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Author Topic: February 20, 2010: Saturday after Ash Wednesday Is 58, Luke 5  (Read 3118 times)
Alan
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piggysiggy
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« on: February 20, 2010, 05:08:36 AM »

Today's readings are at: http://www.usccb.org/nab/022010.shtml.

Funny how well today's reading goes with yesterday's commentary.  Here the Gospel makes it clear exactly what kind of crowds Jesus hung with:

... and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”


Wow.

I've seen this before but it still hits me hard.  Which would I rather be, an "upstanding" individual who keeps "good" company and is totally involved in the workings of the Church, or an outcast whom Jesus would hang with?  Maybe that's why the church leaders never got the message of the "Good News" -- they were too busy judging others.

I think this speaks of a message of parenting that would hack off most "good" parents I've ever met, because it flies in the face of what we were always taught.  Christians love to ask, "WWJD," but I don't think very many who like to say that have done an honest inventory of what that means.

I am talking about the kind of company Jesus kept, and what that means to us to today.  Here's a scene I'm picturing:  a mother says to her child, "don't hang around with Johnny, because he is a bad kid.  He's from the wrong side of town, has questionable parents, and he is just no good."  Then the child asks his mom, "WWJD?"  His mom then says, "oh, you are so right; Jesus would befriend Johnny and help cleanse him of guilt for his sins... on second thought, I think you should hang around with him, because that's What Jesus Would Do."

What are we on this earth for, if not to befriend those who are in trouble?  Abandon them?  What Would Jesus really Do?

Or another question is, "What Would Jesus Say for Us to Do?"  That might be a different answer.  I don't know; just throwing that thought out there.

Alan
« Last Edit: February 20, 2010, 07:57:18 AM by Alan » Logged

... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
ncjohn
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2010, 10:53:31 AM »

That reading brings to mind a poem that Reen has often quoted:

He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
But love and I had the wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in.

Edwin Markham

Jesus was always dealing with those on the outside, those deemed "unclean" or unworthy to be included. But his invitation also stood open to those who did believe themselves worthy if they could only remove their blindness. There were a few who did come to their senses, mostly notably Saul/Paul. The fact is that we're all unworthy and on the "outside"; the only question is whether we're able to see that we too are in need of God's mercy or whether we delude ourselves into thinking we are above all that.

John
 
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"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God."
This is the effect of true charity, to be on good terms with all men, to consider no one your enemy, and to live at peace with those who hate peace.--Robert Bellarmine
ncjohn
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2010, 11:12:41 AM »

The Isaiah reading also had a great deal to say to me this morning. The first part of it is, in many ways, very similar to the familiar parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25, what I often refer to as the true "final exam". It is notably all about acting with the heart of God in dealing with His children. Feeding the hungry and removing oppression. And when we do these things, simply because they are the right things to do, we become "“Repairer of the breach” and “Restorer of ruined homesteads.” Oddly nothing in there about saying the right prayers in the right way or attending the right church. Our worship and praise is in glorifying God's children.

The second part of the reading, about keeping the sabbath, really made me think though. Traditional Jewish law of Jesus' time had very strict rules about what one was allowed to do on the sabbath, right down to how many steps one could take to preclude travelling. This law however precluded one from indulging in any "labor" whatsoever and even kept one presumably from performing those corporal works of mercy. Jesus himself took the leaders of his time to task in asking "is it against the Law to do good on the sabbath?" when dealing with an opportunity for healing.

In our own days, our Law has become all about making sure you make it to mass and being in "mortal sin" for not doing so. Could this possibly be the true intent behind God's sabbath though? That our mere presence at mass, even if we are totally detached, is enough to fulfill the "obligation"? I personally find exactly the opposite to be the case. If one is going simply out of obligation, while there is certainly some virtue to "obedience", one is totally missing the boat and is in danger of being one of those who will find that simply calling "Lord, Lord" wasn't what God was looking for and that He proclaims that He never knew you.

I think rather that the first part of the reading and the second are intimately connected. The sabbath is the day to set aside our preoccupation with our own worldly worries and to focus on our gratitude to God by sharing His gifts with each other. That might indeed involve "labor" in cooking and bringing food to the widow down the street or working at the soup kitchen. I don't think it's about the labor and "rest" aspect so much as the resting in God and getting the heck outside ourselves. I would even go so far as to say that heading over to the nursing home and truly showing love to those who suffer great loneliness, or going to the prison to give hope to those whose hope seems to have been extinguished, is more keeping the sabbath than sitting in church to meet our obligation as we look at our watches wondering if Father's homily is ever going to end.

