BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit. “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ WISDOM 2:12, 17-20 FIRST READING
(“…for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”)
l. Who is obnoxious and for what reason? Wisdom 2:12
2. What are those who are not just or virtuous waiting to see about the just man? Wisdom 2:17
3. What will happen to the just or virtuous man? Isaiah 3:10
4. How are we justified? Romans 3:28
5. What will happen if the just one is a son of God? Wisdom 2:18
6. What did the unjust say about Jesus while he hung on the cross? Psalm 22:9
7. How do we become children of God? John 1:12
8. What is done to show proof of a just man’s gentleness and patience? Wisdom 2:19
9. What is said about a man who is condemned to a shameful death? Wisdom 2:20
10. On whom do we keep our eyes fixed, and what did he endure in order that we may not grow weary and lose heart? Hebrews 12:2-3
Personal – Do you see yourself as the one always checking to see whether or not God will come through? Are you causing hardships for others, or are you the one being put to the test to trust God? Reflect on this, especially when you are going through a hardship.
THIRD DAY READ JAMES 3:16 – 4:3 SECOND READING
(“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.”)
1. What is there where jealousy and selfish ambition exist? James 3:16
2. What is the wisdom from above? James 3:17
3. Of whom is wisdom the spotless mirror? Wisdom 7:22-26, concentrating on verse 26.
4. What happens to those peacemakers who cultivate peace? James 3:18
5. Who are called the children of God? Matthew 5:9
6. What are the two questions asked in James 4:1?
7. What war is going on within man? Romans 7:22-25
8. Why do we not possess what we want? James 4:2
9. Why, when we ask God for something, do we not receive it? James 4:3
10. How does Jesus tell us to pray? Matthew 6:5-13
11. Who comes to our aid and intercedes for us? Romans 8:26-27
Personal – In what way is this struggle or war going on within you? How can you cultivate peace in yourself so it will penetrate into your environment?
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 9:30-37 GOSPEL
(“Whoever received one child such as this in my name, receives me;”)
1. As Jesus and his disciples began their journey through Galilee, what was he teaching them? Mark 9:30-31
2. What was Peter’s reaction when Jesus began teaching them that the Son of Man would suffer, be killed, and rise on the third day? What was the disciples’ reaction as they were journeying? Mark 8:31-32 and Mark 9:32
3. When they came to Capernaum, what did Jesus ask his disciples? Mark 9:33
4. What were they discussing, and what did they say? Mark 9:34
5. When Jesus sat down and called the twelve, what two things did he say that the one who wishes to be first must do? Mark 9:35
6. What did the Son of Man come to do? Matthew 20:28
7. Who did Jesus put his arms around and place in front of his disciples? Mark 9:36
8. To whom does God reveal things? Matthew 11:25
9. What did Jesus say when he put his arms around the child? Mark 9:37
10. How do we receive Jesus? Mark 9:37
11. What quality of the child makes us great in the kingdom of God? Matthew 18:4
Personal – What qualities do you have that reveal your child-likeness to those who come in contact with you? How can you make those qualities more dominant in you?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 54:3-8
(“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord sustains my life.”) Read and meditate on Psalm 54:3-8.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
We see deeply ingrained in the lifestyles of these pagan people food (2:6-9), fun (2:10-11), and fornication (2:12-20). The question that applies to much of the world today is, have times really changed? Since these respectable pagans did not believe in anything other than survival of the fittest, it was only logical that they should rid themselves of any annoying Hebrew moralist by condemning him to a shameful death.
We need only look around the planet Earth today and see that faith in the one true God always arouses opposition. Faith that involves action is inconvenient to the free thinker (2:12); he pricks their pride. The religious man avoids fellowship with them especially when they get into their foolish destructive quarrels. Because of life’s shortness, the ungodly, through their belief that might makes right, bring death for themselves and for others. Today there are many who urge sensual gratification and encourage each other to oppress the righteous who call God their Father.
