Posts Tagged ‘Old Testament’

Word on Fire now has a blog.  If you haven’t seen it, hop over and take a look!

In a video posted there, Fr. Barron draws a comparison between the pre-papacy work of Karol Wojtyla and the story of Noah and the Ark.  In the brief time, he makes a sweeping analogy relevant for our efforts today in the New Evangelization.  Honestly, the intellectual gifts of Fr. Barron and his talent for making these insights understandable to lay people is incomparable.

His speech hit home with me because I sometimes feel like I am bursting to “let the life out.”  Ironic, too, because I have not been ‘hunkered down’ preserving the faith.   Rather, I have spent most of my adult life living in defiance of that faith.  Unhappily, I might add.  Okay….miserably – to be brutally honest.  But now that faith …it wants out.  It wants my evangelization. 

Perhaps – to extrapolate from what Fr. Barron was saying – perhaps this is part of what God intends. 

I’ll have to wait and see.  He’s not finished with me yet.



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 In today’s liturgy we read Paul in 1 Corinthians.

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea,  

and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.  
All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink,
for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them,  and the rock was the Christ.  
Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert.  
 These things happened as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things, as they did.  
Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffered death by the destroyer.  
These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come. 
Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall. 1 cor 10:1-6, 10-12

Paul draws the comparison between the disobediant Israelites under Moses to those present Christians in Corinth.  God sent the Israelites a savior from their bondage in Egypt (Moses) as He would send the “new Moses” Christ Jesus to lead mankind from its bondage in sin.  The Israelites passed through cloud (Spirit) and sea (water) just as we are now baptized.  God provided real and spiritual food and drink for their sustenance, just as Jesus now provides His real body and blood which we eat and drink for our spiritual wellness.  As the Israelites participated as a community, so do we. 

Yet, with all that God had done for the Israelites, most fell into grumbling, idol-worshipping, and disobedience and were “struck down in the desert.”  They did not complete the forty years wanderings to make it to the promised land.

Paul warns us that just like them, we may suffer (eternal) death, though we too have been chosen by God, saved through baptism of water and spirit, and have eaten and drunk from the communal cup.  At any time, we may fall back into idolatrous behavior, in other words, Sin! 

The doctrine of Once Saved, Always Saved is a false assurance.  Though God fills our lives with blessings and provides the grace necessary to sustain and save us, at any time any of us might fall into temptation, a fall that may take us away from salvation, just as the Israelites – for whom God sent Moses, performed miraculous deeds and parted the sea – were eventually struck down in the desert.

In today’s Gospel (Luke 13:1-9) , we see that the owner of the fig tree is disgusted that so much time has passed, yet his tree has not born fruit.  Why should he not cut it down?  But the vine dresser offers to provide a year’s worth of extra nurturing.  One more chance for the fig tree to show its worth and do credit to the owner. 

God is patient with us as we find our way to Him…and back to Him.  But remember that despite His infinite patience, a time will come when we will be called to account and on that day, we will pass the test, or we will be cut down.  Some people might think this is unfair.  Why?  hasn’t God provided Jesus Christ for our salvation?  the words of life in the Gospels and in the other books of the Scripture?  the apostolic priesthood to be reconciled to Him and from which to receive the sacraments?  the holy Church to teach and guide us?  grace to sustain us?  the Holy Spirit to lead us?  Some say a loving God would not abandon us because of our sinful ways, because we are doomed to fall to temptation.  I say, our God loves us as any good father does, and therefore, expects us to do our best.

If today you observe yourself and you are doing the modern equivalent of dancing around a golden calf, then today is the day to repent.

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Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy. And according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my iniquity. 4 Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 5 For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me. 6 To you only have I sinned, and have done evil before you: that you may be justified in your words, and may overcome when you are judged. 7 For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. 8 For behold you have loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of your wisdom you have made manifest to me. 9 You shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: you shall wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. 10 To my hearing you shall give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice. 11 Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 12 Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. 13 Cast me not away from your face; and take not your holy spirit from me. 14 Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit. 15 I will teach the unjust your ways: and the wicked shall be converted to you. 16 Deliver me from blood, O God, you God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol your justice. 17 O Lord, you will open my lips: and my mouth shall declare your praise. 18 For if you had desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings you will not be delighted. 19 A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, you will not despise.

Psalm 51

Just a reminder that I reject the dunghill theory of Luther’s.

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File this under Really Ridiculous, Outlandish Nonsense, Outrageousness, Protestants off the Rails, Relativism…and uh, the post in which Luce almost swears.  The Church of England needs to retrain this chap.  From the Daily Mail of UK (with my comments in red):   

A clergyman has been criticised as ‘highly irresponsible’ after advising his congregation to shoplift following his Nativity sermon. (nothing says “Peace on Earth, good will to men” like shoplifting.  Happy Birthday, Jesus!)   

 Father Tim Jones, 41, broke off from his traditional (wha?  advising Christians to steal isn’t traditional?) annual sermon yesterday to tell his flock that stealing from large chains is sometimes the best option for vulnerable people.   

 ‘It is far better for people desperate during the recession to shoplift than turn to ‘prostitution, mugging or burglary’, he said.  (I can hear Satan now:  “Go on.  It’s only a little sin.  There’s much worse you could do….”)

 The married father-of-two insisted his unusual advice did not break the Bible commandment ‘Thou shalt not steal’ – because God’s love for the poor outweighs his love for the rich.  (I missed that part of Scripture.  Er..where did Jesus say that?)   

