Sunday, November 20, 2011
Today's mass reading from Matthew suggests that Jesus will judge his people on the final days,when the sheep are separated from the goats. This analogy was used because the animals were familiar to the people of the time. The goats are the sinners, who are denied eternal life. The sheep, who fed and clothed their brethren and the least of God's people, are going to be rewarded with the Kingdom of God.
Jesus I pray that all who hear your word choose to follow and accept God's kingdom in their hearts. In so doing they will enable you to fulfill your promise of the Kingdom of God, that you have lovingly offered to your children. We live in a complex world among people who are highly educated and successful. I pray that they accept you in their hearts because their knowledge cannot replace all the needs that each of us has, first and foremost to know and love God. We all need food, clothes, and have not achieve equality with God. On the contrary we are sinners and unworthy of God's love and mercy but receive it freely anyway. Once again I pray that our hearts are softened and receptive to the love, mercy, and healing that you want all of us to share. In Your name, Amen.
Friday, November 11, 2011
1 Anyone who does not know God is simply foolish. Such people look at the good things around them and still fail to see the living God. They have studied the things he made, but they have not recognized the one who made them.2 Instead, they suppose that the gods who rule the world are fire or wind or storm or the circling stars or rushing water or the heavenly bodies.3 People were so delighted with the beauty of these things that they thought they must be gods, but they should have realized that these things have a master and that he is much greater than all of them, for he is the creator of beauty, and he created them.4 Since people are amazed at the power of these things, and how they behave, they ought to learn from them that their maker is far more powerful.5 When we realize how vast and beautiful the creation is, we are learning about the Creator at the same time.
6 But maybe we are too harsh with these people. After all, they may have really wanted to find God, but couldn't.7 Surrounded by God's works, they keep on looking at them, until they are finally convinced that because the things they see are so beautiful, they must be gods.8 But still, these people really have no excuse.9 If they had enough intelligence to speculate about the nature of the universe, why did they never find the Lord of all things?
One of today's lectionary readings, which I took from a public domain Bible source, is a faithful translation of this portion of the book of Wisdom. It expresses a simple concept: that God desires, He demands, that we know Him and worship Him, not merely wonder at the majesty of his creations. The authority of the Bible has been handed down through tradition. Jesus quoted the bible regularly. He did not edit it or make corrections. This is the word of God and through study we can better know God and move closer to the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus spoke of in the Gospel.
I find it useful to look at the smallest of things to appreciate the concept of God's creation. The ant is among the smallest of all creatures, yet it behaves as if it has perception, decision making, cooperation, planning. Most remarkably, many ants have enormous strength, such as the ability to pick up and carry leaves that weight up to 30 times their own body weight (for me that would be carrying over 2 tons!). I would not have predicted, from my own schooling, observations of nature, reading of Bible passages, or even using a vivid imagination that such creatures were possibilities. I cannot invent God, and man cannot replace Him either! But we can seek him and know him, through his Word and most of all through the Son.
Jesus we seek you and marvel and your creations in the world. In our communities we can spread your word so that others can hear of your glory. Fortify us to do your will today as we go forth. Your goodness is our virtue. We praise your goodness and your blessings that we have and wish to thank you endlessly for them. Amen.