Friday, April 30, 2010

April 30, 2010 – Catechism 238-248

There is a lot there that is some very intellectual writing that for the most pat goes over my head.  When you are trying to explain the mystery of the Trinity, I can imagine it is hard to put it into easy words.  There is a lot in there about the Holy Spirit proceeding the Father and Son, or coming from them.  I have heard it explained that the love between the Father and the Son is what brings about the Holy Spirit.  That doesn’t explain it perfectly because that involves a timeline (Father and Son had to exist before Spirit and God is outside of time and eternal), but no metaphor is perfect.     

Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 29, 2010 – Matthew 26:17-26:46

The number 3 comes up a lot in talking about things.  It just came to me when I was thinking about Jesus going back and forth praying three times.  Three days in the tomb, three denials of Peter, Three nails, it just comes up a lot.  I have heard different explanations about its meaning or significance, but just wondering what everyone out there thought of it.  

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 28, 2010 – Psalm 63

Our protection and strength is in being close to the Lord.  It very strong images of how a person can long for the Lord.  My soul thirst, body yearns, lifeless without.  It gives a very bleak description of a person’s life if they do not allow God to be a part of it.  I guess it is hard for me to imagine that.  There have been times when I have been further away than others, but never a time when God was not a part of my life at all.  I don’t think I can get a sense of what people in that situation feel on a day to day basis.  I would definitely see it as a depressing and bleak time, but is it a situation, like with any, that if you don’t know any better, you accept that that is the normal way of life.  If everyone drives around on flat tires, we will see that as normal and wouldn’t think anything of it.  We would have no idea how much better life would be if we would just put air in them.  (Stole that metaphor from Christopher West and his talks on Theology of the Body)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 27, 2010 – Genesis 33

I see a strong connection between this reunion and the Prodigal son.  Jacob was fearful of the reception he would receive because of how he had left things, but the reception was one of love and welcoming.  I don’t know if the reception would have been different if Esau had not been well off, but in this case he was.  We can already see the preference to Joseph and Rachel.  That underlying feelings will lead to a lot of drama coming up. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

April 26, 2010 – Catechism 232-237

The better you know a person, the better you understand their actions.  And so, the more God reveals Himself to us, the better we can know Him and thus understand His actions.  But we only through what He reveals.  We just did a night on marriage and it is one of the best examples of the Trinitarian Mystery.  Husband and Wife become one in the sacrament and their love for each other is fruitful and can produce a child.  Any analogy is flawed, but I do like this one in describing Father and Son’s love and the Holy Spirit coming from the love.  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 25, 2010 – Matthew 25:31-26:16

Three scenes in this reading.  The parable of the sheep and goats judgment, the anointing of Jesus and Judas getting his 30 pieces of silver.  We all know the judgment of the sheep and the goats and the familiar what you did to the least of my people you did to me.  Do we really practice this in our lives.  I have a bit of an advantage in some ways because of my job.  My job is to represent people in court that cannot afford attorneys.  I help those that cannot help themselves.  Although there are many days that my job is not enjoyable, this view and this parable helps me keep going.  It is a sacrifice to do my job and I do have to deal with people everyday that if I had a choice I would not associate with. 

Granted, some of the people that I represent are not the most kind, gracious, or even what we consider good people.  They have done things that are not allowed and in some cases hurt their children in ways that they may never truly understand.  But the parable doesn’t say when you visited people in prison that were wrongly accused.  Everyone, even those we might consider scum of the earth, are God’s creation and deserve to be treated in such a way.  I do struggle with my job and the position I am put in sometimes, but it is an opportunity of grace every time I am able to fight my worldly instincts and help that person.      

Saturday, April 24, 2010

April 24, 2010 – Isaiah 15-17

I have been thinking about these chapters and can’t think of anything to really reflect on.  It is more judgment upon particular cities that have gone astray.  There is a lot of talk of destruction and if you look in some of the footnotes it has the dates for certain cities destruction.  I guess we can always see it as a lesson of the power of God, but there are a lot of these prophesies, so in order to fill space I am going to have to find a different was to look at them.   

