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Friday, July 24, 2009

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St. Sharbel Makhluf


Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19:8-11
Matthew 13:18-23

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the third commandment

"Remember to keep holy the sabbath day." —Exodus 20:8

The Lord commanded us to remember to keep holy the new covenant's sabbath, that is, Sunday. Do you remember? Is the whole day set apart as special? Or do you just go to church on Sunday? If Jesus isn't "Lord of the sabbath" (see Mk 2:28), then He's not Lord of your life. If He's not Lord of all, He's not Lord at all.

The Lord's word about the Lord's day for many people has fallen on the footpath. We don't understand what God has sown in our minds, so the devil comes to steal it away (Mt 13:19). Some of us used to observe the Lord's day. In fact, it was the most joyous day of the week. However, we gave all that up as our society changed. We had no roots (Mt 13:21). Some still believe in keeping Sunday holy; nonetheless, the pressures of work, the lure of shopping centers, and the spell of television (especially pro football) have choked it off (Mt 13:22).

However, there are a few, a remnant, who obey the third commandment, and they will bear fruit "a hundred — or sixty — or thirtyfold" (Mt 13:23). Let those who have ears, hear (Mt 13:9).

Prayer:  Father, two days from now, may I obey the third commandment in Spirit and truth. Right now, may I begin to prepare for Sunday.

Promise:  "In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy." —Ex 20:11

Praise:  St. Sharbel Makhluf was a Lebanese monk who lived as a hermit in poverty, self-sacrifice, and prayer. He lost his life for Jesus, and thereby discovered who he was (Mt 10:39).

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, Keep Holy the Lord's Day, or our tape on audio AV 45-1 or video V-45.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 5, 2009

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