John
 
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"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God."
This is the effect of true charity, to be on good terms with all men, to consider no one your enemy, and to live at peace with those who hate peace.--Robert Bellarmine
jsiegman
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2010, 04:10:26 PM »

This is the part that caught my eye.


“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.


The next time the doctor asks why i didn't come to see him sooner, i can tell him the Bible made me do it.

(O.K. So maybe I am a little light-hearted but it just struck me that way today.)

JKS
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Alan
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piggysiggy
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2010, 04:37:11 PM »

This is the part that caught my eye.


“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.


The next time the doctor asks why i didn't come to see him sooner, i can tell him the Bible made me do it.

You made me think of "the devil made me do it."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SLifea3NHQ

Alan

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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2010, 06:59:48 PM »

John,

Thank you for your views.  Here is one of my favorite stories about the sabbath:

Mark 2:
23
As he was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
24
At this the Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?"
25
He said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
26
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?"
27
Then he said to them, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
28
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."


I highlighted verse 27 because it is my favorite verse in this story, and I think what John was saying compliments it very nicely.

Alan
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2010, 09:50:57 PM »

As with so much in life, it is not the written word - rather the 'interpretation'
of the written word - that poses difficulty. [That's why there exists a Supreme Court.]

Imagine what happened, when electric lighting became a widespread reality.
I can just imagine the rabbis of the time being asked if turning a light switch
was to be considered 'work' - on the Sabbath.

Or maybe a relative lived 8 blocks from one's house.
The tender in conscience applied for an exact 'ruling' - on the question of
whether 8 blocks constituted 'travel.'

Similarly, borrowing from St. Figeta & Other Parables:  does the olive - qua olive - in a martini,
constitue breaking the Lenten fast?

This brings me to my next post.


reen



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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2010, 09:53:57 PM »


Years ago, I read a book about 'Queen Sabbath.'
I think that non-Jews often have an erroneous view about the Sabbath,
as it is kept by Israel.

Think of the 'why' - in terms of the Sabbath, and when the laws of
Sabbath were created. By forbidding any preparation of food
[no lighting of a stove, or a fire] - did this not create a true day of rest for
the servant of a household, or a workman who assisted the household?  
Didn't Queen Sabbath ensure a day of rest for work animals?


...but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God;
in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter,
your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.
[Exodus 20]


To this day, the laws of Sabbath are set aside to save a life.


reen
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Lanasshoebox
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2010, 01:02:32 AM »

There is such a fine line between trying to help others, be there for them, and not to preach.
Of course you might interpret the situation as you knowing better, but to help another, you
must learn what tools are nescesary to enable another to help themselves.

You must first teach them the rights and wrongs of the worls and why...but to never ask what
and why they might believe this to be true, then they simply are preaching, not teaching. Too
many i have met believe that preaching is a calling...i do not.

To help another is to teach them so that they can know the difference on their own, and learn to
lean on God for strength. You must give them the tools to cope...way before you teach them
much more.

WWJD is a sugestive platform so that the teacher and student can discuss the alternatives,
and thereby develope a conscience. To use this information without conscience is an educated guess,
but to act on these actions with a conscience, it then becomes wisdome.

just my spin on it...

Lana
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reen
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2010, 01:13:12 AM »

I heartily agree with you, Alan, on the following:

quote: Alan
That said, the Church seems to be altogether too close to the way it was when Jesus was calling out its leaders.

I have thought this, many times.


'Come to Me - all you who are burdened, and I will give you rest.'

Yet as the centuries wore on, additional 'burdens' have been placed on His people, in His name.

Would Jesus say, of the legalism in His own church:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces.



reen

 
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2010, 01:33:24 AM »

quote: Lana
...but to act on these actions with a conscience, it then becomes wisdome.

In the Old Testament is written: "Wisdom has built herself a house..."

Christ is referred to as '...the Wisdom of God." [1Corinthians1:18-25]

I don't think that I truly understand what wisdom is.


reen


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Lanasshoebox
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2010, 01:50:29 AM »

It is information used with love and with thought.
One who discerns with compassion. A rule might be a rule, but in a different light it might
mean the broken spirit of another if it lets itself be used in the context in which it is to be
used. But the greater discerned concern is for the killing of a spirit. The end goal is the road
that leads us to his path. There is no path if you kill a spirit, and chase it away.