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 23, 2010 - Genesis 32

So, we have Israel and the name change. What are we to take from the confrontation with God's messenger. And when he says the name is because he has contended with divine and human beings. That isn't pointing to Jesus as the person he confronted, is it. Does it just mean that he has bested humans, in his father in law, and now the divine in the form of this messenger. And they fought all night with out a winner, but then the messenger injures him very quickly at the end, so it appears that he was much stronger than he let on during most of the fight. And why injure his hip. It is all something that I really don't know where to fit it in or no what to think of it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 22, 2010 – Catechism 222-231

Paragraph 230 is really something to meditate on.  If we understand God, it isn’t God.  Gives us an idea of what our limits are and you really look at those people who may claim to have it all figured out.  And those that claim to have all the answers without God.  What are they hanging their hat on.  It gives me great confidence that their is a God out their that I don’t understand.  It encourages me to keep learning, knowing I will never get it all. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 21, 2010 – Matthew 24:45-25:30

I have always wondered about the parable of the 10 virgins and the end times.  What does it mean as a religion to run out of oil.  A better question is what extra oil do we have to sustain us when we run out.  Some early Christians thought the end was going to be in their lifetime.  I am sure throughout the 2,000 years since many have thought so and we know today many think so.  If it is near, and I don’t think it is, when would the oil have run out.  I guess from a purely Catholic point of view you could look to the Protestant Reformation as a point when our original oil source ran out.  The Church was in a corruptive state and many violations were taking place.  A group broke off, then another and so on.  I imagine if I were in their shoes I would argue that they found a new source of oil in the teaching of Luther and others and the Catholic Church is sitting in the dark because they used up the original oil.  I would argue that the Orthodoxy of the Catholic Church and those that kept to the traditions and the sacraments found a renewed source of oil by relying on the grace in those sacraments and the traditions based on the many centuries of teaching. 

If that makes any sense.  Or we could be looking at a time know when we are running low on oil.  Not just the Catholic Church, but all religion in general.  The world is trying to remove the sense of religion and replace it with a rational science that makes everything and object and gives nothing value.  We need to find our oil again.  We need to get back to the basics of our faith.  We need to dive back and cling to the sacraments and the graces they give us.  We see the darkness that the world is walking around in.  They have run out of oil.  The Church and the Sacraments are there to give us eternal oil.  Jesus promised He would never leave us and His presence in those Sacraments fulfills that promise.  But the further we move from them, the darker it gets.  Let us not be caught in the dark when our bridegroom comes.

April 20, 2010 – Isaiah 14

You read chapters like this about the mighty falling and you see the power of God.  Men do become very powerful in this world and often times do so not in the greatest of ways.  We sometimes look at those people with envy and long for their “easy” lives.  Have we learned nothing from watching the economy tumble.  These material things will fall.  If we base our life on riches, when they are taken away we will have nothing.  The prophet is telling those that had huge intentions, they said they would sit higher than God, in the stars, that it will end.  Some people say they see a change in the attitudes of people and that people are starting to move away from material things.  Maybe in small groups, but I see an overall movement towards wanting more.  Even with the economy we hear about what people aren’t getting, not what people have to be thankful.  We aren’t hearing about how blessed we were, even though many were lying and scheming and we were all benefitting from these lies, but how bad it is now.  Those that base their life on material things are building their homes on a foundation of shifting sand.  The prophet does not paint a pretty picture for those that take this route when it all comes tumbling down.

