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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Reflection on the Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 30, 2014 Sight and Blindness

I went to the 5:00 Mass last night, and when the deacon was reading the Gospel, I thought it would never end.  It was a long one!  I couldn't help but think, as I listened to the many posturings and objections and projections assumptions and presumptions about the man's guilt for being blind, or his parents' guilt, or lack thereof, of Matthew 11:17 or Luke 7:30.

What comparison can I find for this generation?  It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place:  We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance;  we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn. (Matt)  We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance;  we sang a dirge, and you did not cry. (Luke)

Within the religious community of that time, some believed that physical maladies were the result of sin, and so felt justified in condemning the people suffering from physical ailments, making themselves spiritual judges of the infirm.  It is a normal initial human reaction of the spiritually-minded to attempt to reconcile the presence of things of which we are afraid or don't understand with our religious beliefs, and these pharisees and their followers were trying to make sense of the imperfections in the world through a religious lens which was colored by a firm belief that someone had to be blamed for the man's blindness.  So no matter what anyone said, they were focused on finding someone to call a sinner.  How much better it would have been to be involved in helping that man in his predicament to live well in his circumstances.  It is admirable to see those in the world today who are given the gift of giving sight to the blind through medical means, or assistance such as guide dogs and other aids.

When I see something wrong in the world, do I feel that someone has to be blamed and deserves consequences?  Or do I look for solutions that will be good for everybody involved?  Jesus healed the man's blindness in a miraculous way.  When I open my eyes to solutions instead of driving down the road and getting stuck in the ditch of blaming sin for everything that happens in my life or in other people's lives, I too might find my eyes opened to the healing presence of Jesus.  Yes, sin does cause problems, talk about stating the obvious, but staring at sin all the time can be bad for our spiritual eyes.  It is said that you gaze most upon that which you love.  Gaze at Jesus and let him heal our sight.

Blessings In Christ,

    Friday, March 21, 2014

    I Thirst

    Reflection for Sunday, March 23 --  The Third Sunday in Lent
    Gospel JN 4:5-42
    By:   Judy Morss

    Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
    Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.
    A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink.”
    His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him,
    “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—  Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?”  Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
    but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him
    a spring of water welling up to eternal life.  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

    Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.” The woman answered and said to him,
    “I do not have a husband.”  Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband.  What you have said is true.”The woman said to him, "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.  Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”  Jesus said to her, "Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews.
    But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
    and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him
    must worship in Spirit and truth.”  The woman said to him, "I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one speaking with you.”  

    At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking with her?”The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?”  They went out of the town and came to him.   

    Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.  Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.  The reaper is already receiving payment and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.  For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”   

    Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified,   “He told me everything I have done.” When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

    “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again." At His crucifixion, Jesus said, "I thirst." They offered Him gall, but He did not drink. We thirst for God; our souls always thirst for God. We have a longing deep within us to be with God, always. The readings of today are full of references to water and thirst. What do I thirst for? Do I thirst for the comforts of life, for money, success, recognition? Or do I thirst for the things of God? What do each of us thirst for? When we get those things are we satisfied? Is our thirst slaked, or do we continue to thirst, thirst, thirst for the things of this world. My thirst will only be satisfied when I achieve oneness with my Savior. Then I will truly become a " a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

    May we all be infused with the living water poured out for us from our loving and merciful Father.

    In peace and love,

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

    Food for the Journey: Reflection on the Readings for the Second Sunday of Lent 2014

    1st Reading: Genesis 12:1-4a

    The LORD said to Abram:
    “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk
    and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

    “I will make of you a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
    I will make your name great,
    so that you will be a blessing.
    I will bless those who bless you
    and curse those who curse you.
    All the communities of the earth
    shall find blessing in you.”

    Abram went as the LORD directed him.

    Food for Thought:

    All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you.
    Words for a wanderer, the beginning of a pilgrimage.
    What do those words mean to you?
    What communities of the earth do you belong to?
    How do you bless your communities?
    How do your communities bless you?
    Which communities have you "gone forth" from?
    Do you remember to honor those communities?
    Which communities are you a part of that have lost members that "went forth" from you?
    How are those who have left still a part of you, even though not present any longer?
    How are you still a part of those who have left?
    What members are coming into your community and "into a land that God has shown them?"
    How are the newcomers in your communities blessings to you?
    How are you a blessing to the newcomers in your communities?

    Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

    2nd Reading II Timothy 1:8b-10

    Bear your share of hardship for the gospel
    with the strength that comes from God.

    He saved us and called us to a holy life,
    not according to our works
    but according to his own design
    and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
    but now made manifest
    through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
    who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
    to light through the gospel.

    Bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.
    This is Lent, the season of remembering the passion of Christ.
    This is Lent, He saved us and called us to a holy life.
    Christ brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
    Life and immortality.

