Posts tagged ‘Scripture’

On One Thief I Wait – poem

"Satan Sowing Seeds" by Felicien Rop...

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The poem below reflects my thoughts on The Holy BiblePsalm 49: 4-9 and Matt 24: 37-44.

This poem was first published December 09, 2010 at http://www.poemhunter.com/ and last updated there March 18, 2011. The version below reflects further revision. Please respect copyright.



On One Thief I Wait

Why should I tremble as darkness falls
when thieves of worldly riches strike?
That I should be unburdened would be a blessing
for they cannot take my Light.
But I dare not slumber as night draws near
for on One Thief I wait with hope
that I might be a treasure worth retrieving
before the rage of Satan‘s reign bursts forth.
Catch me not napping when He tiptoes in
to steal the ready and the waiting,
the righteous and sinners forgiven both.
Good Thief, do not steal Yourself from me.
Gripped by this fear of losing Your love
I will rage, rage against the dying of the light.*
As long as I’m awake, there is no night.
For on One Thief I wait and will not slumber.

*Dylan Thomas

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Articles of Interest for Scriptural Study

The Bible

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The meaning of what is written in The Holy Bible, and even what constitutes The Holy Bible, has long been a topic of considerable discussion and debate.  Below is an incomplete list of noteworthy online articles and blog posts regarding the interpretation and study of Holy Scripture.  I do not imply by the listing of each that I agree with or even have read every single word.  This list is provided as a resource, not an endorsement. At a later date, I may add other resources, as well.  I will update this post periodically and invite submissions, via “comment”, for consideration.  If you feel a resource should not be listed, please share your opinion and reasoning.

Go Now: The 1st Disciples & Our Call to Proclaim

Calling of Andrew and Peter

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The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 1 includes the recounting of the story of Peter, Andrew, James and John’s call to discipleship. These guys were wealthy fishermen. This is after Jesus has been baptized by John, of course. Don’t you imagine word about what happened had spread? This is also after Jesus had been tempted by the devil and prevailed. Still, though, would you just drop everything to follow a stranger? Jesus must have oozed of conviction and truth! We know the Good News, the Truth, and have all the more reason to be confident in Jesus the Christ. It is rooted in that confidence, that we must go now to proclaim.

I went on to read today from Paul’s really long letter to the Romans, Chapter 10.  Paul reminds us that Christ is the end of the law. Christ is the new covenant. Looking to be rewarded for righteousness that reflects only our ability to follow rules will be met with failure. Paul tells the Romans, “Hey, if you are willing to risk identifying yourself as a believer, if you really believe deep down, then whatever harm or hardship comes to you here on earth will be worth your great reward in heaven.” This doesn’t mean we say it, then do nothing. Paul continues, saying, “Christ is the good news people don’t even know to look for. If people don’t hear the truth, how can they believe it? Get out there and tell them.”

Questions for Contemplation
1) With whom have you shared the Good News?
2) What made you first really believe?
3) Where are you in your journey of faith?
4) When have you had opportunity to share the Good News and haven’t?
5) Why is it difficult for you personally to share the Good News?
6) How have you seen people share their faith and the Good News without being “preachy”?

Prayer of Devotion
Lord, Answer to Our Every Prayer,
You come to us with the gift of Your mercy and love
and ask only that we share.
Strengthen our faith that we hold no self-condemnation or anxiety.
Let our rituals be tools rather than distractions.
Embolden us with courage and Christ-like charisma to proclaim Your Truth.
Believing in the power of Your name, we ask You Jesus the Christ,
to grant these requests.
As it is Your will, so let it be.

The Way, One Truth, God’s Love

Doorway, Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Damasc...

Image by jemasmith via Flickr

[Note: This is a first draft, but I wanted to go ahead and publish it. Throughout this post, you will see “(link)” which is a note to myself to add a link or citation. I will eventually return to replace these, but if you have a question about a particular one, please leave a comment and I will try to respond more promptly.]

