Read this week's guidelines and be nourished as you journey with our Community in Cebu.
"... for the Glory of God"
(c.f. 1 Cor. 6:20)
January 8-14, 2018
Enlarge the space of your tent for the Verbum Dei Spirituality
- to welcome the beginning of the year by entering deeply in the love and devotion of Jaime towards the Sources of Spirituality of Verbum Dei as sources of our faith and of the whole Church.
- to make this new year truly a School of Apostles where we strengthen our love and commitment to Jesus by praying and living out the Sources of Spirituality of Verbum Dei.
Objective of the week:
- to root ourselves in the Sources of Spirituality in order to increase the quality of our being baptized Christians.
The Christmas season is over and we are now in the first week in ordinary time. We've been experiencing too much food—much of eating and drinking as part of our celebration of the season. What kind of food we were eating lately? God is always offering us the best food of all which is the source of our spirituality, being rooted there as baptized Christians. In the Verbum Dei Statutes #203 is written, “The scripture will constitute the normal food and the living source of our attentive and serene exercise of our daily meditation. Trying not only to know intellectually, but assimilating the truth that nurtures and liberates in a loving and experiential way.”
This week God will nourish us with the true food that we need, the food that endures. He sees that we need to be nourished daily, since he needs our life in order that all humanity can share the sumptuous food for the spirit. We need to help him in serving this food to others. Many people nowadays are not thinking that they need something spiritual, as if they are just doing fine. They even abandon God's word as they do not go to church, not even making much effort to pray. They showed that they were not hungry of the spiritual nourishment. This could be a premature conclusion, if the food is not yet offered first and brought out for them. Every baptized Christian has the duty to bring out the spiritual food in order that the person can discover the deep hunger for God and his deep-seated need for what is spiritual. We need to show the food to bring out the spiritual hunger. As Jesus said in Matthew 14, “You yourselves give them something to eat.” We are reminded of our duty to help God feed others with the spiritual food. How? By nourishing ourselves lavishly, for God has provided us this spiritual food lavishly. "It necessitates and should be nourished with solid food and security of the Word of God: "We listen to God when we read His words."( VD Statutes #257)
So my dear brothers and sisters, we need to put importance to our duty to serve the Word of God, but we need to understand this:
"The contemplation, meditation, piety and life of prayer should be rooted in the Word of God, interpreted by the Magisterium of the Church. The Christianism of many depends on the quality of meditation-prayer that we practice and live out daily." (VD Statutes #202)
"Feast of the Baptism of the Lord"
Baptism—a sacrament, a mystery, a great love
And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.” It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Jesus is the Word of God made flesh where God expresses his great love and faithfulness to all of us. Today the church celebrates the baptism of our Lord Jesus in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. We are reminded of the value of our baptism because it is a sacrament, a mystery, and an expression of the great love of God to us. This is one of the principal roots of our spirituality. How good if we always remember the importance of our baptism where we are divinized and sanctified by the Spirit. Jesus went ahead of us, was the first one to immerse himself to sanctify our human condition by loving it, embracing it, and redeeming it.
The Word that never fails
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Yet just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me, achieving the end for which I sent it.
Today is the day to thank God for the gift of his word—the Word that become flesh in the person of Jesus, the greatest expression of God's love to you and to the whole humanity. We are invited to always keep in touch to this Word of God, one of the greatest sources of our spirituality. God our Father speaks and reminds us to trust in Jesus, "This is my Son, my beloved: Listen to him." How much time we spend each day just to listen to Jesus? Are we faithful to our daily prayer where the center is to listen to the voice of God? Do we always value the Word of God in our life? Is prayer a part of our daily living?
Come! Listen and the best food of all
All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat; Come, buy grain without money, wine and milk without cost! Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy? Only listen to me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Pay attention and come to me; listen, that you may have life. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, the steadfast loyalty promised to David.
God is serving us today the best food of all, the food that nourishes our spirit. When we eat this food we will never be hungry again. How beautiful if we can humbly identify our spiritual hunger. Why? In order that we can search and find the right kind of food for our soul. God continues his outpouring generosity to us. He provides us freely the spiritual food we need. The most beautiful food that he serves us today is the Eucharist. As Jesus said, "I am the living bread" (John 6:48).
We are chosen to listen to him
The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given, and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’ Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of these people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’ “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
We are really blessed by God as he sends us people who have spent quality time in prayer, practicing it daily by living it out. These are the concrete lives of the missionaries and disciples brought by God to touch our lives. They are the people who teach us what they practice and set us an example on how to live it out daily. Today we are reminded that it is our turn to share with others what we have received and learned as his followers. How beautiful if "these others" can see the way we live out our prayer daily. From there, they will learn from us and they will be able to see what they ought to see and hear what they must hear.
Be a wise builder!
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
Provided that you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded, stable, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, am a minister.
In our prayer today, let us be open to the reminder of God that we must build our love in a strong foundation, according to God's ways, putting to practice what he tells, and having that rock as our solid foundation for our lives and to all our projects. How much time do we spend listening to what God is telling us? What is important and vital is to do the will of God. What is Jesus asking you today? He wants that our life and the lives of others depend on the kind of prayer we practice and live out daily. We are asked by Jesus to go out of our comfort zones in order to enrich many with the love of God where our life depends. We are sent to mission, for it is also one of the roots of our spirituality. Our life is needed by many people whose lives seem to collapse because they are not built on rock.
Let us ask the Holy Spirit to be our very companion because we need to put the words of Jesus into practice. Each one of us is called to be faithful to our calling, to try to put into action what the Lord desires from us. Let us be wise builders, be a true follower in action—WORD of GOD, disciple in ACTION.
Let love build up in every person rooted in the Love of Christ Jesus
So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love.
Let us bend our knees in front of our God today to thank him for loving us in the person of Jesus Christ his Son. What we need is to have the faith to believe that Christ will make his home in each of our hearts. We need to pray for each other that all of us may allow God to build us up by his love and transform our hearts to become humble, faithful, and grateful. Let us be builders where the Rock of Salvation is our foundation. The word of God is the bright lamp and shining light leading us to Christ, the light of the world (cf. Psalm 119:105) Let us allow God to use our lives to bring the light of Christ to others, especially to the many people who are lost because God has no place in their life. We need to look around and find the people who have abandoned the Word of God.
Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
1st Reading – 1 Sam 3:3b-10,19
Responsorial Psalm – Ps 40
2nd Reading – 1 Cor 6:13c-15a,17-20
Gospel – Jn 1:35-42