Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday's Mass readings

Reading 1 - Ex 32:7-14

The LORD said to Moses,“Go down at once to your people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
‘This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’”

The LORD said to Moses,
“I see how stiff-necked this people is.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation.”

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
“Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Why should the Egyptians say,
‘With evil intent he brought them out,
that he might kill them in the mountains
and exterminate them from the face of the earth’?
Let your blazing wrath die down;
relent in punishing your people.

Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’”

So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial Psalm - Ps 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Gospel - Jn 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews:
“If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true.
But there is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true.
You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth.
I do not accept human testimony,
but I say this so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.
But I have testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,
these works that I perform testify on my behalf
that the Father has sent me.
Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.
But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form,
and you do not have his word remaining in you,
because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.
You search the Scriptures,
because you think you have eternal life through them;
even they testify on my behalf.
But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise;
moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.

I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me;
yet if another comes in his own name,
you will accept him.
How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another
and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?
Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.

But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”

26 Comments:

At 10:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should have posted this St. Pat's Day, but I wasn't altogether convinced any of "this" was working for me anymore and didn't feel like sharing then.

A few years back, I made a bargain with God. I decided to give up something in my life, if he'd once again make my life managable- not great, just managable. Lately, I felt like God let go of his part of the bargain.

The past few months have been hard with no clear end in sight. I've often been angry , but mostly sad. I've been mourning the loss of a couple of important relationships in my life, and wasn't quite sure if my relationship w/God was going to be among them. As a result, I felt isolated. I mean, you can't really tell people that you're p/o'd at God.

When I was in originally in the desperate place that drove me to strike my bargain, a special friend gave me something to read. It was a book of St. Patrick's writings which included several really beautiful prayers. It also gave a short bio on the man.

It explained that, even though St. Patrick was kidnapped and enslaved by Irish raiders as a teen, he became holy rather than angry. He actually looked at that struggle as an opportunity to find his path in life. He was transformed into a man of profound faith, and after escaping captivity, he decided to study for the priesthood. In a series of dreams, he was called to go back to Ireland as a missionary. Patrick wandered Ireland for years, where he baptized thousands of people and, later, ordained hundreds of priests.

He didn't have to return to Ireland after he escaped- no one ordered him to serve there. He could have easily justified living out his life in Scotland. Who would actually want to go back to a place that held many bad memories? Today, he'd be encouraged to pop a few Xanax and kick back to relax in an enduced stupor. But in an act of courage and generosity, he wanted to share the gifts of his faith with the people of Ireland, the same people who enslaved him.

My friend scribbled a few notes for me in this booklet. He reminded me that God's plan for us is not always the same as our own. He encouraged me to "wander" and see where it took me. He encouraged me to follow the example of St. Pat and actively face my places of fear and anxiety, and, even more than that, help others who were afflicted by similar demons.

This is the prayer my friend highlighted and asked me to pray each of those dark days:

I bind to myself God's power to guide me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to teach me,
God's eye to watch over me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to give me speech,
God's hand to guide me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to shelter me,
God's host to secure me . . .
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near, few or many.

My friend who offered me this has since died, and once again, I find my life in a state that is rather unmanagable. I started reading and re-reading my booklet several months ago, and this is the first week since then that I haven't cried a good portion of each day (ok- one brief weepy moment on the way to school p/u today, but that's a HUGE shift).

It took some time and much reading of my friend's msg.'s for me (I am fortunate he was, as well as a truly lovely man, a prolific writer)to begin making some changes in myself. My major change has come in re-establishing my relationship with God. It's been slow and steady, but I think He and I are making good strides. Regular prayer is a HUGE help, and finding one that is so perfect for me right now is like a calming mantra.

 
At 6:38 AM, Anonymous Kat said...

Wow.

It takes a lot of courage to put something like that out there publicly (even as an anon). I really can't offer any words for you, other then you are in my prayers. Some days our journeys seem to be one step forward and 3 steps back. I know the po'd at God feeling REAL well. . . functioned on that for awhile.

Just know you are in my prayers. From one struggler to another.

 
At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon,
Thanks for sharing. I hope you are doing better.

 
At 6:11 PM, Anonymous blogger said...

First Anon,

Did the people judge St. Patrick and not trust him?

 
At 6:16 PM, Anonymous blogger said...

I mean what is the point without trust? Without trust there is nothing. No matter what good St. Patrick may have done, if after some point the people didn't trust them then why be there?

