Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 30, 2010 – Genesis 48:12-49

This is Jacob oral will.  Telling his sons what will become of them, what he wants them to do, what he wants done when he dies.  When you look back over history, what people want done with their bodies after they die has always been a big deal.  The pyramids are a great example.  For as long as there has been civilization, people had wanted something done with their bodies after death. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 29, 2010 – Catechism 362-368

The soul of a person is God’s creation and created immediately and is immortal. This is not something created by the parents. We can all sense that we have a soul. Something that is not physical about us. Our thoughts and ideas, our conscience. This is what makes us human. When we die our body and soul are then separated. I was thinking about what happens at an abortion. The parents do participate in the creation of the body, but not the soul. In an abortion, courts have said, mom’s have the right to destroy the body. Courts also don’t say that the baby is a person yet. The question that is considered in the gray area is when does the soul enter and make the person a human. From our reading we can see the Catholic Church says immediately, from conception. That is why the Church feels so strongly about abortion. When the soul enters a person, that is a human being, with their own soul and the parent, for as much responsibility as they may have, do not have the right to terminate a human life. When you hear discussions about the abortion issue and the Church’s stance, know that this understanding is its foundation. Life begins and conception and when life begins, no one has the right to terminate that life.

Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28, 2010 – Acts 9:32 - 10:23

Here we begin to see the Apostles being taught that Jesus was coming not only for the Jews but for the whole human race. Interesting that our last reading in the Catechism was about the human race being always connected. The Apostles will not make this transition easy or quick. There will be a lot of disagreements about whether Gentiles must first become Jews or not, circumcised or not. But here we see the beginnings. In a vision to Peter, that what God has made cannot be unclean. On TEC’s you may here it being said that God doesn’t make junk. We are all important and God loves us all because He made us.

Thinking about the fact that I am not and was never a Jew, I should find much more importance in this action by Peter and in the acceptance of Cornelius. It appears, and I may be wrong, but he may be the first Gentile Christian, which we all are and should be celebrated as a forefather to us. Yet we don’t hear much about him. His feast day is Feb. 2nd, so next Groundhog Day let’s also remember our forefather in faith, St. Cornelius.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

June 27, 2010 – Isaiah 57-58

This is not the first, nor probably the last time this will be a topic, but here it is. I was reading this reading from the Bible I received from David. I have enjoyed some of the commentary that it provides. However, it set me on a rant in my mind with its foot note regarding 57:12-13. It talked about being saved by faith alone and used this as a proof. It also points to Ephesians 2:8-9 in the footnote. I understand the arguments, maybe not understand them, but know they are out there, but what really set me off were the footnotes for the beginning of the next chapter. This chapter talks about actions that on the surface appear good and holy but are done only for show and not done with the right intentions. The footnotes talk about actions need to be done with the right intentions. But it makes very clear that those actions are not enough to save you. This is exactly what the Catholic Church teaches. The Church does not teach that you are saved by works alone, but by faith and works.

This verse it talks about here in saying that I will expose your works and they will not save you and using it to prove that we are saved by faith alone is taking it way out of context. This entire passage is talking about works that are inappropriate or not pleasing to God. Of course these works will not help you. But this does not say you are only saved by your faith. It doesn’t say anything about faith. It only talks about good works and bad works and you should do good works.

Read Matthew 25:31-46. If you read that out of context I could make an argument for being saved by works alone. There is no talk in that of whether you had to believe anything or not. Just be kind to the least people and you go to heaven. The footnotes in from the Bible I was reading say that there is nothing a person can do to get into heaven; it is a free gift of grace from God. This idea either has two results, either everyone is in heaven or the notion of predestination were we are all destined one place or the other and can’t do anything to stop it. Both ideas scare me because it gives us the excuse to do whatever we want here on Earth. I cannot begin to make a connection to that result and the teachings as I understand them from Christ.

