Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 31, 2012 – Joshua 14 - 15:12

Ah, we have another Caleb sighting.  I wonder why he is not brought out more.  He is the only one beside Joshua that trust God, yet Joshua gets all this glory and Caleb isn’t heard from in forty-five years.  And we finally have a time set out.  If they were wandering for forty years, then crossed the Jordan, they took almost 5 years to conquer the lands in the first 12 chapters.  I almost wish they had laid this out as it was happening because I think you might read it differently if you know how long it is taking. 

Caleb gets Hebron, which the map shows is in Judah.  I don’t know if Caleb is in the tribe of Judah or not (it doesn’t say).  Answered my own question Numbers 13:6 - Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh. 

The map I linked to doesn’t appear very accurate, at least with the description of Judah, since it says the western border is the great sea (Mediterranean) but the map doesn’t extend it that far. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

January 30, 2012 – Catechism 1293-1301

I like the list of characteristics of oil.  When thinking about confirmation and getting prepared for a new step in your faith, these characteristics are good to reflect on before receiving them.  It cleanses, limbers, heals, and makes beautiful.  What a great way to enter into Confirmation.  The understanding that you are going to be cleansed and healed.  It will help you be limber for the exercises ahead.  It makes you beautiful in the sight of God.  What a beautiful symbol of the Grace that is being given. 

Does your life give off the “aroma of Christ”.  That is a good way to reflect on how you are living.  An aroma does not take any speaking or action to accomplish, it is just there, all the time, for people to sense.  What aroma do you give off to the people around you. 

We become sealed and committed to God’s work.  This has two sides to it.  Our commitment to act is one side.  The other side is God’s promise to be our protection as we do that work.  It feels like many times people give up or lose hope because they lose sight of this second part of the agreement.  We can rely on God for His strength and help, if we are doing His work.  That promise of protection will never waiver.

The prayer the Bishop prays over those being confirmed is a beautiful prayer for strength.  It seems like one that could be tweaked a bit for a daily prayer for strength. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 29, 2012 – Hebrews 1 – 2

A few words I had to look up.  One from the readings and two from the footnotes. 

Refulgence - to shine brightly.  1:3 - who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word.  If you look at other translations, this makes sense.’

Fortiori Argument - The Latin phrase argumentum a fortiori denotes "argument 'from [the] stronger [reason]'." For example, if it has been established that a person is deceased, then one can, with equal or greater certainty, argue that the person is not breathing.  The Christian apostle Paul makes frequent use of the argument for purpose, often signaling it with the phrase "... if [A], then how much more [B]"  Footnote for 2:1-4.

Leitmotif - a motif or theme associated throughout a music drama with a particular person, situation, or idea.  Footnote for 2:5-18 - The reference to Jesus as leader (Heb 2:10) sounds the first note of an important leitmotif in Hebrews.

The basic idea here is about how Christ is not only superior to the angels, but in the very same breath humbled Himself to become below angels and be human.  It wants to make very clear that Christ was not an angel and that He was greater than the angels.  This makes His becoming human all the more humbling.  But He had to become human to save humans. 

If you read the introduction, this letter was thought to be written by Paul, but that is not thought as true anymore.  They don’t know who wrote it.  It listed off several possibilities, but it is amazing to think we don’t know the author of such a large and important letter. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

January 28, 2012 – Psalms 100 – 102

100 – It seems odd for us to think about being thankful to be of service to others.  We are to be thankful when we are served, it is not as natural the other way around.  But that is what we are called to.  We are to be servants of God, to do His will, and to walk about in constant thanksgiving for the privilege to do so.  Just seems a little off kilter for us today.

101 – This is a prayer that seeks God’s help to be perfect in the way of integrity and to guard against all those that are not of integrity.  The daily readings, at least the last couple of weeks, have been about David and Saul and their relationship.  I always thought it was interesting that David is seen as one after God’s heart.  We also believe that many of the Psalms were written by David.  Maybe this one was written early on in his career, but towards the end, especially with Bathsheba, he did not have that integrity.  But the goal is not to be perfect, because that cannot happen.  The goal is to strive for perfection and seek forgiveness when we fail, which we will.  I guess the story of Bathsheba does show us that, because David does seek forgiveness. 