 
At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

Why do any of us stay anywhere? why do we stay in a particular Parish, or Job or relationship when maybe there is someone or several someones who dislikes us or distrusts us or treats us badly???

If it is a parish, maybe we are being called to holiness there. Thoes things we have issues with are where we are asked to grow in faith in GOD. God is our focus and union with God is our goal and we have to keep our eye on God when there are things around clammering for attention that seek to take our attention from HIM.

 
At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I think we need to go on our merry way.

 
At 1:53 PM, Blogger fran said...

"Without trust, there is nothing."

There is always "HOPE." With it, there are endless possibilites of what might come, what might change, what might be waiting for us. Why not build on this hope? Why not stick around and see what the outcome might be? God does have a plan for each of us.

 
At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the lack of trust is Satan at work. If you leave, he wins. If he wins, we all lose.

 
At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fran,

Would you stay anywhere where people didn't trust you?

"There is always "HOPE." With it, there are endless possibilites of what might come, what might change, what might be waiting for us. Why not build on this hope?"

Hope? What hope? There is nothing to build on when there isn't ANY trust.

 
At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fran,

Would you stay anywhere where people didn't trust you?

"There is always "HOPE." With it, there are endless possibilites of what might come, what might change, what might be waiting for us. Why not build on this hope?"

Hope? What hope? There is nothing to build on when there isn't ANY trust.

 
At 5:01 PM, Blogger fran said...

Yep, sure would! If I thought I had a fraction of something to offer someone, the remotest chance of changing the mind or heart of ONE person, I would continue to stick around.

Where in the world would any of us be today, if Christ had not "stuck around," HOPING to have those to whom he preached follow Him, trust Him, believe in Him?

 
At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

"No, I think we need to go on our merry way."

Anon;

Respectfully, I think you are wrong. It is at those momements that we need to plant our feet, get a good strong stance and place our eyes on God and don't budge unless it is to move towards God. Its like this, imagine you have a rope tied around a big heavy object and you have to drag that thing up a hill to a specific spot. And its hard going, and you don't want to do it because its hard, the rope digs into your shoulder and burns your hands but you HAVE to get your thing up the hill to that particular place. You can choose to look at your feet while dragging your burdon up the hill or you can look at your goal. If you look at your goal while your are draging your burdon up the hill you will pretty much make your mark. If you look at your feet and pay attention to the little things or whatever else you will never get there. . . you will miss your mark every time. As Christians, sometimes our burdons are our sins or sometimes they are people who dislike us or want us to leave because they make them uncomfortable whatever it is... but we have to remember that God is our goal... it is HIM who has to have our attention otherwise we are going to get lost in our journey. We can't focus on the burdon, or the rope burn or our feet... we have to focus on God otherwise we will end up off the side of a cliff somewhere.

 
At 11:47 PM, Blogger fran said...

"I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God's upward calling, in Christ Jesus."
Phillippians 3:14

 
At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We can't focus on the burdon, or the rope burn or our feet... we have to focus on God otherwise we will end up off the side of a cliff somewhere."

By going somewhere else I can let God deal with my burden, focus on Him instead, not get the rope burn and definately not fall off the side of the cliff. To me that makes sense.

 
At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"By going somewhere else I can let God deal with my burden."

No one will have to deal with the burden because I won't be there so that is so cool!

 
At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Christ asks us to pick up our cross and follow him.

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger fran said...

My intent is not to start a feud here, but to point out that Kat's words were to "plant our feet, get
a good strong stance, and place our eyes on God."
This requires staying in one place.
Leaving or going somewhere else are not solutions. None of us can live a life burden-free. There is a whole new set waiting for us around the bend.
Coping, with faith and hope and love and in Kat's words "our eyes on God," will be our saving grace.

 
At 10:11 AM, Anonymous sad blogger said...

Fran,

What you are saying is true but there is one very important thing everyone is missing. "No one TRUSTS me" I can't live like that. I can't even do my volunteering job without everyone wondering what I am up to. I am not doing anything but just my volunteering duty. I love my volunteering job but lately have neglected it because I know my very presence makes a few people uncomfortable. You know what that feels like? You feel you are not worth anything and it is a very painful feeling. So please tell me what should I do? If people would just relax around me I wouldn't leave but I can't take this anymore. How would you like it if by YOUR very presence made everyone jumpy? Be honest with yourself. I can't advance spiritually because I feel sad and can't understand why some people feel that way about me.

Its not that I WANT to leave but I HAVE to. I am blessed to have 4 Catholic churches close by so I can always go to one, one week and to another, another week and so on and so forth.

