Bible Readings – Mystery of Christ – Ephesians 3:4 When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ,

Dear Lord God, O Breathing Life! Father-Mother of the Cosmos/ you create all that moves in light. Focus your light within us–make it useful: as the rays of a beacon show the way. Create your reign of unity now–through our firey hearts and  willing hands. Your one desire then acts with ours, as in all light, so in all forms. Grant what we need each day in bread and insight: subsistence for the call of growing life. Loose the cords of mistakes binding us, as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt. Don’t let us enter forgetfulness But free us from unripeness From you is born all ruling will, the power and the life to do, the song that beautifies all, from age to age it renews. Truly–power to these statements–may they be the source from which all  my actions grow. Sealed in trust & faith. Amen.


An unclean soul is synonymous with a heart full of frivolity. Humility and purity of conduct are the wings which raise us up to God and in a manner deify us. Remember this: The sinner who is ashamed to do evil is closer to God than the upright man who is ashamed to do good.

— Saint Pio of Pietrelcina



2 Corinthians 11:18, 21-30

18 since many boast of worldly things, I too will boast. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! But whatever any one dares to boast of — I am speaking as a fool — I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one — I am talking like a madman — with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

Bible Study: [11:16-12:10] Paul now accepts the challenge of his opponents and indulges in boasting similar to theirs, but with differences that he has already signaled in 2 Cor 10:12-18 and that become clearer as he proceeds. He defines the nature of his project and unmistakably labels it as folly at the beginning and the end (2 Cor 11:16-23; 12:11). Yet his boast does not spring from ignorance (2 Cor 11:21; 12:6) nor is it concerned merely with human distinctions (2 Cor 11:18). Paul boasts "in moderation" (2 Cor 10:13, 15) and "in the Lord" (2 Cor 10:17). [16-29] The first part of Paul’s boast focuses on labors and afflictions, in which authentic service of Christ consists. [16-21] These verses recapitulate remarks already made about the foolishness of boasting and the excessive toleration of the Corinthians. They form a prelude to the boast proper. [20] Paul describes the activities of the "others" in terms that fill out the picture drawn in vv 11:3-4, 13-15. Much of the vocabulary suggests fleshly or even satanic activity. Enslaves: cf Gal 2:4. Devours: cf 1 Peter 5:8. Gets the better: the verb lambano means "to take," but is used in a variety of senses; here it may imply financial advantage, as in the English colloquialism "to take someone." It is similarly used at 2 Cor 12:16 and is there connected with cunning and deceit. Puts on airs: the same verb is rendered "raise oneself" (2 Cor 10:5) and "be too elated" (2 Cor 12:7). [21] Paul ironically concedes the charge of personal weakness from 2 Cor 10:1-18 but will refute the other charge there mentioned, that of lack of boldness, accepting the challenge to demonstrate it by his boast. [22] The opponents apparently pride themselves on their "Jewishness." Paul, too, can claim to be a Jew by race, religion, and promise. Descendants of Abraham: elsewhere Paul distinguishes authentic from inauthentic heirs of Abraham and the promise (Romans 4:13-18; 9:7-13; 11:1; Gal 3:9, 27-29; cf John 8:33-47). Here he grants his opponents this title in order to concentrate on the principal claim that follows. [23b-29] Service of the humiliated and crucified Christ is demonstrated by trials endured for him. This rhetorically impressive catalogue enumerates many of the labors and perils Paul encountered on his missionary journeys. [23a] Ministers of Christ . . . I am still more: the central point of the boast (cf the note on 2 Cor 11:5). Like an insane person: the climax of his folly. [11:30-12:10] The second part of Paul’s boast, marked by a change of style and a shift in focus. After recalling the project in which he is engaged, he states a new topic: his weaknesses as matter for boasting. Everything in this section, even the discussion of privileges and distinctions, will be integrated into this perspective.

Psalm 34:2-7

2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad. 3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Bible Study: [Psalm 34] Of David – A thanksgiving in acrostic form, each line beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In this psalm one letter is missing and two are in reverse order. The psalmist, fresh from the experience of being rescued (Psalm 34:5, 7), can teach the "poor," those who are defenseless, to trust in God alone (Psalm 34:4, 12). God will make them powerful (Psalm 34:5-11) and give them protection (Psalm 34:12-22). [1] Abimelech: a scribal error for Achish. In 1 Sam 21:13-16, David feigned madness before Achish, not Abimelech. [11] The powerful: literally, "lions." Fierce animals were sometimes metaphors for influential people. [12] Children: the customary term for students in Wisdom literature.

Matthew 6:19-23

19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Bible Study: [19-34] The remaining material of this chapter is taken almost entirely from Q. It deals principally with worldly possessions, and the controlling thought is summed up in Matthew 6:24, the disciple can serve only one master and must choose between God and wealth (mammon). See further the note on Luke 16:9. [22-23] In this context the parable probably points to the need for the disciple to be enlightened by Jesus’ teaching on the transitory nature of earthly riches. [24] Mammon: an Aramaic word meaning wealth or property.



Your brother in Christ Jesus, Richard


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