Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30, 2012 – Catechism 1621 – 1632

Marriage prep is such an important thing that I feel is not facilitated well enough.  I know the things we did, did not prepare us very well, in my eyes.  I have learned so much more about marriage, what it means, why the Church sees it as so important, the teachings on marriage and contraception, among other things since being married.  Our marriage prep amounted to 4 or 5 meetings, going over some test, and a retreat.  None of these really had any effect on me that I can remember.  I really think that more needs to be put into this.  I have written this before, but divorce is so prevalent because marriage prep is so lacking.  If more couple knew more about marriage, I think they would think more about actually getting married.  I would guess that most divorces are people that were not prepared for marriage in the first place.  I imagine there are cases where couples prepared as best they could and something unforeseen happens to cause the divorce, but I would venture that this is a small minority and even those unforeseen things are not suppose to change your commitment.  That is part of the promise, to be there, good times and bad, for the unforeseen issues.

Friday, June 29, 2012

June 29, 2012 – John 20:11 – 20:31

I have always found it very realistic that Christ has to tell them twice “Peace Be With You.”  They are so overwhelmed with seeing Him and celebrating that they are probably pretty loud, jumping up and down and not actually paying attention to Jesus.  It reminds me of when, during a football game, after a great play, the crowd goes nuts.  If it is the offense that is the home team, the quarterback will come up to the line and wave his hands for the crowd to be quiet so they can run the next play.  Jesus knows and understands their excitement, but also knows that what He is about to say and give them is important and they need to be at peace to hear and accept it. 

Real quickly, why would Christ give them the power to forgive and retain sins if they were not going to hear them from people. 

I wonder if we are suppose to relate Christ coming these two times to the Mass and the Real Presence.  Christ is made present to them on Sunday.  Then, one week later, Christ is made present to them again.  Taking this in association with the Road to Emmaus and Christ being revealed in the breaking of bread, there are a lot of Eucharistic allusions in the Resurrection stories. 

For those that say Sola Scriptura, how do you explain that the book says there were many more things that were not written down.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28, 2012 – Psalms 1 – 4

When reading Psalm 1, I was thinking about the whole notion of “I love God, but Hate Religion”.  Did that person ever read the Psalms or at least this first one.  “the law of the LORD is his joy’.  The rules and regulations are to be celebrated.  They allow us to flourish like the tree by a stream.  Far from limiting us, it helps us grow.  Without “religion” you are have no foundation, no guidance, no direction and you will be “like chaff driven in the wind.”  That seems pretty clear when you look at all the different teachings that claim to be “christian”.  Without the foundation of religion, they go wherever the imagination of a person can take Christ words.  But happy those who follow the law of the Lord.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27, 2012 – 1 Samuel 7

I am a little confused by them saying that the Philistines do not bother Israel as long as Samuel was judging them.  Samuel is around for Saul and some of David, and both fight the Philistines.  Do they see the kingship of Saul as the end of Samuel’s judging.  If that is the case, then maybe there is peace with them until Saul becomes king. 

I really didn’t think of anything other than that.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26, 2012 – Catechism 1609 – 1620

1609 “After the fall, marriage helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one's own pleasure.”  I guess it is easy to see that in a world where all of these attributes are being encouraged at every turn that marriage would be under attack and underappreciated.

Christ marries the Church.  That is really an essential image to understanding the unity that God has with His people.  If you understand that and believe that, your image of marriage cannot envelope two very important things.  Marriage as indissoluble and marriage between man and woman.  If Marriage is dissoluble, meaning you can end it, then you feel God can give up on us, end His relationship and union with us.  There is not bridging the gap.  If you believe God’s unity with us is eternal, then marriage must be indissoluble, because Christ uses marriage as the image for His relationship with us. 

Marriage must be productive.  Marriage cannot be productive if it is between a man and a man or a woman and a woman.  If you believe that marriage can be allowed between two people of the same gender, then you believe that God’s unity with us will not bear any fruit, will have no produce, is basically dead.  Only what bears fruit will not be thrown in the fire.  Just as faith without works is dead, so relationship without produce is dead.  Christ uses marriage as the image of His relationship with us and that image cannot be one that is incapable of producing fruit.  Without the productive unity of the Father and the Son, there would not be the Holy Spirit.  Homosexual marriage does not allow for produce and cannot be a sign that points us to God, it cannot be a Sacrament, which is what marriage is suppose to be. 

