Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Genesis 25: 29-34

Genesis 25:29-34
Esau sells his birthright to Jacob

This is a passage that leaves me with a lot of questions.  I understand what happened but I really am at a loss to explain why it happened.  Since Esau was born first he had the birthright.  I understand that this was a special honor and privileged.  I could understand why Jacob may want the birthright.  But what I don't understand is how he got the birthright.  Jacob was making stew when his brother Esau came in hungry.  Esau asks for some but instead of giving him some Jacob demands Esau's birthright before he will share any of his stew.  This sounds like an outrageous demand.  Why would Esau trade this great birthright for a spoonful of stew.  But then Esau surprises you and agrees to the trade.  Esau just traded his birthright for a spoonful of stew!  Why? 
Was the stew really that good to be worth the birthright?  Was Esau really that hungry that he had to resort to selling his birthright?  Maybe he wasn't going to survive without some fool.  Maybe Esau beleived that a spoonful of stew was really more important the his birthright?
Whatever the case this is something that I need to look into farther and do some farther readdng, study and reflection on this passage

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Genesis 22

Genesis 22

Every time I read this story all I can think about is what amazing faith Abraham had.  I'm really not sure if much else can compare to the faith and trust in God that Abraham has in this story.  I know I already wrote about Abraham's faith but I really don't think anything compares to this.  Abraham has been waiting and waiting for his promised son and when he is finally given a son the Lord directs him to offer up his son as a burnt offering.  The Lord promised Abraham countless descendants from Isaac but now Abraham is told to sacrifice all this for the Lord.  And he follows without a question.  I would not have had nearly this much faith.  I would have said "nope, I finally have my son you are not going to take him away now."  This sounds like some kind of cruel joke.  But instead of reacting like I would Abraham puts all his trust and faith in the Lord and proceeds to tie up his son on the alter for the offering.  Abraham is not showing his dislike of his son but his immense trust in the Lord.  Abraham trusts in the Lord so much even when what the Lord commands sounds ridiculous and just the opposite of what he wants done, he still follows the Lord's comands.  

Dear Lord, Please grant me the grace to have the faith and trust in the Lord that Abraham had.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Genesis 18: 1-8 and Genesis 19: 1-3

Genesis 18: 1-8 and Genesis 19: 1-3

In these two chapters both Abraham and Lot are visited by God or God's messengers but even before they know who their visitors are they treat them with a great deal of hospitality.  Abraham runs to great them, brings them water to bathe their feet, a place to rest and food to eat.  Lot did the same as he encouraged the messengers to spend the night at his house, provides them with a meal and even protects them from the townspeople.  Both Abraham and Lot call themselves servants to their visitors.  And this is all even before they realize who their visitors are.  
This teaches us a great lesson in hospitality.  Are we able to open our hearts and homes to people who may be in need?  Are we able to act as servants to those who need our help?  Being God's servant means serving God in the faces of those who we come into contact with every day.

Dear Lord, Help me to be your servant today and bring your love and comfort to all those I come into contact with today.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Genesis 18: 27

Genesis 18: 27
Abraham spoke up again: "See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am but bust and ashes!

I love the humility that Abraham has that he knows that he is only dust compared to God and he should not presume to take up God's time talking with him.  Almost every time that Abraham speaks to God in this chapter he starts off by saying either, Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on.", "Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord" or  "Please let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time."  Abraham knows what a great privilege it is to be able to speak to the Lord like he is and he doesn't want to take advantage of it but he can not let the Lord leave until he is sure of the justice of the Lord.
We have to recognize that compared to the Lord we are dust but even so God loves and has time for each one of us.  Even though Abraham is like dust and ashes God still gives him the time to ask his questions and God still takes the time to answer his questions.  God is so great that nothing (even dust) is to small for him.

Dear Lord, Help us to come to you humbly but also never feel like we can't come to you because our problem is to small or unimportant.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Genesis 17:1

Genesis 17:1
Walk in my presence and be blameless.

This is a great image: to walk in the presence of the Lord.  To walk with the Lord watching over you.  To spend your day with the Lord looking out for you. 
There are two sides to this.  The first image that came to my mind was a person walking through their life with God always being there to get them through the tough spots.  We know that whatever happens to us, as long as we are walking in the presence of the Lord, he will get us through it.
The second image that I get is that whatever we do God can see it because we are walking in his presence.  I think about all the times that I didn’t act in the most Christian way and I feel a little embarrassed to know that God was watching me.  If I am walking in the presence of the Lord I should be acting in the way that Jesus taught us to act.
I feel that walking in the presence of the Lord is something that we have to actively do.  I know that God is watching down on us all the time whether we realize it or not but I feel that is it different and important to consciously realize that God is always there and we can always turn to him.  I feel that we need to actively think about our actions with the realization that God is watching.
This is an amazing comfort, not a threat or means of intimidation.