Like I said, I have enjoyed some of the commentary in the footnotes of this Bible, but it tends to lose its credibility in my mind when its explanations don’t logically make sense.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 26, 2010 – Genesis 47 - 48:11

I don’t understand this part of the story. Egypt knew of the famine that was coming and Joseph had them store up food. Now it appears the Egyptians had not saved enough or they had stored the extra with Joseph or the Pharaoh and were being forced into slavery to get back what they contributed. It just didn’t seem to flow from what we had learned of Joseph, or even the Pharaoh for that matter.

Once again we see that God does not give His blessings on the one we would expect. God is always trying to show us that the our ways are not His ways.

Friday, June 25, 2010

June 25, 2010 – Catechism 355-361

My thoughts were focused on Paragraph 360 and the unity of all men. I think we are in a world that is so focused on the “I” that we think we are in some type of bubble. We have no idea how our actions affect others around us let alone what our actions might do throughout the course of history. Yes, it may be hard to believe, but our actions effect history. Our actions, large and small, set things in motion that can never be undone. We move through the world and our existence as a group consisting of the entire human race, past, present, and future. We all seek, or should be seeking, the same united goal, getting back to God.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 24, 2010 – Acts 9 – 9:31

In one of the earlier postings I was talking about receiving the Holy Spirit through the laying on of the Bishop’s hands at Confirmation and how that had made more sense. There was some questions as to Saul receiving the Holy Spirit by a different way, but in this story we again see the laying on of hands. They make it very important that this connection must be made in a physical fashion, one to another.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June 23, 2010 – Isaiah 44

One can see how if people believe that Catholics worship Mary or the Saints and put their statues throughout their churches that the Catholic Church is teaching idolatry or worse. But that is a misinterpretation of the Catholic faith, and perhaps in some cases a malicious misleading of Catholic teachings in order to lead people away. The Catholic Church puts statues and pictures of Mary and the Saints around to remind us how to live and to honor those that lived life correctly. In our house we have pictures of Mary, St. Anne, St. Benedict, and the Pope hanging in different rooms to remember how they lived or are living. Much like I have pictures of my Grandparents next to our bedroom mirror. It is not worship, it is love and respect that leads us to this. And if you think that statues were not allowed by God, when we get to the description God gave to building the temple, you will see that God instructed them to build statues of the angels.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 22, 2010 – Genesis 46

More additions to the family tree.

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21, 2010 – Catechism 350-354

This is just a section reviewing the last couple of sections so nothing new.  But I had an idea for a painting or drawing and I am not really an artist so if there is one out there that wants to do this, just let me see it when you are done.  The idea is that we all have a guardian angel.  Every human has had one.  Imagine what their reaction is when they see us sin.  With that idea in mind, picture Hitler on his balcony when he is over looking his soldiers and giving his hail Hitler salute.  Not picture the look of his guardian angel in utter distress praying with all its might, in tears, in anguish, either beside or behind him.  If I were an artist, I would draw that.   

Sunday, June 20, 2010

June 20, 2010 – Acts 8

A couple of scenes here giving us some things to think about.  First, the idea that baptism is just the beginning.  I knew that you receive the Holy Spirit in part at Baptism and in its fullness at Confirmation, but I have never seen a scripture point it out so clearly.  Also, the fact that only certain people can give the Holy Spirit to others.  Points to the Bishop coming to do Confirmations.  Also, we see someone trying to buy a position in the Church, we see Peter’s reaction, and forgiveness for that act when forgiveness is sought. 

The part with the eunuch asking questions is a great scripture that points against the idea a personal interpretation or against Sola Scriptura.  The question is great.  How can I know what I am reading when their is no one to interpret it for me.  We are not called to figure it out on our own.  God would have given us something to help us figure out things so that we would know His teachings.  That is what the Church is their for.  And I can’t imagine that God would have wanted 30,000 churches to give us 30,000 different interpretations of the same scriptures.  That doesn’t seem to follow.  All that seems to point that there is one correct interpretation that should be right. 

It is just a great thing for us all, especially someone that is writing reflections on scripture, how are we suppose to know what scripture is saying without someone to interpret it for us.           

