From today's first reading, Hebrews 13:1-8 (New American Bible):
Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.
Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment,
and of the ill-treated as of yourselves,
for you also are in the body.
Let marriage be honored among all
and the marriage bed be kept undefiled,
for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.
Let your life be free from love of money
but be content with what you have,
for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.
Thus we may say with confidence:
The Lord is my helper,
and I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?
Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
I have to be honest here. This reading left me speechless. I've heard and read parts of it before, but never in its whole context. Let's take a closer look at it.
I guess "brotherly love" could also equate to "civility." I've been nice to people (even though they weren't particularly nice to me) who I probably wouldn't enterain in my home. I've also been taken advantage of and I had to put the brakes on my generosity as well as my kindness so I think I can only go so far with that one.
Being mindful of the prisoners, I think goes well beyond those who are physically in prison. I have known many people who have suffered from addiction or mental illness and those things can make a prison of the mind. We are "One Body" when it comes to the teachings of the church and when one of us suffers we all suffer in some way.
Let marriage be honored among all ... seems like a simple thing, but in this day of reality programming, cheating on your spouse is worn like a badge of honor. But like the scripture says, "God will judge the immoral and adulterers."
Let your life be free from love of money, but be content with what you have is something that I struggle with all the time. I don't love money, but I do love the stuff it can buy. Through prayer, I have gotten much better and I know that the Lord will never forsake me or abandon me. We've come a long way together.
The Lord is my helper, but sometimes I still have fears. Most times they're somewhat irrational and out of my hands anyway, but when what I fear comes and goes, I look back and think, "That wasn't so bad - thank you Lord!"
The very last line is something I think all Christians recognize: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. People often think the Church should change to keep up with the times. That would be a major disaster. Chrisianity is what this country was built on and a lot of people don't seem to want to recognize or acknowledge that. Our founding fathers (and their wives) were guided by God and it has served us well, but we need to get back to it.
Today's first reading should be a guideline for all Christians and we should be so filled with gratitude that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.