By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
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 EZEKIEL 33:7-9 FIRST READING
(“You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel.”)
- To whom did the Word of the Lord come, and who has been appointed watchman for the house of Israel? Ezekiel 1:3 3:17, and 33:7
- What is Ezekiel to do for the Lord? Ezekiel 33:7
- If the Lord tells the wicked man that he shall surely die, that was Ezekiel to do, and what will happen to the wicked man? Ezekiel 33:8
- Who will be held responsible for the death of the wicked man? Ezekiel 33:8
- What will happen if we do not speak out? Psalm 32:3
- What happens to the wicked man, and how is he repaid? Isaiah 3:11
- Who is the one who shall die? Ezekiel 18:20
- How are we to warn the wicked man? Ezekiel 33:9
- If he refuses to do this, what will happen to him, and what will happen to us? Ezekiel 33:9
- What kind of a God do we have? Psalm 7:12
Personal – What do you say to those you see doing wrong within your household? What do you think will happen to you if you remain silent when you see those around you being sinful?
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 13:8-10 SECOND READING
(“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”)
- What are we not to owe anyone, and what exception is there to this? Romans 13:8
- What has he who loves his neighbor done? Romans 13:8
- What is the virtue that binds all the rest together and makes them perfect? Colossians 3:14
- What is all summed up in “You shall love your neighbor as yourself?” Romans 13:9
- What did Jesus give us, and how are we to love one another? John 13:34
- How are we to treat others? Matthew 7:12
- What are we not to bear in our heart against our brother, and what are we not to take and cherish against our fellow countrymen? Leviticus 19:17-18
- What does love never do, and what is the fulfillment of the law? Romans 13:10
- What is love, and what does it not do? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
- Who is our neighbor? Luke 10:25-37, concentrating on verses 36-37
Personal – Have you seen anyone in need this week, and how did you respond to that need? In what way have you loved your neighbor? Write down a time you loved your neighbor each day this week.
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 18:15-20 GOSPEL
(“If your brother should commit a crime against you, go and point out his fault,”)
- If our brother should commit some wrong against us, what are we to do? Matthew 18:15
- Who did Jesus say were brother, sister, and mother to him? Mark 3:35
- After going to our brother who has wronged us, what have we done if he listens. If he does not listen, what should we do, and for what reason? Matthew 18:15-16
- What is laid down in the law? John 8:17
- If our brother ignores the others we have summoned, to whom do we refer him? Matthew 18:17
- If the brother who committed the wrong ignores the church, how should we treat him? Matthew 18:17
- Whom do we have no business judging, what should happen to those who bear the title “brother” and who is immoral? l Corinthians 5:9-13
- Whatever we declare bound on earth shall be declared what, and whatever we declare loosed on earth shall be held what in heaven? Matthew 18:18
Personal – How have you dealt with someone who has wronged you, in comparison to the above scripture?
- What does Jesus say will happen if two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatsoever? Matthew 18:19
- What must we do in order to receive anything from the Lord? Matthew 7:7, John 15:7
- Who is present when two or three are gathered in his name? Matthew 18:20
Personal – With whom have you joined your voice in prayer this week, and what has been the result?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 95:1-2, 6-9
(“Let us acclaim the rock of our salvation.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 95: 1-2, 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
This passage tells us that God will hold us responsible for not speaking out in defense of his name to those who violate his teachings. We cannot say that it is not our responsibility to speak out because we are not qualified. Ezekiel tells us that God has called us to warn the wicked man of his wrong doings or to face up to the responsibility of his death.
Today there is a strong emphasis to turn the other way concerning wrong doing. A major philosophy of today seems to be, that if it does not affect me, why should I complain. For example: the rate of crime is staggering in many countries; the breakdown of the family is accepted as a price of progress. A tremendous financial profit is being made today in the areas of pornography, child pornography, prostitution, drugs, alcohol, smoking, and abortion.
Scripture tells us the wages of sin are death (Rom. 6:23), yet we remain incredibly silent with our Christian response to this barrage of filth. The essence of all sin is self, and it is the gratification of self that is tearing countries apart. The result of sin is death, and if we do not believe this, take a look around our communities and see the effects of sin. Many times the deaths and horror from AIDS are the results of drugs and immorality that can be passed on even to innocent victims in blood transfusions. Children are born infected with the dreaded disease through no fault of their own.