102 – Since the topic of David and Bathsheba came to mind, this Psalm has the feel of something David might have prayed after that sinful act.  God, through Nathan, calls him out, and he ask for forgiveness, and God gives it to him, but not without consequences.  This prayer could have come while David’s son is dying because of David’s sin.     

Friday, January 27, 2012

January 27, 2012 – Joshua 13


Here is a great map of the tribes as they are divided.  You can look at it and see how much land Israel conquered.  You can also so see what God is talking about at the beginning of the chapter.  Although Israel went to a lot of places and conquered 31 Kings, the land they divide up covers more than they went over.  There is still land to be taken.  I think we are going to discover that the lands still left to be conquered are going to be the responsibility of the tribe that gets the land.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January 26, 2012 – Catechism 1285-1292

I don’t remember much about my Confirmation. I don’t think I was very well prepared for it. That doesn’t take away from its effect, just a fact. In helping get teens ready for Confirmation, I have tried to help them realize what is happening. One of the things I think makes the moment “bigger” for them is the story of Pentecost. That same Holy Spirit that descended on the Apostles is the Holy Spirit that will descend on them at that moment. It doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit was not there before (the Apostles received it from Christ on Easter Sunday) but it does come to them in a very special way. It may not be visible as in tongues of fire, but it will descend upon them in a unique way and build them up for going out and showing the world Christ in more substantial way. I think it is important for them to read the Pentecost story and reflect on it. What the attitude of the Apostles were before and after. What the Apostles did after. They should receive strength, hope and courage from this and be able to experience their confirmation in a more fulfilling way and be ready for what is expected of them after. I don’t know if I would have cherished mine anymore if someone had explained it to me in that way or not, but I do think it helps to look at it in the light of the Apostles Pentecost.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 25, 2012 – 2 Peter 2:11 - 3:18

“They promise them freedom, though they themselves are slaves” 2:19 This is a perfect statement about what the secular world describes as freedom. I will put a couple of links below. One is the popular video about loving Jesus but hating religion. He obviously does not understand the true nature of freedom. Freedom is not about living beyond all rules and boundaries, but living inside the boundaries set up by God so you can be truly free from sin that enslaves. You are completely free to choice to live in sin, but sin enslaves and the boundaries are there to protect you from those sins. I wouldn’t be very responsible if I didn’t link to the Catholic responses to the video. Although they are not as equally viewed I number, they do counter the video very well.

The last link is a clip from one of the resent debates. It is Rick Santorum speaking about freedom and rights and the freedom that God has given us verses the “freedoms” that the Government says they have given us. The Government is not suppose to give freedom, but protect freedoms that God has given us. That is what the country was established on.





Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January 24, 2012 – Isaiah 64-65

There is a picture painted of a perfect world. Long life, peace among animals, no death or illness. This picture is made for those that follows God’s will. The footnotes call it an apocalyptic type text. Usually when you hear apocalyptic, you think devastation and wrath and things being destroyed. Here, apocalyptic is pictured as perfection. I guess we should see it that way if we truly have hope in God. The end, for those that believe and hope in God, is going to be a heavenly peace. That is the end we hope and pray for. There may be the destruction before it comes, but our apocalyptic view should focus on the end that will be coming. Maybe there wouldn’t be the fascination with the end of days and the popularity of describing it in such a way if when we think apocalyptic we think of the heavenly peace that we hope for instead of the death on destruction that comes to mind now.

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 23, 2012 – Joshua 12

I didn’t know if there was any significance to the number 31. I could not think of any. It is a prime number, but other than that. The is a lot of kings to take out, but again, we don’t know how long this lasted. We may find out eventually how long the campaigns went, but I have not seen anything yet.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

