Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Devotion for today: The Second Reading at Mass

Today our study takes us to the New Testament.

Scripture for meditation: Psalm 119:105 
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us: 133: The Church "forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful. . . to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.

Here is some interesting information on one source of the Second Reading at Mass: The Epistles are the twenty-one books of the New Testament written in the form of letters to churches or individuals. The fourteen Epistles of St. Paul are called after the group or person to whom they were addressed. The remaining seven are called by the name of the author. They are called "Catholic" because they were intended for the Church at large, although the second and third Epistles of St. John are addressed to individuals. St. Paul's Epistles were not deliberate treatises and systematic expositions of Christian theology. They were not something studied and literary. They were simple letters, pastoral and not personal, written on a specific occasion and to a particular body of converts. They were suggestions in regard to local difficulties, or words of counsel, encouragement or consolation. They were supplementary to the ordinary teaching, and he does not dwell in them on anything that is not a matter of controversy or difficulty. Hence, they were not called forth by any inward purpose or necessity on the part of the Apostle to formulate his thought, but each of them was written in response to particular conditions in the community to which it was addressed. And the contents and form are often due to the Apostle's vivid realization of the situation to which he is addressing himself.

My thoughts: The Second Reading at Mass comes from the above mentioned Epistles, as well as from the Acts of the Apostles, and the Book of Revelation. St. Paul wrote his epistles before the gospels were written, as he was actively seeking to correct errors in his young church communities and to set the newly formed Christians on fire with a love and passion for Christ. His young church communities were constantly falling back into their pagan ways, getting lazy about practicing their faith, and falling prey to false teachers and ideologies. Sound familiar? Nothing has changed, really. Today more than ever, we must listen to the Second Reading at Mass to be reminded of the saving work of Jesus, of His love for us, and of the practical life-changing attitudes we must adopt in order to be part of the kingdom of God on earth. The Second Reading usually shows us how to turn from sin and turn to Christ.

Prayer: Psalm 86:11-13
Teach me your way, O Lord,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.

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