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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bible and Catechism in a year: Day 5

Genesis 5:1-6:8

I never noticed before that Chapter five opens with a reminder that we are created, male and female, in God's image.  My eyes always when straight to the long geneology of some very long lived individuals. 

The most interesting in this string is Enoch, who "walked with God."  He's the only one in the line that didn't die, but was taken by God (one of three humans to have that honor according to Catholic Tradition).  As it turns out, he is Noah's great grandfather. 

Then we get some rather poetic and cryptic verse about the sons of God and the daughters of men, and a race called the "Nephilim"  I spent the majority of my lunch hour reading up on this verse and getting some perspective.  Lots of people read into this one and come up with a lot of crazy ideas.  Though I am no scholar, the footnote seems to make pretty good sense:  "The writer, however, may be using an old story or myth to point out the progressive degradation of mankind before the Flood and to warn against the evil effects of intermarriage either of the descendants of Seth with the Kenites, or, more probably, of the Israelites with the native populations of Canaan." 

Psalm 5:

The Psalmist has a way of painting his enemies with his language.  His contrast of those who walk in the way of the Lord and those who are wicked is quite striking.  And yet, he makes clear is dependance on God:  "Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of my enemies; make thy way straight before me.

Matthew 4:

As an aside, this chapter begins with what Lino Rulli (AKA The Catholic Guy) calls "The most obvious statement in the Bible"
"And he fasted forty days and forthy nights, and afterward he was hungry"
Kidding aside, though, this is a very important bit of scripture, where Jesus is tempted by Satan in the desert. 

How beautiful it is that Jesus invokes the scripture "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."  Jesus IS the Word...and I had never really considered his response here that he was foreshadowing his gift of self in the Eucharist.

When Jesus tells Satan to be gone, Satan obeys.  This isn't surprising, but it certainly tells us something important about who Jesus is.  Not only do the evil spirits submit to his commands, but the prime evil spirit as well. 

It is also lovely that the angels come and minister to him after his ordeal.

Catechism  26-30:

OK, back to the Catechism today.  We begin Part one:  Profession of Faith.  It starts with a definition of what faith is - man's response to God, and then begins unpacking our capacity for God.  Since we are darkened by sin, it is sometimes difficult for us to do what we are made to do, which is to seek God.  And yet, as Augustine points out, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.  So many things promise us fulfillment in this world, and they all fall flat when push comes to shove. 

We are reminded that from looking at evidence of societies throughout history that man is indeed a religious being.  Almost every culture has a creation story...and almost every culture has one or more religions to go with that story.  Certainly, the search for God is something that is written on the human heart.  Outright athiesm as a popular belief is a relatively new phenomenon, and yet, even that can be viewed as a religion of sorts, typically in which the self or the society takes the place of the divine. 

Tomorrow's readings:

Genesis 6:9 - 7:24
Psalm 6
Matthew 5:1-20
Catechism 31-38

God Bless and Good Night!

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