Saturday, April 30, 2011

Genesis 50

Genesis 50- Forgiveness

We know that we are supposed to forgive others but I always feel that in the back of my mind that if someone did something so terrible to me or my family I just might not be able to forgive them.  I know I should forgive them but I'm not sure I would be able to.  
In this example from Genesis Joseph's brothers have a plan to kill him but end up just deciding to sell him into slavery in Egypt instead.  Joseph is in Egypt and separated from his family for many years because of their act of jealousy.  But still after all this he is able to forgive his brothers.  

Dear Lord, Help me to be able to forgive those who have caused me pain and suffering.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Mass- The tabernacle

A study of the mass- the tabernacle

When you sit in a church there are a lot of things to look at; the priest, other people, the alter, the crucifix, statues and a million other things that could grab your attention.  But there is one thing in the church building that is above all others: Jesus Christ.  We believe and know that the Eucharist is truly Jesus.  After the consecrated Eucharist is distributed at mass all the extras are placed in the tabernacle.  This means that whenever you go into a Catholic church, regardless of if mass is taking place, Jesus is there.  He is present during mass but he is also present when you go into a church for confession, a meeting, a Christmas concert or in the middle of the night when no one is inside the church.
When I take part in mass I find it helpful to focus my thoughts and attention on the tabernacle.  When I pray I can look at the tabernacle and know that I am really praying to Jesus.  When I listen to the Gospel readings I can look at the tabernacle and hear Jesus saying the words to me today.  After communion I can watch the Eucharist being placed back in the tabernacle.  When we genuflect we are not genuflecting to the priest or to the alter but to Jesus in the tabernacle.  I have found that when I have more love and respect for Jesus in the tabernacle, I can recognize Jesus more in the mass.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Psalm 4:7-8

Psalm 4:7-8  
Many say, "May we see better times! Lord, show us the light of your face!"
But you have given my heart more joy then they have when grain and wine abound.
We ask God for better times, more money, a better job, more time and a million other things that we think will make us happy.  But in reality what will really make us happy is the Lord.  Knowing and loving him will make us happier then anything else we could ask for or receive.  The Lord can make us happier then having a wealth of food and drink.  If we have the joy of knowing and loving the Lord them we don't need all these other things in order to be happy.  When we have to joy of the Lord all these other things seem silly and unimportant.

Dear Lord, Help me to find joy in you.

Psalm 3:6

Psalm 3:6 Whenever I lay down and slept, the Lord preserved me to rise again.

Although I understand that this may not be what David meant when he wrote this psalm, I got a very real life comfort in reading this verse. Lately I have been having a really hard time getting out of bed in the morning.  It just seems like the hardest part of my day and something that is so painful that I try to avoid it (with not success).  When I first read this verse all I could think about was the part that says " the Lord preserved me to rise again."  Maybe when I am struggling to get out of bed again I need to turn to God to help me.  Although this may be something small this is not something that I have to struggle with by my self.  Maybe when I am going to bed at night I should pray that the Lord can help me to rise easily in the morning.

Dear Lord, help me to remember that I do not have to go through my struggles (big or small) alone.  Help me to turn to you with my whole life.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Genesis 33 and 35

Genesis 33 and 35  Jacob and Esau

As we saw earlier in Genesis Jacob and Esau had more then their fair share of sibling arguments and competitions.  But here in these two chapters we see them coming back together.  In Genesis 33 Jacob and Esau meet again for the first time since Jacob stole their father's special blessing from Esau.  Jacob prepares for this meeting by trying to prevent Esau from attacking by giving him gifts and protecting his family.  When the two brothers finally actually meet each other it is a very peaceful meeting.  Then chapter 35:29, after Isaac dies it states that "His sons Esau and Jacob buried him." 
I feel that this is something that happens often, an argument occurs that separates two people.  These two people remain separated for far to long.  Longer then either one of them wanted to be apart.  Then it takes some big event or death to bring them back together. 

Dear Lord, Help us reconnect with those who we may have separated ourselves from in the past.  Help us to love them as the Lord loves us.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Psalm 1:2

Psalm 1:2
Rather, the law of the Lord in their joy; God's law they study day and night.

The more I study and read about Catholicism, read the bible and pray, the more I want to do these things more.  I feel there is always something more to learn about, study and reflect on.  I have found that when you take joy in the Lord that is all you want to do.  Studying day and night is not a bad thing when it is bringing you closer to the Lord.  It is a source of great joy.

Dear Lord, Help me to find joy in studying your law.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Genesis 31 :49

Genesis 31:49 "May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are out of each other's sight."

Even when no other person can see us or will even be affected by our actions God still sees what we do and our actions still mater to God.  Sometimes this is so hard to live by especially during lent.  It is easy to keep my Lenten sacrifice when other people are around.  If I break my sacrifice then I will have to answer to them and to God.  If I break my sacrifice when I am alone then I only have to answer to God.  Although it matters much more what God thinks of my then what my friend's think of me sometimes it seems like I work a lot harder to impress my friends then to impress God.

Dear Lord, Help us to act with justice and righteousness even when no one is watching.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Genesis 29: 14-30

Genesis 29: 14-30 Marriage to Leah and Rachel
After reading how Jacob worked for Laban for seven years so he could marry Rachel only to be tricked into marrying Leah instead I started to feel bad for Jacob.  Then I thought back on the past few chapters about all of the tricking and deceiving that Jacob has done.  He traded some soup for his brother's birthright and then he dressed up as his brother had his mother cook some good food and then tricked his father into giving him his special blessing instead of giving it to his brother Esau.  After thinking about this I think that just maybe Jacob deserved to be tricked.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Genesis 27

Genesis 27 Jacob's Deception

Often time when I have been reading Genesis I come away with more questions then I started with.  I read it and I understand the story but I don't really understand why.  I guess the best thing to do is to just continue reading, continue reflecting on it, continue studying about it, to continue to pray about it and not to give up.
Back to Genesis.  Although I don't understand the reasons why, I do understand the story of Jacob (and Rebekah) deceiving Isaac.  Rebekah and Isaac have two sons, Esau and Jacob.  Isaac likes Esau better and Rebekah likes Jacob better.  Isaac wants to give Esau a special blessing but first he must prepare his father with a special meal.  Rebekah overhears this request and tries to get that special blessing for Jacob instead.  So she helps Jacob along, she prepared the dish for him and helps him to disguise himself as his brother.  They carry out their plan and sure enough Isaac unknowingly gives his blessing to Jacob instead of Esau.  Esau is understandably angry but Isaac does not have any more special blessing to give him.  Esau is so angry that he wants to kill his brother so their mother has Jacob run away to his uncle so he will be protected.
This is one crazy family story.  Although it is obviously in a different time and place it reminds of crazy family situations and stories that we here about or experience in our own times.