Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pharisee or Tax Collector - Who are You? Who is St. Paul?

The theme of Sunday's Lectionary is (supposed to be) humility and penitence. But apparently nobody told the editors of the RCL.

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, `God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.'

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, `God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'

I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."

OK - Who are you? Pharisee? Tax Collector?

Now read this:
2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18

I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Who is St. Paul more like? Pharisee? Tax Collector?
And the lesson we should learn here is....?

Yes, I know. There is an extremely good distinction to be made about the context and target of the two passages. But do we really need to make the subtle point of distinction? Why? Just incase we happen to have an unsure Apostle in the pew?

With all of the NT writings to choose from the RCL Editors could not have found a better fit?

We are coming to the end of our first 3 years with the RCL which was supposed to be a preacher's delight and all I can say is "Please don't do me any more favors!"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Do you Sweat when you Pray?

Genesis 32:22-31

The same night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, "Let me go, for the day is breaking." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me." So he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." Then the man said, "You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed." Then Jacob asked him, "Please tell me your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved." The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

Wrestling, especially the ancient - naked - type is more than sport, more than combat, it is the human activity of the greatest non-sexual physical intimacy.

Jacob's night-long-bout with God earns him, and his offspring the most blessed of all names, Israel. The "el" on any word or name is always a give away that God "El" is in the mix. Isra-el is Strives with God.

This is the example God has given us in Scripture. He wants us to grapple with Him on the most intimate basis.

If your prayer life isn't breaking a sweat, maybe it should.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Red Mass

The first recorded Red Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral of Paris in 1245. From there, it spread to most European countries. 
Around 1310, during the reign of Edward II, the tradition began in England. It was attended at the opening of each term of Court by all members of the Bench and Bar. 
In the United States, Red Mass was first held in 1877 at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Detroit, Michigan by Detroit College, as the University of Detroit Mercy was known at the time. UDM School of Law resumed the tradition beginning in 1912 and continues to hold it annually. 
In New York City, Red Mass was first held in 1928 at the Church of St. Andrew, near the courthouses of Foley Square, celebrated by Cardinal Patrick Joseph Hayes, who strongly advocated and buttressed the legal community's part in evangelization.[2][3][4]
In Canada, the Red Mass was recommenced in Toronto in 1924. Its sponsorship was assumed by the Guild of Our Lady of Good Counsel in 1931 and by The Thomas More Lawyers' Guild of Toronto since 1968. It was re-instituted in Sydney, Australia in 1931.


The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.

O LORD, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you "Violence!"
and you will not save?
Why do you make me see wrong-doing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous--
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

If the righteous were healthy, wealthy & wise, while the wicked languished sick, poor and foolish, God would be a matter of self interest, not faith.