Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mk 9:41-50 Get up. Take up. Lift up.

Thursday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

Jesus said to his disciples:  "Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward... If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off...And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off...And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.  Better for your to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes..."

Cutting things off?  Recently, someone sent in a comment that is worth mentioning again, especially given today's Gospel passage: 

I remember when I was a kid, I read the bible verse: "They will pick up serpents with their hands..." (Mk 16:18).

And then I read: "If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell."

Interesting, right?

But then I asked myself: Where did the mass amputations happen? When were the "Blinding Ceremonies" scheduled? What's that? They never happened? So these early Christians didn't do what 
Jesus told them to do?

[Quoting] Scripture does not make anyone a Biblical scholar. It simply makes them a well trained parrot. And like parrots, they do not know what they say.

Did you hear about the pastor who died from a snake bite? Poor fellow. He had two problems: He was an untrained pastor and, apparently, an untrained snake handler.

But that's a lot better than the well-educated medical doctors who [experiment] on human beings or who [today] operate abortion clinics. These individuals [are] highly educated and well trained. No excuses there.

Studying Scripture is not the same as reading scripture.  To seriously study Scripture means to seriously study the science of archeology, ancient languages, hermeneutics, history (ancient cultures) and, of course, the writings of the early Church fathers.  Like the Bible, the meaning of the Constitution is not up for grabs.  In the case of the Constitution, interpretation is based on legal precedent, the intentions of the Founding Fathers and the magisterial decisions of the Supreme Court.  In the case of the Bible, interpretation is based on long standing tradition, the intentions of the authors and the magisterial decisions of the Magisterium.

This commentator made a brilliant point.  Unfortunately, for one unfortunate anonymous reader, this all came as news to them.  How sad when the obvious is not so obvious.

Give up.  Take up.  Lift up.  In today's Gospel passage, the Lord employs shock language often used by the prophets of old, to shake us up; that is, to renounce sin, take up our Cross and carry our neighbors. 

Nearly all pagan religions understood the value of sacrifice.  Unfortunately for them, some of these sacrifices were twisted in the most grotesque and disturbing ways.  Is this so unfamiliar to the scientific community, where some scientists have used their knowledge to invent poison gases, biological weapons, highly efficient extermination camps and U2 rockets?   Now what drove them to make such instruments of torture is just as relevant as the materials used to construct them.  If we don't get to the bottom of our problems, we will never solve them.  And the problem with all our problems start from within; that is, with sin.  Nothing else.

As a nation, we rely too heavily on money, the military (technology) and government to solve our most serious problems.  BIG MISTAKE.  The military makes us strong, but it also makes us a very big target.  The government can protect us, but it can also eavesdrop on us.   

For every action there is a reaction. 

This isn't just true in physics.  It is true in every thought, word and action that comes forth from man. 

"Come now, you rich, weep and wail...Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.  You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.  You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance" (Jas 5:1-6).

Here is the heartfelt lamentation of a prophet who cries out to the rich to stop their sinful behavior.  Get up, help thy neighbor and carry him to safety.  But again, what should be obvious is not always so obvious. 

In a nation like Israel, full of kings and judges, it was left up to the prophets to see and confront what the elite, the wealthy and the intelligent did not care to see and did not dare to confront. 

Pagans sacrificed others to save themselves.  Christians sacrifice themselves to save others.  What we possess is very important, but it is not as important as the life of another.

Get up.  Take up.  Lift up.

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