“For you are a people sacred to the LORD your God; he has chosen you from all the nations”
March 3-9, 2014
Objective of the week:
To put focus as a people of God “pueblo”-katawhan- who follow the Lord, through the desert.
During last month we realize our role as lay people in the world of today. We are agents of transformation in the concrete structures of our society.
During these weeks, we are invited to give one step more. To hear the call of God who introduces us in this season of Lent. It’s a new experience of faith in a personal call and at the same time as a people of God- katawhan
"At all times and in every race, anyone who fears God and does what is right has been acceptable to him. He has, however, willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness. He therefore chose the Israelite race to be his own people and established a covenant with it. He gradually instructed this people.... All these things, however, happened as a preparation for and figure of that new and perfect covenant which was to be ratified in Christ . . . the New Covenant in his blood; he called together a race made up of Jews and Gentiles which would be one, not according to the flesh, but in the Spirit. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #781)
It’s in this perspective that we enter in this Lenten season, knowing that God chose us as his own, been selected among many people, we go into in this liturgical time of “cuaresma”. “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” (Deuteronomy 7:6)
Following Him and allowing Him bring us to the desert where intentions, priorities in life are purified, where we can see the truth that moves us in our following of Him. And it’s in the desert, where we recognize our love and desire for God; Therefore I am now going to allure her, I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her (Hosea 2:14). How is our heart in front of this call? It was in the desert were the people of Israel was able to recognize the place of God in them. What is the real God in our hearts, what directs us, what is our priority? What place has God in us? In the concrete places and state of life where we are, who is God for us?
The meaning of our election as people of God and our following of Him, is to have Him as the only one, which imply our dependence, obedience, recognizing Him as the only one, accepting His commandments and precepts.
Let us enter in this season of cuaresma, letting God introduce us in the desert of our heart and from within take concrete options for having Him as the God who leads us.
He chose us as His own
6For you are a people sacred to the LORD, your God; he has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own.7It was not because you are the largest of all nations that the LORD set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations.8It was because the LORD loved you and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn to your fathers, that he brought you out with his strong hand from the place of slavery, and ransomed you from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
The election of God to our life, is not because what we can do for Him, but because of His Love that do not see the appearance but the heart. Do I accept this election of God in my life? Do I recognize that as a people of God the others too are chosen by Him?
People who follow Him
18"Thus they will heed your message. Then you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him: The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent us word. Permit us, then, to go a three days' journey in the desert, that we may offer sacrifice to the LORD, our God.
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: …You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.” He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
The election of God does not stop in a concrete moment. He brings us to a new journey through the desert, following His commandments, being faithful to Him. But how sincere is our heart in our following of Him? Do we fulfill roles only or we sincerely follow Him?
Return to me with all your heart
12Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; 13Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment… 15Blow the trumpet in Zion! proclaim a fast, call an assembly; 16Gather the people, notify the congregation; Assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast; Let the bridegroom quit his room, and the bride her chamber. 17Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep, And say, "Spare, O LORD, your people, and make not your heritage a reproach, with the nations ruling over them! Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'" 18Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land and took pity on his people. 19The LORD answered and said to his people: See, I will send you grain, and wine, and oil, and you shall be filled with them; No more will I make you a reproach among the nations. 21Fear not, O land! exult and rejoice! for the LORD has done great things.
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
The invitation is to go back to our God, with a renewed desire for Him, not because of the traditions given, but because, in a sincerity of heart we see the need of Him in us and others.
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and follow me”
22He said, "The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised." 23Then he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?
God does not promise an easy life. On the contrary, He invites us to continue in the same places in the same realities, but facing it with the assurance of His victory. Are we willing to follow Him in this path?
Follow the Lord in a new way
6This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; 7Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. 8Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
The meaning of the Lenten season in our following is concrete and God invites us to make it concrete in the lives of others, it’s not to be contented with what we do or have. The invitation is to make them free. Who is that person whom God is inviting you to go?
Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”…“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”
Anew path and journey is taking place in us. In the sincerity of our heart let us listen the call of God again. He who does not judge for the appearance but He knows us and knows the capacities we have for others if we go to Him with a sincerity of heart.
1st Sunday of Lent
First Reading: Genesis 2:7-9;3:1-7
Psalm: Psalm 51:3-4,5-6,12-13,17
Second Reading: Romans 5:12-19
Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11
Weekly Prayer Guidelines
Read this week's guidelines to help you deepen in the Word of God for today.