Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Feast of Saint Andrew

St. Stephen Catholic Church, Glenwood Springs, Colorado (stained glass with St. Maria Faustina)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew   4:18-22
As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.  He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."  At once they left their nets and followed him.  He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.  They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.  He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. 

These four men were called by Jesus and immediately left what they were doing and followed him. Immediately - both accounts use this adverb.  They didn't finish what they were doing.  They didn't go to the bank and settle up accounts so they could take a "leave of absence."  They just turned from what they were doing and followed Jesus.  I love this because they aren't doing anything wrong, not even anything shady.  They were engaged in a noble profession, fishing.  They weren't asked to turn away from something evil, but something good.  They were asked to become "fishers of men" which I think would be infinitely better than being fishers of fish.  Sometimes I need to turn away from something "good" in order to find something infinitely better.  

On this Advent Journey, I am attempting to empty myself of what I have contented myself with as "good" and turn to the ultimate good.   I want to (eventually) go to live forever in heaven with Our Lord Jesus Christ.  This has been such a slow process for me, I hope I have a number of years before I am called to judgement.  When I think back to what I thought was "good enough" even just a few years ago, I am embarrassed.  I am so grateful that God has given me more years to turn toward him.  I hope that I can continue to grow into the woman God would like me to be.  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday of the First Week in Advent

(Light of the World Catholic Church - Littleton, Colorado)
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew  8:5-11
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully."  He said to him, "I will come and cure him."  The centurion said in reply, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.  For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me.  And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it."  When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, "Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.  I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven."  

This is a Gospel reading that highlights for me my limitations.  When I read of the centurion showing such faith, I imagine Jesus not focusing on the depth of this man's faith, but focusing on the fact that he is largely rejected by his own people and yet an outsider can accept him and his authority.   In my life when the "wrong" people have been there, I have not focused so much on gratitude for them, but instead selfishly wondered where the "right" people were.   St. Luke's Gospel (7:1-10) gives more information about the centurion, the elders of the Jews said of him "He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he built us our synagogue."  Still, Jesus is astonished by his faith.

And from this centurion's words, we have such a pivotal moment in our Liturgy: "Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea"  (Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.) ccc 1386.  His words are echoed throughout the centuries, every single day throughout the world.  What great comfort they have brought me, as I have pondered my unworthiness to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, to pray the centurion's words has reminded me that none of us are truly worthy, and yet we are loved and welcomed.  Which encourages me to endeavor to be as worthy as I can, with the help of God.  

                 Another metanote:  I do not presume to teach any readers I may be blessed enough to have about the Sacred Scripture, but I am taking a huge leap to just write my understanding of it.  Hopefully I will gain more understanding as I spend more time reading and praying.    I am in my fourth year of a four year  Biblical School.  I thought I would be a Bible scholar at the end of four years !  HA!  I now realize that I can spend my life studying Scripture and just hope to scratch the surface.  What a wonderful thing to do!  Wonderful, wonderful.

And thank you for your comments yesterday.  What a welcoming community you are!

The photo of the cross in the snow is in honor of seeing snow start this morning at about 4:30 a.m., big beautiful white snowflakes!  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The First Sunday of Advent

(Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston, Texas)
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 24:37-44
Jesus said to his disciples: "as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark.  They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.  So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill one will be taken, and one will be left.  Therefore, stay awake!  For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.  Be sure of this:  if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.  So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."  

As I prepare for Christmas, I must remember what it truly means to "prepare for Christmas."  It means that I am preparing for the coming of Christ.  It does not mean that I am absorbing television commercials telling me what I need to buy.  It also does not mean making lists of all that I must frantically accomplish before December 25 so that I can ensure the happiness of myself and everyone I love.  

I do not know the hour.  How frequently is that in gospels!  So, I need to be prepared every single day.  Every single minute of every single day.  

                    metanote:  This is my first post on this blog.  I have read the blogs of others who have the courage to put themselves out there as Catholic bloggers.  I have wanted to do the same.  But I felt unworthy.  I wondered what I could possibly have to contribute to the body of Catholic Blogging.  I expressed this on another blog and someone came and said that I am worthy to post my thoughts on my faith.  And then he clinched it when he said that his blogging has brought him deeper into the faith.  I do so want that.  I don't feel that I have anything great to contribute, but I know I have much to learn.  I will try this for the four weeks of Advent and see where the Journey takes me.  Thank you and God Bless You.