I think growing up I was told virginity was necessary until you were married and it was just a rule that you were to follow.  I really had no notion of its importance and connection to the actual bond of marriage.  I think this quote puts it very well.  “Whoever denigrates marriage also diminishes the glory of virginity. Whoever praises it makes virginity more admirable and resplendent.”  I had no idea what marriage really was, so I really could have thought less of the value of my virginity.  Now that I have a much better understanding of marriage, I can more fully value that gift and will strive with everything I am to instill that into my children and those I know.  The world could care less about marriage and so they trample the virtue of virginity.

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012 – John 19:17 – 20:10

I read a very interesting book about the cloths that Jesus was buried in and the relics that are supposedly them now.  It is very interesting what is and continues to be discovered about them.  Things like the cloth that they are made of cannot actually have dye put on it, yet these images appear.  The thing about them is that even if they are forgeries, nobody can explain how the forgeries are made.  You hear similar things about the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Things like the no one can make dyes the same color or the fact that the eyes of the image are reflective.  I would recommend the book “The Face of God”.  It is a investigative look into an image that was lost or forgotten for centuries but is no adored and has been visited by Pope Benedict.

Here is a link to a story that is about a show from the History Channel about the Shroud.  The images look pretty incredible.  I didn’t see the show, but it sounds from the story that the researchers doing this one are pretty convinced the Shroud is legitimate.

Here is the full show.  I really enjoyed it.  I think they went a little far with the Gnostic theology, but for the “History Channel”, which is usually pretty liberal, I thought it was pretty well done.  I really wanted them to add on something about the Face that is written about in “The Face of God”, which also matches the Shroud when they are lined up together.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 24, 2012 – Psalms 34

2 – “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be always in my mouth”.  How often can we say this.  How often do we think we are doing so well when we are actually praising Him 30% of our time.  Is His praise always on our mouth.  That is the goal to shoot for.  When are those moments when we hope God can’t see us.  When are we caught in our sin.  If only in that moment before we fall we could remember to praise the Lord.  How often would we not fall.  How would our lives look if we praised God always, 75%, 50% of the time. 

5 – “I sought the LORD, and he answered me, delivered me from all my fears.”  I was just talking to Michelle about fears.  We often fear things that will never see the light of day.  We fear doing something that no one will ever know about.  We allow fear to hold us comatose. Many think fear is the opposite of courage, but they do not oppose each other.  1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear”.  Love is the opposition of fear.  Courage needs fear.  Without fear, there would not be courage.  Love, in its fullest sense, is the absence of all fear.  I don’t know if we really think about fear and love in the same senses, but it is something to reflect on.  If you love writing, you should have no fear of what you are writing, whether it is good or bad, whether people will like it or not.  I was trying to think of what love is pushing back any fear of running for office.  Thinking about it, it feels like a love for the community, a love for my family and their future, and love (maybe love is not quite the right word, maybe a better word in a faith or trust) for God’s will for me, for my vocation, for the path He is leading me on.  I really feel called to this and knowing that, loving that, keeps the fear away.  It is still there, and I moments I am terrified about failing or even succeeding, but it is “cast out” by me trust and love for the Lord and what He has in store for me. 

A couple of other “real” examples of this.  Fully loving your other takes cast out fear of the commitment.  Love of a child takes away the fear of having one.  Love of your neighbor cast out the fear of helping them, making yourself vulnerable to them, opening yourself up.  Love cast out fear.  Trust in God, who is Love, is where we need to go when we feel fear, when we feel that comatose feeling. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 23, 2012 – 1 Samuel 5 – 6

This is rather crude, but if I saw a statue or golden likeness of a hemorrhoid, I don’t know if I would know what is was suppose to be.

I think you could easily wonder when reading this why God doesn’t do something similar today.  There are many who do not believe in God or actively try to destroy God.  God has it well within His power to make them all suffer from hemorrhoids until they understand their folly and change their ways.  I can see that, but I have two comments for those thoughts. 

1 – Who’s to say that our country isn’t suffering from hemorrhoids in a certain sense?  I have written about this before and with the decline of wealth and stability in our country, one could argue that God is causing us to falter because of our sins and morality.  That may be true or not.  With all of our flaws, we are a country based on freedom and give many more freedoms than a lot of people in the world have no chance of enjoying.  Then again, those freedoms appear to be in danger and along with the loss of those, our country appears in decline.  Funny how no one seems to be making that connection. 