Dear Lord, Thank you for watching over me and help me to actively choose to walk in your presence. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Genesis 15

Genesis 15

Reading this chapter today I noticed something new.  I noticed a feeling that I often have in my own life.  In verse 1God tells Abram that he will protect him and that he will have a great reward but Abram can not rejoice because he it troubled by something.  He replies by saying that the rewards will be worthless if he continues to be childless.  He can not be happy about God's message while he is upset about something else.  As a response God promises that he will have a child.  With this promise Abram is able to really listen to the Lord's message and follow his directions.  
I feel that often in my own life I know I should be praying and building a relationship with the Lord but instead I am worried about something else in my life.  When I was looking for work a few years ago and I had a little more time that I could have used praying and growing closer to God but instead I felt that I had to deal with getting a job first and then I could focus on my prayer life.  I was to busy worrying about not having a job to be able to make something of my little bit of free time.  (I was not to busy looking for a job but to busy worrying about not having a job.)  I feel this is something that we do often.  We are so focused and upset about one thing that we can't focus on what really matters.  We tell ourselves that "when we feel better we can find time to pray", "when we get settled we will find time to spend with God but right now we can't because we just have other stuff that we need to worry about".  But what we really should be saying is, "I will leave this problem in your hands and in the meantime I will focus on following your teachings and growing closer to you."
Think about what would have happened if Abram said  "Your rewards are worthless if I don't have a heir so I'm not going to listen to you or follow your commands until I have a heir and then I will be able to do as you told me to."

Dear Lord, Help me to be like Abram and leave my concerns with you Lord so I can focus on my prayer and spiritual life.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Genesis 12-13

Genesis 12 and 13

I know I am just beginning the story of Abraham but already I am struck by his obedience to the Lord.  Chapter 12 starts out with the Lord telling Abram to "Go forth from the land of you kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land that I will show you."  Then is verse 4 it states that "Abram went as the Lord directed him."  The Lord tells him to leave his home and everything that he knows and he goes.  He continues to move as the Lord directs him.  The Lord promise him land and a great nation but Abram does not see the results of this promise, he sees famine and suffering, but still he follows the Lord's directions.  Even in these first two chapters he shows great faith as he follows the Lord without any hard proof of what he will get out of what he is doing or that God will follow through on his word.  
I know I could use a little more of this kind of faith and obedience in my spiritual life and in my day to day life.  There are many things that I know are true not because I can prove that they are true but because someone who I trust told me that they are true.  I know the core of the earth is a hot ball of iron and nickel not because I can personally prove it or because I have seen it but because I have learned it from trusted sources.  This is the same way that we have to treat many aspects of our faith.  We may not completely understand a teaching of the Church but we know it is true and accept it because we trust and believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Dear Lord, Please grant me the grace to have the faith and obedience that Abraham had.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Enter a church for mass

As I said earlier I wanted to take a closer look at the mass so I could really appreciate it.  I want to look at each and every little thing so I can fully participate in and understand the mass.  So that's what I'm going to try to do.  I was going to start with the introductory rites but I think I will start even before with simply entering the church.

Entering a church for mass should not be like entering the grocery store or your apartment.  You are entering into a sacred space, a space where miracles happen.  We need to show this respect while we enter not just by turning off your cell phone and not having outside conversations with the person sitting next to you but also by clearing your head, not thinking about what you are going to have for lunch or about something that you want to remember to tell the person sitting across the aisle from you.  This is very hard for me to do.  I have to remember that I am at mass for one purpose and that is God and that needs to be my only focus.

When we enter the church the first thing that we do is we make the sign of the cross with holy water.  This is done to remind us of our baptism and to remind us of Christ's crucifixion.  This simple action should have special significance to us as Catholics.  We should remember that we are children of God's through baptism and we are entering into our Father's house.  We should also remember the great sacrifice that our Father made for us in his crucifixion so we could live with him in the Eucharist.

We then take our seats and take a few minutes before mass to say a prayer.  I use this time to pray that I can fully participate in the mass and don't let this opportunity pass.  The mass is such an amazing gift that we have and I don't want to spend it day dreaming about my afternoon as it is so easy to do.

Dear Lord, Help me to always enter your home with love and reverence.