Monday, December 14, 2009

spiritual tidbits

We are blessed to have a pastor who is an awesome homilist.  You never find yourself wondering what he's trying to say or how much longer he is going to go on about whatever.  There is always a point.  They take as long as they need to take, but never any longer.  More often than not, you are sure that he is talking to you!  Some are awesome, some are just good, but I think I could sit and listen to him all day. 

Anyway, here are a few insights from the past few days of daily Mass and Sunday.  Sometimes I take a few notes; sometimes I rely on memory, which fades pretty fast.  One of his favorite ways to start a homily is to highlight a few verses from one of the readings or from several of the readings and then go from there.  I'll put those verses in bold italics.

From Thursday: I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand.  It is I who say to you, "Fear not, I will help you." (Isaiah 41:13)  Fear not!  This is the command that we see most often in the Bible.  How do we do this?  After all, God made us, and fear is part of our make-up.  The way that we do this is to avoid making choices based on fear and anxiety.  I sit there thinking, "Well, I don't really do that," and he further explains.  We lie because we are afraid of looking bad or taking responsibility for our actions.  We cave in to peer pressure because we are afraid of not being accepted.  We engage in intimate relationships that the Lord does not bless because we are afraid of being alone.  Hmmmm....   Well maybe sometimes.  I think it is a comforting image to see the Lord taking us by the hand.  Just like a mom grabs a child's hand and says, "Let's go.  Everything will be alright.  I will help you!"

From Friday:  I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go. (Isaiah 48: 17ff)  Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life. (Psalm 1)  But wisdom is vindicated by her works.  (Mathhew 11:19)  You can't please everyone.  Follow the Lord.

From Sunday:  Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!  Sing joyfully, O Israel!  Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem... The Lord, Your God, is in your midst... (Zephaniah 3:14 ff) This was written while Israel was in exile and Jerusalem lay in ruins.  They were at a political and moral low.  What a strange time to rejoice!  Rejoice in the Lord always.  I shall say it again:  rejoice!...The Lord is near.  (Philippians 4: 4 ff)  These were written by St. Paul as he sat in prison about to be beheaded.  Rejoice?  How?  Know that joy is not the absence of sorrow, pain, and trouble in our lives.  Rather, joy is the result of the presence of God in our midst.  We are to turn to the Lord and hold nothing back.  What should we do? (Luke 3:10)  Well, rejoice!

From today:  I see him, though not now;  I behold him, though not near:  A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel. (Numbers 24)  This was a prophecy uttered by Balaam - a pagan. He was instructed by the King of Moab to curse Israel.  Instead, he is faithful to the voice of God.  St. John of the Cross, whose feast is celebrated today says that we must dig deeply in Christ.  He is like a mine of many treasures.  We allow this to happen in prayer.  Not babbling prayer, but prayer of listening, which leads to Wisdom. 

And that is all I've got for that.  Your mileage may vary.

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