Read this week's guidelines and be nourished as you journey with our Community in Cebu.
“I found him whom my heart loves."
(cf. Song of Songs 3:4)
February 18-24, 2019
Your Life is for Love
To discover in an experiential way that only God satisfies our unceasing search for love – a love that is permanent, eternal, true and unchanging.
Objective of the week:
To discover and experience that only in Him our hearts find joy and the love we are looking for.
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mt. 6:21)
What do we treasure now the most? Have we found this treasure? Or are we still searching for it?
We are all searching for something - something so precious and valuable; something that will fill the void within, fulfill the longings and desires, satisfy our thirst and make our dreams come true. But what are we really searching? We are searching for true happiness, a genuine joy within, a peace of mind .
We all want to be happy, don’t we? Nobody wants to be lonely, in pain, suffering, in misery. Where else can we find this true happiness? Through love, with love and in love alone. When we are loved by the people around us, we are the happiest person on earth. When we love someone we are inspired, alive and motivated to move forward.But as we are looking for real happiness through love, we are actually looking for God because God is love (cf.1 John 4:8). Encountering God in prayer brings us to find the love that fulfills our heart.
Only when we find God we truly experience the true joy, peace and contentment within. As what St. Augustine of Hippo said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
This week, let us acknowledge how listening to God in prayer will fill our hearts with so much love and joy. May his voice expressing his unconditional love for us, give us that peace within.
ENCOUNTERING LOVE AND JOY IN PRAYER
John 4:4-18; 25-26; 28-30
On his way there he had to go through Samaria. In Samaria, he came to a town named Sychar, which was not far from the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired out by the trip, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
A Samaritan woman came to draw some water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink of water.” (His disciples had gone into town to buy food.)
The woman answered, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan—so how can you ask me for a drink?” (Jews will not use the same cups and bowls that Samaritans use.)
Jesus answered, “If you only knew what God gives and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would ask him, and he would give you life-giving water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you don't have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where would you get that life-giving water? It was our ancestor Jacob,who gave us this well; he and his children and his flocks all drank from it. You don't claim to be greater than Jacob, do you?”
Jesus answered, “Those who drink this water will get thirsty again, but those who drink the water that I will give them will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give them will become in them a spring, which will provide them with life-giving water and give them eternal life.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “give me that water! Then I will never be thirsty again, nor will I have to come here to draw water.”
“Go and call your husband,” Jesus told her, “and come back.”
“I don't have a husband,” she answered.
Jesus replied, “You are right when you say you don't have a husband. You have been married to five men, and the man you live with now is not really your husband. You have told me the truth.”
The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah will come, and when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus answered, “I am he, I who am talking with you.”
Then the woman left her water jar, went back to the town, and said to the people there, “Come and see the man who told me everything I have ever done. Could he be the Messiah?” So they left the town and went to Jesus.
Praying with God’s word will always fill us with so much hope and makes us feel alive and renewed. Sometimes it may be harshed for speaking the truth,but most of the time his words are the sweetest words we ever heard because it contained the unconditional love of God. Words of forgiveness, hope, peace and joy are all we ever wanted in order to find meaning and reason to live.
What are the words of love that God is telling you today?
A PROMISE OF AN UNENDING LOVE AND JOY
Israel, you are like a young wife,
deserted by her husband and deeply distressed.But the Lord calls you back to him and says:
“For one brief moment I left you;
with deep love I will take you back.
I turned away angry for only a moment,but I will show you my love forever.”
So says the Lord who saves you.
“In the time of Noah I promised
never again to flood the earth.
Now I promise not to be angry with you again;I will not reprimand or punish you. The mountains and hills may crumble,but my love for you will never end;I will keep forever my promise of peace.”
So says the Lord who loves you.
We all know that nothing in this world last eternally, but only God whose love is forever. Praying with his word constantly will guarantee us that God will never abandon us as his covenant of love for us is forever.
Do we keep on seeking His love to be truly filled by it? How do we take His promise of love to us?
HIS WORDS OF LOVE MAKES US FAITHFUL
Song of Songs 3:1-5
Asleep on my bed, night after night
I dreamed of the one I love;
I was looking for him, but couldn't find him. I went wandering through the city,through its streets and alleys.I looked for the one I love.
I looked, but couldn't find him.
The sentries patrolling the city saw me.
I asked them,
“Have you found my lover?”
As soon as I left them, I found him.
I held him and wouldn't let him go
until I took him to my mother's house, to the room where I was born.
God has always been faithful to us and we will know when we take time to listen and pray with His word. His words of love will always lead us to choose to remain faithful in spite of the challenges we encounter each day. It is because finding God’s love in the word is the greatest treasure we ever found and won’t never let it go.
What makes a person abandon his/her faith? What do we think went wrong? How about us, where do we base our faith?
GOD ALONE IS OUR TRUE JOY
Trust in the Lord and do good;
live in the land and be safe.
Seek your happiness in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart's desire. Give yourself to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will help you;
he will make your righteousness shine like the noonday sun.
This is God’s invitation for us everyday, to start our day with prayer, in allowing Him to speak to our hearts and for us to listen attentively to Him.It is in order to be able to choose doing good, have a rightful judgment on things that will make us happy, in finding God in every person we will meet along the way and find joy in everything that we will be doing.
What are we willing to let go like addictions, attachments to things, in pursue for the real happiness?
PRAISE GOD JOYFULLY AND GIVE THANKS
The Lord says,
“Listen to me, you that want to be saved,you that come to me for help.
Think of the rock from which you came,the quarry from which you were cut. Think of your ancestor, Abraham,
and of Sarah, from whom you are descended.When I called Abraham, he was childless, but I blessed him and gave him children;I made his descendants numerous. “I will show compassion to Jerusalem,to all who live in her ruins.Though her land is a desert, I will make it a garden,like the garden I planted in Eden. Joy and gladness will be there,and songs of praise and thanks to me.
A heart filled with God’s love is a grateful and joyful heart. Real joy and gladness can be found when we don’t give in to temptations and turned away from sin. There will be peace within and harmony around us, in our family, workplaces, with friends and others. This is a grace from God.
What are we grateful for to God today? How can we use this grace to share this joy to others?
BEING GREATLY BLESSED WITH THE LOVE OF GOD
In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee named Nazareth. He had a message for a young woman promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David. Her name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, “Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!”
It’s a blessing listening to God's word and doing what he asked us to do. The often we do it, the more he will bless us with abundant, joyful, hopeful and peaceful life. Like with our Mother Mary, God was so pleased with her, and blessed her not with the things of this world, but by becoming the bearer of His only Begotten Son, Jesus, our saviour.
How can we bring God’s blessing to others?
1st Reading – 1 Sam 26:2-23
Resp Psalm – Psalm 103:1-13
2nd Reading – 1 Cor. 15:45-49
Gospel – Lk 6:27-38