 But the minister’s controversial sermon at St Lawrence Church in York has been slammed by police, the British Retail Consortium and a local MP, who all say that no matter what the circumstances, shoplifting is an offence.  (Apparently–and tellingly– it was not slammed by Rowan or the other disciples of Pope Henry the Eighth.  But perhaps they haven’t heard about it yet.)

Delivering his festive lesson (is this sarcasm?), Father Jones told the congregation: ‘My advice, as a Christian priest, (can his license be revoked?) is to shoplift.  I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or  because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.  (It’s a mortal sin, kids.)   

 ‘I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.   

 ‘I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need.   

 ‘I offer the advice with a heavy heart and wish society would recognise that bureaucratic ineptitude and systematic delay has created an invitation and incentive to crime for people struggling to cope.’  (Oh, that’s brilliant!  actually encourage sin, theft, moral decay FROM THE PULPIT and then blame the system for creating “invitation” and “incentive”.  I kinda think this is like inciting a crime.  This man should be brought up on charges.)He added that he felt society had failed the needy, and said it was far better they shoplift than turn to more degrading or violent options such as prostitution, mugging or burglary.  (Hey, preacher man!  How’s about you get out of the pulpit and go help some needy?  isn’t that what churches are for?)   

Father Jones cited the example of an ex-prisoner who had been forced to live on less than £100, including a crisis loan, over six weeks after his release from jail.   

He continued: ‘My advice does not contradict the Bible’s eighth commandment because God’s love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich.  (Sorry, but that’s total Bull$#!+)   

‘Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift. The observation that shoplifting is the best option that some people are left with is a grim indictment of who we are.   

‘Rather, this is a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable people with indifference and contempt. Providing inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.’   (why is the priest calling on society? isn’t his job to shepherd his flock?  I love liberals who love to preach to Society but then have absolutely no compunction about doing anything personally.)   

I question whether this man has ever read the Bible.  Seriously.  Where in Scripture did Jesus tell the poor to go out and steal theirs?  In what parable, sermon or teaching did Jesus condemn the Roman Empire for their bureaucratic ineptitude and systematic delay?  And when the poor widow offered her mite, did Jesus nudge her and tell her to swipe a few coins out of the offering, because she clearly needed it more than the Temple did?   

People, SNAP OUT OF IT!  Nowhere does Jesus teach us to look to the government to provide charity toward n poor, support for the elderly, welfare checks for the unemployed, food programs for the underemployed, visitation and care for the sick, imprisoned or dying.  He taught us the Christian virtues, in Matthew especially but throughout the Gospel and He taught them to us as individuals, as believers, as disciples of His.  He didn’t say, go out and convert the governments, empires and dictatorships of the world, and have them enact my teachings as state law.  He didn’t say, go and vote for, prop up, support in coup or give your liege loyalty to governments, kings, rulers and despots who will go out and care for the poor and oppressed in my name.  Nope.  Basically, He said, “YOU!  Yes, I’m looking at you.  Go bear fruit in my name.”  They will know we are Christians by our love…not by our voting records or our taxable income.   

But many (too many) of our fellow Christians think they are called on to do God’s work by pointing fingers at institutions and governments and demanding that they do God’s work.  In other words, there is a mess and SOMEONE really OUGHT to do SOMETHING, and then they proceed to look around for the Someone to Do Something.  Then they wash their hands of the whole thing in smug satisfaction because they successfully passed the buck.   This type of “diffusion of responsibility”, also known as the Bystander Effect is what runs liberal theology ideology.  Because let’s face it:  it’s sooooo much easier to pass the buck along to everyone else, isn’t it?  Why get all messy with your hands in the ol’ muck of good-doing when you can sit at home and yell at the telly, or protest outside government buildings in your warm parkas and Starbucks refillable mugs.   

Kids?  Doing good? — That is OUR JOBAs Christians.  Each of us personally.  What this nitwit Anglican priest should be doing is showing the way to Christian virtue, not relaxing in his no doubt well-appointed parsonage, enjoying his Christmas feast in front of the telly to which he is pointing and yelling at the evening’s BBC news broadcast and yelling, “why isn’t the bloody government DOING something about the poor!”  as he burps and swipes the back of his hand nonchalantly across his mouth.   


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From Wednesday:

Today I ran into a friend at the rink.  She and her husband are Jewish, and are raising their three kids in the faith.  I guess I always assumed they were observant Jews since they seem to be practicing their faith, unlike so many in American Jewish community.  Anyway, she was telling me about how sassy her youngest son is about their faith.  She told me some funny anecdotes, one of which was her son’s answer in Sunday school to the question, “What are you thankful for?” His answer?  “Jesus.”

She was bemoaning that he just isn’t interested and that he thinks the stories in Scripture are “stupid” and “pointless.”  After a moment of thought, she lowered her voice and said, “Honestly?  To tell you the truth, I have to agree with him.  I dont know that I believe any of it either.  I …just don’t see the point of all that stuff in the Bible, all the people and what they did, it just doesn’t make any difference, and he’s right.  It doesn’t make any sense, you know what I mean?”

After we looked at each other a moment in silence, I said very kindly but resolutely, “Well, actually Laurie…to us Christians the Old Testament makes perfect sense…it’s salvation history and all those old people and promises just point the way to Christ…er…for Christians, that is.”

She thought about it and replied, “Well, I’m glad it makes sense to someone because it seems rather pointless to me.”

Interesting in light of what I just read in the paper:

Study: U.S. Jews drift from faith – Washington Times

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