January 22, 2012 – Catechism 1275-1284

I love Baptism, the permanence, the idea of being re-born into a new life, the understanding of reuniting with God, of crossing that divide that was brought by original sin. I loved having my two boys Baptized and it means a great deal to me that I am responsible for bringing them up in a way that God would want. I don’t regret at all the fact that I don’t remember my Baptism and don’t hold it against my parents for Baptizing me as an infant. I am thankful that God’s grace was with me during those years when I wasn’t even aware of it and only when I see my life fully after all is said and done will I understand how that Grace aided me in those early years. I cannot for the life of me understand the downside of having an infant Baptized. If you think it should be a choice that a person makes on their own, a person can make a choice to follow God or not. We all have free will. Baptizing and infant does not take away their free will. They have the choice to follow God when they grow up, same as everyone else. Accept they will have that added Grace, that mark of God, to help them. Someone who is baptized as an adult has the same free will to turn away from God after they are Baptized. I don’t know if I will ever understand the objections to infant Baptism.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

January 21, 2012 – 2 Peter 1 - 2:10

I have never heard anyone have an interpretation about 1:20 and how that gels with the idea that we are all free to interpret the Bible ourselves. It says that “there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation”. That begs the question as to how are we suppose to interpret the Bible. There must be some way or source that interprets the scripture so that it can be understood and followed. That source and authority would be the Church. What does it say will happen if personal interpretation is allowed. It will lead to destructive heresies that many will follow. CHECK. Because of this, the way of truth will be reviled. CHECK. The Christian brotherhood is a divided house and becomes more and more divided as different denominations split off based on one person or a groups personal interpretation of the Scripture divides them. This split of Christianity takes away its ability to be a united guide to the world. There must be a proper authority to give a truthful and accurate interpretation of the Scriptures for Gods followers. Any other notion leads only to division and collapse and does not make rational sense. We are allowed and encouraged to study the scriptures and reflect on them and allow them to influence our life, but we must do so with a guide.

Friday, January 20, 2012

January 20, 2012 – Proverbs 30

Verse 8-9 talk about having an abundance of wealth or goods and not relying on the Lord. It recommends asking just for the bare necessities so that you do trust in the Lord. If we have too much we will say “Who is the Lord”, thinking that we have received all of these things through our own actions. Everything is a gift from God and as I talked about in a previous post, we are stewards of it, not owners.

There is also an interesting take on those that want more and keep seeking more and more. Eventually, maybe not at the beginning or even on purpose, but eventually you will go about getting it in evil ways or it will lead you down evil paths. Ask for only what you need, “or being in want, I steal and profane the name of my God” v.9. As I said this is not out of malice or intended; it is just the natural progression because we will never be satisfied with material things. We will only grow more and more in lust over them and when our means will not obtain them for us, we will seek them out my other means.

Being in the midst of a political season, you wonder how many politicians have traveled this road. They might have started with the best of intentions, but power and authority can begin to control you and little by little you start going into the gray to get what you want. Eventually, you do not see the right from the wrong anymore, only the want and desire, the power and control. I have always thought about jumping into those waters, but I am always leery about whether I am strong enough to resist going down that path and having it devour me, change me, in the end destroy me. You balance staying in your quite home, living your quite life verses risking it all to try to help the world that is struggling. However, Christ did not call us to sit on the sidelines. Ah, the thoughts that run through a mind when you ponder the future.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 19, 2012 – Joshua 11

Chinneroth is another name for Sea of Galilee. Didn’t know that.

I tried to get my map to pull up, but it was giving me issues. The northern conquest goes really far North, up past the sea of Galilee.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but I always thought it was interesting that God brings these nations together to be more efficient in conquering them. Imagine how much more it would have taken to go to each individual city and attack their army. Instead, they all come together and most the armies of the land is defeated all at once. You can imagine there would not have been much resistance after the main bulks of the armies were defeated, plus who is going to resist after seeing what happened to them.

I also thought it was interesting that nobody tried to ask for peace after the one town did. It says that God hardened their hearts, much like He did for pharaoh, in order to allow them to be conquered. I questioned what God was going to do because Joshua allowed that agreement, but you must think that God set it into motion if He hardened the hearts of others.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 18, 2012 – Catechism 1267-1274

Two things. That all Baptized Christians are recognized as Christians by the Catholic Church. I don’t know if non-Catholics recognize this. I don’t know if they understand this or feel that Catholics see them in a different light. Catholics do draw a distinction between Christians and those Catholics in full communion with the Catholic Church. I wonder if non-Catholic Christians feel the same about Catholics. Do they consider Catholics Christians or do they not even put us in that category. And I used “Catholics in full communion” on purpose. Cafeteria Catholics are still Christians and may even call themselves Catholics, but it may be in word alone. The Catechism makes it pretty clear that a true Catholic is one that is in full communion or believes and joins in all the teachings of the Church. You could make the argument that a Cafeteria Catholic is no different than a non-Catholic Christian as far as their standing with the Church.

