Okay, so a quick update. I have fallen behind almost a week in my bible reading challenge due to my work schedule changing from 8-hour 5-days a week to 10-hour 4-days a week. The schedule change has thrown my sleeping schedule off and I’ve been going to bed around 8 or 9PM in order to be up by 5:30AM. The good thing is I have a 3-day weekend so I have ample time to catch up before mass on Sunday, when I intend to write my new Sunday readings and homily entries.
This entry is just about three chapters that I have read and while I catch up, I don’t want to be worried about forgetting my thoughts on these three, which is why I’m writing this entry. So, let’s begin!
Since I’ve only read these three chapters, I don’t know where it’s going and even though I’m trying to remember, it’s just not ringing a bell. I hope it’s going toward something good because right now it’s very upsetting.
- In Gen 25:29-34, in order to have some food after working very hard Jacob tells his older brother Esau that he has to give him his birthright. Since he’s still a young chap, he agrees to it. He’s just very hungry and wants to eat. Though, the birthright really isn’t spelled out, unless I missed it. I thought it was the blessing from his father, but after further reading, it’s actually a different thing. Anyway, this really makes me question why would Jacob do something like that? That’s not exactly a good or nice thing to do.
- Early in the following chapter (Gen 26:5), the Lord tells Isaac that he’s keeping his commandments, but when and where were the commandments laid out? I’ve been waiting to read them, but apparently I missed them. I don’t remember reading about that other than just instructions that are to be followed, which is something else.
- Right after the Lord compliments and blesses Isaac he pulled a trick his dear ol’ pa did about his wife not being his wife (Gen 26:6-11). And just like before, God was about to punish the people who had NO idea that Rebekah was his wife. I really don’t understand the point of that.
- Finally, the last chapter that I’ll discuss is chapter 27 when Rebekah cheats her older son from the blessing his father clearly wants to give him by having Jacob receiving it himself instead. Isaac at this point is pretty much blind and is going by his sense of smell and touch. Rebekah and Jacob really go out of their way when Jacob who typically has smooth skin has game hair/fur put on him and he wears Esau’s clothing to TRICK his father into receiving Esau’s blessing. It ends with Esau crying profusely begging his father for a blessing, any blessing. I cried so much for Esau. I can’t imagine being betrayed by my immediate family, let alone my brother and mother. The story itself is heartbreaking.
There is actually a note for the chapter that reads: ”The story was told because it is part of the mystery of God’s ways in salvation history–his use of weak, sinful men to achieve his ultimate purpose.” What exactly is that supposed to mean? That’s not a good thing. It takes away from the holiness of God and how he’ll use anyone to make his will done. After reading the note, I knew I was going to be disappointed.
Something else about that chapter that’s upsetting is in Gen 27:45 when Rebekah has the audacity to say “Must I lose both of you in a single day?” after she helps Jacob cheat his brother from his blessing. Rightfully so, Esau is pissed, and obviously, Rebekah didn’t care how Esau was going to feel or worry about the repercussion of her actions. Just a general statement, this is not a good example of women, which seems to be a trend in the bible.
Well, that’s it with these three chapters. Next, I’ll be catching up with my reading and writing further entries.
June 7, 2013
[Note: The majority of this entry was written on June 2nd, but unfortunately I didn't finish it on that day. The point of these type of entries is supposed to be completed on Sundays, or the latest the next day on Monday. So even though this one is very late, I will put in more effort to get these entries done sooner.]
While in mass today I thought about something else I can do for this site since this is a collective of everything related to my faith and my relationship with God. I decided to discuss the readings and the homily. Hopefully, I’ll make it a weekly habit, but sometimes I just get lazy. During the homily, I had to take notes which made me feel so involved! I used the back of a receipt, but I recently purchased some small writing books that I think I’ll use from now on.
Church: Our Lady of Good Counsel, San Antonio
Before I talk about today’s mass readings and homily, I need to talk about Our Lady of Good Counsel. I LOVE Father Fidele, the only priest at this church. The love of God within him can be felt from anywhere in the church, and he’s obviously a priest of the people. Being in his presence at this church with this community (specifically the 9AM mass ;) ) can easily bring me to tears. Not tears of sadness or frustration, but tears of joy.
Another part that can easily bring me to tears, though lately I’ve been getting stronger on that part, is the Lamb of God sung in Spanish. Oh, I forgot to mention, this is a bilingual mass. I know the mass by heart in English, which at times my eyes will just scan the text of the missalette without really thinking about it. True, I’m not fluent in Spanish, but I like learning the mass in a different language.
