Sunday, June 26, 2011

Welcome to Sunday Snippets

I thought this week that I would start a weekly Sunday post called "Sunday Snippets". I am actually hoping that it will help me stay focused on my blog a little more, but also help me concentrate on the things that really matter in life. We will see how this pans out - what it will include and how easy it will be to come up with 7 things each week. I actually don't think that will be so hard. Life is a great teacher. We learn valuable lessons each and every day. Some days I may just post a quote or a Bible verse that has a great application. On other days, I will share a lesson I've learned in my personal life. Hopefully, each day will have a snippet of wisdom you can take with you for the journey. Every day will at the very least be a peep-hole into some of life's most precious teaching moments.


My conversations with other Catholic women this week produced this: What matters isn't things but people - relationships.  Relationships are what make up the most important aspects of our lives - on a emotional level, but also spiritually. In our attempts to control everything in our lives, we destroy what is most precious to us - our relationships. Good relationships require trust - in both directions.


It is something we so often take for granted. Give thanks for your health.  For those times when your health is not up to snuff, be thankful for those who accompany you on the journey.  That is reason enough to be thankful today.


We all like to be appreciated. Receiving appreciation is a great motivator. Show someone a little appreciation. You never know the cross another person carries unless they tell you. Try putting yourself in someone else's shoes.


It's something we so often take for granted.  We talk about freedom in our country and yet so often that very freedom is taken as license to do or say things at the expense of another.  Remember that freedom focused on self isn't freedom at all, but attachment to our own desires. It is indeed a form of slavery.


Discovering the best and worst in people
This whole thing with Fr. Corapi has brought out both the best and worst in people. I've heard some people deride him in self-righteous judgment as they hold onto the beam in their eye. I've heard fan-atics who follow the messenger rather than the message encourage him to leave the Church. But I have also heard people encourage him and pray for him in his trials. The Body of Christ is made up of all kinds - both saints and sinners. But as I said before, we never know what cross another person carries. We can't walk in another person's shoes for them. May God bless this man in his trials. By his fruits we shall know him. I personally believe that God is at work in all of this. He will not abandon us.


Just thinking about people's commitment or lack thereof.  It reflects how much we are willing to sacrifice of our time and our gifts -  even our money - for something we believe in.  What do I truly believe in outside of myself?  Is it something that gives back to me the more I give to it?  Do my commitments enhance my relationships or sap them of life?  How about my commitment in my relationships?  How much am I willing to give to make someone else happy?


We all need boundaries. Without them, we either become a doormat or we rule someone else's life. Neither is healthy. In the Trinity we have a model - to be one with each other in mind and heart and yet still be who we are. The Trinity is the model of all relationships.

Corpus Christi

Today, in the United States, is the feast of Corpus Christi - the Body of Christ. The feast was established by Papal Bull in 1264 by Pope Urban IV to be celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. In the United States, it is celebrated on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday. Without surprise, the Gospel reading is from the sixth chapter of the John – in the Bread of Life discourse.

John 6:51-58
Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world."
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
Jesus said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever."

What does Jesus mean by these words? Is he speaking symbolically? How can He be more clear? He says, “I am the living bread” and ". . . my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink." Three times in chapter six, Jesus says that He is bread and life. Three is the number of perfection and is intimately related to the Trinity.
  1. John 6:35 - Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. 
  2. John 6:48 - "I am the bread of life." 
  3. John 6:51 - "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."

And where does Jesus say He is from? Jesus says that He comes “down from heaven.” Why? Because He wants us to know Who He is and that we are made for heaven. John 6 tells us seven times that Jesus has come "down from heaven".  

  1. John 6:33 - For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world."
  2. John 6:38 - For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me;
  3. John 6:41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven."
  4. 4.   John 6:42 - They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?"
  5.  John 6:50 - This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
  6.  John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."
  7. John 6:58 - This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever."
Why seven times?: Because that His Body and Blood is the sign of God's New Covenant with man in Jesus Christ. Once again, God is swearing a covenant oath to give us life if we only believe and receive Him. Three times, John tells us that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood
  1. John 6:53 - So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;
  2. John 6:54 - he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day;
  3. John 6:56 - He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

Why must we do this? It is how we receive His threefold promise:
  • -      To have life within us
  • -      To be raised up on the last day
  • -      To abide in Him and He in us.