The second thing is that after Baptism we are marked forever. Nothing we can do can ever take away that mark of God. There is no sin so great that we can erase what God has given to us. Remember this when you think that you cannot come back to Him. I have heard many people talk about how much they have done and that they don’t feel right about coming back or don’t deserve to come back. This is the one sin that God cannot forgive, the one that is never is asked to be forgiven. There is nothing that God cannot forgive you and if you have been Baptized, He has already marked you and is longing for you to come back to Him.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January 17, 2012 – 1 Peter 4 – 5

I think sometimes we don’t understand that we are stewards of God’s gifts to us. (4:10) A steward is a person who manages another's property or financial affairs. The things we have from God are not ours. We are not free to do whatever we want with them. Well, we are free to do whatever we want, but then we are not being good stewards. What we have is not ours, but God’s, given to us to manage, as the definition puts it. The owner is God. Keep that in mind when you feel free to go about doing whatever you please. Would you drive recklessly with someone else’s car. Would you spend someone else’s money unwisely. Would you treat someone else’s child negligently if you were caring for them. We are called to treat all of our gifts with the same care because they do not belong to us.

5:8 reminded me of the nature videos you always see of the lion going after the herd of animals. The one he catches is always the one that isn’t quite fast enough or is crippled for some reason. Picturing the devil as a lion going after a herd, then picture the person that is not “sober and vigilant”. This is on a spiritual sense, when we cripple ourselves or do not exercise our faith and gifts, we become the one that is left behind and devoured by the lion. Except in our case, there are many lions prowling and we must be on constant guard.

That imagery has a bit of a flaw when you think about what the herd doesn’t do for the one that is caught. We are not called to abandon those that are ensnared by the devil in order to save ourselves. We are called to reach out and save them. But, we may not be called to reach out so far that we leave ourselves vulnerable to attack (here I am thinking of a person that joins a cult to get their friend out of it. That is a grave risk that I don’t think we are called to do).

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012 – Wisdom 10

This chapter is a walkthrough of Genesis and Exodus, but Wisdom is the guide. Obviously, God is Wisdom, but the way it is walked through gives you a slightly different take. Read it again and look. Verse 7 refers to Sodom and Gomorra (remains a smoking desert) and Lot’s wife (pillar of salt). Verses 8-9 seems to speak of the tower of Babel (left the world a memorial of their folly). 10 – 12 speaks of Jacob (fled his brother, prospered from labors). 13 – 14 speaks of Joseph (sold, authority over oppressors). And 15 – 19 speaks of Moses (withstood fearsome king, across the Red Sea). We have wisdom being the guide for all these major events of Israel’s past. We take it for granted or as obvious that God was there through all these things. Maybe it will invite us to reflect on events a little deeper if we stop thinking of it as just “God”, but from the individual attributes like this. Can we do it our own life. If we look back at a turning point, do we see God acting in our lives. Can we look back and see that it was Wisdom that was working. Maybe it was Love, or Justice, Healing or any of the other perfect attributes of God.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January 15, 2012 – Joshua 10

There is a lot to put on this map, so instead of putting the red tags and green arrows, I thought I would just underline the towns mentioned and black arrows for Israel’s movement. My last map has Israel going to Gibeon, but they must have come back to Gilgal, because that is where Israel starts in this chapter and where their main camp lies and where they seem to always return. I only finished a map from verses 1-27. I will add the rest later. You get a sense of why they needed more than one day to finish the victory because they followed them a long way.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

January 14, 2012 – Catechism 1257-1266

One of the comments made before about those in the process of becoming Catholic, but die before their baptism, appears to be answered by paragraph 1259.

Paragraph 1261 speaks about children who die that are not baptized.  This was discussed in the comments from a post a week or so ago.  Here the church confirms the hope that God’s mercy will save those children who are not baptized and enforces its theology on baptizing infants so that they do not die without this gift of grace.  So, it is not Catholic teaching that children that die without baptism go to hell.  But Catholic teaching is that we don’t have a specific answer for what happens to those children.  We place our hope in God’s mercy and love, but understand that they have the stain of original sin that is with them from birth and not removed because they have not received baptism. 

