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.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ISAIAH 49:14‑15 FIRST READING
(“I will never forget you.”)
- Who was speaking in verse 14 of Isaiah 49?
- Where or who is Zion?
1 Kings 8:1
1 Peter 2:4‑8
- What did Zion say? Isaiah 49:14
Personal‑ Have you ever felt, as the people of God, forsaken and forgotten by God? Do you give in to discouragement or do you seek the face of God by quietly talking to him? Tell him how you feel.
- Was there a time Jesus felt forsaken by God? Where did this happen, and what did Jesus say? Mark 15:34
- What is the question asked in verse 15 of Isaiah 49?
- What promise does the Lord give us that he will never do? Isaiah 49:15, Isaiah 44:21
- What are we in the eyes of God? Isaiah 43:4
- How does God feel about us? Isaiah 43:4
THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 4:1‑5 SECOND READING
(“The first requirement of an administrator is that he prove trustworthy.”)
- How should men regard us? 1 Corinthians 4:1
- What are the mysteries of God? Judges 13:19
- Who reveals these mysteries? Daniel 2:28
- What is the first requirement of an administrator? 1 Corinthians 4:2
- How do we prove to be trustworthy? Exodus 18:21, John 4:50
- What matters little to Paul? 1 Corinthians 4:3
- Does he have anything on his conscience? 1 Corinthians 4:4
- Does that mean he is declaring himself innocent? 1 Corinthians 4:14
- Who does he say is the one to pass judgment on him? 1 Corinthians 4:4
- What does Paul tell the people to avoid doing before the time of the Lord’s return? 1 Corinthians 4:5
- What two things will the Lord do? 1 Corinthians 4:5
- What will happen at that time? 1 Corinthians 4:5
Personal ‑ Do you have a clear conscience before God and man? If not, repent of whatever is bothering you. Do you declare yourself innocent? Do you pass judgment on yourself? Who is the one to pass judgment on you? Reflect on this.
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 6:24‑34 GOSPEL
(“You cannot give yourself to God and money.”)
- What can no man do and what are the two things we cannot serve together? Matthew 6:24
- What is the root of all evil? 1 Timothy 6:10
- What is the warning given in Matthew, what is more important than food, and what is more valuable than clothes?
- In Matthew 6:26, at what does he tell us to look, what do the birds do for their food, and who feeds them?
- What is the question he asks in Matthew 6:26?
Personal ‑ Refer back to Isaiah 43:4 to see how important you are to the Lord. Do you look at yourself as Jesus does? How do you look at yourself? Reflect on this.
- Read Matthew 6:27-28 about worrying. What does God’s Word say about worrying, and what about the wild flowers?
- Who was not in all his splendor arrayed like the flowers of the fields, and what happens to the grass of the fields? Matthew 6:29-30
- About what three necessities should we NOT worry? Matthew 6:31
- Who is always running after these things, and who knows all that we need? Matthew 6:32
- What two things are we to seek first? Matthew 6:33
- What will be given us if we do the above, and what does Jesus say about tomorrow and today? Matthew 33-34
Personal ‑ Do you spend too much of your time worrying about the roof over your head, the food on your table, and the clothes on your back? Take one day this week and make yourself aware of how much time you spend doing this. Bring this before your heavenly Father.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 62:2‑3, 6‑9
(“Only in God is my soul at rest.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 62:2‑3, 6-9.
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
The people of Israel thought that God had deserted and forgotten them while they were in captivity in Babylon. Today’s passage points out that God is like a loving Father who would never leave his child under any condition. God is telling us that he has each one of our names stamped on the palms of his hands. The people realized that their own sinfulness had brought about much of their captivity.
The Israelites saw that God would not tolerate or condone sin. They felt that God had punished them for their turning away from him. Today sin separates us from God, just as it did in the time of Isaiah; and it brings much pain and suffering to many innocent people. We need to confess our sins and repent and enjoy the forgiveness and love of our God who reigns over all the earth. Isaiah draws upon the sacredness of a mother’s love, devotion, perseverance, and courage in relating her to the love God has for us. He did not forget his people; He delivered them from slavery in the Exodus, using Moses as his instrument of justice. He knows every one of us personally and he died on the cross so that each one of us would experience his love and saving grace.
When we experience loneliness, abandonment, doubt, confusion, rejection, or even despair, we must ask ourselves whether we have turned away from his loving arms. No hurt or problem that we have is too big for him to heal or solve. He will never walk away and leave us orphans. He will take us to his bosom and love us back into his kingdom of justice.
1 CORINTHIANS 4:1‑5
Paul calls out the Christian leaders of the day to lead by being servants. A servant does what his master tells him to do, and he does not check to see whether the crowd agrees with his master or not. The people in Paul’s day wanted to be leaders and they wanted recognition, fame, respect, and power. We today are being called to be servants of God, and we are called to obey his commandments and abide in him (John 15:7). Abide means to live in, to take up residence. This means we have to be completely available to be obedient to our Lord Jesus’ call.
God speaks to us every day through his Holy Word, his Sacraments, and his people through the teachings of the Church. Only God knows a person’s heart and he alone has the right to judge someone. Paul warns the Christians that they are called, not to be judges but, to be servants. This warning applies to us in this day and year. There are many who condemn others because of their race, or belief or the color of their skin.
A servant is called to be of service to another, to be helpful, courteous, honest and responsible. A servant never judges; he only serves, and in Christianity a real servant is a real leader in the eyes of Jesus Christ. We are called to celebrate our being saved by Jesus Christ by serving others so that they may also find Jesus who is salvation, and who is the servant of servants.
Jesus really gets into the people’s mind and hearts when he talks about God and money. He tells them that they can have only one master and that master has to be God. He tells them to seek him and his kingdom first and all else will be added (Matthew 6:33). Today in many societies the desire to make money, have money, and spend money is so strong that people will lie, cheat, steal, and even kill to get their share of the money. The incredible truth is that, after spending most of their life serving the god of money, they die and leave every single penny to someone else. We come into this world with nothing and we leave it with nothing. Jesus is not saying that money is evil or that people who have money are evil. He is saying that the love of money is evil. We are to love people, not things. Money is a thing that is to be used. We use things, not people.
We need to reflect about our own use of time, talent, and wealth. Where and whatever we spend most of our time, is where our heart is. Jesus calls us to look at our spiritual values and our earthly values and make sure that our spiritual values get our top priority. We are called to use our wealth to help the least of our brothers (Matthew 25:31‑46). We are called not to let our wealth use us and possess us.
Someday, when we stand before God on judgment day, we will be called to answer some very hard questions. The main questions asked of us will not be: How rich were you? How big was your house? How long was your car? What college did you attend? The real questions will be DID you love me by loving your brothers and sisters? DID you clothe my nakedness? DID you feed my hungry? DID you give shelter to my homeless? DID you visit my sick in hospitals? DID you visit my people in prisons? DID you seek my kingship first? The answer can be a resounding YES if we put Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, first in our priority of values right now. Let him be the one who is the Lord of our lives right now and you will live forever.
The first reading tells us that God has each one of our names stamped on his hand. The second reading reveals that Christians are called to be leaders by being servants. The Gospel tells us that we can only have one master and that master has to be God.
This week, let us show that God is our master. Sacrifice a time of pleasure or entertainment and take that money that you would normally spend and give it to the poor. You might want to give it to some charity in your church or maybe even take someone whom you know out to lunch or dinner. The person whom you are helping is Jesus: do you believe that?