Saturday, June 19, 2010

June 19, 2010 – Isaiah 43

The last part got me thinking.  I wiped out your offenses.  Do you want me to remember them.  The great sacrament of Reconciliation wipes us clean of the divide we bring when committing sins.  At that point, when the are forgiven, they are forgotten by God.  Yet, we hang on to them.  Why is that.  Why can we not accept that full forgiveness and forget our wrongs of the past.  I have heard ideas about this, the one I think fits best is that fact that our sin is the only thing we do ourselves.  All the good we accomplish is God working in us, whether we realize it or not.  Our sin is our choice to turn from God and act on our own.  We own it, it is ours, and we don’t want to let that go.  It is a sick thing, but a human thing.  

Friday, June 18, 2010

June 18, 2010 – Genesis 45

This chapter is an emotional reunion.  When you look at the attitude that pharaoh takes when he finds out about the brothers and fathers, it really shows how much respect and power they gave to Joseph.  I thought that Egyptians thought of Pharaoh as a god, where did that put Joseph in their eyes.   

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 17, 2010 – Catechism 337-349

340 sounds like it is talking about the Lion King circle of life.  Everything, no matter how small we may see it has its purpose in the workings of the world.  Of many of the ideas that I have thought about, this one in particular can really be viewed differently by glass half empty and glass half full people. 

Glass half empty hears that everything is connected and interdependent of each other and may begin to see his own life as just being another cog in the machine of life.  Nothing special, just a small piece to a puzzle that they don’t see or understand.  Glass half full sees this idea and takes pride in the fact that others depend on them, sees life as something to live out to the best of their abilities.

The world is most beautiful when every unique thing is doing what it is suppose to be or is meant to be doing.  What this made me think of is the zoo.  We went a couple of weeks ago and it was fine, but I would imagine it is so much better to go on a safari and see these animals where they belong.  We can’t all go, so it is great to see a bear or dolphin close up, but that is not where they belong and I think we may lose a little of the aww. 

It quotes St. Francis and his Canticle of the Creatures here.  That always makes me wonder.  The Catholic Church loves nature.  They tell us to find God in nature, how it was created, how it works together.  In this, we can agree with the environmentalist and conservationist that want to stop the malicious use of natural resources for greed.  What confuses me is that most environmentalist would tend to side with what could be called the liberals.  That is also the same group that supports abortion.  How can a group care so much and give so much to protect a tree or animal and feel so little for a human being growing inside a women. 

I don’t know if this is entirely correct, but I heard that about 3 months before the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade, they ruled on a law to protect an endangered animal or plant.  They used very strong language in chastising the group that wanted to destroy this endangered thing, then months later found that a fetus isn’t worth protecting.  Just something environmentalist should think about.  

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 16, 2010 – Acts 7:30-7:60

The Martyrdom of Stephen in the form of a stoning is a brutal thing.  Stoning has been portrayed in some movies and they are horrible to see.  They are not often short and the person suffers painfully until they are at last killed.   Thinking about it, it is different than most executions.  Most might be done by an executioner.  Even in a lynching where there is a mob, there is only one rope.  This, everyone participates in throwing the stones.  It really has to be a group that is vicious. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15, 2010 – Isaiah 41

There is a section here where God is calling out the false gods.  Telling them to explain the past or predict the future or make things happen, knowing they can’t.  You can picture God standing up saying “bring it”. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 14, 2010 – Genesis 44

We see that Judah steps up and lays out what he is willing to do. Up until here, there has been talk of what may happen and promises made to offer themselves instead of Ben, but now comes the moment of choice, and Judah steps up. All of Joseph’s test have been laid out and it appears they have passed them. I wonder what the motivation comes from the most. Guilt for what they did to Joseph, Love of Ben, or Love of their father. I would say love of their father and a close second, guilt for Joseph. Once again, like I said last time, the actual person being used by everyone doesn’t seem to be concerning to anyone.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

June 13, 2010 – Catechism 325-336

So, I don’t know what non-Catholics believe about angels. The Catholic Church has a strong belief in them and teachings about not only angels in general, but different types, rankings and purposes they have. What came to mind while I was reading this section was the angels that must have been surrounding Jesus on the cross. At the ready to serve Him if He called upon them. Also, what honor must it have been to serve Him during those times when we are told angels served Him, in the dessert, in the garden. I was trying to find the actual text of the source it sites when it is talking about Guardian Angels. It is a writing by St. Basil and is sited all over the internet, but I could not find the actual source. I will keep looking.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

