response resonates Susanna’s actions and her trust in the Lord.  Unlike the judges, she was guided in right paths.  She did not fear the evil about to be done to her, because she knew that the Lord was at her side.  How comforted are we that God is with us at all times?  How deeply do we feel God’s presence in times of stress?  How willing are we to let go of our fear to trust in God?

Jesus chastises the Pharisees for judging based on appearances rather than discerning the truth.  They see a man, but Jesus knows that He is the Son of God.  He can verify that truth but they cannot, and they are unable to accept His statement that He is the light of the world as the truth that it is.  The Pharisees quibble about the veracity of the statements but miss the big picture – Jesus is telling them of His divinity.  How often do we judge by physical appearances and not by the underlying content of another’s character?  How true is our trust in the Lord?

And so my prayer today is to ask for the grace to trust, to let go of fear, to follow the tiny voice inside me that always pulls me toward God.

Supplementary Reading

Sow Righteousness

. . . he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward ---Proverbs 11:18

D id you know God's kingdom operates on a system of sowing and reaping? Have you heard the saying, "What goes around, comes around?" That's really a spiritual principle. What you sow, you will reap. But I love what it says in today's verse that when we sow righteousness, we'll reap a sure reward.

Sowing righteousness simply means doing the right thing in the sight of God. It's obeying the Word no matter what the circumstances may look like. It means showing kindness even when it's undeserved. It's walking in love and keeping the peace when you really want to say something different. When you sow righteousness, you'll reap a sure reward. That's because God Himself is going to pay you back. He is the One who will multiply you when you honor Him.

Today, keep doing the right thing even if the wrong thing is happening. Sow righteousness. Stay in faith; keep believing because He who promised is faithful. There's a sure reward in store for you!

Father God, thank You for the principle of sowing and reaping. Thank You for setting up a system that blesses me as I bless others. Show me how to sow righteousness today and let me honor You in all I do. In Jesus' Name. Amen. --Joel Osteen

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Last Updated on Sunday, 21 March 2010 07:17
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1 Monday, 22 March 2010 09:45

In the Sacrament of Penance it is Christ who forgives.

Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? No one, Lord. Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again (John 8: 10-11). They placed her in the midst, says the Gospel (cf John 8:1-11). They have humiliated her and shamed her in the extreme, without the slightest concern for her. They remind Our Lord that the Law imposed the severe penalty of death by stoning for this sin. What do you say, they ask him, disguising their ulterior motives so that they might have some charge to bring against him. But Jesus surprises them all. He does not say anything; He bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

The woman is terrified by them all. The Scribes and Pharisees go on asking questions. Then, Jesus stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. ‘And once more He bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

They all went away, one by one, Beginning with the eldest. Not one of them had a clear conscience and they were trying to set a trap for Our Lord. All of them went away. And Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’

Jesus’ words are full of gentleness and clemency, a manifestation of God’s infinite mercy and forgiveness. She answered straight away, No one, Lord. And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.’ We can imagine the enormous joy of that woman, her desire to begin again, her deep love for Christ.

Such a deep change has taken place in that woman’s soul, stained by sin and suffused with her public shame, that we can only partly see the alteration in her with the light of faith. The words of the prophet Isaiah are fulfilled: Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold l am doing a new thing... I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert ... to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise (Is 43:16-21).

Every day, in every corner of the world, Jesus, through his ministers, the priests, continues to say I absolve you from your sins ... ‘Go' says our Lord, ‘and do not sin again.’ It is Christ himself who forgives. The sacramental formula, I absolve you ... and the imposition of the hand and the sign of the Cross made over the penitent show that at this moment the contrite and converted sinner comes into contact with the power and mercy of God. It is the moment at which, in response to the penitent, the Trinity becomes present in order to blot out sin and restore innocence. And the saving power of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus is also imparted to the penitent... God is always the one who is principally offended by sin — ‘tibi soli peccavi!’ - and God alone can forgive (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliatio et Poenitentia, 2 December 1984, 31, III ).

The words pronounced by the priest are not just a prayer of supplication to ask God to forgive our sins, or a mere certification that God has deigned to grant us his pardon, but at that moment every sin is forgiven and blotted out by the mysterious intervention of the Saviour (ibid).

Few words have ever produced more joy in the world than the words of absolution, I absolve you from your sins … St Augustine affirms that the wonder they work is greater than the very creation of the world (cf St Augustine, Commentary on St John’s Gospel, 72). How glad are we to receive these words when we go to the sacrament of forgiveness? How grateful are we? How often have we thanked God for having this sacrament close at hand? In our prayer to-day we can show Our Lord our gratitude for this great gift.

With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at www.totusbookstore. com (info@totusbookstore .com)

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As e-mailed to the Editor by Alexander Tan

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