Sunday, July 29, 2012

Forgotten People

Thursday marked the Feast Day of Sts. Joachim and Anne. 

These two Saints represent the parents of Our Blessed Mother, although neither is mentioned in the Bible itself. 

Now before you are too impressed that I knew that, I should probably come clean.  I only know this because I read The Saint of the Day, and they happened to be the feature two days ago.  Sadly, the truth is that I forgot all about them.  

In fact, as I read the tribute to them, I started to feel embarrassed that I never ponder what good parents they were to Mary.   The lessons they must have taught her.  The strength they must have given her.  The role they played in our Salvation.  Nope, instead, I jump right from God to Gabriel to Mary to Jesus.  

But then, at the end of the summary, was this:

Joachim and Anne—whether these are their real names or not—represent that entire quiet series of generations who faithfully perform their duties, practice their faith and establish an atmosphere for the coming of the Messiah, but remain obscure. 

And then, it dawned on me how many Joachims and Annes there have been throughout Christianity.  Thousands of Holy people that did simple things like passing on a tradition, teaching the faith, or proclaim God's word.   People that will never make a holy book.  Will never have 15 minutes of fame.  Will never be revered.  

People I will never think about or appreciate.  

And yet, they hold a special place in God's heart.  They carry out His will, spread His word, and proclaim His kingdom.  

Heck, given that, maybe someday, someone will forget about us, too.

God Bless.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

And The Crowd Goes Wild

I've mentioned before that I like to listen to the Rosary on long car rides.  

One of the versions I have on CD recites a few passages of scripture at each Mystery, and I have found it really helps me think about, and reflect on, each decade. 

The other day, as I was listening to the Sorrowful mysteries, the passage about Pilate offering to release Jesus or Barabbas came on.    

Lots of visuals pop in my head every time I hear that passage.  But the other day I imagined I was in that crowd.  I could hear the loud, violent shouts for Barabbas.  I could feel the anger and the chaos.  I could see the sorrow on the face of our Lord.

And I wondered ...

I wondered what I would have done, had I known the full Story that those folks didn't.

I asked myself ... If I was standing there, knowing that Jesus' death meant my Salvation ... wouldn't I have rooted for Pilate to release Barabbas, too? 

I know.  It sounds horrible.  And selfish.  And I felt ashamed I even thought of it.  

And then, in the pool of my embarrassment, I felt His great, unselfish, unwavering Love. 

God Bless.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Missing Zero

Did you know that the concept of a zero place value did not get introduced to the West until around the 12th century?

That is why, for example, the Bible tells us Jesus was in the tomb for 3 days.  

Good Friday is Day 1, Saturday is Day 2, Easter Sunday is Day 3.  

In today's day in age, we would have counted Saturday as Day 1 because we use a zero place value for the current day.

I know, I know, "Thanks for 'nothing', Michael."

God Bless.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Solstices, Jesus, and John the Baptist

We celebrate John the Baptist's feast day June 24th because we know he was conceived 6 months before Christ.

Nothing earth-shattering there.

But last week I heard the relation to the solstices for the first time.  (Bear with me if I'm the last to figure this out!)

John's feast day is very close to the summer solstice - the longest, brightest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.  There are many analogies one can draw from that (ie, John blazed the path to Jesus, shone the light towards Him, etc).

But ironically (or planned?), just as John said he must decrease - so Jesus could increase - each day after the summer solstice gets a bit shorter and a bit darker.  

Until, of course, we get to the winter solstice, which ironically (or planned?) is right about when we celebrate the birth of our Savior.  

After that, every day gets a bit longer and a bit brighter!

God Bless.