Posted tagged ‘Sunday Readings’

TELLING IT LIKE IT IS

April 2, 2017

(Jesus,  confrontational and blunt,  bearer of bad news. )

“Red sky in morning,  sailors take warning”  —

Sunrise 380

There aren’t too many sunrises in my “circadian rhythm” –   but I caught one recently!    And sure enough, we had about three days of rain following this beautiful sky.

It was Passion Sunday today,  a name for this particular Sunday that’s been recognized for centuries as the one in which we begin the steep,  inevitable slide downward into the days of the Crucifixion.      We carefully reread and then meditate on the events in those last couple of weeks before the death of Christ.   There’s lots there for our minds to confront.

None of His friends knew that some very bad times were coming, though.    In fact,  Jesus thought it weird that mankind can read the signs in the sky,  like red skies in mornings,  but we can’t read the Signs of the Times.  So  His last conversations were particularly blunt and to-the-point.

No time left for a kinder, gentler religion of luv and mercy for everyone, everywhere,  no matter what they’re doing and no matter what they believe in.

The Reading Appointed for Passion  Sunday:

phar n rulers

Speaking to the local rulers and religious leaders of His day,  Jesus told them right out that if they were of God –  if, as they thought they were —  then they would understand His words and believe Him,  but since they reject Him,  they are not of God but of God’s enemy,  the Devil.

You’re, a liar,  they said.      No, you are the liars,  He said.

No backing down from the truth.

We’re sons of Abraham, they said.

pharisee angry

But,  He said,   Abraham  saw My day,  he saw Me come to earth, and he rejoiced to see Me. 

You can’t claim   that Abraham ever saw You!    You’re just nothing but a young, inexperienced nobody.

But —  before Abraham ever was  —     I AM. 

That was the statement that did it.    Jesus is right-out, plainly, clearly, bluntly stating that  He and God,  (who had revealed Himself with the name I AM)   are one and the same.

Take it or leave it.

Believe it or don’t. 

pharisees

They didn’t believe it –  and they didn’t get Him that time.   Yet.   (“They took up stones, therefore, to cast at Him;  but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.”)

But some of them  and their children lived to see the destruction of that beautiful, sturdy temple they were in.   It took them unawares.

The Signs of the Times:  Judgment comes  upon all unbelievers.

Pretty blunt.

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WHAT THEY DON’T GET

February 26, 2017

(updated, to tamp down the enthusiasm and perhaps make more sense):

________________________________

Sunday!

Strengthened,  happy,  and all-pumped up —  and ready for this:

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Daytona Day!!!    I’m happy to have this one day out of the week when we’re commanded to stop, pause,  refresh,  recreate,   change your pace,  change mental gears so we can look upwards,  make this day set apart  (made  holy)  — to remember God.     His idea:  one day out of seven, right?

The age-old Reading given to us  to ponder on this particular Sunday concerns  a man who sat in a dusty (probably smelly) heap on the side of a well-traveled dirt road holding out his hand,  begging.

blind-eyes

No one cared.  No one glanced his way,  because he was annoying.   We have bums like that today,  but for this man,  his situation wasn’t entirely his fault.    He was unseen and  unseeing.  He was blind from birth.  Really,  of no use to the society of his day.

This is one of my favorite stories from the Gospels, because it isn’t really about this man’s   blindness.

Jesus walks by with a great noisy crowd around Him,  but then he comes to a sudden halt – causing the crowd around him to stop too.   What for?   Jesus has heard the call of the blind man,  and He has heard the man dare to call him “Thou Son of David!”    There is only one Son of David,   but the crowd missed it.

bartemaus

Jesus rewarded  Bartimaeus’s  faith with a physical miracle.

I like the story, sure.  I’ve written about it before, like here.    But after the sermon,  the Mass went on . . .

As I was driving home,  I was musing on why I often feel so strong and happy after the Mass.  (   I’m referring to the actual,  original real  Mass which was entrusted to the Church and cannot be lessened and diminished.)

The (real) Mass is  a spiritual miracle,  but, like Bartimaeus,  it seemed like I often experience a physical miracle too.   I can’t explain it all,  but I thought of all the people who “don’t get it”  and what it is they don’t seem to “get.”