The rate of abortions has climbed to about 70 million a year worldwide. There has to be an end to the millions of people becoming zombies through the use of drugs and alcohol. Cigarettes kill more people than drugs and alcohol combined, and yet there is a silence in the Christian world. Silence indicates to many a degree of acceptance of the conditions.
I pray that you speak out in the name of Jesus and protest the wrongdoing that is going on in your own heart, your family, your community and your country.
St. Paul calls us to a complete sense of freedom in that we owe no man anything except our love. Jesus gives us his commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.”(John 13:34). Jesus went further when he tells us all to love God with our whole heart, mind, and spirit and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
To many people today that does not offer much, especially when self-esteem, self-image or self-love have never been established. There are millions of people walking around who do not feel that self-worth or feel they are worthy of being loved. Jesus knows that and consequently he said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” You are so precious, and so valuable, that God sent his only begotten son to die on the cross at Calvary just for you.
Jesus loves us completely and unconditionally, and he loves us wherever we are. The incredible part of this statement is that he loves us to the extent that he will not leave us as we are. He will transform you if you will let him. Right now he is knocking at the door of your heart while you are reading this study (Rev. 3:20). Try to look for a picture showing Jesus knocking on the door and you will see something very powerful. There is no door handle on the door; it opens only from within. He will love you with an everlasting love. People perish simply because of the lack of knowledge of who he is and of his great love for them (Hosea 4:6).
We are told that God is love and that we love him because we learn that he has loved us first. God is love. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love bears all things. Love believes all things. Love is hope. Love endures all things, and love is the fulfillment of the law. Jesus tells us that if we live in him and keep his commandments, then he will live in us (John 15:7). To love your neighbors as yourself really means that God loved you so much that he died for you. We have to die to ourselves and be willing to do whatever it takes to help anyone who is in need of God’s love and mercy.
The Gospel message tells us today that we are to go to our brother and tell him of his fault of sinning. Many ask today, “Who is my brother?” Jesus tells us in scripture that all who do the will of his Father are his brother, sister and mother (Mark 3:35). You can lovingly confront our brother or sister in Christ, if they are suffering or in pain but it should be done privately. (A wound will fester if it is not tended or healed right away.) If they listened to you and the problem is not resolved, then you know that the problem does not lie with you, it allows you to forgive that person so that he may become healed.
Today, bitterness and divisiveness rage among Christians because of misunderstandings. We are told in Scripture that we will be insulted because of our Christian beliefs and conduct and whoever is called on to suffer should not be ashamed but to give thanks and glory to God (1 Peter 4:16). We are not called to judge the pagans or unbelievers, rather we are called to confront the “brother in the Lord” who is living in sin. This can be done only in love and in accordance with Scripture.
Jesus tells us that even our love of family is not to come between him and ourselves. Also Jesus tells us that he is always present in our midst. Whenever we come together to pray in his name, our requests will be honored by his Father in heaven. We need to remember that to pray in his name means to be completely immersed in prayer with him. His name is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-healing. Scripture tells us that every knee shall bend and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:11). To pray in his name means to have released all unforgiveness toward others. It means to confess all unrepented sins. To pray in his name means to remove all the blocks towards healing within ourselves.
When we pray in his name, whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matt. 19:18). Then in Jesus’ name we can bind the evil in one of our sinful brothers, and in Jesus’ name loose upon that person the power of the Holy Spirit. Joy, peace, love – the Holy Spirit brings all that heavenly power and faith. In Jesus’ name the honor and glory of the Father are accomplished. We can be an expectant pray-er every time we pray in Jesus’ name because we have his Word on it (Matthew 18:19-20).
The first reading tells us that we are responsible for speaking out in faith, and we are called to address the sinful actions of others. The second reading tells us that love is not love until it is freely given away to others, without any conditions. The Gospel tells us to confront one another lovingly in the name of Jesus when their conduct is out of order.
This week, speak lovingly but frankly and privately, to one of your loved ones who is not walking with the Lord. Remember, your silence may indicate that you agree with that person’s actions.