Sunday, February 28, 2010

Feb. 28, 2010 – Matthew 13:44 – 14:21
There is a lot in there. You don’t realize how much is packed into the Gospels until you try to reflect on a section at a time like this and realize how much is in each part. First, the kingdom analogies. Treasure, pearl, and fish: When I was reading I kept thinking that these are material things. I guess God knows what we understand the most about and is trying to relate with us on our level. What I think I used to take from these is that the Kingdom is very valuable and we should do what we can to get there. Now I think it is more about sacrificing everything to get there. It is so hard for us to think of selling everything to be with God, but that is what I see here.
And if you were sitting there listening to Jesus, you have to be thinking, “there is no pearl or treasure worth all my other pearls and treasure, why can’t I just keep them both?” I think that is why the parables are stated in such a way that you have to sell everything you have to get the one you found. It also speaks to totally relying on God, because you can’t eat or live off the pearl or treasure unless you resold it, but the parable doesn’t seem to suggest you would resell it, but keep it. It alone will sustain you.
Then it appears we get a flashback to John the Baptist and his execution. It appears the timeline is Jesus is teaching in His native area, the leader is told about the teaching, he says it is John come back to life, flashback to John’s execution, Jesus finds out and leaves the area. So, it is a little confusing exactly where we are in the story when He feeds the 5,000, but you also must see that His ministry is over a 3 year period and we are not given a day by day run down. There isn’t any contradicting time frames because we are not suppose to be able to account for Jesus’ every minute on Earth.
The feeding of the 5,000 (different #’s in different Gospels and multiple times in some) is the only miracle talked about in every Gospel, so the footnotes say. One of the reasons is that it pertains so much to the Eucharist. Another reason, I believe, is because it was such a large event. You can imagine something like that would be talked about among the people for years and years. Then when the Gospels were written and people started hearing the story they may remember hearing about it from their grandfather or great grandfather, making it seem more real. It also seems something that must have really touched the Apostles deeply if it were something they wanted to make so prominent. I do disagree with the footnote. Obviously it is not the only miracle in all 4 Gospels. The Resurrection is in all 4.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Feb. 27, 2010 – Nahum 2:11 – 3

At Mass the other day we had a reading from Jonah about Nineveh and how they repented.  Today we read about what happens when they don’t repent.  The introduction says this was the prophecy of its destruction in 612 BC.  I couldn’t find a time when Jonah was to have taken place. 

The part I did find interesting was in 3:5 when it says “I am come against you”.  I had to read that a couple of times because it didn’t sound correct.  Then I realized it was God saying His name.  It made more sense then.   

Friday, February 26, 2010

Feb. 26, 2010 - Genesis 19

A couple of very odd stories surround Lot.  Wanting to give his daughters instead of the travelers, losing his wife as a pillar of salt, and then having children with his own daughters.  I don't really know what to take from these stories.  The footnotes talk about his children become the nations of who the Jews would consider lesser nations.  That is why they betray their parentage in such a light.  I was thinking it is to give us a contrast to Abraham, but he even had relations with Sarah handmaid.  And the people of Sodom who wanted to do improper things with the guest, are we suppose to judge them so harshly when the “good” people that were saved commit this type of act.  The whole chapter is rather a bizarre mix.  Maybe you out there have a better take on it.      

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Feb. 25, 2010 – Catechism 101-108

Not sure if anything really pops out about the Scriptures here.  I guess we tend to look at the Bible as many different books written over 1000's of years.  God’s Word is a single word, with no syllables.  God is one truth and therefore one perfect word and there is no need for multiple words.  Also, the idea that this is one way God has chosen to communicated with us.  We cannot begin to understand God’s power, but He attempts to communicate with us.  When we think that the Bible is too complicated, understand that God is trying to put the infinitely divine into an imperfect and crude human language.         

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feb. 24, 2010 – Matthew 13:15 – 13:43

I love how Jesus explains the meaning of the parables.  Really shows how He wanted to take that certain group that was close to Him to different level than other people who were following Him.

I can relate to the weeds and the crops analogy.  I have pulled weeds before and I know that sometimes you can harm the plants you are trying to help.  When we harvested potatoes, the weeds were always so bad by that time that you had to guess where the row was.  Dad said you just had to go with it because pulling the weeds would bring up the potatoes and do more harm then good.    