April 19, 2010 – Genesis 31

It appears, although it doesn’t specifically say it, that Jacob has learned the lesson of duping his father into a blessing.  He appears to be obeying God’s commands without much questioning.  Another way to look at it, Jacob is very obedient to the women in his life.  He received the blessing because his mother told him to and he left the lands because his wives convinced him to.  I imagine Rachel is going to have some consequence for taking the idol, but she seemed to escape round one.  We will see this scene play out at other times with people keeping idols or treasures when they were not suppose to for the good of the group.  Not just in the Old Testament either.  In the early Christian community St. Peter caught a couple keeping property and they were struck down in front of the community.  A strong emphasis is placed on cleansing the whole community.  The idea or parable of leaven follows this.  Even a little leaven will cause the bread to rise and you must take it out completely.    

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 18, 2010 – Catechism 214-221

God is Love.  It is so hard for us to understand how God can be all of these things, all perfectly, all infinitely, all at once.  Another hard thing for us to wrap our head around is that God love each of us individually.   

Sunday, April 18, 2010

April 17, 2010 – Matthew 24:14-24:44

One of the things that has been pointed out with this talk of the end times and the books and the idea of being left behind.  When Jesus is talking about this, He talks about Noah and the flood and relates that to the end.  Right after that is when He says one will be taken and one will be left behind.  All the rapture and left behind novels are based on the idea that those that are taken are the holy ones and those left behind are left to fend in a different kind of world.  But in the story of Noah, those left behind are the holy ones, Noah and his family.  I don’t see how an interpretation of being left behind can ignore the context of Jesus talking about Noah just verses ahead of it. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

April 16, 2010 – Maccabees 1-1:28

Happy Birthday Michelle

So, here are a couple of Wikipedia links to give you an idea of the time we are talking about and some general background.  Alexander the Great is mentioned at the beginning.  Antiochus Epiphanes is the main ruler that will be discussed throughout the Maccabean Revolt.  If you ever wondered about the origin of “drawing a line in the sand”, evidently it came from Antiochus’ invasion of Egypt.  My notes say that this reading is here because it relates to Jesus talking about a desolating sacrilege in our Gospel tomorrow.  It must be talking about the Jews that begin to leave their beliefs for more secular things in this reading.  They are known as Hellenistic Jews. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 15, 2010 – Genesis 30

I don’t really have to much to add to this one.  We see most of the creation of the other tribes of Israel and where they come from and what their names mean.  I added to the family tree.

The tree is already pretty big, spread out and a bit confusing and this is just one dad with 12 sons.  (11 right now).  I imagine on days when the scripture is about genealogies I won’t write too much, just add to the tree for everyone to look at. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 14, 2010 – Catechism 210-213

“God is the fullness of Being and of every perfection”.  I was thinking about how it is hard for some to reconcile perfect mercy and perfect justice.  We often see mercy as letting someone get away with something they have done wrong, but perfect justice would make you think you would never get away with anything.  A God of perfect mercy would let everything slide and everyone would be in heaven, which I think some people falsely believe.  A God of perfect justice would not allow anyone in heaven because we are all sinners and unclean.  So where does that leave us. 

The belief of Purgatory is where this fits in.  It is the belief that God’s perfect mercy will allow those that die in a state that they are not ready for heaven.  But God’s perfect justice makes it a purification of those things that make them unclean for heaven.  I think all that sounded better in my head.  I see Purgatory as a perfect and logical outcome of a God of both perfect mercy and perfect justice.  I think people tend to ignore the justice in light of the mercy a lot of the times.  But as we read, God is the fullness of every perfection, not just the ones we want.  

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 13, 2010 – Matthew 23:23-24:13

I hear people saying that the end is near.  With earthquakes, weird weather, terrorist, government out of control, the immorality of the world we live in, there are things to point to that may look pretty bad.  I read somewhere that 30% of Republicans in Congress believe Obama is the anti-Christ.  I believe that the present always appears to be a bigger deal because that is what you are living in.  If you remember back to junior high/high school days, do remember how you lived and died with what group you were in, who talked to you, who you sat by on the bus.  Looking back, most of it didn’t amount to anything, but try telling that to a high school student who is living through it. 

