Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30, 2011 – Luke 21:29 - 22:20

drowsy from …the anxieties of daily life”.  That isn’t a way that we usually think about anxiety.  Usually I think of it as something that keeps us up or excited, not drowsy.  But on reflection, they can cause similar things.  If you are driving and drowsy, you are not going to be paying full attention.  Same thing if you are anxious about your children in the backseat.  You are being distracted from the true road you are suppose to be focusing on. 

You can also see it as the anxieties of life are wearing you out and making you drowsy.  You could say “there are so many things that I am so worn out”, or “there are so many things I don’t know where to begin”.  In both cases the anxieties of daily life are causing you to take your eyes off the road. 

This time of year is a perfect time to fall into this pattern.  There are so many parties, gifts, responsibilities that are added on to the daily issues that we become swamp.  It is so easy to lose sight of what the season is all about.  I just got done watching the Grinch with Paul and even though it is not a specifically Christian show, it does make you think about what the real meaning is behind the season.  This gets lost many times in the hustle and bustle of everything else.  The Who’s in Whoville were not deterred after all their Christmas things were taken because they were still together and could still celebrate the true meaning of the season.  Although this is a perfect time of year to get overly anxious about daily life, it makes it a perfect time to practice focusing on the “road”, the real direction our lives are going and to stay alert. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29, 2011 – Daniel 13:34 - 13:64

I like how they make it a point that the people believed them because they were judges and elders. How often do we see that people in position of power feel they can get away with it because of the position they hold or who they are. The politician who had an affair, the police officer who stalked women, the pro golfer who had a dozen mistresses, most recently the football program that covered up a sex abuse scandal. This goes without saying that the Catholic Church had its own scandal, and is still trying to deal with the aftermath, because people in power feel they are above judgment. And for the most part it is correct because like the people here, we believe them because they are in authority. Because they have this authority, they have more responsibility to not act in such a way, the paradox is they have the ability to get away with it easier.

Catching someone in a lie is exhilarating. Getting someone that is innocent free because you catch someone in a lie is on a whole other level. I played the role of Daniel once in a jury trial when I caught a police officer in a lie. I don’t remember the name of the officer or the client, but I don’t think I will ever forget the case. It was a resisting a police officer case. The officers said that my client would not obey the officers commands as they were yelling at them while they were in their car. The officers said the windows were down and they could clearly be heard. My client said the windows were broke and could not go down. Usually when our clients say an officer is lying, they are lying or we have no way of showing that the officer lied. This time I was able to have my Perry Mason moment. There was a police video of the stop and when the door opens, there was a reflection on the window of the door that was suppose to not be there. I played it for the jury three times and won the case. People with authority really believe they are bulletproof. It is sad to think how many times they actually are.

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28, 2011 – Deuteronomy 29

21-25 – “Future generations, your descendants who will rise up after you… when they see the calamities of this land and the ills the LORD has inflicted upon it…they and all the nations will ask, “Why has the LORD dealt thus with this land? Why this great outburst of wrath?” .And they will say, “Because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, which he had made with …and they went and served other gods and bowed down to them.”

Will this be what they say about the United States in the future when they look back at us in our fallen state. When the dust settles from what we are going through and we are a shell of what we once were, will they see the connection with us abandoning the covenant we made with God at our founding. When we said that this nation was created under God, that God gave us rights that could never be taken away, that we were built on “these truths” laid down by God. When we have abandoned God and our country continues its descent to wherever we are heading, will they look back on us and wonder why we left God behind. Wonder why we thought we could do it on our own. Wonder how, after seeing God’s goodness and blessings could we abandon Him for our own ideas. History doesn’t repeat itself exactly, but it definitely has a certain theme that is repeated. When I read these words I could not help but think that 100 years from now somebody will look at them and think it speaks directly to the United States, not Moses’ Israel.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27, 2011 - Catechism 1159-1162

It has been accepted in the Catholic Church almost since the beginning that images are to be accepted and cherished. Images of Christ, Mary, and other saints are to be placed so that they can aid in reflection and a reminder to us of how to live our lives. Before Christ, images of God were not allowed because no one had any idea what God looked like. When Christ took human form, that limitation changed. Christ took on a visible form and so a visible portrait could be made and shared. The question becomes, how do we really know that the images we have are accurate. There are two things I want to say about that.