June 12, 2010 – Acts 7-7:29

Here we have a summary of Genesis from Abraham to Moses. Since it is all review, I don’t really have anything new to add. The only thing I thought about was the idea of our Salvation History. Many people focus solely on the New Testament, but our history in the Old Testament is just as important. Here we see Stephen, about to be martyred, preaching not only about Jesus, but the history of the Jewish people. We need to know what came before Jesus to understand fully of what Jesus came for and what He taught. We cannot know Jesus fully without knowledge of the Old Testament. This is clear from this earliest of preaching and martyrdoms.

Friday, June 11, 2010

June 11, 2010 – Isaiah 38-39

We first note that this sickness and recovery take place before the scene we saw play out in the earlier chapter, when the city was going to be attacked and the King relied on God and was saved. So, we see that this leader was reliant on God. At first, I was a little upset about his reaction. Thanking the Lord that the exile would not be during his life, knowing it would happen and happen to others is not something I would think would make a person happy. But the more I thought about it, the more I looked at it more realistically. We are only around during our own lives. We can only do so much. After we leave, we have no control as to what happens. He was told that he had done good and relied on God and because of his actions this great exile would not happen in his life. That is something to rejoice. He has no more control of the generations that come after him than I do of those that come after me. I can be sad for what may happen in the future, but that should not stop me from rejoicing now for a life well lived. So, I may have jumped the gun on old Hezekiah.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 10, 2010 – Genesis 43

How many years had it been since Joseph had been sold.  To see his full brother again.  And the return of Simeon.  How long had they been away.  Did Joseph not talk to Simeon while he was in prison.  There is so many layers to this story, from Joseph and his motivations, the brothers and their guilt, Israel and his decision to sacrifice Benjamin possibly to save the rest of the family.  We never hear what Benjamin thinks of all this.  He thus far has been used as a pawn in the games that are being played, what is going on in his mind.  Does he realize that he was being sought after in Egypt.  Does he know he may not be coming back.  And we really don’t know how old he is at this time.  There is just a lot going on and with the different layers it is easy to read this story and find a character to related to and fit yourself in the story. 

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

June 9, 2010 – Catechism 315-324

318 just got me thinking about having babies and how we participate in creation of life with God.  We take care of the physical aspects of it, but the soul is out of our control.  That is something from nothing and is completely done by God.  and it is something that is there from the beginning.  When Paul was kicking around in the womb, his soul was there and helping him form his own attitudes and being.  For as much as Michelle and I are his parents, God created his soul on His own.   

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

June 8, 2010 – Acts 5:33-6:15

I am a bit confused as to who these new ordained men are.  Are they similar to deacons who assist the priest or were these men ordained priest.  I always thought that the apostles were what we now see as bishops today.  That would make sense then that they ordained priest to serve the communities everyday needs while they tackled broader areas and looked at the broader Church.  The footnotes in David’s Bible and the footnotes here seem to suggest that these men were ordained (laying on of hands) only to provide food fairly to everyone.  But, we then see Steven preaching to a group in the next few verses.  So, even if one of their duties was to divide the food fairly, it also appears that they were sent out to preach to certain communities as well.   

Monday, June 07, 2010

June 7, 2010 – Isaiah 37

This reading is deceivingly long for 38 verses. This may be a bit graphic, but when it talks about a child ready to be born and the mother to tired, it made me think of times when dad and I would have to pull calves out when the mom could not push any more. The cows were utterly exhausted and it is just an image that is burned in my mind. I love the answer from God for the Assyrians. You have done all this because I have let you. Now I will pull you around by the ring in your nose and you will do no more. God’s power is awesome when you trust in it. But we need to trust in it more when the going is good, not just when the Assyrians are at the door ready to tear our lives down. I really really enjoyed God’s response. I thought it was beautiful writing. It reminds me of the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the open the ark and it appears beautiful and they are so proud of themselves and then the switch is flipped and you realize you are not in control at all. Love it.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