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Feb. 23, 2010 – Psalms 78 – 78:39

Pretty much a preview for the story of the wandering in the desert.  We talked about the manna in the desert this weekend when I gave a talk on the Eucharist.  One of the neat things I remember about the manna is that it went bad after a day.  The Israelites had to trust God that it would come everyday.  They were not allowed to take more than they were going to use and save the rest, it would go bad.  Reminds us a great deal of the line “give us this day our daily bread” in the Our Father. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Feb. 22, 2010 – Genesis 18

It says he bowed to the ground when they first came, yet the footnotes act like he didn’t know they were God until they were talking about Sarah having a baby.  Also, the fact that there are 3.  Is that pointing to the Trinity or is it the Lord and some angels.  The footnotes make it sound like they were helpers or something.  There has been mentioned in other footnotes that they would use familiar things to describe what they couldn’t put into words.  I wonder if they did that when describing God as a visitor.  There must have been something special about the Lord’s appearance for Abraham to have recognize it. 

Along that same line of thought, it says Sarah over heard when she laughed.  Did she not see the Lord and so didn’t realize there was something special about the visitor.  When the Lord confronts her, we can imagine she sees the Lord at that time and then tries to back away.  It reminds me of Adam and Eve hiding from God in the garden.  God knows all.  Why try to hide or lie too Him. 

When Abraham is asking God to spare Sodom, he does so with fear and humility.  How often do we pray for others or ourselves for that matter in such a humble way.  “Let the Lord not grow impatient of me if I go on.”  And the Lord shows that He is patient and loving, but also just.   

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Feb. 21, 2010 – Catechism 91-100

I think people get the wrong idea about Catholics and that we don’t read and ponder or faith and religion because we have a Church hierarchy that tells us what to think.  It doesn’t work that way.  We are encouraged to read the scriptures and ponder their meaning and apply the things we learn to our lives.  The Church does set up boundaries and gives us clear teachings on many things, but their teachings are not usually simple things.  Their teachings and the reasons for them are also there for us to ponder and explore.  Trying to understand where a teaching comes from and fitting the pieces together and reading the scriptures and the early church fathers helps us increase our faith.  I am so very thankful for the Church and the Magisterium for giving me guidance to lead me on a path to where my faith can grow. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Feb. 18, 2010 – Genesis 17

Circumcision is very similar to our baptism, although much more painful.  And can you believe the Abraham laughs at God.  I guess I really do the same sometimes.  Sometimes that’s all you can do when you can’t understand what is going on.  It is easier on you than worrying about it.   

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Feb. 17, 2010 – Catechism 80-90

Scripture and Tradition.   One of the biggest sticking points between Catholics and other Christian denominations.  Granted I am biased, but I don’t see how they are so against tradition.  First, the Bible was not around the first 200+ years of Christianity, yet it flourished and converted most the known world.  How does that fit with the idea of Sola Scriptura.  I heard it put somewhere that “if the King James Bible was good enough for St. Paul, its good enough for me.”  St. Paul never saw a Bible, any version. 

Secondly, isn’t Sola Scriptura a tradition.  It is not itself in the Bible, it is an idea that someone came up with the people have clung to.  It is a tradition.  Sola Scriptura has always been something that has never made sense to me.  I think it is a lot more confusing to debate Sola Fide.  But save that for another time. 

This section also talks about he Magisterium of the Church.  It is pretty much the teaching guide of the Church to interpret for us what the Bible and Traditions mean and point to.  Some say that we should all be able to interpret the Bible on our own.  How arrogant is it for me to think I am smart enough to do that.  Why not stand on the shoulders of a Church that has been teaching for 2000 years.  There is only one truth that Jesus taught.  It makes no sense to have 30,000+ denominations each with their own specific teaching.  That can not be what Jesus had in mind and it does not display a God with one truth.        

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Feb. 16, 2010 – Matthew 12-12:32

A couple of different things.  First, the Pharisees were so concentrated on the law that they always missed the point.  Jesus wants us to go beyond the law.  The law is made for those that need it in order to stay going in the right direction.  The Sabbath was made for man because he needs to be told what to do.  If we desire only to do God’s will and worship him always, we have outgrown the law and it doesn’t apply to us because we no longer need it. 

Put it this way, I don’t need a law that says I should not kill my wife.  I have no desire to do so.  I do need a law that says I need to get to work on time because if I could get away with coming late I would.  My desires are still out of order.  Once our desires are in order, the law is obsolete.  Until then, we need the law to help guide us. 

Second, did the Pharisees really believe what they were saying or were they just that blinded by their own greed.  Driving out demons by the power of demons.  That doesn’t make any sense at all.  That is almost like saying the only way I can control my urges is by indulging in them.  That only makes the urges stronger next time.  Yet we hear this strategy when people talk about their sexual urges.  Fighting urges by indulging them is like trying to exorcise demons with the help of demons.  You are only making it worse.  You are not freeing yourself, you are becoming even more trapped, more enslaved.     