First, have you ever realized that 90% of the images you do see of Christ are pretty similar. Dark brown hair, slender face, piercing eyes. Granted not all portraits are exactly the same and they all have their own details that may differ, but the basics are almost always the same. That gives some credence to the fact that they share the same source and are reliable. If half had red hair, some blonde, some brown, then I think there could be a question about their reliability. But with the vast majority looking very much alike, that appears to prove their accuracy.

Second, there are several, at least 4 that I know of, miraculous images of Christ that are out there. Not only do they look very similar to most portraits of Christ (it is actually the other way around because the artist portraits were likely taken from these images) but they all are miraculously similar to each other. It would benefit everyone to look into the stories of these images and what has been done to study them and how they have been adored throughout the centuries, and still today. We have seen the face of God and God came down to us so that we could relate to Him in a more familiar way. One of the ways this continues is by leaving us with accurate images of what He looked like when He was here so that we can have confidence that the incarnation was real and our hope can be more secure.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

November 26, 2011 – Luke 21 - 21:28

Whenever I read about Jesus talking about the end I think of what we complain about. Maybe that isn’t the best way to put it. Jesus talks about things not being all rainbows and butterflies before the end. It is going to be wars, disasters, and other tribulations that will come before the end. We are not to be terrified or worried. These things have to happen. When you think about it, the cycle we are looking at is heading in a direction that brings this close to home. With all the talk that Religious wars are the worst thing ever and that we need to stop religion to obtain peace, the opposite is actually true. Yes, the crusades were about religions fighting each other and the Muslim world appears to be very violent in nature (I said appears because I don’t really know a lot about the Muslim religion, just wanted to make a point about appearances), but the worst wars in our human history were brought about by those separated from religion. Mao, Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon, were all non-religious leaders. Those wars had nothing to do with religion, other than attempting to wipe them out. The point is that as the world goes in a direction away from God, wars and tribulations appear more likely, not less. But Christ said there would be days like this.

We know that Jerusalem was destroyed along with the Temple in 70 AD and this is part of what Christ is talking about. But it also appears that He was talking about a more permanent end to things that would be coming. That is why many thought Christ coming was going to be soon after His death, because the of the great persecutions. And ever since then there have always been people saying that Christ is coming soon. And there are people that believe Christ is coming very soon because of what we see in the world today. If you read the above, you might think I am one of them. I don’t think I am. I see what is happening and think that it correlates to the readings, but I think the same could be said for many times in the last 2000 years. There were times when the Christian world was on the brink of annihilation by the Muslim Turks. There were plagues and killed a third of the people on Earth. I think today the “Godless” theology is stronger than it has ever been before and that may mean something is coming, but I also see that I am a practicing Catholic and am not afraid to live out my faith. There are many places in the world that cannot be said and it appears that our nation is trying to limit a person’s ability to live out their faith, but I don’t feel I am as persecuted as I think we will be leading up to the end. So, I don’t think it is the end yet. But be prepared because I could be wrong.

Friday, November 25, 2011

November 25, 2011 – Sirach 28

“Watch your mouth”. I have heard that warning many times in my life. Most the time I earned it. Probably even more times I thought to myself, “How can I watch my mouth”, because I tend to be a smart-aleck. But they really are words of wisdom. Here we see God’s warning that we should watch our mouth. The words we speak have a great power to them and they are not something we can control when they leave. How many people have been brought down by the words they speak (or in Gov. Perry’s case the words they didn’t say). With so many types and means of conversation and medias out there, our words have even more power, for good and for ill. I like to think of this blog as a source of good, that my words are positive and have good reactions. The web is a tool to get these words out to more people than I could have ever done before. But there are many who use these same tools to spread words that are not positive and in worse cases are meant to cause harm. Once those words get out, they are uncontrollable. You not only know who will read or hear them, but you cannot control how people with interpret or use them. We put fences around our yards, lock our doors, put money in the bank, but we do almost nothing to protect ourselves from the words that come out of our mouths. And it can happen in an instant and can scar for a lifetime. I know of things I have said that have gotten me into trouble and things people have said to me that have cut me to the bone. Words are powerful and cannot be erased. Please, think before you speak and “watch your mouth.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24, 2011 - Deuteronomy 28:36 - 28:69

