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!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mk 7:1-13 Clinging to Silly String

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

Some Pharisees and scribes questioned Jesus, "Why do your disciples not follow the traditions of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?"  He responded, "Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:  "This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts."

As it is written.  Yesterday, I went to Starbucks with two delightful women, both in their upper 60's.  We had a wonderful time chitchatting about world events and what we most enjoyed about South America and Europe.  At a certain moment in our conversation, one of these darling ladies began to explain to me why she left the Catholic Church.  Although surprised to hear her story I wasn't surprised by her story.

She said that as a child her family never read the Bible.  I told her that that was unfortunate, but hardly something she should blame the Church for.

She then told me that she never read from the Bible while attending a Catholic school.  I was surprised.  I asked her if they ever had Mass.  She said, "Every day!"  I told her that during Mass there are three readings from the Bible.  She told me that things were different back in the 50's.  I told her, "That's true.  But there have always been three readings."

Finally, she told me she left the Catholic Church and joined a non-denominational Church because they taught her the bible.  I asked her why she never joined a Catholic Bible study group.  Well, she said she didn't know they existed.  Yes.  They exist.  They even exist at the College level. 

As if that were not enough, she mentioned to me that the priests back home (in her country) lived like princes, and they liked to drink a lot.  I asked her if she thought that non-denominational ministers were immune to drinking. 

Now, I'm not trying to make any excuses for my brother priests who may have alcohol or drug related problems.  But I am very confident that they are not alone.

Some people love to put priests on a pedestal, only to be the first to push them off.  I know that many people hold me in great esteem. But I know the day will come when I will knowingly or unknowingly disappoint them.  I stopped playing God long ago and trying to be the savior of the world.  I figured one Savior was and is enough, and that my priestly vocation is not to be the Savior of the world but to share my Savior with others. 

All in all, my conversation with this wonderful lady was delightful.  She is a very good woman, no doubt about that, but it seems like her reasons for leaving the Church are very, well, "traditional" - never read the bible as a child; never listened to the readings during Mass; and judged severely those she held in high esteem. 

I left her with one final question.  I asked her if she thought the Bible was more important than the Church.  She said, "Yes."  I said, "I disagree.  After all, it is the Church that tells me that the Bible is the Word of God, and that it is inspired by God, and that it is inerrant."

As St. Augustine once said, "I would not believe in the Gospels were it not for the authority of the Catholic Church."

St. Augustine was a pretty sharp guy.  He understood that the Gospels did not speak for themselves; that is, they did not write themselves, collect themselves, bind themselves, authorize themselves and, most importantly, interpret themselves.  They are a fruit of the Holy Spirit and of the Holy Catholic Church.  In the right hands they are a source of inspiration.  In the wrong hands, they are a highly efficient tool for disseminating false hopes and loves. 

Since Adam and Eve, we have always been trying to interpret or reinterpret God without respecting God.  This is what Jesus meant when He said "we disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition."

He was talking about our pride.

1 comment:

  1. Here's an interesting video commentary by Fr. Robert Barron on "Why Catholics Leave the Church."

    Fr. Barron's comments are based on a 2012 survey of former Catholics done at the request of Bishop David O'Connell of Trenton, NJ.

    In addiiton to the usual hot button social issues (gay marriage, contraception, ordination of women, etc.), Fr. Barron stated that the remaining reasons were broken down in three categories:

    1) Bad Customer Relations - people felt that pastors, prisets, and parish staff treated people badly. People commented that these people appear arrogant, insenstive, and aloof. If we work or volunteer in the parish we should not underestimate our importance in making people feel welcome. We may be their first contact with the Catholic Church.

    2) Bad Preaching (it's boring, irrelevant or poorly prepared).

    3) We left and no one contacted us (nobody cares). If people cease using a product, mega corporations reach out to them. Can't we?

    We can and must do better. We should not underestimate the impact we as the laity have on our church. We need to invite people to church and make people feel welcomed, loved, and appreciated. We need to put on Christ.


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