Look back through history and there are plenty of times when the fate of the world looked pretty bleak.  During the black plague 1/3 of the world died.  You don’t think they thought the end times were coming when they saw piles of bodies in almost every city in the world.  And even if this country crumbles, that doesn’t mean the end of all is near.  Rome was around almost 500 years and ruled the known world, then fell, but the world moved on.  The sun never set on the British Empire, but all that is left is their original island, but the world moved on.  The US is going through some very tough times.  Those in charge believe the government is the only thing that us and so the government grows, in size and power.  If they are right, which history says they are not, then great.  If they are wrong, we could be in for some very hard times and could see the end of our country as the power in the world.  Does that mean it is the end times.  I don’t think so.  We are not called to fear the end or focus on the end.  We are called to live a life where, if the end were to come today, we meet it with joy and hope.  The present is the most important time.  Not because it could be the end of all things, but it is the only time we can control how we live our lives.      

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12, 2010 – Isaiah 31-32

I am not a complacent lady, but being complacent is what jumped out to me when I read this. I feel that way sometimes. I feel that I am growing more now than I use to, but sometimes things get stale. That is one of the reasons I am doing this group. To keep me fresh and focused and really trying to not only reflect but learn from the readings. It helps me to put things down, not just think about things between my ears because it gets lost quite a bit among the crude that is up there and the amount of space that it feels like is floating there sometimes. But try to push on. We are never going to learn everything so we should push on learning with hope that we can always learn something new. But sometimes it feels like we may being reading the same story or hearing the same homily and going through a little déjà vu. That is when it may be a good idea to try a new way to pray. Pick up the rosary if you don’t normally say one. Read about a saint you may know nothing about. Go to an adoration chapel if that is not in your routine. There are many ways to pray. Spice up your prayer life if you feel it is getting stale. There is always something new out there for you, take hope in that.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 11, 2010 – Genesis 29:15-29:35

Ah Jacob. If this were a movie we would all see that Jacob stealing his brothers blessing and birthright were a foreshadowing to this. It would almost be to obvious that we wouldn’t care for the movie. It would probably be better suited for a sitcom on one of the networks. What goes around comes around. Question though. Did he consummate the marriage with Leah blindfolded or how exactly did he not know that until the morning. The footnotes say that she was veiled, but still. Anyway, we are getting into the 12 tribes names so I will add a little more to the family tree.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

April 10, 2010 – Catechism 203-209

The importance of a name. We all have one. Some of us have very normal names. Others more unique. Has someone ever told you “You don’t act like a _______”. What do they mean. Throughout our lives, is it possible that because of our name we have picked up certain traits. Do I acted like other Matthews. Do Matthews act differently than Matts. Is there a reason I have never seemed to get along well with Jacobs. I don’t know. But God gives us His name. It is one that points to is Infinity. In spiritual direction I am looking back on my life and seeing where God was, whether I knew it or not or whether I recognized it or not. The first thing you must realize is God is always there. I haven’t really finished with the project yet. I am still just mulling it around from time to time. Every event, big or little, God was there. What does that mean to me now. Is that encouraging, frightening, does it give me hope or goose bumps, I haven’t figured it out yet. But I believe it is something we should all do. Look back over our lives and take stock of how God was present there, each and every time.

Deacon preached about it Sunday about being respectful of God and Jesus, present in the Church when we go to Mass. When it gets to be nice weather, you get people showing up to Church in sometimes very inappropriate attire. Let’s keep in mind what we are going to do and Who we are going to see and let’s be responsible. But it isn’t only Church. I have seen some pretty inappropriate dress in the courtroom as well. It is our attitude of thinking we are the center of our universe and the moral relativism that if we think it is ok, it is ok. That is not the truth and we need to wake up from this idea. There are rules and they are there to help us, not limit us and they are there, whether we want to believe it or not.

