Monday, October 31, 2011

Some Links

First, Six Practical Means to Overcome Sins and Faults of the Tongue.  The list of sins itself was useful.  I'm liking this column at Integrated Catholic Life.

Tomorrow is the Solemnity of All Saints.  If you are Catholic, you should go to Mass.  Readings are here.

Pro-Life Group Raises Concerns Over PepsiCo's Research Methods "Group writes letters regarding the company's possible use of aborted fetal cell lines for development of beverage flavor enhancers, and a shareholder filed a resolution asking the business to adopt a policy against such research." Concerning, indeed.  I'll have more on this later.

Finally, a cute video.  :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time & Psalm 40

Today is the Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time!  Readings are here.  Just a few short weeks until the new words we'll get to use at Mass!

And we're on to Psalm 40
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.

Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me. Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil. Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha. Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified. But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Psalm 2

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
(Psa 2:1-3)

Going back to the entry on Matthew 2, God has always known He would be opposed.  The rulers would set themselves against Him, the ultimate ruler.  He’s a threat to their rule.  They can’t be absolutely in charge if He is.  And if one desires absolute power, you can’t be in a position to share it or be subject to someone else’s.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Matthew 2

Here we see the birth of Jesus.  I like the account in Luke as it is longer and seems to make a bigger deal out of it, but then again, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that the God of the entire universe decided to not only take our form, but start off as a helpless baby.  Pretty mind-blowing.

But also in this chapter we see Herod, who with such a short account, seems like kind of a jerk.  But reading into it, we can see he’s a really smart GIGANTIC jerk.  First, he sends the wise men to find Jesus so he can worship him too.  Very thoughtful, isn’t it?  Then, once that plan is foiled, he just kills all the male children under 2 in that whole area.  And the story then moves on and we read about Joseph and…

WAIT.  Just imagine you’re minding your own business one day and then the soldiers show up and kill your baby son.  You probably wouldn’t have any idea why, but if you did, you’d know it was because the ruler was afraid he’d get displaced by an INFANT.  I wonder how many young boys were slaughtered?  What a brilliant solution, however.  Just kill off the entire pool of people who could contain the threat to his power.

Thankfully this doesn’t happen very often.  Except of course when Pharaoh wanted all the male Hebrews killed off.   They were pretty inconvenient.  Hitler didn’t much care for the Jews, they were far more convenient to use as scapegoats.  And we still slaughter millions of babies because they are inconvenient to our lives, or perhaps more convenient to companies like Pepsi who use their discarded tissue to test new flavors.  Evil hasn’t apparently changed all that much.

God is literally opposed from the moment He created us and gave us life and all good things, and this story continued when Jesus was just a mere, helpless baby.  God is still opposed now when we persecute, hurt, and kill the innocent.

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
(Mat 2:1-18)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Return from Break

You might have noticed a little break in blog entries there.  Don’t worry, I haven’t given up on blogging!  I was just on a multi week journey around the state and the country.  First there was a staff meeting at work, then my dad’s 70th birthday celebration, then Disney World with my sister, and finally a conference with the organization I volunteer with.  October has been a very busy month!

Though I haven’t been blogging, I have been thinking about blogging and God and what to do next.  I’ve started reading the Bible in a year plan.  It is obviously less aggressive than the 90 day plan, but hopefully I’ll be able to spend more time each day on a smaller section.  Instead of 12-15 pages at a time, it is about 2.5 to 3 chapters at a time so far.

One thing I noticed today while reading Genesis 3 was that Adam and Eve noticed they were naked and then they were freaked out by that and made clothes.  I wondered why that was.  The ashamed part, not the naked part.  Not that I enjoy being naked in front of people, but it seems odd that the very first thing they noticed about their new situation is that they were naked with their spouse.  I know some married people, and I’ve not heard any of them say they had to run and find some fig leaves after they noticed they were naked.  I mean, what makes someone who has never seen or heard of clothes be ashamed they don’t have any?