I wonder if concupiscence is really understood.  This is the understanding that even with the gift of baptism taking away the punishment for our sin, humans are left with the tendency to sin that is a part of us because of original sin.  This is fairly obvious when think about how much we struggle with doing what we know is right.  I can also see it when I look at my young boy when he is being incredibly bad.   

John 3:5 - 5: Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Matthew 28:19 - Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:

Friday, January 13, 2012

January 13, 2012 – 1 Peter 2:11 - 3:22

2:16 - “Be free, yet without using freedom as a pretext for evil, but as slaves of God”

How can anyone believe in the Bible and still support a pro-choice stance. You are free to choose, but that freedom does not give you the freedom to choose evil. You are free to do God’s will, which may not sound like freedom to some, but you are also free to ignore and go against God’s will. If that is the choice you make, then you deserve what you get. You cannot ask for it to go both ways. If you want God to give you your freedom to make choices, you must be responsible for those choices.

In writing the above I was thinking how can anyone believe in Sola Fide. It is obvious that our works and deeds are something we will be judged upon. I understand that they say a person with “true” faith automatically has good works, but that isn’t true. There are no sinless people around, so there appears to be no one that has “real” faith. If someone with “real” faith can make mistakes, how are we suppose to determine someone with “real” faith verses a lesser faith. You might say that God knows, but how does that help a person trying to find salvation. Tell them that their faith alone saves them if they have the right kind of faith, but we really cannot tell you how to know if you have the right faith. That seems out of whack to me.

3:7 calls the female the weaker sex. A statement like that will cause an uproar. But look at what is surrounding it. Husbands are to honor their wives. This not only means to respect them, but when you honor them you place them above you and revere them. And after it, it states that we are joint heirs of the gift of life. Joint heirs means that we receive equally. The feminist movement has tried to make male and female equal in all things, causing confusion in many areas and leading to many negative things. Male and female are not equal in all things. We were not created to be so, it is not our purpose to be so, and to move in that direction damages both. We are equal in the gift of life from God, but we are unique in many very special areas and we were created to unit and benefit from each other’s unique gifts. Every step we take to make males more feminine and females more masculine takes us in the opposite direction of God’s plan. God’s plan is about unity and community. We are not supposed to be the same because it takes away the effect of unity.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 12, 2012 – Sirach 16

There are those in the world that will not change their ways and believe that a merciful God will not punish them for their sins because of God’s infinite mercy. This is a mistake. We can rely on God’s infinite mercy, but only if we are actively seeking to live as God calls us to live. God’s will be merciful to those that seek to follow Him and fall. But mercy is not for those who ignore God’s call and seek their own pleasure. Those are the sinful that are to be punished. God’s mercy is infinite, but great as His mercy is His punishment (verse 12). What can a person who willfully disobeys the commands laid out by God expect. If you listen to some, they expect God to just ignore that fact. God cannot do this, or He is not God. God, if He is God, is perfect in everything, including justice and must give us what we deserve, or He is not God. A god who ignores all our wrongs so that we can be with him in eternity may be the god that people believe in, but that is not God, the God of the Bible, the true God. I am sure there are many people that left this world relying on the infinite mercy of God to wipe away all the wrongs they choose in this world only to find out what infinite justice looks like. After we leave this world we are given what we have chosen while we were here. If we did not choose God here, He is not going to give that to us for eternity. And if we aren’t with Him in Heaven, there is only one other place that awaits us. Be careful on how we view God’s mercy. It is infinite and given freely by God to bring us to Heaven, but it is not a license to live life on Earth as we desire. There is a price to choosing to live life that way and we may be surprised at the difference between God’s understanding of mercy and our own.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 11, 2012 – Joshua 9

There are 2 Gilgal’s on the map, so I don’t know which they would be camping at. One is close to

Ai, the last city conquered, but one is closer to the mounts where Joshua read the law to them and there is another on the other side of Jericho, so it is unclear. On my map I use the one

closest to Ai, because it makes sense with the direction of the next towns they go to. The site I am using for my maps did not have Chephirah, but the other three are very close together, so it must have been near there.