Friday, April 09, 2010

April 9, 2010 – Matthew 22:34-23:22

When I look at Jesus preaching about the Pharisees, my first thought goes to our religious leaders, especially because all the news about sex scandals and the like. Jesus lesson is to listen to your leaders, even when they are not living out what they preach. Jesus says that does not give you the excuse to not live your life in a good way or to ignore what they are telling you. Do what they say not what they do type deal. This lesson becomes difficult when you see some of the liberal theologies bleeding through into the Catholic Church’s leadership. If you have ever read “Pierced by the Sword” it deals with the clergy becoming more liberal and dealing with that. I am curious as to what Jesus’ lesson would be if He saw what was going on with Church leadership. Are we still suppose to follow when we don’t believe they are being true to the Catholic faith. They are still our leaders and suppose to be our guides. We are blessed in the Peoria Diocese to have a more orthodox Bishop and great priest in our church, but This is a question that is going to become very important as it appears laymen are beginning to seek more orthodoxy and the clergy is in some cases not wanting to go that way. We will see how the new translations of the Mass will go over and then we will have an idea of where clergy are leading.

This idea of wanting the spotlight of leadership but not living responsibly could also point to our politicians. We are also suppose to do as they tell us, not as they do. It seems so wrong to trust and follow people who seem to not have any sense in anything moral and no idea what the life of a normal person really is, but look at how Jesus chastises the Pharisees over and over, yet strictly instructed the people to follow the rules laid down by them because of their authority. You may argue with them, debate them, not support them, but Jesus never allowed His followers to break the law to make a point. If He had, He would not have been an innocent sacrifice on Good Friday. He never disobeyed the laws set down by those with the authority to do so. Never think that we can do so in the name of the Lord.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

April 8, 2010 – Isaiah 13

I think people expect the Day the Lord comes in His final triumphant way to be some type of cheery, rainbows with butterflies, type deal. If you go on enough retreats of certain kinds you get the sense that having God in your life is all about being happy and singing and carrying on. I agree there is a part of that that is involved and we are to be joyful, but the end is never pictured that way. The end comes at a time when those that believe are being persecuted. Those that are doing the persecutions are happy and living life the way they want, doing what they want. When God comes down, it is not being done so that people may repent. He is coming for those that already have. It is not going to be rainbows and butterflies for those that have not chosen the Lord. When you look at the language from the prophets about the Lord’s day and when the Lord comes, He comes with cruel wrath and pure justice. We should all understand this and try to change our ways before that day comes and encourage others. There will be a time when there won’t be any time left for conversion.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

April 7, 2010 – Genesis 28:10-29:14
So, we see Jacob meeting Rachel and then moving a stone with super strength. I don’t really know what to take from this. And the crying after kissing Rachel, I am assuming that he was happy to meet someone of his own kin to love and therefore very happy to fulfill his father’s wishes. There seems to be a lot of “love at first site” in Genesis. I guess it continues throughout with David doing it as well. Is it really love at first site or God’s hand at work in a more personal way? Is what we see today as love at first site really God’s hand in our life? It is not an abuse of free will, just placing people that are made to have a special connection in a situation where they meet and have the opportunity to fulfill that connection.
I think maybe today we have taken God so much out of our lives we may have lost the real divine nature of love at first sight and that romantic possibility. puts it into scientific equations and binary code. I am sure God still works through that, but I am sure He misses when we allowed Him a little more creativity and allowed Him to put more romance in our lives.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

April 6, 2010 – Catechism 198-202

I must claim ignorance in this post and warn you that reading this brought up more questions than answers. Questions as to what others believe. The Trinity is tough. One God, Three persons is confusing and we cannot easily get our heads around it. But my question is what some other religions believe. Other Christian denominations, what do they believe Christ to be? They claim Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, but I have also heard it argued by Sola Scriptura that the word trinity isn’t in the Bible. So do other Christians believe the Holy Spirit is God or exist. How do they fit Jesus into a one God belief. Is Jesus God, or just the Son of God. I have heard that they preach against the Catholic notion of the Trinity, but I don’t know their view on what the relationship of Father, Son, Holy Spirit is.

