Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity - May 25, 2013 - Year C - Roman Catholic Lectionary


First Reading:             Prov 8:22-31
Psalm:                         Ps 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Second Reading:         Rom 5:1-5
Gospel Reading:         John 16:12-15

Trinity Sunday

Today’s Scriptures: Lectionary selections from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Psalm 8
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15
Today’s Reflection:
There are some things in life I do not think I will ever understand.  Algebra, for instance. I use it (successfully) all the time in my job, but I do not understand it. I particularly frustrate math teachers by demanding to know how they can so degrade language by putting perfectly good letters into math problems. The same thing can be said for the Trinity we celebrate this Sunday. We know it; we accept it; we believe it; but we have great difficulty understanding it.

Today’s scriptures do not necessarily help the understanding. The great Proverb’s discourse on wisdom almost makes wisdom sound like an alternate name for the Holy Spirit with the passage in chapter 8 discussing wisdom’s presence and role in the creation; however, wisdom recalls being the first of God’s creative acts. The Holy Spirit, as part of the Trinity was God from the beginning along with the Father and Son. As impressive as wisdom is, it does not rise to the level of being God.

The passage in Psalm, too, gives a distinction to the Trinity by presenting a non-example. Humanity is identified as being less than God (…a little lower than God….). As precious as mortals are, we do not rise to the level of being God.

My understanding of the Trinity can best be described as considering the function of each member: The Father as creator, The Son as teacher, The Holy Spirit as guide. All are God, but I have a different relationship and interaction with each. None is greater than any other: none is less than any other. The diagram helps show the interconnectedness of each member of the Trinity. 

Even though I can understand my relationship with each part of the Trinity and have a profound connection to my faith in God, like Algebra, the Trinity is something I struggle to explain and fully comprehend. Not understanding is ok. It is part of the mystery that keeps me seeking as it has kept believers seeking since the beginning of time. My relationship with the Trinity, kind of like Algebra, works for me and I am happy about that.
Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost Sunday 2013

Today’s Scriptures: Lectionary selections from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C
Acts 2:1-21
Genesis 11:1-9
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
Romans 8:14-17
John14:8-17, 25-27
Today’s Reflection:
Understanding sometimes gets in the way of the noblest endeavors. Someone misunderstands a measurement and you have a leaning wall. Someone misunderstands a command and you have a war. Everyone understands each other and humanity’s ego challenges God. But when God provides a way to reconnect with humanity, understanding becomes a great gift from him.

The Day of Pentecost focuses on what unites us. THE Holy Spirit came not just from the apostles, but to all believers who call on the name of the Lord. The experience had to be so exciting with the “tongues, as of fire,” spread through the crowd accompanied by the sound of wind. Suddenly a barrier between the apostles and most of the world disappeared: everyone in the presence could understand the message of Jesus Christ.

Some churches celebrate the giving of the gift of tongues, but what stands out in the passages today is not the speaking, but the understanding that took place. God suddenly made it possible for everyone to know his will in the world. Peter dismisses those who would challenge the event by recalling prophesy that the Spirit is for ALL believers – those with societal rank (old men) and those without (slaves). The Roman and John passages reinforce the identical message: God’s Spirit will dwell with all believers.

The gap between humankind and God no longer existed as the Spirit was there to “teach and remind” (John 14) all believers what was expected. With the Holy Spirit in our midst, we no longer have the excuse, “I didn’t understand,” and true understanding may be the best gift God has ever given us.
Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Today’s Scriptures: Lectionary selections from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C
Acts 16:16-34
Psalm 97
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
John 17:20-26
Today’s Reflection:
Reading each of the passages today led me to make a list of questions:
How would you feel if following God caused you to lose your means of income?
How would you respond if following God caused you to experience physical suffering?
How would you react if you were suddenly freed form the bonds that limited you?
How would you live your life if you knew you were a part of God and God was a part of you?
Each question comes up in the text of today’s passages and gives us reason to consider how deep our faith truly penetrates.

Paul and his compatriots lived and answered the first three questions because they knew the answer to the fourth. The spirit that possessed a young girl recognized the power of God within the men. This is just one of many experiences when a spirit-power (demon) recognized the authority of God over all creation and responds to a command from him, though it is somewhat unique that the spirit proclaimed to the community that Paul’s message was the way to salvation. Despite the spirit’s recognition of the truth recognized that it was not a holy state for the girl and allowing such a spirit any kind of authority over man undermined their message that Jesus was the only way to salvation, so Paul cast the demon out.

That spirit provided a good income for the girl’s owners and they were unhappy that the girl had been healed of her affliction. Throughout the Bible healing often brings unintended consequences: no good deed goes unpunished. Doing God’s will can prove costly as it interferes with the comfort zone many (including many who call themselves faithful) have built around themselves, and as a result, it often comes with resistance and consequences. Such was the response to Paul casting out the demon. No one in the community celebrated the healing of the young girl or the miraculous power behind it; they considered the impact on their own lives.

The resulting uproar led to the beating and imprisonment of Paul and the others who accepted the consequences of doing what God commanded. They understood the unique relationship between God and humankind. Through Christ, we are a part of God and God is a part of us. It can be easy to forget the indwelling nature of the Holy Spirit as part of God, but it should be something continually on the mind of the believer as we decide how we are living our lives. When I consciously remember the presence of God, I know I reconsider what I am saying and the tone I use in saying it. I consider carefully what it is I am doing.

Remembering God’s constant presence with us is challenging. I know I do not always do it as much as I would like to. Remembering God’s constant presence with us, though, gives the world the God it needs.
Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Today’s Scriptures: Lectionary selections from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C
Acts 16:9-15
Psalm 67
Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5
John 14:23-29
Today’s Reflection:
When I was growing up, social networking was eavesdropping on a neighbor’s call on our party line. It is how all the community news spread. Today I no longer even have a landline telephone, much less one I share with four neighboring houses, and my cell phone is used more for texting and instant messages than it is for calls. Times change and our ways of communication do too. The way God communicates with us has changed over time as well and today’s passages examine some of the ways that communication takes place.

The Old Testament is filled with examples of God interacting directly with his chosen leaders and prophets. From personal spoken conversations to visions to guiding natural phenomena, God’s message came directly from him to the intended audience. That much remains true today through the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, who Jesus spoke of coming into the world upon his departure. The Spirit came to “teach and remind” as the guiding voice of God on the earth. Rather than requiring an audible voice, the nature of the Spirit guides our conscience so that we know in the moment whether we are doing right or wrong.

No matter the form of the communication from God, the message is personal and intentional. As Paul and many who have received a message from God know, the directions are not always easy, but they are the direction meant at the time.
Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts.