The Week of June 3, 2018
Christi - 2018
The Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ
Brief reflections on the
week’s Scripture readings.
When Moses came to the people
and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD,
they all answered with one voice,
"We will do everything that the LORD has told us."
Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD…
Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, "All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do."
(from Ex 24: 3-8)
Pondering the Word…
"We will do everything that the
LORD has told us."
Tell me another one.”This
text is found in Exodus 24. A mere eight chapters later, the Israelites are
dancing like maniacs around a golden calf. You know, they were probably sincere
when they said they would do what the Lord had instructed. They heard what Moses
had to say—twice, in fact--but were likely blissfully unaware of what they were
agreeing to. I’ve been guilty of that, many times over.
Scripture is not a history book. Sure, some parts relate battles and the
progression of Jewish kings and yes, there are sections that pertain only to the
time the books were written. But if we fail to look into the meaning, and how
Scripture applies to us today, we may find ourselves making promises we can’t
keep. And then we risk one of two things: an overriding sense of failure and
guilt that keeps us from growing in grace; or, as Pope Francis tells us, falling
prey to spiritual corruption, an untended and lukewarm faith, an even greater
risk than the fall of a sinner (Gaudete Et Exsultate, 164-65).
strive to do everything the Lord has told us, and God sees the sincerity in our
hearts. And we fail and will continue to fail. But let’s make sure we are not
failing due to ignorance, blindness, or self-satisfaction. Let’s look at what
the Lord has told us with new eyes and open hearts. Let’s look to Jesus to teach
us how to live.
When you read
Scripture or say prayers, are you aware? Do you ever just stop and say, “Hey,
what does this mean? How does this pertain to me? What am I agreeing to?” I’m
not suggesting we all become biblical scholars—that has its own risks—but just
take time to ask the Spirit what message the prayer or verse has for you and
prayer suggestion: read through the text of the Beatitudes (you can find a good
explanation of them in the Pope’s exhortation). Really reflect on what it means
to be poor in spirit, merciful, a peacemaker, etc. Which ones are easy for you?
Give thanks to God. Then talk to God honestly about those you don’t understand
or find next to impossible to live. God rejoices when we grow in awareness
because it is through awareness that we grow in grace and it is through grace we
grow in holiness and grow the Kingdom. Give it a try.
Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders in
parables. (Mk 12:1-12)
There’s a TV game show, “The
Chase,” that basically pits this guy who seems to know the answer to every
question against teams of people who try and trip him up. It’s kind of similar
to what Jesus has to endure in the twelfth chapter of Mark’s Gospel. First, it
is the chief priests and the elders. They are not successful in trapping Jesus,
so they send in some Pharisees and Herodians who also fail. Next comes the
Sadducees with a far-fetched story about a woman who marries seven brothers, and
then finally, a scribe who admires Jesus’ debating skills and his wisdom. These
are educated men. They clearly understand the messages of Jesus’ parables, but
instead of listening to what he has to say, most decide to resort to the only
means still at their disposal—violence. Sound familiar? How well are we
listening to the messages Jesus has for us?
Jun 5: “Whose
image and inscription is this?” They replied to him, “Caesar’s.” So Jesus said
to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to
God.” (Mt 12:13-17)
said: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness.’ God looked at
everything he had made, and found it very good.” (Gen
1) “See, upon the palms of my hand, I have written your name.”
(Is 49:16) We are made in God’s image, and that is VERY good. Our names are
inscribed on the palms of God’s hands. Thank God for you are “wonderfully made.”
(Ps 139) and make a return to God by using your gifts to further the Kingdom.
“To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes." (Ps 123)
Lifting up our eyes and
hearts to God is a good thing, something many of us need to spend a lot more
time doing. We are so busy with the things of this world, we fail to quiet
ourselves and to gaze upon God and let God gaze upon us. But we are also
reminded, like the disciples at the Ascension, not to spend all our time gazing
upwards, lest we miss God’s very presence right in front of us. In order to
“pray always,” let’s remember where Jesus said we would find him: in the hungry,
the sick, the prisoner, the poor.
Jun 7: “Remind people of these
things and charge them before God to stop disputing about words. This serves no
useful purpose since it harms those who listen. (2 Tm
Oh, it’s so
easy for us to get distracted…debating the meaning of this word or phrase or
that doctrine. In the Pope’s recent exhortation, he advises us to go back to the
Beatitudes, what he calls, “a Christian’s identity card.” “Jesus explained with
great simplicity what it means to be holy…” Let’s not get too caught up in words
that can harm and divide. Let our actions and works of love and mercy say all we
need to say.
Jun 8: “I
drew them with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to
his cheeks; yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know I was
their healer. My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred."
Top of Form (Hos 11: 1, 3-4, 8-9)
Such a beautiful image of
God’s love for us! I am particularly moved by the message in the second line: we
may recognize God as the one who feeds us, who gives us all that is good, but we
may not allow God to be our healer. A childlike fear of punishment from the one
who provides for us can get in the way of our experiencing the God’s true heart,
overwhelmed by care and mercy. Allow God to feed, love, and heal you.
Jun 9: “For the time will
come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own
desires …they will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and
will be diverted to myths.” (2 Tm 4:1-8)
Well, this is topical! Paul is warning Timothy
that, despite his best efforts, “teachers” will arise who will tell the people
what they want to hear. These teachers will promulgate myths, and the sound
doctrine of Christ’s words will modified and disregarded. I invite you to
consider two things: The first is to read the statement on
www.reclaimingjesus.org. This statement, published as a sermon on Ash
Wednesday, is the product of a Christian interdenominational group aggrieved by
what they see as a hijacking of Christianity by those who would promote bigotry
and racism. Read it as I did, without preconceived notions or assumptions; then
ask yourself: What would Jesus say about this statement? The second thing is to
encourage all people of goodwill to see the new documentary on Pope Francis--A
Man of His Word--and ask the same thing: What does the Pope have to say that
is not in lockstep with the path Jesus set for us? Earlier in this same reading,
Paul tells Timothy to “proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient
or inconvenient.” “Inconvenience” gets in my way a lot. How will I challenge
myself to make changes and follow Christ’s path more humbly?
© 2017, Elaine H. Ireland. “Come and
Reflections are available at
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Ireland has a passion for working with parents and anyone who struggles to
maintain a sense of God’s love and peace amid the day-to-day challenges of life.
She has a master’s degree in Spiritual and Pastoral Care from the Pastoral
Counseling department at Loyola, Maryland, with a focus on developmental
psychology and spiritual guidance. Rooted in Ignatian spirituality, she is
a writer, retreat and workshop leader, and presenter on topics such as pastoral
parenting, “letting go,” and finding the spiritual in the midst of everyday
life. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland with her husband, Mark and children,
David and Maggie.
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