I am not asking to live a burden free life but just to be trusted. Is that too much to ask?

 
At 10:51 AM, Blogger fran said...

Dear Anon,
While I cannot begin to know the depth of your feelings, because I do not know your entire situation, I do empathize with you.
I too have been in places where I have been judged for the GOOD I have done! Imagine that - people actually turning away from you (yes, literally turning away in CHURCH, during the Sign of Peace, of all things.) Did it make me sad? It sure did and I did withdraw for a while, although I did not leave. Why? Because as we have been discussing for most of this blog exchange, I feel I am called to stay where I have been placed and try to affect some sort of change, however small that may be.
See, here's the thing - I am comfortable in what I do and in who I am, despite what others may think of me. There was a time, when I did things with the ever present thought of "what will they think of me, if I say that or do this." Now, it just does not matter anymore. I feel good about what I do and KNOW that it is the right thing for me and, yes, others. Nobody has to agree with me, they do not have to support me, and they can certainly judge me if they wish. That is THEIR problem, not MINE.
So, I gently and kindly ask you, if it is good you are doing in your volunteer work, and you truly believe in it and you think you are in a place which you have been called by God, to BE STRONG and TRY to continue - persevere - as it seems you have been trying to do. Perhaps you are
influential in your work, in ways that have not been revealed to you just yet.
I am praying for you and offer this short prayer for you to say when you are feeling low: "Mary, Mother of Jesus, be my Mother now." Whenever, I pray it, it brings an immediate sense of calm.
I hope you have a great day.

 
At 12:59 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

I,too, sympathize with you. I also do quite a bit of volunteer work. My motives have been questioned, and actually use to believe I needed to justify my choices to those people. Many suggestions have been offered regarding ways I could/should spend my time- usually in the form of, "you really need to get a job!".

I wouldn't go so far as calling it jealousy, b/c it's not really that. I do think we all judge our own actions and inactions compared to that of others. Our measuring sticks are big and heavy! Sometimes people judge what you are doing b/c they cannot or will not make the commitment that you have made. In a way to feel better about themselves, they tear you down. I bet you their issue with you isn't lack of trust but maybe an unwanted and unacknowledged admiration of you.

Last year a group of moms succeeded in hurting my feelings, and I actually allowed myself to suffer as a result of the idiocy of gossip. Some recent things in my life put that kind of nonsense into perspective, and I got very clear with myself about who I am, what is important to me and what my commitments are. I still don't understand the brutal climate that sometimes (or, for you- often) surrounds the good deeds people do. I've often felt stroked with one hand and pinched with the other.

I'm at place now, that, were I to hear any of those people say "who does she think she is?", today, I would be confident and happy to tell them exactly who I am- someone with a kind heart, lots of energy and a commitment to excellence. I don't look for the strokes, and I don't lookout for the pinches. I simply trust myself to be true in my motives.

The sad reality- this behavior exists everywhere, and if you want to continue being true to who you are and what's important to you, it's only a matter of time until you experience it somewhere else. I sound cynical, but I sadly believe it is a part of our culture. Until we each insist that the nonsense stops- don't participate, walk away, remark that it is not Christian behavior, the behavior will continue.

I am sorry if people have made you feel unwanted. In case you feel like you haven't heard it in a while- Thank you, thank you, thank you for your kindness and generousity. Your commitment to our parish/school are tremendously appreciated.

I hope you choose to stay.

 
At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I bet you their issue with you isn't lack of trust but maybe an unwanted and unacknowledged admiration of you."

It definately is not that as I am always appreciative of any compliments or admiration given to me.

 
At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mindy,

Thank you for your compliments and acknowledgement. I really appreciate it.

 
At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So, I gently and kindly ask you, if it is good you are doing in your volunteer work, and you truly believe in it and you think you are in a place which you have been called by God, to BE STRONG and TRY to continue - persevere - as it seems you have been trying to do."

Thanks Fran I will continue in my library work. You and Mindy are both very kind and supportive people. I am acknowledging you both for being there for me. :0)

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger fran said...

You are VERY welcome!

 
At 5:18 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

"I bet you their issue with you isn't lack of trust but maybe an unwanted and unacknowledged admiration of you."

it would help if I check my writing before posting... what I meant was that sometimes people become resentful of a positive quality they see in you. Maybe they do not consciously and positively acknowledge that quality, and instead of just being "okay" with who you are, good qualities and all, they "tear you down" in order to "build themselves up". Keep you chin-up- although you may not hear the thanks- they are there. Take care!

 

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