2 – The Philistines do not convert to believers, they only get rid of the thing that is causing their problem.  God wants conversion, He just doesn’t want a change for earthly pleasure.  Miracles may help some convert, but real and deep conversion, the kind that God wants, cannot come from the working of a miracle.  The Philistines had these issues, they get rid of the Ark, the issues stop, they go back to life as usual.  There is no conversion.  How many times do we have an issue, somehow that issue goes away (and it may have come with us changing our life in some way), then we go back to life as it was.  If it is not going to bring about REAL conversion, why would God bother allowing the miracle.   We do not see plagues of hemorrhoids in Law Vegas or Reno, even though those places are full of sin.  Maybe God knows that a miracle like that wouldn’t work for them or would bring a True conversion.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22, 2012 – Catechism 1601 – 1608

Although I am writing this one a little late, it seems fitting to be writing about marriage after I just celebrated my Anniversary.  We went out to lunch and watched our wedding video.  One things watching the video allows us to do is to go back and think about the vows and think about the questions that the priest asked us on that day.  Think about what we expected from our spouse, from ourselves.  Sometimes we forget what our commitment was, at least what we said, on that day.  We get lost in the day to day, kids going here and there, jobs, bills, meals, it all becomes a tangle of life and moves by like water down the river.  When we stop and watch that, we take the time to reflect on whether we are fulfilling those roles we are called to. 

These paragraphs introduce us to the Sacrament of marriage.  It is a hot button topic now because all the talk on homosexual marriage.  As the headings suggest, Marriage is God’s Plan, Marriage is ordered from creation, and Marriage is damaged by sin.  In order to understand the Catholic understanding of marriage, you really have to dig deep into the first chapters of Genesis.  That is where the Pope spent a lot of time when he was going through his Theology of the Body.  The special bond that is shared between a husband and a wife is modeled after that creative act of creating woman from man and their bond.  They were made from and for each other.  Through their union they are made complete.  (Jerry Maguire’s “you complete me” is very Biblical)  Sin distorts this relationship and when a husband and wife seek to fulfill that initial bond that was there before sin, that is when they start to find true happiness. 

Everything that distort marriage away from that first ordered union of man and woman is the result of sin and takes us further away from happiness, not closer.  Many do not like to hear things like that, but I don’t like to hear things said about how great certain beliefs are either. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 21, 2012 – John 18:28 – 19:16

The word Truth was mentioned so many times in Christ discourses leading up to His arrest, it really set the stage for the question by Pilot, “what is truth”.  There is no answer to Pilot’s question, only the question from the world represented by Pilot, to God.  The answer was given before, Christ is the Truth. 

There are several lines that stood out while I was reading that I thought showed people’s motivation or intentions. 

18:28 – “they themselves did not enter the praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover”.  Look at what they are concerned about.  They are plotting to kill an innocent man and they are concerned with not entering a place so they won’t be ceremonially unclean.  If you ever need an example of what the difference Christ was talking about when He taught that you need to be clean on the inside and the outside is of no concern or when He talked about the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders.

18:30 - “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”  They don’t answer the question because their answer is their jealousy and longing to keep power. 

19:15 - “We have no king but Caesar.”  The Jews are to have no King but God.  This was just part of the Office of Readings with the house of Gideon saying that his family would not be made king because God was to be Israel’s king.  The Jews have turned 180 degrees away from God in order to fulfill their own desires, turning their back on God and allying themselves with the king of the world instead of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20, 2012 – Isaiah 55 – 56

55:10-11 is such a great image of how God’s word works in the world.  We all understand that the rain comes down and waters the world and things grow.  We understand it a lot more when we are in need of rain and the grass is turning brown.  We really can imagine God’s word coming into our life and really affecting us, not leaving us until it accomplishes what it is suppose to.  And just like water can make a seed a tree without our really understanding how, God can change our lives in ways we may not understand or expect and can change them in drastic ways. 

56:11 goes back to this idea of all these different church’s teaching different things and leading people in all different directions. “Shepherds who have no understanding; all have turned their own way, each one covetous for gain”.  They are labeled as unworthy shepherds. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 19, 2012 – 1 Samuel 4

I don’t know if I have read a more pathetic way of dying in the Bible.  Eli, when finding out about the battle and the loss of the Ark, falls over in his chair and breaks his neck.  Let that be a lesson to all those that do not keep their chair on all 4 legs, myself included.  You wonder if the author of the book was having issues with people leaning back on their chairs and wanted to put something in there to bring that lesson home. 

When reading the chapters before and the prophesy of what was going to happen to Eli’s family, you had to think he knew something bad was going to happen when both his sons and the Ark went out to a battle. 