My mind is a whirlwind of thought and emotion. Like so many, I really do desire to do God’s will, but struggle to know what it actually is. I was listening to a book on CD by Sheila Walsh (link) during a recent road trip. She was explaining how the apostle Paul, then Saul, really thought he was devout and doing the right thing, persecuting the Christians, by keeping the Jewish faith pure. The Risen Christ blinded him, a physical manifestation of his spiritual nature, then showed him The Light. As I have been reflecting on the readings this Advent Season and thinking about the Second Coming, I’ve felt the responsibility to share the Word weigh heavily upon me, but I’m confused and filled with trepidation.

I want to boldly share the Good News. At the same time, I’ve been moved with empathy by stories of homeless persons who feel unwelcome at shelters that require them to participate in faith practices that differ from their beliefs. I am likewise disturbed by the declaration of some Baptists that Catholicism is a cult. The anti-Muslim sentiment of so many self-proclaimed Christians is troubling as well. I don’t want to be unloving in declaring God’s love for all.

I remember Pope Jonh Paul II, the Roman Catholic Pope, coming under verbal fire for declaring that the grace of Jesus the Christ is available to those who have not heard the Good News. Recently I read a blog (link) that insists that when Jesus Christ says “No one comes to the Father except through me, (link)” He meant NO ONE who doesn’t know and believe in the Passion of Christ will be admitted into heaven, so we must take the Good News to as many people as possible and accept that most of humanity will perish. Who is right? Both seemed convincing. I wonder, are we each just a story or are we the essence of our actions?

The song line, “They will know we are Christians by our love” (link) is sometimes spoofed by changing “love” to “T-shirts.” While the emphasis is to point out that a changed heart must be reflected in our actions, I’ve wondered if the original song line doesn’t reflect the Truth in its entirety. Does living The Way insist knowledge of its source or name or professor or rather adherence to its principles? Jesus the Christ said, “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life. (link)” The Son of God calls us into communion with God by showing us the perfect example in human form of obedience to God. I notice that The Lord never says “Be me.” Surely, you realize that would be in conflict with The Creator’s admonition of Adam and Eve for eating from the Tree of Knowledge (link). This leaves me with more questions.

Am I mistaken to now believe that being a Christian means living the example of Christ? The deepest question then is whether someone can know how to without knowing and understanding the totality of His life and Passion. I’ve come to a place of finding it easy to have empathy for and forgive others because I recognize the immenseness of my ignorance. How well can I know the heart of any person and how well can I know the depth of their understanding or even their potential to understand and apply the teachings of Jesus the Christ? How well do I know myself in these matters? This leads me to wonder, how well equipped am I to teach others, what is my responsibility to teach, what should I be teaching, and how should I teach it?

In all faiths of the world, there are some common truths. Surely this is no accident. Coincidence is often evidence of God’s presence in my mind. How can we acknowledge a God of unfathomable wisdom and yet seek to limit that same God’s power to present The Way to people in the cultural context that would make sense to their/our tiny minds? I propose it would serve us all best in preserving the good of humanity to respect those common truths. Further who am I or you but a peer to all others of which God is the Creator? Who am I to judge the work of the Master? The Bible instructs us only to judge those of our believing community and even there to do so through a construct of law and justice (link). Further we should bear in mind that no matter how inspired the Word, God did not write it by His own hand and it has been translated in multiple ways. Therefore we should look to the traditions of the Church for guidance as well.

In all matters of serious moral judgment, the original Church taught (to summarize from the Catechism of The Roman Catholic Church, link) that we should seek wise counsel (from one or more persons well-versed in Biblical languages and culture, literary interpretation, Scriptural study, etc) and examine an issue from all sides and in every intellectual field (historical, philosophical, social, psychological, theological, scientific,etc). God gave us brains and the collective gifts of humanity to USE. Then we should pray long and thoroughly (most especially that God’s will be done and with an open ear to the echoed answer of the Spirit from at least 2 entirely different sources lest we be deceived in our haste). Finally, we are obligated to act in accord with OUR conscience even if our actions would be in conflict with “official teachings” because ultimately we are responsible for our own salvation (link). On the topic of evangelizing, this has been an ongoing process for me.

