Thursday, March 01, 2007

Thursday's Mass readings

Reading 1 - Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25

Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,
had recourse to the LORD.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids,
from morning until evening, and said:
“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,O LORD, my God.

“And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion
and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,
so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness.”

Responsorial Psalm - Ps 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 7c-8

Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.


Gospel - Mt 7:7-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”

25 Comments:

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

"Jesus said to his disciples:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him."

I have a little problem with this one, so many people use it as an excuse to treat God like a vending machine and then get upset when whatever they ask for doesn't show up.

 
At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does it mean?

 
At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We ask for what we want, but we are given what we need. Eventually, if we are open to listening, we understand that what have always been given what we "want", it just may not be what we understand at the time. Point in case, I was given the "gift" of addiction. I never understood it to be so, until I came to terms with the disease and surrendered to God's will for me- to be a strong, healthy, committed person. It took my suffering through that horrible disease to come to the realization that I am all of those things. I know without that struggle, I would never have realized how strong and capable I am, qualities I did ask for; I just did not understand what would be put before me to realize those things. But- a vending machine would be really nice too!

 
At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmmmmm.

 
At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

I never thought of struggles as a "gift". I like that because it totally changes the view to a positive one of how one can go through their own crisis, struggles etc.

 
At 3:31 AM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

"And now, come to help me, an orphan." It is references to orphans I always find tricky, as I was orphaned. I am long past thinking 'poor me' as years have passed and I see how the experience has helped me help others in all sorts of ways. But I have always found it hard to believe any kind of god heard my pleas at the time. And being orphaned must have been a much tougher experience back in biblical times.

 
At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not there -- to the point of believing that God gives us suffering to bring us closer to Him in the long run. So many people's lives belie that. Their suffering does not wane and in the end it seems that they were just destined for a hard life. It's random.

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger fran said...

From "Every Day is A Gift" book of prayers and meditations:

The cross is the greatest gift God could bestow on His Elect on earth. There is nothing so necessary, so beneficial, so sweet, or so glorious as to suffer something for Jesus.
If you suffer as you ought, the cross will become a precious yoke that Jesus will carry WITH you. -St. Louis Grignon DeMontfort

Suffering is like a kiss that Jesus hanging from the Cross bestows on persons whom He loves in a special way.
Because of this love He wants to associate them in the work of the Redemption.
-St. Bonaventure

 
At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would Jesus love some people in a "special way" and not others?

 
At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

I'm not there -- to the point of believing that God gives us suffering to bring us closer to Him in the long run.

Are you to the point of believing that, out of the evil of suffering, God can bring forth the good of drawing us closer to Him?

 
At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

It seems to me God actually is like a vending machine. He gives us what we ask for. (Jesus says this again and again; I don't think He was just exaggerating for effect.)

The problem is that God is like a vending machine in a foreign country, and too often we are like American tourists who are quite sure we know how to operate it, despite not knowing the currency, or where to put the money, or how to read the directions, or what the buttons do, or what exactly is in the package we say we want.

 
At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, Thanks for your response. Yes, I believe that God can draw us closer to Him through suffering. The point is that it is not like that for all. Some people's lives are just too sad and there is no rainbow, no light, no point where they could conceivably say that the suffering brought them anything positive. The above quote from Fran says that Jesus loves some people in a "special way." Maybe it is too simplistic to take from that that Jesus doles things out unfairly. Maybe some are just more blessed than others with the capacity to see God's work, much like how a select few got the talent to do something huge like discover penicillin while most did not. Most can cope with the fact that they are not a brilliant scientist, but to lack the capacity to have a relationship with God leaves some people in a very empty place.

 
At 12:09 PM, Blogger fran said...

Since we all suffer to some degree while on our earthly journey, I believe that Jesus loves us ALL in that "special way," as St. Bonaventure said. We are all included. We all receive that "special kiss" from Him.

 
At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you Fran but what if you are not ready for certain crosses than what?

 
At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Than just pray to Jesus to give you the strength to get you through your trials.

 
At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you to the point of believing that, out of the evil of suffering, God can bring forth the good of drawing us closer to Him?


I must certainly do!!

 
At 12:29 PM, Blogger fran said...

I have never been ready for the crosses that have come my way and have not "handled" them very well at times - i.e. been angry or impatient.
What I have learned, with God's grace, is to live with less anger and more patience. I have only been able to do this through much prayer and the support of others in my life. The result has been a closer relationship with God. And I must add, it is still a work in progress.

 
At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

Some people's lives are just too sad and there is no rainbow, no light, no point where they could conceivably say that the suffering brought them anything positive.

Yes, like Job in the pile of ashes. I don't suppose the beggar Lazarus in Jesus' parable could see a rainbow from where he lay outside the rich man's gates, either.

But Christian hope is not for anything merely "positive." It's for eternal life with the Divine Trinity, and the extent to which we are growing in that life isn't often visible in this life, even to ourselves. Was anyone more surprised than Lazarus to find himself in the bosom of Abraham?

That's sort of the philosophical answer to those who are suffering. The pastoral answer is to sit with them on the ash heap, so that, if they can't quite bring themselves to believe that God loves them, they can at least believe that we do.

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger fran said...

Beautifully expressed, Tom!

 
At 8:47 PM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

There was a time, many years back now, when a priest told me that if I didn't have faith, to rest in his. In that encounter, he helped me to be healed of the guilt that I had carried that I was a 'terrible teen' and thus had hastened my mother's death. (I hadn't, but when you are a teen you might think that.)The priest's faith in Jesus helped me to be healed.

 
At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"if I didn't have faith, to rest in his."

That is beautiful.


How is your journey back Kiwi?

 
At 9:13 PM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

It isn't really. I am not going to Mass, though I sit quietly in the Church sometimes on a weekend. There are a couple of websites that help me to pray a bit. But mostly it is along the lines of 'I don't get this God.'

 
At 9:36 PM, Anonymous Night Owl said...

Kiwi,

A friend and I were looking for a group we could join. I found mine but she is still looking for hers. The reason the group is so important to me is because its like
an anchor with our faith. Its hard to make the journey back on your own so having supportive people in your life is the key. Try joining a Catholic group and see where that leads you.

 
At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about man's gift of free will and suffering? Man chooses to sin and it always affects others. Example: crime - innocent people injured/destroyed/killed as the result of others' free will choice. This is one effect of evil in the world. Gossip, selfishness, lust, drunk drivers all of these things cause others to suffer.

What about "natural," evil: disasters - sunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes. Again, people suffer loss, pain and suffering as a result.

Illnesses........many causes...no cures........

We live in a "fallen," world. This is not our true home. Our goal in life is to get to heaven where there is no pain. No one should expect no suffering in this life. Yet most of us feel we are entitled to it! We are here to love and serve the Lord.
From the Baltimore Catechism:
636. Why do the consequences of original sin, such as suffering, temptation, sickness, and death, remain after the sin has been forgiven in baptism?

A. The consequences of original sin, such as suffering, temptation, sickness and death, remain after the sin has been forgiven in baptism: (1) To remind us of the misery that always follows sin; and (2) To afford us an opportunity of increasing our merit by bearing these hardships patiently

 
At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They key word is "patiently" here.

 

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