We also see the name Ichabod well before Ichabod Crane was ever invented.  The name, at least with these two, is not a name with a very good history.

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012 – Catechism 1590 – 1600

This is an “in brief” section, so nothing new, just a review of things we have already gone over in more detail.  One thought is that the Catholic hierarchy is so similar to that which we see in the Old Testament that it just makes more logical sense it is God’s plan.  After all that foundation, God would not just turn the organization of religion into something completely different. 

Someone asked me how a priest gets the title Monsignor.  This is an answer that I found. 


A Catholic priest is given the title of Monsignor by the Pope in recognition of outstanding service to the Catholic Church. A monsignor is still a priest but also has this great honor to his name.


The process begins once a diocese bishop nominates a priest for this high honor. The bishop submits the priest's name, biography and works to the Holy See. At that point, the Pope reviews the information and determines whether or not to make the priest a monsignor. The Vatican will issue a diploma designating the new title and rank.

Three Grades

There are three grades of monsignor. The Protonotary Apostolic is given to a priest who serves seven positions in the Roman Curia. A Protonotary Apostolic wears a black cassock with red buttons and a fuchsia sash and cape. A grade 2 monsignor is Prelate of Honor to His Holiness. It can be given to priests outside the papal court. The Prelate of Honor to His Holiness wears a bishop's choir cassock and a fuchsia sash. The Chaplain to His Holiness is grade 3 and is given to a priest inside or outside the Roman Curia. They wear a black cassock with a fuchsia sash.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 17, 2012 – John 18 – 18:27

The denial of Peter must be right up there with one of the most hurtful things ever done to Christ.  Judas betrays Him to the Jews, but Peter was there and made the confession and was the leader and swore he would not betray Him.  Yet, and I don’t know if I have written about this before, I think it may have been necessary for Peter to do in order to become what he was going to become.  In order to preach forgiveness, you have to have felt forgiveness.  In order to preach humility, you have to feel humiliation.  Peter was being groomed as the leader of the Church here on Earth.  In order to be credible he has to be able to say, “here is where I screwed up and humbly came back to Christ and He forgave me.”  In order to teach us that our sins are forgiven, he has to show us that even his sin has been forgiven.  Christ became incarnate so that we could have a new and more intimate relationship with God.  Sometimes I think Peter had to go through what he did so that the new leader of the Church would be able and ready to fulfill that duty. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 16, 2012 – Zechariah 3 – 5

When it was talking about the lamp stand with the two olive trees on either side, I was thinking of Christ on the cross with the two thieves on either side.  As you read on, it doesn’t seem to be alluding to that because of the importance of the thieves and only one of them converts, that we know of.  After reading all the passage about the olive trees, I had a picture in my head of all the art you see of Christ, seated on His throne, and the two people you usually see on His sides.  Most artwork places John the Baptist and Mary on one side and the other. 

This is one of my favorite pieces of art (also was always painted by my favorite ninja turtle).

Friday, June 15, 2012

June 15, 2012 – 1 Samuel 3

We see two reactions to the words of the Lord, both are models for what we are to do.  Both are difficult for us to manage, but one is much more difficult for us.

When you hear the Lord calling to you, what is your response.  Are you unsure if it is the Lord and perhaps go to another source in confusion, like Samuel the first three times.  Or do we ignore the Lord and go about things in our own way.  Or do we answer, “speak Lord for you servant is listening.”  How hard it is to say those words and follow through with giving God the control He wants. 

Eli has the more difficult task.  He not only hears what the Lord is saying but he hears bad news for him.  He listens and is told that justice will be dealt to him for the ill his sons have done and for him not acting.  When we find out things are not going to be the way we want do we react with anger or sadness.  We are suppose to act as Eli, “He is the Lord and He will do what He judges best.”  Eli knows that he is not in control and even something that may not be pleasant for him is something that is the better overall because God is in control. 

The first thing that is a given in these lessons is that we are listening for God’s message in the first place.  If we are not trying to hear God’s will for us, we won’t even have the chance to respond properly.  First we must listen, then respond to His words and His will, and finally, trust that His will is the best way for us. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 14, 2012 – Catechism 1581 – 1589

I think the image that St. Augustine gives regarding the power coming through the priest even though he is sinful is a nice image to understand.  God’s grace comes through the priest when performing the priestly duties, when he becomes Christ in a miraculous way, when he is performing the Sacraments.  The sins or even the beliefs and doubts of the priest do not stop the miracle or the grace.  God’s grace is like light coming through a window.  It may be a dirty window, but the light that comes through is still light.  It is not defiled.  But it is also a very grave matter for the priest that is not acting in a worthy manner.  Although the Grace is not diluted or changed, that priest has a responsibility and duty and a flock to manage and the scandal laid out by the priest can lead to many lost souls.  A priest has a great responsibility not only to provide the followers with the Sacraments but to lead them to Heaven. 