June 6, 2010 – Genesis 42

I received a different Bible last week as a gift (thank you David) and it is rather interesting. It is a life application study Bible. Although I was skeptical when I first received it because it is not a Catholic Bible, I used it for this reading. The footnotes, at least for this chapter, are not so much about the history of Joseph or what powers a Pharaoh had, but advise to take from the readings or motivations from the actors. For instance, Joseph did not reveal himself to his brothers even when he remembered the dream. Why? Well, the last time he saw his brothers they were selling him into slavery. How does he know if they are being honest about Ben. They treated him a certain way, he wants to know if his brother is really ok, so he test their honesty. Also, just because we get an I told you so moment does not mean we should take it. The footnotes on the website are about the lands in the midst of a famine and being militarily weak because of it and why Joseph would worry about that. Those footnotes are also helpful, these just surprised and pleased me. So, again, thank you David.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

June 5, 2010 – Catechism 309-314

There is evil in the world.  We see it everyday.  The mystery of why, we can try to explain, but I don’t think either our logic or reason will ever fully convince our hearts of its necessity.  Especially when it is an evil that is very close to us.  It is only something that we can try to understand and accept through faith. 

We can have the confidence that there is no evil too big that God can not bring good from it.  A little preview of Joseph’s story for us is this section of the Catechism.  The knowledge that god brings about good from evil should give us a great confidence in our lives, but as it says that does not make any evil a good.  The way I read that it says that God make may make an end is good, but we may never use the end justifies the means when the means are evil.  We are not God. 

Friday, June 04, 2010

June 4, 2010 – Acts 5-5:32

Did the couple die because they did not give all they had or because they lied about it.  My first thought would be that it was because they lied about it, but we are told that everyone was selling all they had for the community.  It makes you wonder what that early church looked like.  Were there lay people or was everyone considered a minister of some type.  If this couple were some type of leaders and called to give up everything and didn’t, I think we can see it one way.  If they were just normal lay followers and were punished for lying about their gift, that is another way to look at it.  But if they were normal lay people and were also called to give up all they had, it makes you wonder what people did in the early church.  If even the lay people were called to give everything and spend all day in prayer or evangelize, how can that lead to a productive society.  They more I think about it, I think the only way it makes sense is if they were punished for lying about their gift.   

Thursday, June 03, 2010

June 3, 2010 – Isaiah 30

This is really two different readings from what I can see.  The first part is about Israel turning to Egypt for help and the second is God pleading with them to just turn to Him.  I really could just see God looking at His chosen people on His knees asking them to make the right chooses.  He list off the great things that will happen for them if they would turn to Him, trust in Him.  But they cannot see it.  They see human strength in the strength of Egypt and turn from God.  And God warns them that this strength will fail.  What do we put our faith in.  Even when it fails over and over again, do we find ourselves looking at worldly things for our dependence. 

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

June 2, 2010 – Genesis 41

I don’t know.  I think I could have cracked that dream, or at least come close.  7 fat cows, 7 skinny cows, 7 things of good wheat, 7 bad.  That was a quick move up the ladder.  Prisoner to second in command to pharaoh.  We will see Moses take a tumble from son of pharaoh to criminal on the run for murder.  Ones rise leads to the Hebrews coming in and ones fall leads to the Hebrews coming out of Egypt. 

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

June 1, 2010 – Catechism 302-308

God’s creation is on a journey to perfection. Not only us as individuals, but the universe as a whole, moving in a certain direction, guided by God, to an ultimate goal. Morgan Freeman was on the Daily Show last night, I was channel surfing, and he was talking about a TV show he worked on called “Through the Wormhole”. (pause for a minute while I look up more info on the show) It looks like it is going to actually be a series, not just one show. The reason it caught my interest is he was talking about scientist moving as far as they think they can and coming to a point where they can’t explain the step that comes before that first one. It leads you to look at God as the creator. It is on the Science Channel, not even sure if I get that one. Anyway, thought it might be interesting, considering what the last few readings in the Catechism have been about.