I’d like to share some seemingly disconnected but relevant truths revealed to me in prayer, study, and conversation with counsel on the topic at hand. Love and hate cannot coexist. Temptation does not foreshadow sin; it merely warns of it’s potential presence. A Jewish philosopher (link) taught the Golden Rule this way, “Do NOT do onto others what you do NOT want done onto you.” In matters of morality, majority does not rule. I cannot consciously hate in word or deed because it conflicts with the Truth of Love.

So, because Christianity makes sense to me and It’s teachings are what my conscience most often leads me to profess and follow, I am bound by my conscience to spread the Good News for my own salvation. But I am committed to letting my “speech” begin with acts of love and then continue, as opportunity allows, by relating the example of Jesus the Christ. I believe that the Truth will make itself known to whomever answers the door. Somebody’s knocking. Will you let Him in?

The Word Shall Heal

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Eucharist, a ...

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One of my most favorite moments in the Catholic Mass is when as a congregation, everyone speaks together during the Eucharistic celebration, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the Word and I shall be healed.” This is derived from today’s Gospel reading. The centurion, a man of compassion and great faith, humbles himself to the Lord to ask for healing for his suffering servant who lies at home paralyzed.

Lord, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. (Matt 8:8 NAB)

The adaptation in the Mass embodies a great deal of my core faith. Without humility, I cannot surrender to God‘s will. If I cannot surrender, I cannot be in full union with God. Out of union with God, I am discontent, without joy. Without joy, I cannot fully love. God created me to love and be loved. Without humility I cannot be the person God created me to be.

I am to receive the Lord. I am to be open. I am to recognize God as a gift. I am to recognize that God comes to me, is with me. We’ve never really been apart except in our minds. I am to welcome God into my heart as an honored guest.

I’ve found so many Protestants to be pleasantly enlightened by my explanation of the Eucharistic Celebration in the Catholic Church. They are quite happy to discover we don’t believe in cannibalism. They are then intrigued that our belief in the real presence of Christ is rooted in believing that the Eucharistic Celebration reunites us with Christ in time and place. While the Spirit is with me always, I’m filled with such gratitude to be joined with Christ each time I participate in the wondrous experience of Holy Communion. I feel even more personally connected to God which sets the foundation for what is said next.

When we say, “only say the word,” I think of three things. First, God is so powerful that only God’s voice, not God’s physical presence, is necessary to animate God’s will. Yet, the Creator gave us Christ to be a physical presence to humanity. Second, I imagine “word” to be capitalized. The Creator spoke us all, including Jesus the Christ, into being. Third, the Word who existed since the world began is the source of our healing. The moment concludes with the assurance that our hope is in the Lord and we shall be healed. Isaiah reminds us that the glory of the Lord is made manifest through God’s merciful cleansing of our souls, bringing light to the darkness. If I allow it, welcome it, welcome Christ into my heart, I am healed today in so many ways.

To Contemplate
For whom do you struggle to have empathy and compassion?
What is your reason to receive communion…to comply with tradition, to be comforted, to be more fully united with Christ the Lord in the mission of bringing peace and salvation to the world?
Where do you see opportunities to bring God’s message and ministry of healing to those around you?
When will you know that you are fully healed?
Why is it so difficult for you as an individual to feel a personal connection with God?
How can you better prepare yourself for the coming of Christ in glory?

To Devote Ourselves, We Pray
Lord you have washed away our sins, healed us and made us stronger. We are in awe of your compassion and power. Gently humble our hearts to recognize our unworthiness, empower us with empathy and fill us with compassion. As we have been healed and are filled with Your presence, let us likewise share the same with all those about us, bringing peace to one moment, one person at a time until you come again to heal in full all who will receive you. Amen