What a horrible description of a siege. A siege so bad that a woman would eat her young after birth because of a lack of anything else. We really don’t have sieges anymore, or maybe we do. I guess if a person blockaded themselves in a home and tried to wait out the police, that would be something like it. But back then they would do it to entire cities. The way that cities were built, with the high fortified walls, they were difficult to defeat by an army. So, the army would wait outside, not letting anything in, until those inside had to give up or starve. It was a waiting game. If an enemy could wait long enough, the city could do nothing. If the army could not wait them out, either because they had other enemies, the city was getting reinforcements, or they were not supplied well, then the city would stay intact. The blockades done by navies were similar, but limited to stopping things by sea. If you had a landlocked city, your only hope was some tunnel. Things would get very barbaric when supplies would run low. Think of the movie “Alive” about the plane crash in the Andes.

I was trying to think of somebody trying to siege Bloomington/Normal and how difficult that would be. It is such a large area and so open. Yet, it wasn’t that long ago that East Germany was under a siege of their own government with the wall. As I speak, North Korea is under siege by their own government as well. It is not so much a siege of material as it is of ideas. Needless to say, they are not a pretty thing and God’s description of what will happen during the siege of Israel if they disobey is probably a “G” rated description compared to the actual horror that would ensue.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23, 2011 - Catechism 1153-1158

It says that the sacramental celebration is a meeting of God’s children with their father. I understand that this, in our sense, should be an informal thing. When I see my dad after time apart it is with a warm greeting or a hug. There is no bowing or formality to it. That may be why we have taken the formality out of the Mass. We see this as time with our Father and there should be nothing formal about it. But is that really correct. Just because that is the way we relate to our father’s, is that the way it should be with our Father. I think we have lost a sense of formality that may have existed earlier in Church history. When your father was the King, you did not greet them informally. You would reverent to them, bowing, speaking when spoken to, strictly obeying. Anything less was inappropriate, even with your own father. Even lower levels of civilization the fathers of the home were respected. Yes sirs and no sirs and strict obedience was called for. I think we have lost some of that. We have lost some of the hierarchy in an attempt to make everyone equal. I don’t want to be the parent as much as a friend to my children mentality. But that isn’t what you are suppose to be. Your role is parent, period. If you are their friend first, you are doing them a disservice. And God is God. We are called to show Him that respect, especially at the Mass. It is a meeting with our Father, but in the sense of meeting our Father the King. Bows, obedience, subservience is required.

I love to sing. I am not the best, not the worst, but I do love to sing. And I have always found it important to sing at Mass. I don’t understand those that do not sing at Mass. Some of the songs may not be absolutely necessary to sing, but some (like the Amen or responses) are. They are our part to play. If they are spoke, we speak them, if they are sang, we need to sing them. I have been told that singing is praying twice. I don’t think I really believe that. I don’t think it boost your prayer, but I do find it enjoyable and it does help me in praying sometimes. One pet peeve that has happened recently at our Masses is the choir is singing songs that are not in the books. I really don’t like this. The Mass is a participation of all and not just time for the choir to put on a show. I really feel that there is time for this before Mass if they want to sing to give people an atmosphere to reflect in before Mass, but during Mass songs that everyone can join in should be used. It is a participation of the entire Church and to exclude us from praying these songs, I think, is wrong.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22, 2011 – Luke 20:9 – 20:47

What do the people mean when they say, “let it not be so”. Do they understand the parable applies to God and Israel and what He gave them and what He is making available to the Gentiles. The Leaders see what the parable is saying because it says they do and they tried to grab Jesus right after that. But I don’t think the people understand it fully. So, what do they mean my “let it not be so”. They heard the story of the wicked people and Jesus says that they will get the land removed from them, why are the people against this.

I just finished a book called “Render unto Caesar” which I recommend to everyone. It is based on this story of Christ being questioned about taxes. The whole point of the book, if you could wrap it up into a few words, was trying to motivate Catholics to live out their Catholic belief in the political world and the world in general. There is a fear out there that Catholic politicians that live out their faith will try to push their beliefs on the country and the nation will become a nation ruled by Rome. But the book points out that being Catholic and living that out forms our morals and those morals influence our decisions and those morals need to shape Catholic politician decisions. Right now there are many “Catholic” politicians who appear to be voting without any moral compass, or at least not one based on Catholic beliefs. Voting for policies based on your morals is not pushing your religion on anyone, it is living your life as a good Catholic and having good morals. There is something to be said for the way the country is moving and the correlation with the lack of moral foundation that is out there.