It is also a mark that will never leave a man.  The Church can take away responsibilities of a priest and limit what they can do, but they will never be able to take away their ordained mark of the priesthood.  Like Baptism and Confirmation, it will be with them eternally.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 13, 2012 – John 16:25 – 17:26

Jesus has a long discourse about the world in relation to those that are His.  I just listened to the Office of Readings and a sermon from Origin that dealt with this topic.  It does not deal with this scriputure passage but with the understanding of the world, Christ followers in the world and an how Jericho is used to show what will happen to the world.  I thought I would share it. 

The conquest of Jericho


Jericho is besieged and surrounded but has yet to fall. How is it to be conquered? Not with arrows or swords or battering-ram. Nothing is deployed but the priests’ trumpets, and the walls of Jericho crumble.

  “In Scripture we often find Jericho used as a symbol of the world. Even in the Gospel, when the traveller from Jerusalem to Jericho is set upon by robbers, is he not an image of Adam, thrown out of paradise into exile in this world? And again, those blind men who were in Jericho, when Jesus came to them to give them sight, are they not an example of those who live in this world, oppressed by the blindness of ignorance until the Son of God enlightens them?

  And so this Jericho – this world – must fall. The consummation of this present age has long been prophesied by the sacred books.

  How will this consummation come about? By what means? Scripture tells us, at the sound of the trumpet. What trumpet is that? Paul gives you the key to this secret. Listen to him: The trumpet will sound, and the dead who are in Christ will be raised, imperishable. At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven. Then, therefore, our Lord Jesus will come with trumpets to conquer Jericho and throw it down, so that out of all its people there will survive only the prostitute and her household. Our Lord Jesus will come down, come down with the sound of the trumpet.

  May he save that one woman who gave succour to his spies, who received his Apostles in trust and obedience and hid them in her roof. May he take that prostitute and give her a share with the house of Israel. But let us not go over this story again and label her with the name of her past sin. She may have been a prostitute once but now she is a chaste virgin, joined to her chaste spouse, who is Christ. Listen to what St Paul says about her: I arranged for you to marry Christ so that I might give you away as a chaste virgin to this one husband. And he was still speaking of her when he said: There was a time when we too were ignorant, disobedient and misled and enslaved by different passions and luxuries.

  Do you want to know more about how the prostitute ceased to be a prostitute? Listen again to Paul: These are the sort of people you were once, but now you have been washed clean, and sanctified, and justified through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and through the Spirit of our God. To enable her to escape the destruction of Jericho she received from the spies a powerful sign of safety, the scarlet rope. For it is through the blood of Christ that the whole Church is saved, in Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom belong glory and power throughout all the ages. Amen.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012 – Proverbs 8:12 – 9

9:17-18  These I thought were very interesting verses.  Stolen water and bread gotten secretly and how they feel when they are gotten.  There is a rush, a satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment.  It is sweet to the taste when it first happens.  Getting something for nothing or on the sly feels great in the moment.  That rush leads to pushing the envelope even further and trying to do it more and more.  Little does that person know the path they are taking, the destination for that road is the netherworld.  That is where Folly is trying to lead people.  I know that rush and that feeling, I also know the guilt that flows from that when you realize how wrong it is, when you step off that road, when you stop listening to Folly.  It is hard to turn away from that feeling for many.  Many trudge blindly down that road following a voice promising adventure and wealth and power, all for nothing.  They don’t understand exactly how much in really will cost.  Nothing less than their eternal soul unless they step off that road and take another. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012 – 1 Samuel 2

Verse 9 – “not by strength does man prevail”.  What a Scripture to meditate on.  How often does the world look at only the strength or power of a man.  How often do we see men of great power fall, people that think themselves invulnerable falter, great towers topple.  When you rely on your own strength you are placing your foundation on sand.  Our strength needs to be in God.  Only then is our foundation rock and something that we can build on.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June 10, 2012 – Catechism 1572 – 1580

In these few paragraphs we cover two very controversial topics.  Latin rite priest are not to be married and only men can be priest, deacons, and bishops.  For all the controversy and hub-bub regarding these two, the explanations are really simple and only a couple a paragraphs are spent on them.  Christ chose only male apostles and the apostles only chose men as their successors.  The Catholic Church does not feel it has the authority to change what God instilled, so it does not give females the opportunity to be ordained. 