They don’t get:

Why we go to Mass every week – or more – and willingly.

Why we’ll bother with ashes this week.

Why we don’t eat meat of Friday.

Why we keep the marital act within a marriage.

Why  our commitment to stay in a marriage is a strong one.

Why we give our hard-earned money away to people in need.

Why we hold back when there is reason to be really angry.

Why we refrain from cussing and swearing and talking trash about other people.

Why we look uncomfortable as we’re hearing dirty jokes.

Why we dress modestly.

Why we read the Bible,  on our own, because we want to.

Why fun feels so . .  .  fun!

Lots of other things too –  but I was writing this list as I was driving home and thought it best to keep the list short.

There are many things to be blind to.    And I know there are many reasons for a man to be blind,  willingly blind.

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Jesus reached out to Blind  Bartimaeus  with  concern,  pity,  love,  kindness,  and with power.   Suddenly Bartimaeus  sees  Jesus standing before him.

As we all will some day.   When we leave this world,  we will see Him with perfect clarity.   No explanations from us are needed.

No explanations  from us are possible.

No excuses.

“We will know as we are known.”   We will no longer “see through a glass, darkly,  but clearly,  face to face.”  Some day not one of us will be blind to what we should have known.

Seems safer to call out now to the Son of David   (as Bartimaeus did);  today,  rather than after this life.   Jesus reaches out today with the same ” concern,  pity,  love,  kindness,  and  power..”      When we look up,  respond, call out His name,   we begin to “see” so much.   “I have come to give you Life, and that, much more abundantly.”

Strong,  happy,  whole, and mysteriously  pumped up after each encounter!

SEPTEMBER SUNDAY – NOT UNALLOYED

September 6, 2016

Morning Glory

Well, I pointed out a couple posts ago why September is such a beautiful month for me,  and my birthday month too,   so on this past Sunday I wanted to worship God in the most beautiful church I knew of in this area.         Here’s an old aerial view.   You can see it is built as churches are,  in the form of a cross.

jackson-shape-of-cross

It is dedicated to the one who always guides us to  her Son, just as the North Star guides sailors safely to shore,  no mater what they’ve been through!    Many a sailor has appealed to the guidance of Mary Star of the Sea in the midst of storms and dangers!  We become safe only in the arms of God.

jackson-mary-as-bluew-star

There,  above the altar,  is a picture of her,  showing us where the altar is,   beckoning us  to come to the altar, to where her Son and our Savior offers Himself up for us.   The Mass is all about voluntarily joining in, in a human way,  with the offering up of Himself to the Father, to take care of our sin issue.     Nice  to have a “Beautiful Lady”  pointing the way.

Below and behind the altar are the Apostles,  teaching us the Way.

jackson-12-apostles

When your mind wanders . . .  (“the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”) . . . it’s nice to have these Apostles reminding us of Who this is all about.     We have the teachings of some of these apostles;  that’s a help.

The dome,  the paintings, the carvings,  the colors are all beautiful;   lofty, raising our minds “aloft.”

For you who are not Christian,  that’s the point of all that beauty we strive for:  to point our way  up  to the Heavens.    Whatever is in the next world is far more beautiful and glorious than we can even imagine.

We are humans;  it works;   beauty points upward.

But my happiness at being there on Sunday was not unalloyed.       That is,  I was acutely mindful of Sundays elsewhere in the world.

This church was destroyed last week:

sunday-place

The Muslims hate Catholics and have stated so in the past two issues of their glossy,  well-made monthly magazine called Dabiq.   There they lay out their plans for us.

Here, in the Far North in the United States I can’t DO anything about this,  just pray and  pray more earnestly.      I can pray for people who are chained and imprisoned on this Sunday.

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I can pray for those who have been chained because of their Christian faith:

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They are being prevented from seeing any “beautiful place of worship.”

I’m  not yet fearful  because I am a Christian:

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My priests can still lead me in worship and do what Christ has told them to do:

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But if we don’t vote correctly this Fall,  if we don’t pay attention,  if we are ignorant of what’s going on in Europe  right now  (first Europe, then America) . . .