I have already talked about Sacraments and marriage and the idea that when you get to Heaven, you do not need marriage or the other Sacraments because they are signs that point you to God and there you have God. We see Christ questioned about marriage and the Resurrection, which ties into that discussion.

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011 – Daniel 13 – 13:33

The story starts off with these two at least understanding that their thoughts are wrong. That is the case most the time. We understand that something is wrong and we resist it for a time, it becomes the giving in where the sin occurs. I wonder if Christ meant something like that when He told them if you lust after someone in your heart, you have already committed adultery. The thoughts that invade us are not sin, in and of themselves. It is the dwelling on them (where these two started to faulted) and in the acting on them.

If in those moments where the chose is something difficult or something hard could we have Susanna’s courage to always choose to act on God’s behalf and let the chips fall where they may. To trust in the Lord.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November 20, 2011 – Deuteronomy 28 – 28:35

Well the curses don’t sound very pleasant. There appears to be a lot of motivation to follow God’s laws, yet they do not. The whole idea of planting vineyards and someone else taking the fruits appears a prophecy of the exile. If you do not follow God, you will be taken from this land that you will build up. It isn’t the clearest on how that all will work, but there it is. I wonder sometimes if God’s warnings are too abstract and general that we don’t pay attention. Maybe if they were more specific we would take them series. If you disobey, on March 25 at 3 you will lose your job. You know what would happen then. Chances are we would live it up to a certain point and then try to make it up just in time. We love to push the envelope of God’s mercy.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 19, 2011 – Catechism 1145 – 1152

I don’t know what the percentage is, but it is a high percentage of our communication is non-verbal, mostly being visual. We learn a lot from someone’s expression, posture, reactions, and so on. It is no different with God. We have His words, but we also have His signs, our visual communication, to guide us. When John the Baptist’s disciples came and asked Jesus if He was the one or to look for another He told them, what do you SEE. He listed off the miracles and told them to go back and tell John. He never mentions the words He was preaching (although they are important) but focused on the signs, the non verbal, the visual actions that were taking place. They are brought in by the visual and once there, soak in the words. The witness of the Martyrs is another example. Many were converted by witnessing the martyrs having really no idea about the specific teachings of Christ, only that they saw people willing to die for what they believed in. They came because of what they saw and then were taught what the Words were.

I spend quite a bit of time in the library and like to pick up books to read that I don’t know anything about. I understand you cannot judge a book by its cover, but the cover can peak my interest and get me started. If the cover does not interest me, chances are I will not take it home unless someone has recommended it.

It cannot also work in the opposite way. How many are turned off from the Catholic Church because they see the action of “Catholics” and never take the time to learn about the words. Visual communication is very important in all aspects and God knows that. That is why He has given us visual and tangible signs to lead us to Him and His Words.

Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18, 2011 – Luke 19:28 – 20:8

They couldn’t find a reason to put Him to death because everyone was hanging on His every word. Have you ever had that feeling. Not to put someone to death, obviously, but had that jealous feeling of someone and down deep you wanted to catch them slipping up so that you could have that “ah ha” moment. You can get the leaders sense of this as they are watching the crowds grow and Christ teaching them. I am sure there are also the back and forth challenges that the leaders always lose when testing Jesus. It is because of this popularity and inability to have that “ah ha” that they had to accuse Christ in secret, having His trial in the middle of the night, bringing false witnesses.

The question of authority is often brought up when talking about non-Catholic Christians. I have never heard anyone bring up this passage as part of the argument. The Christian could say that Christ would not disclose His authority, so I don’t need to disclose mine or define it or have one. My interpretation given by the Holy Spirit is my authority. But I don’t think Christ had that in mind at all. He was merely showing the motivation of the Leaders. Their sole motivation was to trap Christ. They didn’t care for His answer, only the reaction they could get from His answer. Much as any answer Christ gave they would use to destroy Him, Christ would use either answer to discredit them. Christ causes a stalemate for their testing and leads them nowhere. I don’t think Christ was saying there was no authority, He was only refusing to answer.

Matthew 28:18 - And Jesus came to them and spoke unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.

