Friday, January 25, 2018
Introduction to Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy is narrated, for the most part, by Moses. Yep, that Moses. Some people actually say Moses wrote the book, but most scholars think that the writer(s) were just using Moses the character as a means to get their message across. Attributing the text to a hugely important cultural figure would give it more power, right? Think about if someone today came out with "George Washington's Lost Will." There'd be controversy, but you can bet that book would sell.
Once you sift through all the nitty-gritty laws and rules, the main message is that the Israelites should worship one god (6:4) in one place (14:25). That god is God, and—even though it's never named in the book—that place is Jerusalem. This message comes along with a retelling of the Exodus story, the tales of the Israelites in the book of Numbers, and the rules and regulations that will help the Israelites recapture their culture's essence.
Moses conveys all this through some pretty rousing and finger-pointing pep talks. Basically, the previous generation of Israelites failed big time, refusing to fight for the Promised Land. But after forty years of desert-wandering, a new generation brings new hope. And if these Israelites obey God, then they'll conquer the Promised Land. The whole book takes place at the Jordan River, while Moses motivates and warns them. Obey and win; disobey and lose—big time.
Why Should I Care?
Deuteronomy is the key to the entire Hebrew Bible. It's the bridge between the stories in Exodus and Numbers, the laws in Leviticus, and the narratives in Joshua, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings. All of the Bible before Deuteronomy has been, in a narrative sense, leading up to the Israelites entering the Promised Land. They've fought, been enslaved, seen God's fire, messed up, died, and been given the law. Now, in Deuteronomy, they're on the edge of the Promised Land, so close to their goal. But don't get too excited—Moses, their leader, makes them take a really long pause. He wants them to take a deep breath to reflect on where they've been (and think about what's to come). What better way to do that than by retelling the story? And hey, if nothing else, Deuteronomy gives you a really good cram tool if you somehow missed the first four books of the Bible.
JANUARY 25 Thursday
Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle
Deuteronomy, Chapter 1, Verse 17
In rendering judgment, do not consider who a person is; give ear to the lowly and to the great alike, fearing no one, for the judgment is God’s. Any case that is too difficult for you bring to me and I will hear it.”
Deuteronomy is the last of the five books of Moses. The book explains to the Israelites how to make a success of their life. To be a success we must as General Patton said, “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” After appointing Elders this was Moses advice to them; fear no one except God. The greatest of our church is that we when we are troubled and don’t know what to do we can always approach Him in prayer and seek the advice of his elders (Mary and the Saints) anywhere we are. If we desire, we may also approach our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and bring any case that is too difficult for Him to hear and He will answer us. Likewise, we may approach a priest in confession or connect with a local parish spiritual director. How great is our God that He does not abandon us? Furthermore, there is a multitude of great Catholic websites and organizations where there are elders of the church who can assist us in our difficult moments.
Feast of the conversion of St. Paul
Sometime after the death of Our Lord, St. Paul returned to Palestine. His profound conviction made his zeal develop to a religious fanaticism against the infant Church. He took part in the stoning of the first martyr, St. Stephen, and in the fierce persecution of the Christians that followed. Entrusted with a formal mission from the high priest, he departed for Damascus to arrest the Christians there and bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was nearing Damascus, about noon, a light from heaven suddenly blazed round him. Jesus with His glorified body appeared to him and addressed him, turning him away from his apparently successful career. An immediate transformation was wrought in the soul of St. Paul. He was suddenly converted to the Christian Faith. He was baptized, changed his name from Saul to Paul, and began travelling and preaching the Faith. He was martyred as an Apostle in Rome around 65 AD.
What do we learn from this history? Not to despise any sinner, nor to despair of his salvation: for, like Paul on the road to Damascus, the greatest sinner may, by the grace of God, be suddenly converted, and become a saint. At the command of God he accepted Ananias as his leader in the way of salvation, and became as zealous for the honor of Christ as he had previously been intent on persecuting Him. In like manner, a convert must shut his eyes to all by which he has heretofore been led astray and must give heed to that only which God commands.
Today try and be 100% for God.
As iron, cast into the fire, loses its rust and becomes bright with the flame, so too a man who turns his whole heart to Me is purified and all sluggishness and changed into a new man.
Who am I, Lord, that I should be considered by You: I AM WHO AM.
Like Paul we must be fearless in proclaiming the gospel.
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mk. 16:15-16)
1942 proved a fortuitous year for transatlantic travellers wearied by the cold and damp conditions of an Irish winter. Thanks to the innovative imagination of bartender Joe Sheridan, they were soon to have their cockles delightfully warmed by an almost decadent blend of fine Irish whiskey with the irresistible taste and aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Combined with the subtle sweetness of brown sugar and sipped through the luxurious density of whipped cream, it was a recipe that would become a global hit that needed no specific weather conditions to be enjoyed.
Complete My Joy
A Future and A Hope
105. Jesus has a plan for your family and His purposes will not be thwarted by sin and brokenness—if you but surrender your hurts to Him in love and trust. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, plans to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
106. To look at Jesus on the cross is to realize that He knows our suffering, from the inside. Venerable Fulton Sheen wrote: “What do the scars of Christ teach us? They teach us that life is a struggle: that our condition of a final resurrection is exactly the same as His; that unless there is a cross in our lives, there will never be an empty tomb; that unless there is a Good Friday, there will never be an Easter Sunday; that unless there is a crown of thorns, there will never be a halo of light; and that unless we suffer with Him, we shall not rise with Him.”
107. We do well to remember the words of St. Paul: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)
108. God too sees your sufferings, is with you in your pain, and desires that you allow Him to use each ache for your own holiness and the salvation of your families. Suffering can be powerful and redemptive. When it is united to the Cross of Christ, no prayer, no disappointment, no hurt is ever wasted. Every moment of suffering can also be an act of love.
109. When you offer your suffering up to God, He will use it like oil from the press to anoint your family. In this way, you mysteriously but truly participate in the redemption of those whom you love most in the world!
The Way Mortification
"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."
We were reading — you and I — the heroically ordinary life of that man of God. And we saw him fight whole months and years (what 'accounts' he kept in his particular examination!) at breakfast time: today he won, tomorrow he was beaten... He noted: 'Didn't take sugar...; did take sugar! May you and I too live our 'sugar tragedy'.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
 Paone, Anthony J., Our Daily Bread, 1954.
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