Monday, February 15, 2010

Feb. 15, 2010 – Isaiah 35-36

I guess we don’t know what happens in the next few chapters.  Is this one of the times when they repent and God helps them defeat someone that out numbers them or is this when Jerusalem is destroyed.  I love the three representatives that don’t want the Israelites within earshot to know what they are up against.  “Could you speak another language so the common folk don’t know how out gunned we are”.  I just think that is very humorous. 

This reading is set today because it is prophesied about the different types of miracles that would be performed when the Messiah would come.  I am assuming tomorrow we will be reading about some miracles. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feb. 12, 2010 – Matthew 11

Feb. 13, 2010 – Catechism 74-79

Feb. 14, 2010 – Genesis 15 – 16

I don’t remember Sarah being that brutal.  I remembered that Abram had made Hagar leave after Isaac is born, but I don’t remember Sara beating Hagar.  I also thought that God came to Hagar after Ishmael was born.  Maybe that happens twice.  Once again we see Abram not trusting in the Lord.  First, it makes me understand why God test him later on with the sacrifice of his only son.  On the other hand, when Abram has not followed God on these other items, why was he so willing that time when that one seems like the hardest one to do.  Maybe we can explore that as we move along.     

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Feb. 11, 2010 – Tobit 78

I love the part of the story where Sarah and Tobiah pray.  It is a great lesson for praying as a couple and the power and strength it gives them.  Read the introduction to get a overview of the entire story.  Similar to Job, this is a story about someone who lost everything and their faith is strained but through perseverance, God delivers them. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feb. 10, 2010 – Genesis 13:814:24

Melchizedek.  I really didn’t know a lot about him even though we here his name mentioned quite a bit in the Mass.  Lately his name has been coming up more and more so I have started to look into it.  It is a little bit crazy to see how many different theories about a person from the Bible you can get.  First, it may not be an actual person’s name, but more of a title.  This person that was doing the blessing was Melchizedek, like saying he was king, emperor, pope, a title. 

I also read that since it was a title and not a name there is the idea that this Melchizedek was actually Seth, the son of Noah.  Evidently if you do the math, Seth was still alive at the time of Abram.  I also read that Melchizedek was the brother of Noah and was taken safely away to the garden of Eden and protected during the flood.  So, there can be a lot of different takes on someone when the Bible does not give any background.  This is only for someone mentioned very little.  When we get to the long list of A begat B, B begat C and so on and you wonder about the point of listing out all the family history remember Melchizedek and the yarns that can be spun when a persons history isn’t laid out.  History and family lines are very important. 

There is more I could talk about but I don’t want to give anything away for a talk I am working on for a retreat coming up and some may be reading this. 

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Feb. 9, 2010 – Catechism 65-73

So, there can be no more revelation that is beyond Christ or that doesn’t point to Him.  That is how I read that.  We can still learn things that help us all come to Him and we don’t know everything that can be revealed to help us do that, but revelation that does not point to Jesus as the Christ is not authentic. 

I guess I don’t know what counts as revelation then.  Are they talking about something like when the founder of the Mormons started that religion and what he was told.  Is that a revelation that points to something beyond Christ and therefore is faulty.  And the reason is the Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of all revelation.  All we can ask is to get revelations making Him clearer.    

Monday, February 08, 2010

Feb. 8, 2010 – Matthew 10

Lately I have really tried to take it to heart when I am suppose to talk in front of people to let God take control.  Granted, a lot of times I still try to control it, but I have found it comes out better when I relax and not think about it.  Its a loss of control that takes the pressure off.  When I really do a good job of letting go, I find I have fewer regrets or looking back thinking why didn’t I say this or that.  It is really a hard thing to give control up, but I have found it really is a neat experience when I do it. 

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Feb. 7, 2010 – Isaiah 59-60

I really love the first two verses here.  The hand of the Lord is not too short.  We are never far enough away from Him that He can’t reach us.  Our sin and our choices are the only thing keeping us from Him.   

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Feb. 6, 2010 – Genesis 1213:7

We were just discussing this reading in Lifeteen.  Notice that God told Abram to leave his land.  Another translation makes it more clear that Abram was suppose to go alone.  It is a little more unclear in this translation, but you can see that God told him “I will make of you a great nation”, implying that he shouldn't take the group he has started with him.  But he takes Lot and Sarai and all the people and possessions he has accumulated. 

Haran to the area around where Abram settled was around 450 miles.  It is like picking up all your belongings, all those that you know, and walking from here in Bloomington down to Memphis, TN.  When he gets settled there or when he arrived, there was a famine so he had to leave and went to Egypt.  So, once you get to Memphis, you have to travel to Birmingham, AL.  That also gives you an idea of how small the Holy Land is. 

But Abram had to leave the land God promised him partially because he brought all those extra people with him.  Then he did not trust the Lord to protect him in Egypt, so he lied about Sarai and was kicked out of their. 