I don’t know what God is going to do about this decision that was not made with His consultation. We don’t know God’s reaction from this chapter, but He has reacted

pretty swiftly when Israel has step out of bounds so far. Speaking of acting swiftly, we really don’t know how quickly God is acting because there really haven’t been any timeframes given since the 7 days at Jericho. We don’t know how long it was between Jericho and Ai, then second Ai, then this journey by the Gibeonites. Could be days or weeks or months. I wonder if we find out later how long everything took.here are 2 Gilgal’s on the map, so I don’t know which they would be camping at. One is close to Ai, the last city conquered, but one is closer to the mounts where Joshua read the law to them and there is another on the other side of Jericho, so it is unclear. On my map I use the one closest to Ai, because it makes sense with the direction of the next towns they go to. The site I am using for my maps did not have Chephirah, but the other three are very close together, so it must have been near there.

We can learn a lesson about always bringing God into our decision making. That should be the person we always consult with any time we have a choice to make.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January 10, 2012 – Catechism 1246-1256

I am not interested in having another discussion on infant Baptism. I think that has been covered. It may not be literally word for word in the Bible, but it can be implied and it is accepted in the very earliest of Church writings from the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

I am more interested in the RCIA program. This is the program that adults use when they are being brought into the church. I was wondering why they are not Baptized at the beginning of the class. It is my understanding, and I could be wrong, that they receive all the Sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil, at the end of their education. Why wouldn’t they receive Baptism at the beginning. If it is viewed as the entrance into the faith and the doorway that one walks through in beginning their journey, it seems appropriate to do this from the start. The paragraphs talk about how we are suppose to continue to grow after Baptism, and that is what the classes are about. It just seems that Baptism, if infants receive it and start their journey, should be given to those that want to enter the Church at the beginning of their journey.

Monday, January 09, 2012

January 9, 2012 – 1 Peter 1 - 2:10

A few thoughts on these verses. Peter, from the introduction, is writing t encourage those that are being persecuted for their faith. Keep that in mind as you read it. Also keep in mind that we, Christians, are persecuted by the world today with all of its secular ideas and beliefs. So, as you read, think about those Christians that were in fear for their lives but continue to believe, but also take the lessons to heart and use them to persevere in your own faith journey.

Verse 17 says that we will be judged impartially according to our works. This is just one verse among many that point this out, but I wanted to highlight it in opposition to the theology of salvation by faith alone. Catholics do not believe in “faith alone” nor do they teach works alone, but a unity of the two with works being done with faith and both stemming from the Grace of God. Peter talks throughout the letter about the faith that will save and the faith that is had in something unseen, but here he does mention that we are judged on our works as well. And judged impartially, by God, not as the world sees.

Wondered what anyone thought of 2:3 and the idea that Peter says they have “tasted that the Lord is good” and whether that might be a allusion to the Eucharist. It jumps out at you that he uses the verb “tasted” when talking about coming into contact with the Lord. And directly before this he talks about infants longing for milk, that which they will consume and nourishes them. Two similar descriptions of the Eucharist, that we consume it and it nourishes us.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

January 8, 2012 – Wisdom 3

I am not good with death. I don’t seem to do very well at funerals and I find it uncomfortable when people are laughing and cheery at funerals. I understand it, that they are celebrating a good life lived and maybe even dealing with their grief with humor, but it still makes me feel uncomfortable. I never know what to say or how to act. I tend to just be quite and by myself if I can manage. The times when I have had to participate or stand in the family line have been the worst because I am forced to be around people and interact when I don’t want to. I can’t imagine this is a healthy way to deal with death and funerals, but I just can’t get over that wall to the celebration of a life that quickly. When I think about my grandparents that have died, the funerals I really remember the most, I can think of them now and remember the good lives they lived and be grateful, but not at the funerals. It just seems to be too close to the lose. I wonder if it is ok to ask that my funeral take place 2 or 3 weeks after my death so that people like me have more time to let it sink in. Granted, I am assuming anyone comes.

The lack of humor at a funeral also may come from the fact that the things I think are funny are only funny to others 1 out of 10 times and nothing is more awkward that bombing a joke than doing it at a funeral.