The poor, the children, the aged, the widows, the sick all represent the weak, and the ungodly believe they have no rights. Today, more than ever, the world watches and waits to see how Christians react to this kind of horror. Will God come to their aid as expected? Will God give the Christians the strength to endure the injustice? The unrighteous do not remain passive; they continue to test the gentleness of the righteous poor to see if they are as good as claimed. They have already seen God respond in Jesus Christ, and today, through you, the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus, is waiting to be released on a starving, broken, hurting, waiting world. Jesus tells us that whatever we do to the least of his brethren, we do unto him (Matthew 25:31-46).
JAMES 3:16 – 4:3
True wisdom can be measured by one’s character. As you can identify a tree by the type of fruit it produces, you can identify your wisdom by the way you act. Have you ever known anyone who claimed to be wise, but acted foolishly? Foolishness leads to disorder, but wisdom leads to peace and goodness.
There are worldly wisdom and true wisdom, and we need to know the difference. Worldly wisdom wishes always to escape God’s light and sight, but true wisdom is able to bear his scrutiny because it is always in God’s light and sight. Worldly wisdom is clever and arrogant. This kind of wisdom separates man from man and makes a man look with superior contempt on his fellows. There is a kind of cruel wisdom which takes delight in hurting others with clever, but cutting words. Worldly wisdom tries to seduce men away from loyalty to God. But true wisdom at all times brings men and wisdom closer to God. True wisdom is pure.
The Greek definition of wisdom is “hagnos,” and it means “pure enough to approach the gods.” True wisdom is cleansed of ulterior motives and self and is pure enough to see God. True wisdom produces right relationships between man and God and between man and man. We can identify a truly wise person because that person is full of mercy. We must never forget that Christian mercy is mercy for anyone who is in trouble, even if he has brought that trouble on himself. Christian mercy is not an emotion, it is action.
We have to ask ourselves a very blunt yet very necessary question, “What is my aim in life? Is it to submit to the will of God or to gratify my own desires for pleasure?” Selfish desire is at the root of all evil and ruins lives and pits man against man. We need to ask God in prayer to help us to get rid of our selfish desires and trust him to give us what we really need.
Today’s Gospel gives us a tremendous example of what it takes to be a real disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have seen how Jesus had avoided as much publicity as he could because he wanted more time to be alone with his disciples. He knew that their understanding of who he really was and what his ministry really meant would take time. Jesus wanted that to be prime time and quality time, not rushed time or sick time.
What an incredible comfort it is to know that Jesus seeks to be alone today with us as much as he did with his disciples. He wants us to know really who he is, and he wants us to trust him completely, so that we can develop a personal loving relationship with him. This takes time as it is very well known that we need to know someone in order to really love that person. The more we know, the more we love. Jesus knows that when we really trust him, know him, and love him, then and only then will we be ready to serve him.
Jesus told his disciples in verse 29 that they would face difficult situations in life that could be resolved only through prayer. Prayer is the key that unlocks faith in our lives. Effective prayer needs both an attitude and an action. There is no substitute for prayer, especially in circumstances that seem unconquerable. This kind of praying calls for trust, love and quality time in and with Jesus Christ.
Jesus knew very well what the disciples were discussing on the road. The disciples were puffing themselves up on who was the most important of his followers. He knew that the disciples were not ready to go out to the world and preach his message. His message was not power, not victory, and not fame. His message was total obedience to his Father’s will. His message called for complete denial of one’s own self-importance. His message was a message of hope, through service. He told the disciples that if they want to be first, then practice being last, and if they want to be important, then practice being a servant. He told them that if they want to live forever, then do what I will do, and that is to die for others.
We can do that today by getting on our knees and dying to our ego and our rebellious spirit, and by inviting Jesus Christ to become the Lord and Master of our life. He will give as much time with us as we want, simply because he loves us just as we are.
The first reading shows that those who seek God walk in the light. The second reading reveals that worldly wisdom divides and true wisdom unites. In the Gospel Jesus tells us that we are to come to him as trusting children.
This week, talk to God. Tell him about your desires. Seek his approval for what you plan to do. Ask him to help you get rid of seeking only to have your desires granted. Ask him to give you true wisdom. Your prayers will become more powerful when you allow God to change your desire to correspond to his will. 1 John 3:21-22