O children of Zion, be glad
and rejoice in the Lord your God;
for he has given the early rain for your vindication,
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the later rain, as before.
The threshing floors shall be full of grain,
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will repay you for the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent against you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again
be put to shame.
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female slaves,
in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.
I have a neighbor of many years, who has a tendency to insult me, but I do not think he realizes it. I will explain to you brothers and sisters what I mean in a minute. However, before I do, I will like to publicly confess that I allowed my neighbor’s views to anger me and that I reacted in anger and was wrong in doing so. I let my Lord Jesus down, and I am ashamed of what I did.
You see, it turns out that many of our conversations have revolved around black people, and about how black people have a litany of issues. He feels that black people and other minorities are under performers (for lack of a better word) and that many of the laws that we have in place that are to protect against discrimination are not needed. He feels that there is no discrimination in this country, and that essentially there is no need to complain.
Usually, I try to redirect him and gently try to help him walk on the others person’s shoes. Normally I ignore him and attribute his comments to ignorance and blindness of heart, and I get on with my day. However, today he would not redirect. He was more forceful than ever, and I was obviously less tolerant. I was in no mood to hear the “we do not need affirmative action” speech. I was in no mood to hear that blacks, Hispanics and Indians get into schools unjustly, and that they are not qualified to begin with.
So it came to a point when I was feed up. I was like, “the people you are bad talking is me!” I am one of those Hispanics that you wrongly feel are not integrated into society. I am one of those blacks (for in case he did not notice, I have black skin) that you feel are so messed up that every wrong in society is their fault. I had to say enough, but he would not let me. He pushed back and I pushed back even harder. I raised my voice and he told me to lower my voice that I was talking too loud. I then raised my voice louder and called him a racist to his face. I told him that racism is a sin, and it is. However, so is anger! I was wrong also, even more so than he.
How could I have let him get to me and set such a bad example for Christ.
Jesus, my Lord, I have let you down. I should have put you first, even before my own feelings. Please forgive me Lord, please forgive me. Brothers and sisters pray for me.
As I sit here and ponder about all the suffering that guns have caused to innocent Americans in recent years, I wonder, where is Christ in all this? After all, as a believer of Christ I should filter everything through Jesus. So as a Christian I wonder, on which side of this heated debate should I be on?
I have held guns and other weapons that use ballistics in my hands before. I have read the descriptions that illustrate how powerful a gun is and how accurate it can be. So, I am well aware of what guns and rifles are mainly used for. They are meant to kill. They are meant to inflict deadly force on an enemy or adversary. They are not meant to be collected unless one is a museum, or as a purely for hunting device since there are other methods to hunt. They are not a toy to be given to children as birthday presents, or as a wedding gifts to people. Guns are serious business. Dead serious.
Hence, as a man who by the mercy of Christ has given his life to ministry, I just do not see how a believer in Christ can be so adamant about possessing such a destructive tool as a gun. Guns are an instrument of death, nothing else about it. That unbelievers are so full of fear, to the point that they feel the need to use an instrument of death to protect their earthly life is understandable. However, those who have their eyes set on the things above should not be attached to earthly living, and should know that no one can kill them. After all, those who believe in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life in Christ Jesus. Amen!
Bishop Abad A. Perez Missionary Diocese of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:
2 Indeed, I know it is as you say: how could anyone claim to be upright before God?
3 Anyone trying to argue matters with him, could not give him one answer in a thousand.
4 Among the wisest and the hardiest, who then can successfully defy him?
5 He moves the mountains, though they do not know it; he throws them down when he is angry.
6 He shakes the earth, and moves it from its place, making all its pillars tremble.
7 The sun, at his command, forbears to rise, and on the stars he sets a seal.
8 He and no other has stretched out the heavens and trampled on the back of the Sea.
9 He has made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the Mansions of the South.
10 The works he does are great and unfathomable, and his marvels cannot be counted.
11 If he passes me, I do not see him; he slips by, imperceptible to me.
12 If he snatches his prey, who is going to stop him or dare to ask, ‘What are you doing?’
14 And here am I, proposing to defend myself and select my arguments against him!
15 Even if I am upright, what point is there in answering him? I can only plead for mercy with my judge!
16 And if he deigned to answer my citation, I cannot believe he would listen to what I said,
13 ‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
14 And still, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the Judgement than for you.
15 And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be raised high as heaven? You shall be flung down to hell.
16 ‘Anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me reject the one who sent me.’
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Psalms 139:1-3, 7-8, 9-10, 13-14
1 [For the choirmaster Of David Psalm] Yahweh, you examine me and know me,
2 you know when I sit, when I rise, you understand my thoughts from afar.
3 You watch when I walk or lie down, you know every detail of my conduct.
7 Where shall I go to escape your spirit? Where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I scale the heavens you are there, if I lie flat in Sheol, there you are.
9 If I speed away on the wings of the dawn, if I dwell beyond the ocean,
10 even there your hand will be guiding me, your right hand holding me fast.
13 You created my inmost self, knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 For so many marvels I thank you; a wonder am I, and all your works are wonders. You knew me through and through,
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28 ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, go and work in the vineyard today.”
29 He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went.
30 The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go.
31 Which of the two did the father’s will?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘In truth I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you.
32 For John came to you, showing the way of uprightness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.
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Psalms 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
4 DIRECT me in your ways, Yahweh, and teach me your paths.
5 ENCOURAGE me to walk in your truth and teach me since you are the God who saves me. FOR my hope is in you all day long — such is your generosity, Yahweh.
6 GOODNESS and faithful love have been yours for ever, Yahweh, do not forget them.
7 HOLD not my youthful sins against me, but remember me as your faithful love dictates.
8 INTEGRITY and generosity are marks of Yahweh for he brings sinners back to the path.
9 JUDICIOUSLY he guides the humble, instructing the poor in his way.
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15 ‘If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.
16 If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: whatever the misdemeanour, the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain the charge.
17 But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a gentile or a tax collector.
18 ‘In truth I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 ‘In truth I tell you once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven.
20 For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them.’
Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving, acclaim him with music.
6 Come, let us bow low and do reverence; kneel before Yahweh who made us!
7 For he is our God, and we the people of his sheepfold, the flock of his hand. If only you would listen to him today!
8 Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as at the time of Massah in the desert,
9 when your ancestors challenged me, put me to the test, and saw what I could do!