So, Christ says there is authority. And He gives this authority so that the world can be converted. This authority was not given to all but the 11 that were told to come to Galilee.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 17, 2011 – Zechariah 10-12

This section talks about the 30 pieces of silver, which we are getting close to in Luke, but it doesn’t really explain the significance of it or what it meant. There is a section in the Old Testament that talks about that. Exodus 21:32 talks about it being the price of a slave. Her it appears more to be the cost of betrayal and the breaking of a covenant. Both are suitable to reflect upon the relationship of Judas and Jesus. Jesus became a slave to sin, dying for our sin, although never succumbing to it. Nothing could be more humbling then being paid the price for a slave. And Judas betrayal is the ultimate in betrayal’s. He broke his covenant with Christ and turned him over to His enemies. There is also the image of throwing the 30 pieces back into the Temple, like Judas trying to take back his actions too late. I just never know how to feel about Judas. You want to be sympathetic because he appears to be confused about what Jesus is about. If he really did regret doing what he did, then you feel for him. Yet, sometimes this is hard to do because if a person was with Jesus for so long, they should never have done it. And with all of Christ talk of redemption, killing yourself after your regret is the last thing you should do. It just appears that he may have heard everything Christ said, but was not actually listening or taking it in. But when the Apostles come back and say “we have healed in your name” it doesn’t say “all except for Judas”, so something must have been there. Judas is a character that I think is hard to reflect on because of the depressing nature, but more to the point, I think sometimes it hits a little close to the mark for our own actions and that scares us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16, 2011 – Deuteronomy 27

I was thinking that it would be great if Catholics got together and made a list of things they believe and after reading what they were everyone would say “Amen”. That way there wouldn’t be any confusion about what Catholics are or aren’t suppose to believe. As I started to type that out I realized we do, the Creed we repeat every Sunday lays it out. But it doesn’t say anything about abortion, contraception, divorce, or other Cafeteria Catholic points that “Catholics” choose to ignore. Women as priest, homosexual relations, embryonic stem cells, to name a few others. Maybe we should write the Catholic teaching on these into the Creed. Then there would not be this option. If you don’t believe Catholic teaching on these, then you have some searching to do. Where is this language in the Creed. It is right there in the part where we say I believe in the One Holy and Apostolic Church, the Catholic Church. If you say that and believe it in the Creed, then you believe that the Church has God given authority to let us know what is right and wrong and we need to follow it, all of it. If you don’t believe that, if you believe the Catholic Church is another nice group that does good things and has good lessons but doesn’t require Catholics to believe or follow all of its teachings, you are wrong and you are not saying the Creed with any fullness. When you say the Creed, you pronounce what you believe and who and what you believe in. If you say that you believe in the Catholic Church with your lips but do not follow what she teaches in your thoughts and actions, what are you actually proclaiming during the Creed. “I BELIEVE” – think about what that means.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15, 2011 – Catechism 1140 – 1144

Even though we do celebrate together, there are certain roles that some have that others do not. Priest are a specially ordained part of the community that have duties that cannot be taken on by the laity in the congregation. I don’t know if I have seen it as much, but I have some, of this attempt to hand off some of the duties for priest to the laity. Whether conscience of it or not, it is destroying our image of the priest and the important role that he plays and the special grace that comes from Holy Orders. Something as small as the people gathering around the alter (which we used to do on retreats) can take away from the understanding that a priest has a unique position and is there in the place of Christ. I remember when being an Extraordinary Minister holding the host and consuming it at the same time as the priest. These are just two example I can think of that are not allowed and for the reason that they bring the laity into a realm that is meant solely for the ordained. But this separation does not take away the responsibility to participate in the Mass. We each just have different roles to play.

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011 - Luke 18:35 - 19:27

The parable of the talents or gold coins has always interested me. I have never noticed that he gives the coins to ten different people. We only hear about three, I wonder about that. That means that the first person made 10 out of 1, which I would put him in charge of a great deal too. We should never shy away from using our gifts that God has given us. That is what the third man did. If you can sing, you should sing. If you can write, you should write. Wasted talent is one of the saddest things in the world. I know I wasted years not reaching my potential. When I think of the number of hours I played video games, watched TV, and wasted time, my talents were sitting there accomplishing nothing. Are we afraid of failing, that is what the third person was afraid of. He didn’t want to come back with nothing. I guess the parable should have had somebody like that to show the example. One of the servants took that gold and wisely invested it, but hit some bad luck and lost it. The King says I like the effort and you will not be punished but here is another coin to try again. We should not be afraid to step out there, we should only be afraid of sitting on the sidelines, to afraid of failing, that we let our talents sit there idle.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13, 2011 – Zechariah 8 – 9