    The Gospel Reading is a transfiguration reading.
    Jesus took his friends up to a high mountain
    and he was transfigured, his face became like the sun
    and his clothes shone like light.
    They saw prophets from of old.
    He showed them life and immortality, in the person of himself.
    And He told them not to tell anyone
    until he had risen from the dead.

    He showed them a land, from the high mountain
    This is the land he showed them
    He showed them a land
    Where Jesus, the Law and the Prophets
    converse with one another
    where the law and the prophets melt away
    into the person of Jesus Christ.

    But don't build a tent there.
    We're not there yet.
    Treasure those moments of transfiguration in your life.
    They are food for the journey.

    Peace in Christ,


    Friday, March 7, 2014

    God will never...

    A reflection on the readings for March 9, 2014, the First Sunday in Lent.
    This week’s readings focus on events of temptation, in the garden and in the desert. Temptation is an unwelcome feeling. I have witnessed a common stance among my generation: “If God didn’t want me to succumb, he wouldn’t have let me be tempted in the first place.” And yet, Jesus, who is fully man but also fully God, endured incomprehensible temptation after the 40 days in the desert. Do they believe they have more merit than God?

    It is a common adage to say “God will never give you anything you can’t handle,” but I much prefer “God will never allow you anything He can’t handle.”

    When we receive temptation, we are called to respond in a righteous way. We are called to imitate Jesus, especially as in Matthew 4:1-11.
    Turn to God in times of temptation. Lenten sacrifices can be difficult, but remember in humility:

    “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
    “The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” (Matthew 4:10)

    "Lent is like a long 'retreat' during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual 'combat' which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism."
     - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI- Angelus Homily, February 21st, 2010




    Saturday, March 1, 2014

    Whose Kingdom Are You Seeking?

    Reflection for Sunday, March 2 -- The Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    By: Judy Morss

    Gospel of Matthew 6:24-34

    Jesus said to his disciples:
    “No one can serve two masters.
    He will either hate one and love the other,

    or be devoted to one and despise the other.
    You cannot serve God and mammon.
    “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
    what you will eat or drink,
    or about your body, what you will wear.
    Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
    Look at the birds in the sky;
    they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
    yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
    Are not you more important than they?
    Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
    Why are you anxious about clothes?
    Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
    They do not work or spin.
    But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
    was clothed like one of them.
    If God so clothes the grass of the field,
    which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
    will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
    So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
    or ‘What are we to drink? or ‘What are we to wear?’
    All these things the pagans seek.
    Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
    But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
    and all these things will be given you besides.
    Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.

    Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

    Ash Wednesday is this week, and so we enter into the Lenten season. As I enter into the Lenten desert, I hope to draw closer and closer to our Savior, Jesus the Christ. The readings for this Sunday seem to have a common focus seeking the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. There we will find the love of God and His care for us. Isaiah 49:14-15 tells us that even if it were possible for a Mother to forget her child, "I will never forget you."

    Our response to Psalm 62 is "Rest in God alone, my soul" and we are told that "Only in God is my soul at rest; from Him comes my salvation."  In Matthew 6:24-34 Jesus tells his disciples: "No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other." He further tells us that we should not worry about our life or the day to day issues in our lives. All that we need will be given to us. Our focus must be on the kingdom of God.

    We are not to worry about tomorrow; "tomorrow will take care of itself."  To stop worrying about tomorrow is not an easy thing. Jesus invites me to trust Him and know that He will give me what I need, according to His plan for me. Now comes the hard part. His plan for me; not my plan for me. I need to hear and receive this invitation to trust in a more personal, deep way. I need to feel the comfort that Jesus offers and accept and feel the bond, the special connection and the tenderness that God has for me.

    God has a plan for me; He created me to achieve that plan. As I reflect on these readings, it becomes more and more obvious to me that I MUST decide who I will serve. When I focus too much on my wants and needs (security issues) then I am serving a false god. There is freedom in the decision not to worry about all of the external things, but to trust that God will provide for my needs. When I release myself from serving my own needs, I free myself to serve others. And that change in my focus, opens me up to all that the kingdom of God provides.

    With peace and love,

    Light is Sweet

    Light is sweet! and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. However many years mortals may live, let them, as they enjoy them all, remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that is to come is vanity.  Ecclesiastes 11:7-8 (USCCB)

    Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (USCCB)

    Quoheleth reminds us that our life on this earth is fleeting and will ultimately end up in darkness, unless we cry out to Jesus who brings us the light that will never fail, never cease.  Jesus is the answer to the vanities of this life.  As we prepare to begin our Lenten journey, let us always bear in mind that our efforts to come closer to the Lord will always be tainted by our human weakness.  We will be tempted to think that it is useless and accomplishing nothing -- do not give up!  You are directing your heart and your soul to the True Light, and the True Light will accomplish what your human weakness cannot.

    Peace and Grace to all!