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  My Witness

Vol. 12, No. 1, January, 2007

"Thy Word Is A Lamp To My Feet and a Light to My Path" (ps. 119:105)
by Sr. Brigid Meierotto, S.N.C.

Sister Brigid In this teaching and those that follow, we will accept the word of God, the scriptures, into our hearts and minds, letting them give light to us. The scriptures are the inspired word of God. This word has the power to accomplish what it says, for us. Yes, for us, right here, right now. Thanks be to God!

What we are going to do is reflect on the readings of the Sunday Mass. That's the first reading from the Old Testament, the Psalm that responds to the Old Testament reading, the second reading from the New Testament, and the reading from the Gospels.

As we read these Scriptures, in our heart we ask the Holy Spirit to explain to us the message that the Lord has for us personally. Do not doubt that the Lord will do this for you, he loves you. Jesus tells us in John. 14:25-26:

"These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."
Tell the Holy Spirit what you expect from him. Say something like this: "Holy Spirit, Jesus said that you would teach me all things and I believe him. Teach me about Jesus and about myself, about my family - teach me to love! Thank you, 0 Holy Spirit."

Have this open, receptive attitude in your heart as you are reading the Scriptures. You don't have to use any words. There is no doubt that the Holy Spirit will teach you, because that is why he came, so that you can get to know Jesus.

I invite you now to read the Scriptures for the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time, used in Cycle C.

First Reading: Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18

Do not offer him a bribe, for he will not accept it; and do not trust to an unrighteous sacrifice; for the Lord is the judge, and with him is no partiality. He will not show partiality in the case of a poor man; and he will listen to the prayer of one who is wronged. He will not ignore the supplication of the fatherless, nor the widow when she pours out her story. He whose service is pleasing to the Lord will be accepted, and his prayer will reach to the clouds. The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds, and he will not be consoled until it reaches the Lord; he will not desist until the Most High visits him, and does justice for the righteous, and executes judgment. And the Lord will not delay, neither will he be patient with them, till he crushes the loins of the unmerciful and repays vengeance on the nations; till he takes away the multitude of the insolent, and breaks the scepters of the unrighteous

Psalm Response: Psalm 34:2-3, 17-19, 23

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad.

The face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the broken hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Second Reading: 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. At my first defense no one took my part; all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the word fully, that all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

GospeI Reading: Luke 18:9-14

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

After you have read the passages once, read them again, listening to what the Holy Spirit wants to tell you. Now, read them a third time, letting this living word of God soak into you.

What you have just heard in these scripture passages is true.

The Lord does not have favorites, he shows no partiality -- he is a righteous judge -- he will work justice for us. This means we do not have to bribe God, like: maybe if I say a certain prayer or give up something, God will be pleased and listen to my prayer and give me what I need. NO!

Sirach, the first passage, lists all these people who have no bargaining power, no leverage to get their need, their problem taken care of: a poor man with no money to pay for services; a person is wronged, cheated, his life is ruined and he has no recourse; the orphan has no family to help him; the widow is alone with no means of support.

We come to the Lord just as we are, dependent, empty, needy, sinful. In this position we are humble and our prayer pierces the clouds and continues to rise until the Lord answers! And he will not delay! We can put our faith, our trust in the Lord!

Two men went to the Temple to pray. Jesus says the Pharisee put his trust in himself: "I fast twice a week; I tithe everything I get...Thank God I'm not like the rest of men!" This man's prayer stayed with himself!

The other man prayed: "God, be merciful to me, a sinner." And his prayer pierced the clouds, reached to the Lord who heard his prayer! He went home justified!

Our faith, our trust is in the Lord! St. Paul tells Timothy: "Everyone deserted me, but the Lord stood by me. He will rescue me from every evil and save me...!"

When we pray, when we call out to the Lord, Jesus stands by us, to save us, to heal us, to make us whole, to give us life today! Jesus is the living word of God -- a lamp to our feet, a light to our path!

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