Finally he does settle in the land around Bethel, but it cannot sustain him because of the extra people he has brought along.   

Friday, February 05, 2010

Feb. 5, 2010 – Catechism 54-64

The scattering at Babel that we read about is suppose to be remedied by the unity that Christ brings.  All people are called to follow under Christ.  Yet, christians cannot even be unified.  Abraham was called to form a nation that would lay the roots that all other nations would come to.  So, Babel was humans trying to unite themselves, reach the heavens without God.  God drove the people apart because they were not ready.  Then, He started Abraham and his nation to begin the process of making the human race ready.  And Israel was given the law and the prophets so that they could watch and prepare for the One to give a new and everlasting covenant.  When we are going through the Old Testament it is good to keep this simple formula in mind.  God’s bigger picture of salvation history weaves throughout the Old Testament.   

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Feb. 4, 2010 – Matthew 9

There is a lot here so I will try to be brief about certain parts.   Maybe just give you a few things to think about.  First, the paralytic.  The thing that I realized a couple of years ago and has stuck with me about this story is the fact that other people had to bring him to Jesus.  Although Jesus heals him, it was by his friends bringing him that saved him.  It is a lesson about the ability we have to bring others to God.  They can be saved through our actions. 

Verse 8 talks about Jesus authority again and it being given to men.  This is another verse that has been used to explain Jesus authority over things and the passing on of that authority to the Church.

The calling of Matthew.  Personal favorite.  But I really love the, those who are well don’t need a physician line.  That really hits you when you may be feeling proud or mightier than though.  If you are not humble about where you are at and the fact that we are all sinners, Jesus cannot help you.  We have to admit we are sick before we seek out the physician. 

I never really understood the wineskin thing.  I understood the wineskin part, but not its correlation to Jesus.  The footnote explains it that Jesus was not there to fill in gaps of the Old Law.  He is there to fulfill it.  They needed to look at things a new way to follow Him.  The Old Law can not be used with Jesus’ new wine.  Now that I just typed that, I think that could be pointing to the Eucharist and the Blood of Christ not fitting in the Old Law. 

The women with the hemorrhages is a new favorite.  She was healed by touching Jesus’ robe.  You have to imagine the crowds all around Him were touching Him constantly, yet they were not healed.  Father John, priest at our church, related this to our prayer life.  We can pray all we want, but if it is not prayer based on a deep faith, we are just a member of the crowd.  But if we have a deep faith and reach out to Jesus in prayer, we can be healed.

The two blind men are not “healed by Jesus”.  He tells them they will be done to them according to their faith.  Much like the woman with the hemorrhages, we need to go to God with faith.     

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Feb. 3, 2010 – Judith 11-12

The introduction to Judith talks about how she is a representation of the Exodus.  I don’t see that as much as I see the Trojan Horse.  Representing a gift or something enjoyable to the people, then turning into a weapon towards their destruction. 

This reading was set here because its mentioning of a sheep without a shepherd, 11:19. 

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Feb. 2 – Genesis 11

Being someone who cannot speak a foreign language I can see how confusing and frustrating it is when you cannot communicate.  The movie Babel really does a great job of bringing this to light.  The problems that the language barrier brings.  But, what were the people trying to do.  Build a tower into the sky.  Isn’t that what we do know.  Are our skyscrapers our new Babel.  Or the International Space Station.  The fact that we keep reaching out further and further.  Trying to get to what.  The fact that we can communicate so well with each other, is that leading us somewhere we aren’t suppose to go. 

We will get into some interesting things in our next chapter of Genesis.  At least we may if I remember the discussion we had tonight at or Core meeting.  Just think of the land that God is trying to give His people as a rubber ball that they cannot stay on long without falling off or getting bounced out.  Notice the Abram’s father intended to go to the land of Canaan, but stopped.  We will see an in and out of this land until Moses leads them to it again.  But that still doesn’t last, they are out again when the Babylonians exile them. 

They are booted again when the Romans destroy Jerusalem.  Still to this day there are large groups that do not want Jews in the Holy Land.  We will see that God exiles them because of their chooses sometimes and other times they choose to leave on their own.  What is it about that area that this group cannot find peace there.    

Monday, February 01, 2010

Feb. 1, 2010 – Catechism 50-53

A pedagogy is the science of teaching.  God reveals Himself slowly to the human race over the long course of history in order to teach us about His divinity.  We can not learn about God all at once.  We were not ready for Christ until the time He came.  And we are still not ready for all divine revelation, that is saved until the end.  If everything were revealed, there would be no choice.  Therefore we learn about God divinity in pieces and it requires our faith and our choice to connect across the distance that is missing.