Daily Reading & Meditation

Saturday (October 11): "Hear the word of God and keep it"

Scripture: Luke 11:27-28

27 As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!" 28 But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

Meditation: Who do you seek to favor and bless? When an admirer wished to compliment Jesus by praising his mother, Jesus did not deny the truth of the blessing she pronounced. Her beatitude (which means "blessedness" or "happiness") recalls Mary's canticle: All generations will call me blessed (Luke 1:48). Jesus adds to her words by pointing to the source of all true blessedness or happiness - union with God in heart, mind, and will.

Mary humbly submitted herself to the miraculous plan of God for the incarnation of his only begotten Son - the Word of God made flesh in her womb, by declaring: I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38). Mary heard the word spoken to her by the angel and she believed it.

On another occasion Jesus remarked that whoever does the will of God is a friend of God and a member of his family - his sons and daughters who have been ransomed by the precious blood of Christ. (Luke 8:21). They are truly blessed because they know their God personally and they find joy in hearing and obeying his word.

Our goal in life, the very reason we were created in the first place, is for union with God. We were made for God and our hearts are restless until they rest in him. Lucian of Antioch (240-312), an early Christian theologian and martyr, once said that "a Christian's only relatives are the saints." Those who follow Jesus Christ and who seek the will of God enter into a new family, a family of "saints" here on earth and in heaven. Jesus changes the order of relationships and shows that true kinship is not just a matter of flesh and blood. Our adoption as sons and daughters of God transforms all our relationships and requires a new order of loyalty to God and his kingdom. Do you hunger for God and for his word?

"Lord Jesus, my heart is restless until it rests in you. Help me to live in your presence and in the knowledge of your great love for me. May I seek to please you in all that I do, say, and think."

Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12

1 The LORD reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!
2 Clouds and thick darkness are round about him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.
11 Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Blessings for hearing and keeping the Word, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.

"Mary was more blessed in accepting the faith of Christ than in conceiving the flesh of Christ. To someone who said, 'Blessed is the womb that bore you,' he replied, 'Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.' Finally, for his brothers, his relatives according to the flesh who did not believe in him, of what advantage was that relationship? Even her maternal relationship would have done Mary no good unless she had borne Christ more happily in her heart than in her flesh." (excerpt from HOLY VIRGINITY 3.1)


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author Don Schwager 2014 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.


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