Okay, I think I said everything I wanted to, so now let’s get to the readings and homily :)
Before I talk about each of these (I know, I keep interrupting myself!), it’s important to understand the purpose of having these readings. When I was in high school and the mass was explained in class, the teacher explained it as having a dinner with friends. First, the friends arrive and everyone greets each other, then we catch up with stories, we prepare to have dinner, have dinner, and finally bid each other our farewells. The mass is looked at the same way. Every mass begins with greeting those around us and opening prayers, story-telling time (the readings), Eucharistic prayers to prepare the body and blood, then receiving the body and blood, and we end with closing prayers and farewells.
This is a wonderful analogy! When we have dinner or share meals with friends, it’s a time of happiness and sense of community, but with mass it has that special addition of being one with Christ as we receive the Eucharist. Okay, so now let’s REALLY begin.
Sunday Mass (5/2/2013): The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
First Reading: Melchizedek brought out bread and wine and blessed Abram (Gen 14:18-20)
Psalm: You are a priest forever, in the line of Melchizedek (Psalm 110)
Second Reading: Paul gives his description of the institution of the Eucharist (1 Cor 11:23-26)
Gospel: Jesus spoke to the crowd about the kingdom of God and then fed them with five loaves and two fish (Luke 9:11b-17)
This mass had a specific theme, it was about the most holy body and blood of Christ. This is actually the most important part of mass. The funny thing is the first reading is from Genesis, which is the book I’m currently reading. I was actually wondering when would I first notice a reading from that book. Sooner than I realized.
The first reading is typically from the old testament of the bible. This week it’s about a priest of God who is king of Salem (Jerusalem) named Melchizedek who brings out bread and wine and blesses Abram. What’s interesting about this reading is it foreshadows the importance of breaking bread and sharing wine Jesus will have with his Apostles centuries later.
The psalm reading is also from the old testament. This reading is a psalm of David, describing how David is a priest similar to that of Melchizedek. It also describes how God is to David’s right and will support him through any military ventures.
Typically, the second reading is from letters written from St. Paul. Even though the missalette and bulletin state that the second reading is from 1 Corinthians 1:23-26, when I went into my bible to actually read the verses, it has nothing to do with what was read at mass. I’m not sure why there’s an error, and unfortunately, I don’t know the true location of the story that was read. However, I did take a photo of the reading from the missalette so I was able to re-read it at home! In this past week’s second reading, St, Paul describes the Eucharist of the last supper.
The Gospel reading from Luke describes the story of 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish that is shared with about 5,000 people. After Jesus blesses it, not only is the food multiplied for all the people, there are even leftovers.
All of these stories reminds us about of the Eucharist, and also how important the topic is that it’s repeated throughout the bible.
The homily began with prayers for those in Oklahoma. Next, Father talked about yesterday being his 11-year anniversary of being ordained as a priest., which I thought it was interesting since my brother’s friend was also ordained yesterday in Nebraska.
After that is when he got into the meat of the homily. He said that the Eucharist, body and blood of Christ, is the center of our faith. And unless you’re in good with the teaching of the church, you shouldn’t receive them. However, by not receiving them is very damaging to the soul. Hearing this really makes me want to know more about the teachings of the church. Other than some pretty major ones that I believe are wrong, I can’t solely base my faith on that. I need to know everything else that’s taught.
This actually brings me to a book that, I believe, my brother gave me. There are two and they’re called Catechism of the Catholic Church. However, one of them is quite daunting…so I will be reading the smaller one first. The chapters seem very small, so I’m not sure how I’ll incorporate my reading of that book into this site. I also don’t know how often I’ll be able to read it since my priority is keeping up and completing my bible reading challenge. BUT, I will not make excuses. I do want to educate myself about my faith and will make it happen.
This is a pretty long entry…so I think I’ll end it here.
June 7, 2013
After having a VERY difficult bible-reading day, the last chapter I read made me feel a bit better.
Abraham’s senior servant was sent to find a wife for Isaac, who turned out to be Rebekah. The parts that made me feel better was that even though the servant pretty much claimed Rebekah with a jewel on her nose and bracelets, her family asked what she wanted to do instead of just sending her off with some strange man.
The other thing is that for the first time “love” is mentioned between a husband and wife. Gen 24:26 reads “In his love for her Isaac found solace after the death of his mother Sarah.” Clearly this is something major, or at least I’m hoping it turns into something important.
From the very little that I’ve read about Rebekah, I like her. She feels like a breath of fresh air.
June 1, 2013