Jesus' clarity is not the only way we know that He means exactly what He says. Later in John 6, when unbelievers walk away, Jesus does not call them back to explain or retract His words. His sign of multiplying the loaves and fishes was not enough for them. He even asks them if they would believe if He ascended back into heaven, but they were hardened of heart. It made no difference to them who He was or where He was from. To them, he was merely the son of a carpenter from Nazareth. He was a miracle worker, but they could not stomach what He said. They could not look beyond what they could see in front of them. They had neither eyes to see nor ears to hear. 

I find it interesting that the verse which says many drew back and no longer went about with Him is John 6:66. Is unbelief the mark of the beast described in the book of Revelation? 666 is the number of the beast – the Father of Lies and Prince of Darkness. Although man was created on the sixth day, he was made for the seventh day – for covenant relationship – because he was created in God’s image and likeness.

When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist properly disposed, we immediately have His Life within us. This life is a communion in which we dwell in Christ and He dwells in us. When we receive Him we also have the promise of resurrection on the last day.

So let us be believers. Let us abide in Him who repeatedly tells us Who He is in John 6. The Son of God gives us His very flesh to eat and blood to drink. Our bodies don't just assimilate Him. He doesn't become us. Instead, we become what we eat – the Body of Christ so that we may be Christ for others. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Until It Is Over and Beyond

Ever since Fr. John Corapi's announcement on Saturday, that he is now the Black Sheep Dog, I have watched as fellow members of the Church have churned over it like spicy chile being stirred in a pot on a hot stove.. I have heard and read people on both sides of the spectrum. Some would write him off as damaged goods or even talk like he's returned to a life of addiction to cocaine. (The latter accuser later posted an apology for that statement. Thanks be to God!) Others who have a deep love for Fr. Corapi - dare I say an attachment to him rather than his message - are fully behind him in what he is doing. But it is not the messenger we are called to follow. It is the message. The message is Truth and those of us who know Fr. Corapi can clearly hear his resounding voice in our heads saying, "The Truth is not a something. It is a Somebody. And that Somebody is Jesus Christ."

I have debated over the last several days as to whether or not to get into the fray beyond offering my prayers for this wonderful priest whose ministry has brought so many lost souls to the Lord and into the Body of Christ. My statements on Facebook asking others to pray for him seemed to get lost among all the others. 

Fr. Corapi is undergoing his greatest trial as a priest. Maybe this is the greatest trial of his entire life - and as we know those have been many. But this fray is, in some ways separating the sheep from the goats. Oh! How easy is is to judge someone when you haven't walked in their shoes, especially when you assume you have all the facts - which we do not. None of us has walked in Fr. Corapi's shoes. We can only walk in our own shoes! But I also know that we are not to judge. One of the readings this week, from Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, was about this very thing. 

Matthew 7:1-5"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at th especk of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocurte, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

We don't really know what Fr. Corapi is going through, do we?

When we have a  friend who is going through a difficult time, we don't beat them when they are down - if we are a REAL friend. We are simply called to be there to encourage, not judge. Like the Good Samaritan, we are called to stop and render aid when a friend is down. 

Luke 10:25-34, 36-37

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right, do this, and you will live." But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. so likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. but a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him. . . . Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him. "Go and do likewise."
Walking past like the Levite and the priest who doesn't want to make himself unclean doesn't prove us as his neighbor, does it? In fact, we prove ourselves to be like the one we consider reprehensible. Instead, let us by like the neighbor of which Jesus speaks. Let us show mercy.

At this point, we can only speculate and conjecture about the entire chain of events. Neither does us any good. As Fr. Corapi would say, "It isn't over until it's over." If we do not judge and we pray for Fr. Corapi while hanging onto the Truth he passed on to us for 20 years, then we are truly free - until it is over and beyond. Perhaps, a fellow member of my parish said it best in her blog, Conversion Diary. Fr. Corapi guided her 
"toward the only thing that matters — the truth of Jesus Christ. . . . No matter what happens, I will always respect his talent for capturing the truth, and will eternally owe him a debt of gratitude for highlighting its beauty so well. . . . My love of the doctrines of the Faith will remain unscathed, . . . I pray that Fr. Corapi feels similarly liberated to take whatever time he needs to pray, pause, and seek the still, small voice of God, knowing that it is not his burden alone to pass on the Faith. God has given us the truth through a system that is outside of and above any one man. And because of that, we are all free."