Jesus discerned the difference in the towns people passing judgment on Mary Magdelene.
He truly asked if no other had sinned, to throw the first stone. He seen her repentance
and spoke for her to sin no more.

It is taking all things into interpretation and using this skill wisely....Wisdome!

Lana
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Alan
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2010, 03:42:49 AM »

reen,

You're comments about Jewish tradition expectations for the sabbath reminded me of something I've thought before but hadn't recalled until just now.

As you were saying, the sabbath resulted in a true day of rest for the servants and the working help.

I've often thought that the sabbath was not intended to force workers to take a break, but to require their keepers/owners/bosses/whatever to give them a day off.  Thus, the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.

In our own faith, I think the entire range of beliefs and practices about the sabbath is in place across people.  Some, I think, actually make themselves slaves of the sabbath -- and are not too different than the Pharisees about it.  They restrict themselves, for example, from driving to a store with family members and shopping -- because shopping causes those who work in the store to work.  What about emergency vehicles, police, hospital workers, and the like?  Oh, there are special exceptions for them.  But Quik Trip shouldn't be open so we'd better buy our gas Saturday if we want gas Sunday -- but then some consider driving as "work" -- with exception, of course, to drive to Church.  Then maybe to brunch for some, but not others who don't want to patronize an establishment that is open on Sunday, although of course there is the exception that the church, the preacher, and several employees (such as myself) are there making their livings by operating an establishment and working in it on Sunday.

This is but a tiny bit of what I remember going by on catholic.com when people there argued about the sabbath, and some parts from things people I know (including priests) have told me.  It sounds complex as an entire system, but for each person it may be anywhere in the whole range from complex to simple, consistent to full of exceptions, etc.

Alan
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Alan
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2010, 04:02:30 AM »

Lana wrote:
WWJD is a sugestive platform so that the teacher and student can discuss the alternatives,
and thereby develope a conscience. To use this information without conscience is an educated guess,
but to act on these actions with a conscience, it then becomes wisdome.


I like your idea of it being a platform for discussion.  Used in a context where true discussion can be held, it is a powerful place to start in thinking about right v wrong or good v better.

Where I think it loses the intent, is when people hear WWJD and begin to raise their shields of defense, because they dare not speak from their heart but speak from parroting someone/something that will keep them from saying anything that might be embarrassing.  They look to a rule or a scripture passage or maybe something a teacher or preacher once said, that will give them a clear answer to "settle" whatever issue is at hand -- without, of course, having to enter personal opinion into the equation or actually choose between multiple conflicting views.

IOW, I think many of us are trained cowards when it comes to the sabbath.  Sigh... I'm not sure how that is different for practically anything religious.  For reasons partly like this, when I first took out the domain name "wordsfree.org" (July 2003 -- before these forums were established on 9/19/2005) it was partly with the idea that here people could speak opinions that may not be "politically correct" as it were, and dare to conjecture based on their own opinions and feelings.  I wanted to somehow "free" people's own words so they dare to use them and exchange them with others, without some big threat of hell coming down on anyone who DARED say something "wrong" and thereby is in the state of mortal sin and god help them if they might "mislead" another person.  There were many different contexts that the name "wordsfree" meant to me, but this was one of the biggies.  Free to speak openly, even if one wants to retract statements later.  Free to allow oneself to expand without fear of harsh reprisal or threats.  Maybe even free to use "incorrect" or even "vulgar" speech as the situation warranted, in some cases.  Free as opposed to having to pay for, was another context.

OK, so now I'm making this About Me.  Grin  Hmm...  I guess I must know "me" best so that's what I like to talk about?  Tongue  As I've mentioned before, my dad used to tell me that I talk just to hear my head rattle.  Never really understood that at the time, but I guess I can see how I come off that way.  Roll Eyes  James, if you've read this far, you may "freely" choose not to comment on this point.  Wink

Alan
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2010, 03:01:40 PM »

The outcome is also different in the styles of teachers.

One can teach the lesson with making sure we are fully aware of the ramifications and alternate outcomes. We can slowly decide what is best in our own eyes with the information before us knowing full well what the consequences are. We can build a conscience this way verses the student/child who is simply told no, or taught with fear. Remember, if it is of fear, it is not of the Lord...it is not his way.

Then there is the teacher who believes his job is done, simply by making sure he has given us all the materials at hands, and has nothing to do with teaching (or guiding us through the process) but simply beaking off at us in the guise of a "Lecture"

Need i say more...one is simply being educated, and the other has built character, being worthy/closer to the path towards God!

Lana
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