This first part of the chapter comes at a time when we just finished going to the funeral of a friend’s funeral for their baby that died at 3 days old. I don’t know how much the infant suffered or felt pain. One of my co-workers lost a friend’s family member to cancer recently to, so I sent her the first part of the chapter. It is a very reassuring piece and goes along with what we just talked about, God’s ways not being ours.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

January 7, 2012 – Joshua 8

Map of Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim

The mounts that they go to seem a ways North to be heading that far.  Maybe the cities that are shown on this map weren’t there and it was just land between Ai (near Bethel) and the Mounts. 

Here we see God able to use the attempt by Israel that did not work because they disobeyed Him.  Granted, God could have defeated Ai in any way He chose, but He uses the wrongs of Israel to fulfill His will.  We don’t often realize the good God can do with the wrongs we perceive in the world.  We only see the wrong and curse it.  God sees a tool that He can shape into a good.  And the good maybe something that we never understand or see, but God’s good is not limited to our understanding of good.  But boy is it difficult to feel that way when you are in the middle of sadness or turmoil or whatever the situation is that you do not understand.  Always try to focus on God and that He knows what He is doing and His plan is always heading for good. 

Friday, January 06, 2012

January 6, 2012 – Catechism 1234-1245

This talks about the infant that is baptized being brought to the alter during the Our Father instead of receiving Holy Communion, but that didn’t happen in our baptisms of the boys. I do wonder about Holy Communion and if our boys should wait until their “class” goes. Paul already ask if he can eat Jesus too. I know he doesn’t fully understand what he is asking, but then again, I don’t fully understand transubstantiation either. His belief is strong enough that he feels he can call it Jesus when he sees it. And he calls Jesus on the crucifix Jesus as well. Whether he knows it is the same Jesus may not be there yet. When he hears names, they all tend to mean the same person. St. Edward was yesterday’s saint and he thought it was St. Edward, the train from Thomas. He also asked for St. Diesel to pray for us one night. So, obviously I don’t think he is there yet, but he is asking and I am not sure if he should wait another 5-7 years.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

January 5, 2012 – Titus 1-3

Here we have the short letter to Titus. It appears to be a short instruction manual on how to handle a new Christian community. A couple of things that are pointed out and I believe are important. There is an established authority. There is a hierarchy set up, there is an understood Truth coming from the top to the community through sources, Titus is called to set up others who will continue to teach this Truth and there is a call to admonish those that are not teaching the Truth. I have talked at length about authority and Truth and the disconnect non-Catholics have to this understanding, but here is just one more example that disagreements in teachings on faith and morals is not something that is Biblical. It is against such division that Paul is writing to Titus to stop and avoid. Yet we have 30,000 denominations teaching different varieties of Christianity and all believing they are following Christ commands. There is not 30,000 different Truths, but only one. This is what Paul knew and instructed.

We see that the instruction for a leader in the community has its foundation in self-control. How true this is today and yet the world teaches to indulge. We are in the midst of an election in which it seems every candidate has skeleton’s popping up. We want a leader that has self-control over themselves. How else can you trust them to make sound decisions. How else can you trust them to not just go with the flow and react on emotions. Self-control is such a lost characteristic and is viewed by some (thanks Freud) as harmful. Yet, if we give in to whatever we want (some would call this freedom), are we really in any kind of control or are we being controlled (opposite of freedom). If we cannot say no, our yes means nothing. I thought it was interesting that the first thing to look for in a leader of the Church is someone who shows self-control in their own life and actions. Maybe we should look for that in our leaders.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

January 4, 2012 – Obadiah 1

At first I thought this was rather confusing and too short to really make much sense, but when you stop and think about the imagery of a brother, seeing another brother suffering, and not taking action to help but actually aiding in the suffering, you get a sense of what God is saying to Edom. This action of hurting your own brother is not something that is singular here. Joseph suffered at the hand of his brothers. Jacob left for fear of his brother. There is a deep betrayal that God is trying to get across here and because of the deep betrayal, the repercussions will be that much more severe. Looking at the footnotes, the destruction of Edom will be complete when it happens. Verse 5 and its note talk about how a thief will not steal everything, only what they want, and a person picking grapes will miss some or leave some behind, but God will leave nothing left of Edom when their time comes. What do we take from this? Being unfaithful to your family or your relation leads to greater punishment than unfaithfulness to others. That is something to think about when we here about people working so hard and so long at work that they disregard their family. Are they being more faithful to Babylon as opposed to Israel. Edom profited from siding with Babylon, for a time, but in the long run, God wants us to focus on our brother, our family. Not doing so brings about serious consequences for us.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