. . .    if we remain ignorant and indifferent:

and-so-it-begins-375

. . . then I will be writing about different kind of experiences,  here,  on Sundays.

“Complacent”  means you are pretty much enjoying the way things are going.

“Unalloyed”  means you’re blissfully and ignorantly happy, without troubling thoughts.

“Alloyed”  means “mixed;    your happy thoughts are mixed with sobering reality.

I am not  unalloyed.”

bar-cross-in-middle

The Reading appointed for this Sunday,  for many centuries, is from the third chapter of the letter to the Ephesians, from which our priest explained that “we ask God for many things all the time,” but “He is ready and able to give  us far more good things than we can even imagine.”

So our praying matters!

From the Introit:      “Bow down Thy ear to me, O Lord, and hear me;    for I am needy and poor.”

OBEYING THE COMMAND

August 28, 2016

laksup

A few posts ago I wrote about Hiawatha’s father,    who, after staging a great challenge for his son,   told his son to go back to his home,   go back to the living earth  and “cleanse”  the earth of the evil things that prevent a good life for us humans.

Mudjekeewis  told Hiawatha:

I have put you to this trial
So to know and prove your courage;
 Now receive the prize of valor:
Go back to your home and people.
Live among them, toil among them,
Cleanse the Earth from all that harms it . . .

 “Cleanse the earth from all that harms it . .  .”

reading   It’s been an interesting coincidence that recent Sunday Readings given to Christians for the past many centuries have told us to do this same thing!      Perhaps the source is the same:  God is God and there is only One and He doesn’t change,  so it makes sense that wise men have similar messages to give us.

So what are these things we’re supposed to cleanse our earth from if we are properly led by the (Great)  Spirit?

They’re listed in our Readings,  from the Bible,  last week:   Galatians 5:    But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.    Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury,  Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects,    Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.

This week’s Readings explains this further,  and then says:  “But let every man prove his own works….”     This is a manly command.

We want a better world?  Then we need to make a better Self.    And that list in Galatians shows us the things we need to get rid of in our own lives and in our own surroundings.

Obey the Command.    It’s a good one.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD: Philosophy 101

April 19, 2015

Today in Christendom is Good Shepherd Sunday.    We join with our ancestors for hundreds and hundreds  of years in learning more deeply why Our Lord is likened to a Shepherd and why we are likened to sheep.

Good  shepherd

Looking forward,  we join today with future generations who will also learn and contemplate Christ the Good Shepherd.   We will teach our children — and observe how they instinctively understand this analogy.

The Shepherd cares for the sheep and does everything in their best interest.  The sheep,  little ones and  older ones,  follow His lead because they trust Him to know best.    They keep their eye on their shepherd,  they go to him for their needs, and we can even  imagine the sheep bear affection towards their shepherd.

This alone is worthy of a lifetime of meditation.

As we become adults and grow older,   it’s a good thing to focus on that very word which children, in their childlike innocence, seem to understand so well:   “Good.”     The tiniest toddler understands:  “Good boy!”    “Good girl.”

And what does it mean when we call the Son of God, our Good Shepherd   “good”?      Wise men with greater intellects than I have said that  God is good, and that the very definition of “good”  is named God,  and that God is Goodness itself.   Fundamentally,  what is good?   God is that which is Goodness.

Do you have a problem with God?    Imagine a “better God” – one that is so good that He is infinitely good —  That is God.    You’ve heard a lot of enemies of God speak about Him.   So can you imagine an even better God than what they say there is?    Then that is the real God.

You can go on and on like this;  keep imagining a God who is even more good,  and even more good than that.    You may go on into Infinity, and then begin to approach the Goodness of the One God Most High — Who is Goodness itself.

“God  is  Good.”   And God is the source and origin of all goodness that comes into man’s thinking.

But is He “real”?        Long before Christianity came about,  The Greeks understood that something that is actually really in existence is greater than the thought of it.   

Christian philosophy adds a kind of definition of God:    “God is that than which no greater can be conceived.”    

So when you say God is Good, and have an idea what that means,  still greater is the real God,  for He actually exists. 

And in His Goodness,   He is actually Good to us as individuals.   

Good shepherd and you

He is our Shepherd,   one sheep at a time.

A child can understand this.