Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New photos

For those who are not interested in MNBS, some new photos from today.

Top: Mommy and Joseph during a tickle fest.
Bottom: Leo walking in Daddy's boots.

MNBS, 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Yr B

Hello folks, it is a Tuesday night study this week. Team Snuffin was a little fussy last night.

Fr. Kambitsch's homily on Sunday primarily examined Jesus' leper healing to a desire to unify the Jewish community. The first reading from last week described how lepers were outcast from the community. He extended the unification theme to Abraham Lincoln trying to heal the USA of a leprosy (i.e. slavery) and preserve unity. I took issue with his understanding of history, but it was an interesting tangent, as the last week was the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. Note for reference, the Southern states did not secede because of the Emanicpation Proclamation. The EP was signed in 1863; the Civil War started in 1861. End of tangent.

This week's Gospel: (Mark 2:1-12)
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days,
it became known that he was at home.
Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them,
not even around the door,
and he preached the word to them.
They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd,
they opened up the roof above him.
After they had broken through,
they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
"Child, your sins are forgiven."
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves,
"Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming.
Who but God alone can forgive sins?"
Jesus immediately knew in his mind
what they were thinking to themselves,
so he said, "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic,
'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise, pick up your mat and walk?'
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth"
—he said to the paralytic,
"I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home."
He rose, picked up his mat at once,
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this."

Jesus is comfy at home; he may be having a cup of tea, and the people come. Think Bilbo Baggins in Lord of the Rings. He preaches, someone amazes him with their faith in him, and he heals. At the time, some illnesses were thought to be the result of personal sin. He heals the paralytic interiorly by forgiving him of his sins. Instead of trying to hush up the recently healed, he reveals himself to the scribes, the authorities. Jesus is not just some internant preacher, not just some kind of physician. He is someone who behaves with divine authority, and this is manifested physically in healing.

To me, it seems that Jesus is done with trying to deny who he is. We believe that Jesus has two natures, He is both divine and human. I can imagine that this is his exposure of his divine nature in full. He has embraced his vocation; He has arrived.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Monday Night Bible Study

One of the most formative things that I did when I was a student at Cal Poly was a bible study during my third year. There were about 15 of us. We were lead by two students, one of whom is now a budding philosophy professor in Texas. The general plan was to read and discuss the Gospel reading for the coming Sunday, and talk about what the priest preached on at Mass the previous day. Quick explanation: in the Catholic Church, the readings for each Sunday, with a few exceptions, are the same across the world. For most Sunday Masses, there are four readings: the First Reading is usually from the Old Testament, there is a Psalm (usually sung), the Second Reading is usually from one of the New Testament letters, and then the Gospel (from one of the four Gospels). If I went to Mass in Tres Pinos, London, Rome, or Barbados, the readings would be the same. The topic and delivery of the homily, or sermon, is entirely up to the priest or deacon preaching. It was interesting to play the "Did Father Mike get our notes or not game".

I was thinking about it the other day, and things like MNBS are some of the things that I really miss about being out of college, and one of the few Catholic "young adults" in the area. Way too old for a youth group, and the few study/discussion groups that the parish puts on are rarely at a conveinient time. So... here's the plan. Alie and I are going to start our own MNBS; a huge group of, well, two. We'll look at the coming week's readings, chat about them, and I'll put up my/our own reflection. Your comments are always welcome.

We will try to do this on Monday evenings. We will see how long this lasts. There may be a hiatus during harvest, or if a Snuffin is sick. I do not pretend to be the pope, or a theologian. While I am a pretty faithful and orthodox Catholic, I do not know it all. If you think that I have something wrong, let me know in the combox. Just be civil; I don't have time to moderate comments.

A few MNBS resources:

The Gospel for the coming week. Get a Bible. I'll post a link to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops site. They have links to each day's readings. Nifty.

Catechism of the Catholic Church: Think the Boy Scout Handbook, only for Catholic theology and doctrine. Very handy; lots of references, footnotes, and so forth.

Enough preliminary stuff. Let's get cracking!

Gospel for 15 Feb 2009 (Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time-Year B):
A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said,
"If you wish, you can make me clean."
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched him, and said to him,
"I do will it. Be made clean."
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning the him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
He said to him, "See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them."
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
(Mark 1:40-45)

The Reflection: Again, Jesus heals someone. In last week's Gospel (Mk 1:29-39) Jesus heals Simon Peter's mother-in-law. He heals someone who was an outcast, a leper. On the healing, the leper believes that Jesus has the power to heal him and asks for healing. Applied to us, how many of us realize that we are broken, need healing, and have the guts to ask someone for help. How many of us recognize that there are people that are capable of helping us?

For Jesus' part, he feels pity for the leper. Doesn't this point to the human part of Jesus' nature; he is both divine and human? He tries to hide his identity, and it fails. He is found out, and the crowds following him are getting bigger and bigger. To a degree, it seems like Jesus is either avoiding his vocation or is a bit scared of the enormity of his mission.

Ok, now you have my $0.02. Let's do this again next week.