Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Leviticus

Finished Leviticus today.  It is full of laws and rules for the Israelites to obey.   It might be easy for us to look at the lists and think them silly or old fashioned or just plain odd. But God provided them for the good of His people.  They were to be set apart, different from all the nations around them.  This difference was to keep them pure and also show other nations the power of God.  

Over and over, Israel would fail to keep themselves away from the cultures around them and the evils they practiced.  There was the flat out, easy to recognize idolatry when they worshipped other gods or creatures or the work of their own hands.  They also engaged in sexual sins and violence.  In general, they failed to serve God.  They didn't place God first. 

What "rules" do we have now?  Do we think what God expects from is is old fashioned or odd?  Are we set apart?  Do we lead others to God?  We live in an entirely pagan society, set against God in so many ways.  Are falling for that, as the Israelites did?

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: I am the Lord your God. You shall not do according to the custom of the land of Egypt, in which you dwelt: neither shall you act according to the manner of the country of Chanaan, into which I will bring you, nor shall you walk in their ordinances. You shall do my judgments, and shall observe my precepts, and shall walk in them. I am the Lord your God.Keep my laws and my judgments, which if a man do, he shall live in them. I am the Lord.
Leviticus 18:1-6

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

onward and upward

I'm on to Matthew this week in my reading plan.  I've read Genesis, Exodus, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah.  Anybody can easily read Genesis and Exodus, but I've struggled with the prophets.  They make a lot more sense now that I'm more familiar with the Old Testament and the history of Israel and Judah.

Short version:  After Solomon, Israel broke into two kingdoms - Israel and Judah.  Assyria took Israel and the ten tribes there into captivity.  Babylonia took Judah and the two tribes there into captivity.  Those from Judah were allowed to return at a later time.  These are the folks and this is the area where we find Jesus later.  David's line was through this country.

Prior to being overrun by enemies, prophets arose that told the people what was up.  They were brutally honest about how their sinning was going to lead to their downfall.  They kept worshiping other gods, killing innocent people, and ignoring the prophets in general.  I think the whole thing sounds awfully familiar to today.

Amazingly it all goes back to the idea that if we do God's will and not our own the end result is better, because He is God and we are not.

I'm using the Ignatius Study Bible when possible.  I really like the notes and the forward information.  It is one of the few bible studies I can find that does not assume all the new research (relying on how awesomely smart we are now 2000 years later) is all accurate.

Next week, it is back to the Old Testament for Leviticus and Judith.  If you're not Catholic, you probably don't have Judith in your bible.  If you're Catholic, you may have never heard from this book at Mass.  I can't find any evidence we get any readings from there, except a psalm on weekday.  In any event, you should check it out. Action!  Adventure!  Sex!  Well, not as much of the last as one character would like, but I'll leave you to read it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.

“God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.”  -Mother Teresa

I've posted about anxiety.  I've posted about pride.  I've posted about following God's plan, and God's wisdom being way better than our own.  I've posted about eternity, and how everything else in comparison is nothing.  So I know better, but I still do all those things wrong.

As noted elsewhere, I have some plans for 2014.  Those plans included an exam last weekend.  I failed.  I can re-test at the end of July.  I've spent a lot of time since then thinking about it, gathering resources to do a better job preparing, and growing anxious for bonus points.  I thought I'd pass the exam.  I thought I was ready.  I'm not sure how much more ready I can be by the end of July.  And so I am nervous.

We're told in the Bible to not be afraid.  Over and over we're told that - various sources count between 100 and 365 times.  How in the world do we shed our anxiety?  I can't do it for a simple test.  What do we do when faced with something more challenging?

I can't answer the question for more complex problems, but I think I can for mine.  Trust God.  Easier said than done, of course, but that's it.  There's the answer right there.  That doesn't mean I'll pass.  It just means God has it.  I'm not supposed to be anxious about it.  I'm not supposed to think it is all on me (pride).  I'm supposed to be confident in God's plan, whatever that may be, for indeed His wisdom is far better than mine.  This test is nothing in comparison to eternity.

That doesn't mean I don't need to prepare.  But in the end analysis, all that really matters is I try my hardest.  Sounds cliche, like something you tell your kids before they go play little league.  But it is true.  At no point does God connect my eternity with my ability to pass this test.  He's going to love me regardless of the outcome.

Psa 127:1   Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 

Deu 31:6  Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be in dread of them: for it is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.

Ecc 9:10 (A)  Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might

Col 3:23-24 Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ.

I'm going to get some preparation in now. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Science

“Science is not wisdom.”
Fulton J. Sheen

Why yes, I did find a list of his quotes.  That's why we keep seeing them!  Science is indeed not wisdom.  Though reason is not opposed to faith, our culture's absolute dependence on science can easily lead us away from faith. God is the source of our lives, not knowledge. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

People vs Things (quote)

“You must remember to love people and use things, rather than to love things and use people.”
Fulton J. Sheen

I'm all about the quotes lately!  I just keep finding great ones.

“Too many people get credit for being good, when they are only being passive. They are too often praised for being broadminded when they are so broadminded they can never make up their minds about anything.”
Fulton J. Sheen

Do we just sit around tolerating others and looking "good" in the process?  Following God won't make us all that popular to the world.

Jas 4:4  Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  (RSV)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Let's do some quotes!

“Criticism of others is thus an oblique form of self-commendation. We think we make the picture hang straight on our wall by telling our neighbors that all his pictures are crooked.”
Fulton J. Sheen, Seven Words of Jesus and Mary: Lessons from Cana and Calvary 

 “If you don't behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave.”
Fulton J. Sheen 

I love that second one.  Do our beliefs modify our behaviors or do we modify our beliefs to justify our behaviors?  Following Jesus isn't always easy!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Corpus Christi

Happy Feast of Corpus Christi!  Today we celebrate the mystery of Christ in the Eucharist.  I'm looking forward to Mass followed by Eucharistic Adoration.  Did you know the whole Church is joining together in Eucharistic Adoration today?

Read here about the Adventure of Corpus Christi, which includes a quote from the writer of the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien.  He knows something about adventure.

This is a great mediation on today.  I'll be praying for some things as a result!