Clearly there are some meanings here that go beyond the literal.  They were ashamed about what they’d done and now they knew what they did.  All the commentaries my free Bible software has talks about this.  But let’s go back to the literal, and I’m still confused.  They’re naked and they make coverings.

So I’m still somewhat confused.  If anyone has any ideas, please do share.  Why would people who had never had clothes suddenly make them and put them on?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Proverbs 30

Pro 30:32  If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.
Pro 30:33  Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.

And we’re back to contention.  Over and over and over again, the Bible mentions strife.  I’d say its beating a dead horse, but that horse is alive and well and kicking in all of us.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Proverbs 30

Pro 30:21  For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:
Pro 30:22  For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat;
Pro 30:23  For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

Pro 30:24  There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
Pro 30:25  The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
Pro 30:26  The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
Pro 30:27  The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
Pro 30:28  The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.

Pro 30:29  There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:
Pro 30:30  A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;
Pro 30:31  A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Proverbs 30

Pro 30:15  The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:
Pro 30:16  The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.
Pro 30:17  The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.
Pro 30:18  There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:
Pro 30:19  The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.
Pro 30:20  Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

The image from that last verse is incredible.  If we go back to the various ways one might see the adulterous woman in Proverbs, then this is even more telling. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Proverbs 30

Pro 30:11  There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.
Pro 30:12  There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
Pro 30:13  There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.
Pro 30:14  There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.

Clarke says of this “There are such persons in the world. In this and the three following verses the wise man points out four grand evils that prevailed in his time.”

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 39

Today is my Dad's birthday!  Readings are found here.  They aren't about my dad's birthday though.  That'd be a bit awkward.

Psalm 39
To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David. I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue, LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish. I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it. Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand. When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Proverbs 30

Pro 30:7  Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:
Pro 30:8  Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
Pro 30:9  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
Pro 30:10  Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.

I love this idea of a medium level life.  Not rich, so we do not deny God; but not poor, so we don’t feel compelled to steal.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Proverbs 30

Starting to wind down in Proverbs!  This has certainly been fun.  Two more chapters, and here we get a different human author.

Pro 30:1  The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,
Pro 30:2  Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.
Pro 30:3  I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
Pro 30:4  Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?
Pro 30:5  Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
Pro 30:6  Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Proverbs 29

Pro 29:22  An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.
Pro 29:23  A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
Pro 29:24  Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.
Pro 29:25  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
Pro 29:26  Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.
Pro 29:27  An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

Anger leads to a lot of transgression, as we continue to see.  Contention and envies and strife and drama are not the will of God for our lives.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time and Psalm 38

Readings are here.

Okay, first, we have this part of the second reading:
Php 4:6-7  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 
That first bit?  That's saying not to be anxious.  We have a commandment from God to not be anxious.  I struggle with that all the time.  I worry about things that might come to pass or might not.  Runs in the family.  But we should stop.  What's the worst thing that can possibly happen? We die?  AND GET TO SPEND ETERNITY WITH JESUS?  Yes, when put in that context, I see the validity in not being anxious.  I need to pray more about this, which, incidentally, Paul says is the cure for anxiety anyway.  Pray more and God keeps your mind on Jesus.

The second part of that passage:
Php 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
If we look back to my earlier posts about keeping our mind on things that are peaceful, we can see that this is towards that.  He doesn't say to think on them when you have free time, he says to think of these wonderful things period.

The Gospel reading is closely connected to the first reading (as is the norm, if you were not aware).  Both reference a vineyard and what happens to it after it is all ready to go.

Onto Psalm 38!
A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance. O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.

There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.

I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.

Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off. They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.

But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs. For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.

For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied. They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is. Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me. Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.
(Psa 38:1-22)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Proverbs 29

Pro 29:15  The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Pro 29:16  When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.
Pro 29:17  Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
Pro 29:18  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Pro 29:19  A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.
Pro 29:20  Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
Pro 29:21  He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.

Let’s not be hasty!  Treebeard from Lord of the Rings certainly had that going for him.  He probably didn’t sin as much as we do since he didn’t talk as much and certainly thought through his words.  Not very contentious, that Treebeard.