Here we have the oracle of the King’s entry into Jerusalem. Riding on a donkey. What could they have thought of this. It was an animal with no respect as compared to a horse. Would you even want the king that came riding on a donkey. You wouldn’t respect them. Yet this is what God was trying to get across, as throughout so much of the Bible, your ways are not My ways. Humble and gentle will be the king that comes. Peace and Love will He bring, not the sword and war that would be represented by and soldier king on a mighty steed. When you look for the king to come, look for a humble and obedient servant. When we read about Palm Sunday, remember that the Jews knew their scripture very well and so did the enemies of Christ. When they see Christ coming in on a donkey, this had to send of red flags in the leaders and it sent up cheers in the crowds. But still, you have to wonder if the people cheering for Christ fully understood that their new King was not a King of this world. You wonder if they were cheering for the right reasons. Did they see Him coming to free them from the tyranny that they lived under in the world. Did they understand He had come to free them from the tyranny of sin that they all suffered from. If they had known that, would they have cheered or would they have not really understood. Would they look for another. Would the leaders had worried so much about Him if they thought the new King was there to conquer their sin too.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 12, 2011 – Deuteronomy 25 – 26

I was thinking about the way that they punished people for crimes back then and how it is different now. We think that lashing or whipping them would be so cruel and we are much more humane. I think that may not be that obvious. After a person is whipped, they heal, should have learned not to do it again and then goes back into the community. Our system locks them away for long periods of time so that they lose touch and when brought back in they are behind and lost. Both can come back and commit crimes again, but I feel it is more likely that the person who is away and unconnected and not able to get back on their feet is more desperate and more likely to commit crime. The whipping happens quickly, in this reading, right there in front of the judge, and then it is over. I don’t know when courts moved away from physical punishment in favor of imprisonment, but do we see that this shift has moved into the realm of parenting. Now, you cannot spank your child, you must use “time outs”. Move away from the physical to the time of separation. I understand that smarter people than I have done all sorts of research and everyone says that this is the correct way, but I am still not convinced. Granted that I am not so unconvinced that I spank my children, but I just don’t feel that the debate should be over. It just appears that when you look at or criminal justice system and the idea of separation, or worse putting criminals together for lengths of time, what are we trying to do. In school, detention has taken the place of a ruler slap, same basic arguments. If separation is the only idea, I think it is flawed. If you go in a try to rehabilitate, I think the argument is much stronger. I will try to keep that in mind the next time Paul gets put in “time out” or a “break” or whatever the latest magazine my wife reads calls it. And detention in the same manner. If you are just keeping kids in a classroom for an hour, what is the benefit. Make it educational, maybe something practical or vocational. The whole idea of just getting bad people out of our hair seems almost as barbaric as 40 lashes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11, 2011 – Catechism 1135-1139

I think it is often forgotten that we are all celebrating in the liturgy. Many see the priest up there and figure that is the only important thing going on. But it is a whole church participation. Not only those in the pews, but all those in Heaven in God’s glory and all those celebrating Mass at the time in the world. It is one large and whole participation and is constant with at least a Mass being said around the clock somewhere in the world. It is a real and vital connection to Heaven that links us to the Heavenly host and allows Grace to flow from it. Think about that connection to Heaven the next time you are sitting and Mass and don’t feel like a participant.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10, 2011 – Luke 18 - 18:34

I was thinking about the parable of the Persistent woman and how that might be misinterpreted.  Someone might see this and say, Well, I have prayed for wealth every hour on the hour for 5 years and am still poor.”  Where did persistence get them.  And not just with wealth, but with health or employment or selling a home.  Any of the things someone might offer up prayers for on a persistent basis.  If they are not answered, someone could look at this parable and be turned away because of the lack of results.  What would you say to them. 

