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Come and See!
Body & Blood, Week of June 2, 2024


The Word…

 

When Moses came to the people
and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD,
they all answered with one voice,
"We will do everything that the LORD has told us."
Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD…
and he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, "All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do."
(from Ex 24: 3-8)


Pondering the Word …

I wish I was gifted with the ability to draw cartoons. The first frame would be God and all the angels sitting in heaven as they listen attentively to the people below say, “We will do everything that the LORD has told us." In the second frame, God and the heavenly host would sit stunned, looking at one another with quizzical expressions on their faces. And the third frame would be all of them doubled up with laughter, wiping tears from their eyes, incredulous and amused at what they have just heard! 😊

You know, the people were sincere when they said they would do everything the Lord had instructed. But they were likely unaware of what they were agreeing to. God’s word was not about what sacrifices were required when or the precise measurements of the altar. God’s word was—and is—about how to live.

Scripture is not intended to be a history book. If we fail to understand how the messages of Scripture apply to us today, we may find ourselves making promises we can’t keep. Then, we risk either dealing with an overriding sense of guilt, or, as Pope Francis tells us in Gaudete Et Exsultate, falling prey to spiritual corruption or an untended and lukewarm faith, greater risks than the fall of a sinner (pp. 164-165).

We strive to do everything the Lord has told us about living true to the covenant. When we fail, God doesn’t laugh, but looks at us with love, seeing the sincerity in our hearts. And we fail, over and over. But let’s make sure we are not failing due to ignorance, blindness, or self-satisfaction. Let’s bring new eyes and ears to what the Lord tells us. Let’s look to Jesus to teach us how to live.


Living the Word…

How aware are you when you read or listen to Scripture? Do you ever stop and say, “Hey, what does this mean for me? To what message am I nodding in agreement?

Here’s a prayer suggestion: Pick a Scripture passage that gets under your skin. One that every time you hear it, you cringe. (If it’s in an OT book like Chronicles in which every other word is “slew,” remember it reflected the tribal nature of the time. Consider instead what “enemies” or disordered attachments you need God to help you eliminate so as to reach the promised land of peace.) Sit with it. Read it slowly, a few times over. What speaks to you?  Ask the Spirit what message she has for you and how you live.

God smiles and rejoices when we grow in awareness. It is through awareness that we grow in grace, and it is through grace that we fulfill the covenant and grow the Kingdom.

Mon, Jun 3: “Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love” (2 Pt 1:2-7). This is another “cause and effect” reading. Our faith is made stronger when our actions are virtuous and based on the knowledge of God, self-control and endurance. We show devotion to God and others and demonstrate affection. But like all that is good and gracious in life, it comes down to one thing: Love. Reflection/Provision: We throw the word “love” around freely, i.e., I love baseball, I love ice cream, I love (fill in the blank). We end conversations with “Luv U,” even to people we don’t like. We cannot say we are people of faith if we do not love. And, as Jesus tells us, if we just love those who love us back, what’s the big deal with that? (Lk 6:32). True faith is empty without real love for all. This is a hard assignment. Make a conscious commitment to show and speak love to everyone and everything you encounter today.

Tue, Jun 4: “Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty, if we are strong, most of them are fruitless toil, for they pass quickly, and we drift away” (Ps 90). How’s this for some cheery news! This psalm reminds us that our lives are brief, but God is forever our refuge. The words reflect the Wisdom texts, especially Ecclesiastes. And, whenever I reference Ecclesiastes, I like to share some of the author’s words that don’t show up in any lectionary I know of! "So, I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat, drink, and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun" (8:15). Reflection/Provision: Life is short. Have fun! Eternity is long. Be good!” I don’t know the source of this quote, but it imparts the same message. God wants us to live abundantly, not just in the far-off future, but right now. God delights in our delight! Your provision for today: Be good and have lots of fun!

Wed, Jun 5: “To you I lift up my eyes…Behold, as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters. As the eyes of a maid are on the hands of her mistress, so are our eyes are on the LORD, our God” (Ps 123). According to scholars, these words reflect our complete dependence on God just as servants are dependent on their masters. A few suggest the image of the eyes of the servant being on the master’s hands implies fear of punishment, but I don’t think that’s it at all. I lift up my eyes to the Lord, watching God’s hands at work in the world. And as God’s servant, I follow God’s lead and do my best to help. Reflection/Provision: Let’s lift up our eyes today, not to the heavens, but to God’s presence here on earth. Pay attention to God at work today. Follow God’s hands to create beauty, to comfort and console, to delight in creation, “to eat, drink, and be glad!”

Thu, Jun 6: “The word of God is not chained” (2 Tm 2:8-15). Reflection/Provision: I am keenly aware that, as I write interpretations of Scripture, I, in fact, put the word of God, not in chains, but at least in a box. I hope for you, it is an open box. This short verse is very important. The Word of God, the Spirit cannot be boxed, chained, or held back. Not by tradition, not by doctrine, not by anything or anyone else, no matter how inspired. I imagine this makes some uncomfortable, but the intent of this verse is to say the Truth will not be bound. The Word of God is always new. It is for each of us to reflect on what the Spirit is saying to us through any given spiritual reading or bible passage. It is entering Scripture through the narrow gate of our intimate faith relationship, accompanied by the indwelling Spirit. What does this short verse say to you?

Fri, Jun 7: “I kneel before the Father…that [you will] be strengthened with power through the Spirit in the inner self, and Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ, to be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:8-12, 14-19). Reflection/Provision: I kneel in prayer that you be strengthened today deep in your heart. Grounded in faith based on love, that you allow the Spirit who dwells within you to fill you with God’s love.

Sat, Jun 8: “For a season will come when, having a tickling at the ear, they will not tolerate sound teaching, but will heap up teachers attuned to their own preferences, and in fact will avert the ear from the truth, diverted toward myths” (2 Tm 4:1-8, literal translation). Reflection/Provision: I am amused by the image in this translation. I am sad to say there are a lot of “ear ticklers” out there, leading others astray by telling the people what they want to hear, by affirming the lies and myths they have made their preference. The Truth is Love. Anyone who preaches hate, bigotry, prejudice, and nationalism is not of Love, and therefore, not of God. Sit with this in prayer. What is your opinion? How will you support the cause of Truth and Love today?
 


Elaine Ireland has a passion for working with parents and anyone who struggles to maintain a sense of God’s love and peace amid the day-to-day challenges of life. She has a master’s degree in Spiritual and Pastoral Care from the Pastoral Counseling department at Loyola, Maryland, with a focus on developmental psychology and spiritual guidance.  Rooted in Ignatian spirituality, she is a writer, retreat and workshop leader, and presenter on topics such as pastoral parenting, “letting go,” and finding the spiritual in the midst of everyday life. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland with her husband, Mark and children, David and Maggie.


We hope you enjoy "Come and See!" and we welcome your input. Please contact Elaine Ireland at ehireland@gmail.com with questions, comments, and responses, or to receive Provisions free via email.


© 2024, Elaine H. Ireland


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