As far as priest being married, the explanation deals with a choice and commitment to a vocation, a way of life, and to be 100% committed to a life of serving God.  The Latin rite feels that this commitment cannot be made by a married man because their vocation is to their wife and family.  I know that many, if not all, non-Catholic Christian pastors and (as it says in the Catechism) the Eastern Church have married priest. It is something that every ordained priest understands going into the priesthood that they will be celibate.  I don’t really feel that the celibacy of priest has anything to do with the sexual abuse crisis.  There are pedophiles throughout all walks of life.  The sexual abuse crisis stems for bad formation and the covering up when information was known.  I don’t think for a second that the priest shortage will be fixed by allowing married priest no more than the attendance would increased if we said you don’t have to believe in the real presence.  We won’t increase our numbers by changing our beliefs and teachings.  If the last 40 years shows us anything, the more we water down our teaching the more we will lose people to non-denominational churches because our teachings become interchangeable and we become non-denominational.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

June 9, 2012 – John 15:18 – 16:24

16:2 – “They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour* is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.”  I just read an article/interview with an Archbishop about the Catholic Church in Iraq.  Here is a quote that goes along with this section.  “We see it as strengthening our relationship with Jesus who suffered and was crucified. This means reflecting on our wounds and not just bearing them, but taking these wounds with joy that we have participated in the suffering of Our Lord. We believe that true Christianity is a persecuted Christianity.”  I have written about this before, the idea that we complain when the Church is trampled on.  We do need to fight against it, but we must not lose hope that this persecution is an end or will lead to an end.  The Christian Church is a persecuted church at its core.  We are called to live in the image of Christ.  Accepting persecution was one of His greatest examples.

“16:13 - But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.”  Notice that it does not say the spirit of truth will come and reveal everything at once but will “guide” us to all truth.  That says to me something that will happen over a period of time.  And there needs to be a resource that receives this truth so that we can be assured that we are getting the authentic truth.  Who could believe a truth that is supposedly revealed to anyone that feels that are listening and comes out with different and contradictory teachings?  That isn’t a truth I would trust or have any faith or hope in. 

Friday, June 08, 2012

June 8, 2012 – Psalms 35 – 36

Psalm 35 seems appropriate for what we are dealing with in the nation right now.  Attacks on Religion, the Marriage, Life, we call out to God to help against our enemies.  When you read “They repay me evil for good…when I stumbled they gathered with glee,…they slandered me without ceasing; without respect they mocked me” 35:12-16 doesn’t that paint a pretty good picture of how you see the Church in the news.  Whenever we see a call for Catholics to stand up and support this or that, I think it would be a good Scripture to throw in there. 

36:5 “they do not reject evil”.  This one caught my eye.  I was thinking about when we make excuses for small sins.  I was thinking about how I used to make excuses for a lot more than I do now, but always thought of myself (and was told that I was) a good guy.  Being good is not being wishy washy on evil, it is to reject it.  When you think of basketball and someone takes a shot, what goes through your mind if I say it was blocked or tipped.  Now, what goes through your mind when I say it was rejected.  I get a very different sense of what happened to the shot.  Maybe that is a good way to envision how we treat sin.  Are we deflecting it or are we rejecting it.  That is was we are called to do, that is what the Psalm says the evil ones do not do.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

June 7, 2012 – 1 Samuel 1

19 – “When they returned Elkanah had intercourse with his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her.”  I wonder, do people think that when they shut their bedroom door, that stops God from intervening.  God is there, in the midst of your most intimate joining with your spouse.  That is why intercourse is so special, because it is so HOLY.  That is why it is suppose to be between a husband and wife, because it is so HOLY.  Intercourse is perhaps the greatest Earthly way God has to show us what true communion is, complete vulnerability, complete unity.  Any other unit or bound is somehow incomplete.  It cannot bring about life.  God is a part of that union between a husband and wife and if He wills it, He allows a child to come forth from that union.  The HOLINESS of that act, the cooperation with God in forming life, the promise it says, the vulnerability that is required, that is why the Catholic Church takes it so seriously.  Its HOLINESS is also the same reason the devil lures the world into treating so poorly.  When you are the enemy, you take the thing they find most sacred and you trample on it, you mock it, you make it ordinary, you distort it, and you do whatever you can to try and destroy its meaning.  Look at the way the world looks at sex and the complete opposite way the Catholic Church looks at it.  I don’t know if you can really say we have lost the battle of the sexual revolution.  While here, in this world, it is not something we can really win.  I think all we can do is do our best to learn what the Church teaches, live by those teachings and let people know that there is a different way.  The world will do what it will do.  We are not of this world.  Whatever the world does, we need to hold fast to our beliefs and our teachings.  What happens after that is out of our hands.  All we can control are our actions and I would encourage everyone to learn more about why the Catholic Church teaches what they teach and really reflect on what road the world is taking us on with their views on sex and sexuality. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

