Tuesday, January 25, 2011

At Once

The more I learn about our religion, the more I find myself  impressed with the Apostles.

Today, just one phrase from Sunday's Gospel reading added to my admiration:

"At once, they left their nets and followed Him"  (Mt 4:20)

These everyday fisherman left their life behind and followed a man they really didn't know or understand.  No pause.  Without hesitation.  Immediately.

At once.   

They followed our Savior from the moment He called them, right up until to their own death ... despite the questions and confusion they certainly faced. 

I wonder if I would have had that conviction.  

Heck, I know the way the story ends and it's still not easy to always say "yes"!

God Bless.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Am I Really Writing About A Psalm?

The psalms are beautiful, inspirational, and poetic.

And yet I never really write about them.

Worse yet, of the entire Liturgy of the Word section of Mass, I probably focus the least on the psalms.

Maybe it is because they are sung.  Maybe it is because they are more like poetry than prose (my high school English teacher will tell you that brick walls understood poetry better than I did).  Or maybe it is because I am always looking ahead to the letters from Paul or the Gospel readings.

But today, Psalm 40 really hit home.

"Here I am Lord; I come to do your will."

What a wonderful prayer to start every day with.  It is so level-setting, and grounds us in the real reason we are given the gift of life.

I often wonder how many times I "miss" God calling me to do something.

Wouldn't it be a nice change of pace if I asked Him each morning what He needed from me that day?

(Of course, Jesus might be so shocked at this behavior coming from me, that he starts laughing ... which would answer the question I put forth in my last post.)

God Bless.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Did Jesus Tell Jokes?

It hit me this week that I almost never picture Jesus smiling or laughing.  

I read every quote from Him with the utmost seriousness.  Each word is carefully chosen.  Each parable a stern lesson.  

I picture him constantly teaching his disciples - desperately trying to get His message across to an audience who just doesn't get it.

I picture Him sad and tortured during His final week on Earth.

And of course, the most common image I see of Him is on the Crucifix.  No smiles there.

So I did some research, and found out that this is a common discussion point.

Turns out that many scholars believe that the words we read with such solemness were actually humorous at the time.

From Jesus' outlandish analogies (a camel through a needle, a beam in an eye), His wit (the Pharisees are the blind leading the blind), and His comedic images (wolf in sheep's clothing), there is evidence that He did use humor more than I envision.

So why is it often overlooked?

Some say it is because those around Him did not understand.  Some say it is because it is not natural to think of God laughing.  And some say it is just because of the seriousness of the underlying message.

But now that I have a new perspective, I find it comforting.

I usually picture Jesus one of two ways:  looking down on us with a loving look or looking down on us with a sad, disappointed look.

But maybe ... just maybe ... He is also laughing with us too.

God Bless.