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 JEREMIAH 20:10-13 FIRST READING
(“For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked.”)
- What does Jeremiah hear, and for what are those who were his friends on the watch? Jeremiah 20:10
- What will a false friend do? Sirach 37:4
- What will a friend do who is a friend when it suits him, and with whom are we to be on guard? Sirach 6:8-13
- Who is with Jeremiah, and what will happen to his persecutors? Jeremiah 20:11
- What did the Lord say to Jeremiah? Jeremiah 1:8, Jeremiah 15:20
- From what are malicious persecutors far? Psalm 119:150
- What does the Lord test and probe, and what does Jeremiah ask to witness? Jeremiah 20:12
- Why does the Lord probe the mind and test the heart? Jeremiah 17:10
- To whom should we sing and praise, and whom has he rescued? Jeremiah 20:13
- Why do we thank and praise the Lord? Psalm 109:30-31
Personal – How has the Lord rescued you from someone you thought was a friend? In what way do you sing his praises for what he has done for you?
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 5:12-15 SECOND READING
(“But the gift is not like the transgression.”)
- What entered the world through one man, what came to all, and what have all done? Romans 5:12
- Through what did death enter the world, and who experiences it? Wisdom 2:24
- What does envy and anger do? Sirach 30:24
- Where was sin up to the time of the law, and when is sin not accounted? Romans 5:13
- What does the law produce, and where is there no violation? Romans 4:15
- What reigned from Adam to Moses, who dies even though they did not sin, and what was Adam? Romans 5:14
- What happened in Adam, and what happened in Christ? 1 Corinthians 15:22
Personal – How has sin and death affected your life?
- What is the gift not like? Romans 5:15
- What overflowed for the many? Romans 5:15
- How do we believe we have been saved? Acts 15:11
Personal – How has the grace of God affected your life? What does grace mean to you? From you, what is the result it has on others?
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 10:26-33 GOSPEL
(“And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”)
- What are we not to be, and what is concealed that will be revealed? Matthew 10:26
- What Jesus speaks to us in the darkness, where are we to speak it? What we hear whispered, where are we to proclaim it? Matthew 10:27
Personal – When the Lord speaks to you in your quiet prayer time, how do you make it known to others?
- What will happen to the person who does not speak? Psalm 32:3
- Of whom are we not to be afraid, and who are we to fear? Matthew 10:28
- With what are we not to make alliance, with whom are we to make alliance, and who are we to fear and be in awe? Isaiah 8:12-13
- What does not fall to the ground without the Father’s knowledge? Matthew 10:29
- What is even counted, and why should we not be afraid? Matthew 10:30-31
- What will happen to us because of Jesus, what will not be destroyed, and what will secure our life? Luke 21:17-19
- What are we not to fear? Isaiah 51:7
- Who will be acknowledged before our heavenly Father, and who will be denied before him? Matthew 10:32-33
- What will happen to whomever is ashamed of Jesus and his words, in this faithless and sinful generation? Mark 8:38
Personal – In what ways have you acknowledged Jesus and his words to your family, friends, school friends and co-workers?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35
(“For the Lord hears the poor,”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35.
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
Jeremiah goes straight from the Hinnom Valley to the temple, and with his message challenged the people’s social and moral behavior. He was not afraid to give unpopular criticism. The people could either obey or silence him, and they chose the latter. Their false prophets told them what they wanted to hear. The priest in charge called Pashur, heard Jeremiah’s words and because of his guilt forced him into the wooden stocks. With his hands and feet made fast in the wooden stocks, and being ridiculed in front of the entire community, Jeremiah pours out his heart to God. Yet, even this did not stop him from making God’s Word known.
Jeremiah’s role as a prophet put him under terrific pressure. He has faithfully proclaimed God’s Word and has received nothing in return, only persecution and sorrow. He tried to withhold God’s word, but it became like a fire in his bones.
Today, there are many places where people need to be challenged about their moral behavior. The Jeremiahs of today are being ridiculed and silenced, and the false prophets “tickle their ears” with stories of how wonderful they are. When you feel like you are at the end of your rope, remember, there is never an end to hope. You will feel “the fire in your bones,” and you will feel compelled to share it with others, whatever the situation.
The question, “How can we be declared guilty for something Adam did thousands of years ago?” rages on. There are many who feel it is not right for God to judge us for Adam’s sin. Yet, each one of us identifies with Adam by our own sins. We are made of the same “high-fluting,” rebellious, exaggerating attitude and prejudices. We are judged for the sins we commit, because we are sinners. It is not fairness that we need, it is mercy.
Paul tells us once again that keeping the law does not bring salvation. Death is the result of Adam’s sin and for the sins we all commit. The Law was added to help people see their sinfulness and to show them the seriousness of their offense and to drive them to God for mercy and pardon. This was true in Moses’ day, and it is still true today. Sin is a profound rupture between who we are and who we were created to be. The Law points out our sin and places the responsibility on our shoulders, but the Law offers no remedy for it.
In many nations, prisons are overflowing because accountability calls for discipline, and discipline calls for a commitment to an idea. When we are convicted of sin, the only way to heal is through Jesus Christ. Remember, only the truth can really set us free (John 8:32) and the truth is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Today’s Gospel reveals to us the cost of following Jesus Christ. Jesus helped his disciples prepare for the rejection many of them would experience by being Christian. Being God’s person will usually create reactions from others who are resisting him. The disciples experienced hardships not only from without (government, courts, etc.), but also from friends and family.
Living for God often brings on trials and tribulations, but with it comes the opportunity to tell the Good News of Salvation. We can always be confident because Jesus has “overcome the world” (John 16:33), and it is very crucial for us to remember that those who “endure to the end” will be saved (10:22).
You are of incredible worth to God, and you are never lost from his sight or touch. You never are to fear personal threats or difficult trials because they can not shake God’s love and Spirit from you. God placed a tremendous value on each one of us, and he lets us have the choice and the chance to say “No, Lord.” The closer you get to God, the more the world will reject and abuse us. They hated Christ and rejected Him; would we expect anything less? Those who stand up for Christ in spite of their troubles truly will have lasting value and will receive the acknowledgement of God and God’s love will sustain them through any kind of trial.
The first reading tells us that God’s Word is like a hammer that smashes away at the rocks of obstacles. The second reading tells us that death is the result of Adam’s sin, and life is the result of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. The Gospel reveals fear as useless, and we must trust in God.
This week, ask yourself what you are doing to be a witness to your faith. How have you responded to the scourge of abortion in your community? See if you can help with letter writing, picketing, protesting, praying and voting on moral issues concerning abortion. You will be ridiculed and attacked, socially, emotionally, spiritually, and maybe even physically for your loyalty and belief.
This week, become a disciple of Christ and let the Spirit within you be a reminder that the spirit of the world has been defeated.