And I don’t know what Jews believe the Messiah will be. Are they expecting the Son of God or someone claiming to be God, or just a very powerful prophet or messenger. They knew a Messiah was to come, but the Pharisees claim Jesus was not Him because He was claiming to be God. I am not real clear on what Jews expect the Messiah to actually be. And I can understand how they might be expecting someone that doesn’t claim to be God since they believe there is only one and as stated earlier, the idea of the Trinity makes your head hurt if you focus on it for too long. Anyway, just some questions that popped into my head while I read these paragraphs.

Monday, April 05, 2010

April 5, 2010 – Matthew 22-22:33

The 7 brothers and one wife parable or question was always a little bit confusing and Michelle never liked it because she was sad to think that we were not going to be married.  Since then I have heard many talks about marriage and the Sacrament and what it points to.  It is a symbol of the unity in the Trinity, but also a unity that we will experience with God at the end of time when these Pharisees were talking about.  That unity is going to be so much beyond the unity we have right now with our spouse that we cannot even comprehend it.  Marriage is a sign post pointing to Heaven.  Once you get to the destination, you don’t need the sign post anymore, you are there.   

Sunday, April 04, 2010

April 4, 2010 – Tobit 3-4

Look at the importance Tobit puts on alms giving.  One of the most important works a person can do is to give alms.  And it is not just for the rich, but everyone. 

It is just a coincidence that we have a reading about marrying within the same group a day after we see Esau marry outside as a sign of vengeance to his parents.


Just a little extra FYI since we just finished with Holy Week and Holy Thursday and the washing of the feet.  When Jesus says that Peter does not need his whole body washed because once a person is washed they have no need except their feet, could that have something to do with Baptism washing away original sin, we can only be baptized once (no need to wash again), and the washing of the feet is Reconciliation, something that we must do over and over because we sin and are feet get dirty again and again.  Just crossed my mind, wondering what everyone thought.  

Saturday, April 03, 2010

April 3, 2010 – Genesis 27:30-28:9

We see that Esau was much more upset by losing his father’s blessing than he was losing his birthright.  We can assume he gave more value to the blessing.  Could we see this as a lesson in treasuring spiritual blessings more than material ones?

I have never heard a “once saved always saved” argument use this story, but it would seem to fall in that general idea.  Isaac says that he cannot take back the blessing once it is given just like you cannot lose being saved once you confess Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.  (I am generalizing that idea for time.  I know there is more to it and different varieties of that belief.)

So, Isaac never left Canaan that I can see, but here Jacob leaves.  But it is because he is told to by his mother and not because he does not trust God or people, but because he trust his mother.  I do see that difference between Abraham and him leaving. 

Friday, April 02, 2010

April 2, 2010 – Catechism 185-197

I didn’t know Creed came from the Latin meaning Believe.  That is interesting. 

I was thinking about the age of the prayers we say in Church and where the Nicene Creed fits in.  If it is from the 300’s, then it is old, but not quite as old as the Our Father, from the Gospel so 1st Century, along with other prayers that are directly Biblical.  But it is still very old and has been used for 1700 years.  Think about that next time you are just going through the motions and saying it like a robot at Mass.  How many have said it before you, how many saints have said those words.   

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April 1, 2010 – Matthew 21:18-21:46

Happy Birthday Paul. 

The Parable of the vineyard is a great one.  It gets right to the heart of the Pharisees.  Those in the story are so blinded by greed they are not thinking clearly.  How does it make any sense at all that if they kill the owners son, they receive the inheritance.  Likewise, the Pharisees are blinded by their want of power and maintaining the status quo that they ignore what Jesus is teaching and the good acts that He is doing and plot to get rid of Him because they are greedy.  They are not concerned where He came from and even if the believe He could be the Messiah, they don’t want their power taken away.