June 6, 2012 – Catechism 1562 – 1571

I have thought about becoming a deacon.  I still haven’t taken it off the table as an option, but it is not the right time for me now.  One of the reasons I am so interested in it is the service of the Church in that special way.  I have always felt drawn to help at the Church and I never really grew up in a parish that had deacons.  Epiphany, where I am at now, has two, and I see how they work to serve the parish in a very special way.  Becoming a priest always intrigued me, but obviously that was not my calling.  I don’t know if that inkling to be a priest influences a person into wanting to become a deacon to try and fill that longing or if it is an entirely different calling.  Our diocese only ordains deacons every 5 years and they just started the process for the new class, so I have 5 years to continue to think about it.  Who knows where I will be in 5 years time, but if that inkling is still there, I will be discerning it all over once again.  

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

June 5, 2012 – John 14:15 – 15:17

I understand that I have talked about this many times, but here is another passage that points out clear unbiblical idea of all these different denominations all being Christian.  14:17 calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth.  How in the world can anyone believe that they are relying on the Holy Spirit to lead them or to start their own church when it disagrees with another church?  I cannot comprehend how a Spirit of Truth could allow so many contradicting beliefs among a church that it is suppose to watch over.  I don’t know how you could ever convince me that this makes sense. 

And as far as faith alone believers, throughout this passage, I don’t believe Christ talks about faith a single time.  Follow the commandments and love one another.  That is what Christ instructs them to do.  Belief in Christ does not get you anywhere if you are not going to follow what He commands. 

I was thinking about the vine and the branches and a vine that is cut off.  15:4 – “a branch cannot bear fruit on its own”.  Would you describe a person that breaks away from the Church on their own.  I was thinking about Luther and whether this might qualify.  The thing that struck me was whether you could say whether he bore fruit.  If you break away, you cannot bear fruit, but Luther broke away and appears to have bore fruit.  There are many denominations and people throughout the world that believe in Christ, at least in some way, because of non-Catholic denominations.  Can you say that those are not fruit. 

I think there is an argument that can be made that they are not fruit of Luther because he did break away, but only fruit of Christ by His mercy.  When Luther broke away he led people astray, through teaching and scandal, and split the Church in an irreversible way.  Everything that happens after he opened the Pandora box is not fruit but dead on the vine.  You think that Christians convert people now, what would it look like if the Church were united in one belief as it should be.  So, I think it does apply.  Luther broke away from the Vine, and his branch has not provided fruit.  That doesn’t mean it can’t be grafted back on, Christ allows for that conversion.  But until it is reattached to the vine, the branch remains infertile and unable to bear fruit. 

Monday, June 04, 2012

June 4, 2012 – Micah 4 – 5

It is really hard to blame the Jews that thought Jesus was the Messiah and to think that He was not going to be some type of military leader.  If I gave you this description of the Messiah, “tend the land of Assyria with the sword,… like a lion among beasts of the forest,… when it passes through it tramples; it tears and no one can rescue. Your hand shall be lifted above your foes, and all your enemies shall be cut down….I will destroy the horses from your midst and ruin your chariots; I will destroy the cities of your land and tear down all your fortresses.”  That isn’t even all the language.  Granted, you have to ignore what Christ actually teaches, but you can get a sense of what Israel was looking for.  They were a nation that was conquered and under the thumb of an empire.  It isn’t a big leap to think that a Messiah would come that would tear down their fortresses. 

Now, go back and read chapter 5 again and think of sin as the enemy that the Messiah will conquer.  Think of how sin has ruled your life at one time or another and how Christ helped when you allowed Him.  When He passed through, He trampled.  He destroyed their horses, their chariots, sins power.  Think about what Christ, the Messiah, was really coming to do, what He was really coming to conquer. 