January 3, 2012 – Joshua 7

It didn’t take long for Israel to violate the rules from God. The first city they attack they take things they are not suppose to. And it cost them the

lives of many soldiers. This was all done because one person could not keep their mitts off of some gold and silver. We often don’t feel we should be blamed for what other people do wrong, but sin is never private. That is something that isn’t realized by the people that think things like pornography and other sexual sins are private matters. Sin is never private. It always has its effects. Whether it is the family that is hurt by the lack of love, the spouse that is hurt because of the image they cannot compete with, the person who is exploited by the industry to send out that junk, sexual sins, no matter how many walls they have or how many doors are locked, are never private. They have their effect on the community, small and large, and are always negative and build up the lie that they try to sell as love.

Monday, January 02, 2012

January 2, 2012 – Catechism 1226 – 1233

Infant baptism is something that is discussed a lot. Many say it is not biblical, yet in these paragraphs it talks about the verses in which entire families were baptized. This does not exclude the children, even the youngest. True, it does not specifically list all the children, but it doesn’t list all the women either. I cannot think of a single woman who is baptized. That doesn’t mean that women cannot be baptized, but if you think not listing infant baptism in the Bible means the Bible restricts it, you could make the same argument for women, which would be ludicrous.

Secondly, Christ calls us to be childlike, He called the Children to Him, and the most innocent and in tune with God that we are is in our youngest ages. Why would we keep them from the grace of Baptism. Just a couple of thoughts on infant baptism.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

January 1, 2012 – 1 Timothy 5-6

In reading about the rules for presbyters (priest) my thoughts went immediately to the sex abuse scandal. I don’t know if that is a bad thing or not, but that is what I thought about. First I thought about the rule in reprimanding publicly who do sin. The biggest issue is that these acts occurred, which is awful. However, what made them worse is the covering up that was attempted in many of the cases. Men that were known to be doing these things were shoved into different settings, in worst cases, into settings where they might commit more harm. If, as the readings say, the sinners were brought to the public, would we still be talking about it. If at the first confirmation that acts occurred, the priest is brought to light, action is taken to stop it, aid given to the victims, and healing started, would it have been the scandal that it is. We won’t know because so much was covered up that the healing will take that much longer.

The second thing I thought about is the part was two or three witnesses should be required. There are many times when allegations may be thrown out there and because of the past, they are automatically thought to be true. People sometimes to have the wrong motivation and go about making allegations that are not true only to hurt people. We claim to be a country of being innocent until proven guilty, but this seems less and less the case (and not only when dealing with allegations like this but with politicians, celebrities, basically anything in the media.) As soon as something hits the news, most people believe it because the news is telling it to them. They do not rely on any source other than the talking head, who may not be relying on anything more than another talking head, which could be getting it from somebody who is not reliable or making it up. The reading holds both sides accountable. We are to bring the bad out into the public, but we are also to make sure that the bad is accurate.

I was also thinking about slaves. The Bible talks a lot about slavery and how to treat your slaves. Logically this implies that the Bible does not forbid slavery. You could use this to argue that slavery is ok, and I would imagine that argument was made during the 1800’s when this country fought over that issue. But the slavery that took place in the Bible seems different than what we had in our country. In the Bible there seems to be slavery either from conquered enemies or if someone became too indebted. In the slavery that we are familiar with, it was the enslavement of an entire race of people, on an entire continent for the most part. Not one that we defeated either. We bought and sold slaves from lands that other nations conquered. Not only this, but we determined that slaves were not really human, a sub-class of person. They did not have the same rights nor the ability to gain those rights. It seems to be two entirely different understandings of slavery. I don’t think the Bible in anyway supports the notion of slavery that we as a nation employed.