Selected Sunday Scripture- #2

The first passage in my second Selected Scripture series comes from the First Letter of Peter:

 14 But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear,[b] and do not be intimidated, 15 but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence.[c] Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil.

(1 Peter 3:14-17)

I think this is an valuable passage because suffering is a part of life. We can never entirely escape it, no matter how hard we try. Given this fact, it is better for us as Christians to choose to live our lives in such a way that our suffering, when it does come about, results from doing good instead of doing evil. In this way it has purpose and meaning and value.

The second passage comes from the Book of Sirach:

18 The one who sins against his marriage bed
says to himself, “Who can see me?
Darkness surrounds me, the walls hide me,
and no one sees me. Why should I worry?
The Most High will not remember sins.”
19 His fear is confined to human eyes
and he does not realize that the eyes of the Lord
are ten thousand times brighter than the sun;
they look upon every aspect of human behavior
and see into hidden corners.
20 Before the universe was created, it was known to him,
and so it is since its completion.
21 This man will be punished in the streets of the city,
and where he least suspects it, he will be seized.

22 So it is with a woman who leaves her husband
and presents him with an heir by another man.
23 For first of all, she has disobeyed the law of the Most High;
second, she has committed an offense against her husband;
and third, through her fornication she has committed adultery
and brought forth children by another man.
24 She herself will be brought before the assembly,
and her punishment will extend to her children.
25 Her children will not take root,
and her branches will not bear fruit.
26 She will leave behind an accursed memory
and her disgrace will never be blotted out.

(Sirach 23:18-26)

There are a few things I found important in this passage. To begin with, a husband’s adultery, while seemingly less odious (based on other parts of scripture), will not escape punishment. God sees all, and any thought of escaping justice is folly. Second off, we can see that a wife who commits adultery and cuckolds her husband is actually wronging three different figures. The first, and most important, is God. Then her husband. And then finally her children, who must suffer the worldly consequences of her sins. This is think is a template for understanding all sins within marriage: they wrong God, our spouse and our children.

The last passage is from the Gospel according to Mark:

He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary[a] and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense[b] at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.

(Mark 6:1-6)

What intrigued me here is the part in bold, which seems to indicate that the ability of Jesus to work miracles was dependent on the faith of the one who would benefit from it. This was a bit odd to me at first, because it almost seemed like a limitation on Jesus’ power. As I think on it, I suspect there is actually something very deep going on here. Possibly several somethings. Perhaps a statement that when we lament the lack of God’s presence in our lives, it is because our faith is lacking. Once we regenerate our faith in God, then we will be able to witness his miracles at work. Or maybe Mark is trying to teach us that God works through us and our faith, although that seems very much like the first point. This I think is worthy of further prayer and reflection.



Filed under Christianity, Selected Sunday Scriptures

4 responses to “Selected Sunday Scripture- #2

  1. Faith goggles. Miracles are always happening all around us, but we fail to see them, or appreciate them, because we want to understand things by using reason, and in tangible terms, human ways. The ways of God are not the way of men, but we are given the tool of faith to perceive them, even if we cannot understand them.

    Not until I turned back to God did I understand this. Something, someone was watching me and guiding me. The early teachings I received in Catholic school did me great service even though I chose not to see God’s hand in my life for many years. My priest recently told me that my early devotion to the Blessed Mother must have provided a veil for me, and a tether to the way home. Now that my faith is renewed, and deepening, I see miracles, and the force behind them, much more clearly.

    As for the Sirach passages, I wish this material and its like would be read and discussed from the pulpit. My church, like all RC churches these days, has female lectors and EMs. I’m becoming familiar with who’s who in my parish. I don’t receive Communion yet because my civil marriage has yet to be convalidated, so I am in sin according the Canon law. Yet I saw a woman who is divorced distributing sacramental wine at mass, something I thought was not permitted. She should not even be able to receive Communion, let alone offer the sacred blood of Christ to others. Am I missing something? Admittedly I am only half-way through my renewed study of the Catechism, and I am no Canon lawyer, but the softness of the church’s position regarding divorce, adultery, and the discord it brings to children and civilization is troubling.

  2. @ Cranberry

    Miracles are always happening all around us, but we fail to see them, or appreciate them, because we want to understand things by using reason, and in tangible terms, human ways.

    I think you give reason short shrift here. Reason definitely has a place, and doesn’t necessarily exclude faith. They are not on the same axis; one can have an abundance of faith and an abundance of reason at the same time. The problem Mark highlighted as merely a lack of faith.

    As for your third paragraph, I have seen what I’m pretty sure is similar behavior at a church I went to for a long time. Not sure if my current church has the same problem, I haven’t been there long enough to know everything that is going on. But I agree that the Church has really dropped the ball when it comes to divorce and adultery. Actually, the whole sacrament of marriage has received poor attention from the Church for a long time.

  3. @Cranberry, I think, but may be wrong, that a divorced person may receive the sacrament and serve as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, provided that he (or she) is not remarried or otherwise engaged in a relationship with someone else. However, I have also seen people who were divorced and remarried (civil union) serving as EMEs in my own parish – our current Pastor is not onboard with this and so there have been some changes since he arrived.

  4. Maeve, that is also my understanding. There are other restrictions as well, although I’m not as sure about them off the top of my head.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s