First, the woman was not asking for anything that was not due to her anyway.  I think that is something that might be easily overlooked.  All she was asking for is a just decision.  God will give us justice, He can do nothing less than that.  We may not like justice and what we receive as justice may not seem like justice in our eyes, but God is a perfectly just God and we will get exactly what we are suppose to.  If we are persistent in prayer for things that we do not deserve, then we should not be upset when we don’t receive it.  If ask God to give us justice, first of all be careful what you wish for, it will be done.

Second, the judge rules for her after all is said and done.  God will not give us our full reward until the very end.  Persistent prayer for things here on Earth is not what He is talking about here.  Persistent prayer for eternal reward is what is being looked at here.  When you look at the context, the last few sections have all been about the end.  The persistence God wants is a life lived striving persistently towards God until our life is over.  Then our just reward will be given as an eternal home in Heaven.  Do not look to this as a parable that praying for whatever you think you want you will get.  This parable is not about gaining material things but eternal dwellings.   

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

November 9, 2011 – Daniel 12

I was looking at the notes in my Bible and trying to find something to write about.  I found this interesting.  The author of Daniel wrote it in the 2nd century BC, during the persecution of Jews by Antiochus.  It was written from the perspective of a holy man during the Babylonian exile because that was also a time of great persecution.  The idea is to bring hope to those going through a struggle by telling them the story of someone who went through a struggle and persevered.  I guess I always new Daniel was written after Daniel was to have existed, but I didn’t realize when and what the purpose was and what was happening to the Jews at that time.  All the stories and heroics and perseverance of  Daniel is to encourage those Jews seeing themselves be persecuted to stay faithful to God. 

One of the things that is brought up in Daniel that is not mentioned in most other Old Testament books is the Resurrection of the Dead.  Daniel clearly shows a belief that at some point individuals will rise up and good will get eternal blessings a bad will receive eternal punishment.  Resurrection is important when the idea of martyrdom is a real possibility.  When you are looking at death for a belief, believing that death is not the actual end is something that can hold you firm to your faith.  This is why Daniel wants to point this out and steel the people resolve. 

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

November 8, 2011 – Deuteronomy 23 – 24

We just had a section about divorce and some discussion, and here we see it brought up again.  It appears that here the discussion mainly deals with not getting remarried after a divorce.  But it is obvious that divorce was allowed in Israel.  And Christ admits that in Matthew 19:8.  It was allowed because of their hardness of hearts.  It was explained to me, and I don’t know where this comes from, but the husbands, if they were dissatisfied with their wives would just kill them rather than stay married.  To stop this, Moses allowed divorce in order to save the wives.  But Christ points out that in the beginning it was not so.  Divorce was never suppose to be part of the plan and Christ commands that it is not allowed.  Maybe that is not the best way to put it.  Christ teaches that if you get divorce and remarry, you are committing adultery.  I guess there is the option to get a divorce and not remarry.  Basically, the marriage is still there, just not being lived out.   

Monday, November 07, 2011

November 7, 2011 – Catechism 1130-1134

The quote from St. Thomas reminds me again of the analogy of the Sacraments and sign post. I think it makes it so clear to understand the purpose of the Sacraments. When I am driving to Chicago, signs point me in the right direction. The Sacraments are signs that God has given to point us and get us to Heaven. Once you have made it to Chicago, you do not need that signs for Chicago, they have become obsolete. The same goes for Sacraments. Once you are in Heaven, you will not need the Sacraments or the signs of God’s love, you will have God. That is why there is not married or unmarried in Heaven. You will know your spouse in a even more intimate way that ever here on Earth and both of you will be totally focused on God. Even the Eucharist will not be there because God is there and completely a part of you.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

November 6, 2011 – Luke 17

I have always wondered about the nine lepers who didn’t come back. Did they remain cured. I think there are two ways to see it. They were cured by Christ, but their faith wasn’t strong enough (like the one that came back) to maintain it and they got leprosy again. Or they remained cured even after their lack of faith because of God’s good will. Many people receive gifts from God and do not thank Him for them. Those gifts are not taken away, so I am of the opinion that they remained clean. But you wonder how their lives were affected by that cleansing and what they went on to think. You would like to think that eventually they went on to become Christians after hearing about Christ and connecting the two things, but it is just as likely that they went on to be greedy tax collectors and wasted God’s precious gift.

The left behind sequence is a hard one to figure out. It is my understanding that in the rapture understanding, the ones that are taken are the saved ones. That doesn’t follow from the example that Christ gives. Both with Noah and with Lot, the ones that are left behind are the ones that God chose to save. The ones that were destroyed were the sinful ones. I thought this might be contradicted by the last line when Christ talks about the vultures around the body that is left, but I don’t think so. The left behind rapture group always interprets the taking as something where a person just disappears. Once again, that isn’t exactly the example that Christ gives. In Noah’s case, the flood would have killed people, but their bodies would still be there and the vultures would gather. In Lot’s case, even though it was fire from Heaven, it is not beyond belief that bodies would not have been left behind. So taken may not mean that the body is taken away, but just that the life is, much like the plague upon the first born of Egypt. That would mean that the vultures are around the bodies of those taken and that you want to be one of the ones left behind, like Noah and Lot.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

November 5, 2011 – Daniel 11

This is such a detailed prophecy that I was interested to see if there was a correlation that was out there to a certain time frame. I had thought that the great king who divided his kingdom was Alexander the Great, because I knew that he had conquered a great area and when he died he had broken it up. That appears to be this persons assessment as well. He goes into great detail, so I will just put the link here so you can read it for yourselves. It is very interesting to see a prophecy this detailed played out in a history lesson.

Friday, November 04, 2011

November 4, 2011 – Deuteronomy 22

I never realized that cross dressing was also called an abomination in the Bible.  But there it is.  I don’t know if anybody else saw the story about the boy that wants to be in girl scouts because he has dressed like a girl most his life.  Pray for him and his family and the healing that needs to happen there and for all those that have been lead to that type of confusion by the actions and lessons that the world is putting out there as ok. 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

November 3, 2011 – Catechism 1122-1129

The fruits of the Sacrament depend on the disposition of those that receive them. The Sacrament has an infinite amount of Grace to give you if you are open to it. But if you are not in the correct frame of mind or have your heart in the right place, you may not receive all the Grace that is available to you. It is for this reason that some people go to receive the Eucharist and feel nothing afterwards and some can receive nothing but the Eucharist for sustenance for extended periods of time and not feel hunger. You are the gate keeper for Grace. Open the gate and it can change who you are, in fact you are suppose to be changed after receiving any of the Sacraments. (the story of the magi and the fact that they went home another way is an illustration of this. Of course they could not go back the same after encountering Christ.) But keep the gate closed and Grace will not enter and you will not change. Nothing will be forced upon you. You have all the control over the gate and whether you will open it or not.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

November 2, 2011 – Luke 16

There is a lot in this chapter. I love the story of Lazarus. I wonder why Lazarus is named but not the rich man. It may be something similar to the prodigal story we just read. We are to put ourselves into the story as the rich man and it is easier to do when there is no name. I think it does cause some confusion with the Lazarus of Bethany that Christ raises from the dead. They don’t appear to be the same people because Lazarus isn’t dead yet.

I don’t understand how any Christian denomination or Bible believer can accept that divorce is correct. Christ puts it plainly that divorce is not right. If you get divorced and marry another, it is adultery. There really isn’t any wiggle room. Divorce is such a damaging act to the family and to our country as a whole that its acceptance has led to the destruction of our moral fiber and the strength of our world. Yet it doesn’t seem that people really make that connection. People would still rather point to religion as a restriction to their life and freedom than to the moral decay of our nation because we have taken away the Christian foundation of morals that have been established. I don’t know where people think we are going to end up if we destroy the idea of marriage, love, holiness, life and other moral questions. Taking God out of our lives will only lead to destruction, there is no other destination that this can lead us to. The further we remove God, the farther we move into a land of darkness. Marriage and divorce are just two things that have been trampled by the understanding that we don’t need God and morals to rule our lives and we can find our own way. Religion is not there for our restriction but for our help.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

November 1, 2011 – Baruch 6:45 - 6:72

That last section appears to say that it is better for those that believe in no God than those that believe and worship idols.

I think it says a lot about the human nature of knowing there is a greater power over us that from early on people felt they needed to worship something. Although it is misguided, choosing to worship the idols is just a misguided attempt to fill that gap that could only be filled by God. That is the case for many of the things we fill our lives with now. We seek to fill this inherent need or hole in our lives with money, power, physical love, drugs, work, materials, when it is meant to be filled by God. Nothing will fill it other than God and filling it with other things only limits the room God has to work in our lives.