Sunday, June 03, 2012

June 3, 2012 – Ruth 3 – 4

These two genealogies match up pretty well.  They are just a smaller sample I guess.  Look at the one in Luke.  Luke’s goes in reverse order.  In Luke’s there is no Ram, but is replaced by Admin and Arni.  I called into Catholic Answers once and asked about this difference in the genealogies of Luke and Matthew and here is a couple of the things he said.  First, with so many different generations and tribal inter-marriage, it is possible to get a line from A to F by going along different routes.  I am not sure if I completely understood it, but it seemed to have something to do with the rule that if your brother died, you were to marry his widow and raise the family as under your brother’s name.  Some might do the genealogy based on the Legal father (dead brother) and some on the bio father.  Over generations of this, two different lives could be drawn from one person to the next. 

There is also the idea that father, or at least our translation of father, did not have a perfect form in the Hebrew language.  Much like the confusion with brother being translated, there was no term from grandfather or great grandfather or so on.  The genealogy could skip a generation and still use the term father.  Below, you could say that Boaz was the father of David, even though he is (in our terms) his great grandfather.  This would account for the different number of generations between Abraham and Jesus in the two genealogies in the Gospels.     

Matthew 1:3-6 - Perez became the father of Hezron,

Hezron the father of Ram,

Ram the father of Amminadab.

Amminadab became the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab.

Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth.

Obed became the father of Jesse,

Jesse the father of David the king.

4:18-22 - These are the descendants of Perez:

Perez was the father of Hezron,

Hezron was the father of Ram,

Ram was the father of Amminadab,

Amminadab was the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon was the father of Salma,

Salma was the father of Boaz,

Boaz was the father of Obed,

Obed was the father of Jesse, and

Jesse became the father of David

Luke 3:31-33 - David, the son of

Jesse, the son of

Obed, the son of

Boaz, the son of

Sala, the son of

Nahshon, the son of

Amminadab, the son of

Admin, the son of

Arni, the son of

Hezron, the son of


Saturday, June 02, 2012

June 2, 2012 – Catechism 1554 – 1561

I am not sure if we are going to get into what a Cardinal is, but they are still only Bishops.  There is no step higher than that.  The Pope is the Bishop of Rome.  The Bishops form a very important part of the Church and specifically their diocese.  As it says, they are the presence of Christ to their flock.  Our Bishop is someone we should look to for leadership, teaching, guidance, and care.  That is why some of the actions taken by Bishops over the last 40+ years has hurt the Church so badly.  Whether it is the sex abuse scandals, liberalizing of Church teaching on Contraception, or support of the homosexual lifestyle, when a Bishop leads that way down a path contrary to Church teaching he is leading a very large flock.  It is the epitome of scandal, not only for his flock, but those that watch what he does and thinks that because a Bishop allows it, it must be ok.  That is why it is so refreshing to have all the Bishops in line behind this new push against the Obama mandates.  As we go on, we need to pray that they stay united and that the chinks in the armor don’t start to show because only staying united will allow us to move forward.  And that doesn’t mean that the mandate may change and it may not mean that things will look bright for Catholics, but regardless of what is in store, having the Bishops united will bring the Church through whatever is coming. 

I have heard that every Bishop has a document that has every ordination that links him back to one of the Apostles.  I don’t know if that is true or not.  I’d be curious if anyone would want to weigh in.        

Friday, June 01, 2012

June 1, 2012 – John 13:21 – 14:14

2 traitors in the Passion.  We are all traitors to Christ, we all sin.  You have your choice when you look at the story.  You can go back to Christ or you can choose to go deeper into your sin until it overwhelms you and kills you, spiritually and sometimes physically (like Judas).

Thomas was not only doubting after the Resurrection, but even before.  14:5 “we do not know the way”. 

“No one comes to the Father except through me.”  We hear a lot of criticism for saying that people that do not believe in Christ will not get into Heaven.  That is not technically Catholic teaching.  Catholic teaching is that living a life with Sacraments of the Catholic Church is the ordinary way to get to Heaven.  The Church leaves open the understanding that God is infinitely merciful and His ways are mysterious and those that are not Catholic or even Christian can get to Heaven through God’s great mercy.  The Catholic Church only says that the ordinary way, the way that we should do it, the way that we teach, is through the Sacraments given by Christ and made a available through the Church.  But according to Christ words, even those that have had no knowledge or relationship with Him on Earth, if they are going to Heaven, it is through Christ, in some way, shape or form.

14:11 - Christ offers the same path to the Apostles that He offered before.  If you do not believe in Me, believe in the works that I have done. 

Numbers 10:33 – The Glory of God went ahead of Israel to prepare a place for them to rest.  Very similar to the language used by Christ in 14:3.