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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mary or Martha - Which one do YOU choose?

Today's Scripture Readings for Mass are, I think, interestingly put together.  The first, from the Book of Genesis, speaks of the visitation of three 'men' to Abraham.  We know that these men were Angels sent by God because the ancient writers told us that the Lord appeared to Abraham.  What the ancients do not tell us is whether or not Abraham knew they were angels.  He did all that his culture required of him to do by feeding them and giving them a place to rest.  The reading ends with one of the Angels telling Abraham that Sarah was going to have a son.

Now that must have been puzzler, don't you think?  I mean, come on she was what - 75? 80?  Sure, God had told Abraham that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky but Sarah had decided to fix that by having her husband impregnate a servant girl because after all, once again, the creature knew more than the Creator.  And, once again, the man of the family had not said, "Look, you may not believe God but I do and I am not going to take matters into my own hands.  Instead I am going to trust Him.".  Instead, he said, "Oky Doky".

Now, here comes the messengers of God and one of them tells Abraham that God is faithful even if he is not...what a shocker that must have been and I wonder if Sarah thought they were crazy?

The Psalm we sing is Psalm 15..He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.

Sarah, we know, did not do the Lord justice...she didn't trust...she did not want to take a chance that relying totally upon Him might not turn out the way she wanted it.

Do I trust Him enough?  Not always.  Most of the time I am thinking about what I can do to make things work the way I think would be for the best and most of the time I am then reminding myself that my ideas are not always the best.  I have gotten better at not taking the action but I haven't quite mastered the thinking part yet.

We then get to hear from the letter St Paul wrote to the Colossians.  He was already under house arrest in Rome when he wrote the letter and it does seem a little strange, doesn't it?  I mean, what could possibly be lacking in the afflictions of Christ?  Wasn't the sacrifice on the cross enough?

Sure it was - but St Paul was talking about why he was rejoicing in his sufferings.  He was reminding us that suffering has a purpose in today's world and that what he was going through was not just something awful that should be endured.  There is REDEMPTION in suffering - we can offer our suffering for the good of others.  Those souls still being purified in the fire before entering into heaven.  The ones here on earth still suffering the effects of sin being let into the world - sickness, poverty, death itself.  Our pains, our aches are not for nothing...we can proclaim Christ through them and help others make it to heaven.

Finally, I look at today's Gospel and my heart goes out to Martha.  I think, in a way, Martha must be Italian.  She reminds me of the Italian Mom or Grandma who spends all of the holiday in the kitchen while the rest of the family visits in front the TV watching the game or outside smoking cigars.  They are sharing and talking and having a great time and she is making sure the ravioli is ready the same time as the weird green bean casserole brought by the grandson's girlfriend so both can go on the table and be warm.

Mary, on the other hand, is just hanging on every word the Lord is saying and Martha finally just has enough.  Martha wants everything to be perfect for God - after all, God is in her house and is going to be having dinner with her - and there is that goofy sister of hers (the one that wants to study and learn as much as the boys) not helping her at all.

Kind of like the girl who watches football with the guys and has to be ordered into the kitchen to help put the dinner on the table.

I think what Jesus tells Martha is meant to calm her down.  He knows she wants the dinner to be perfect and He knows she is doing it because she loves Him.  I think what He is telling her is that what she does is fine, because it is does out of love, but to not let the details get in the way.  Put on a good dinner, but do it for the right reason and look at what is really important.  He is in her house!  He is teaching Truth!  Don't let the need to get everything right obscure what is happening right in front of our eyes.

I love today's readings...what do you think they meant?


R.L. G said...


Trust. The fact of the matter is that if I am honest with myself, I don’t really trust anyone, God included. We could turn the wayback machine on and dial it back to the mid to late ‘60’s to find out why, but that is mostly an intellectual exercise. I must live in the present, with what I have to work with at the moment. I have a lot to work with, compared with 15 yr ago. That does not mean that I don’t pray, or that I don’t believe. It means that like Martha, I am anxious and fearful. Martha did not know that everything was going to be “OK,” just as I don’t.

In a way, it’s kind of like learning to live with Asperger. I did an amateur study a couple of years ago on Autism Spectrum Disorders. My friend in Arizona owned a toy company that manufactured toys for disabled kids, and he got to rub shoulders with some of the top researchers in the ASD field, and turned me on to some books. What I discovered is that high functioning Asperger people adapt to blend in as they get older. It’s a kind of mimic response that turns into learned behavior. Their intuitive socialization skill is missing, but they learn to adapt. That’s what it feels like for me after being in the program for 14 years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to live a life with less misery and chaos; I’ll take what I can get. Maybe there is a grain of truth to the adage “fake it till you make it.”

I still have a long way to go. I get to be a little more “OK” as time goes by. I try to look for similarities instead of differences; I try to dispel the notion that the other shoe is going to drop. Some weeks are better than others. When I get five months of migraines in a row, I become more vulnerable to the old programming and the anxiety and fear comes around the corner like a cur, a suck-belly dog looking for an opportunity to pounce on me when my back is turned. It’s just another suffering that must be offered up. Offered up to someone I do not trust. But He doesn’t care if I don’t trust; He keeps reaching out his hand, as I must if I want to live.

So, I think it was about trust.


shoney45 said...

(This is 'you know who'. The name change isn't a Maudlin thing. I'm doing it to protect my income over my new found atheism, and desire to cultivate myself into a public figure over time.)

"Do I trust Him enough? Not always."

Why trust 'him' at all. Why trust an infinitely powerful being who does NOTHING to stop racism, slavery and genocide...and who prefers instead to watch the children of the world masturbate, and then roast them in hell for it? The notion of faith in such a powerfully ridiculous 'ultimate being' is looking as sillier to me these days than the worship of a peanut shell. At least the peanut shell exists.

Anyway, I have a blog also. It might be nice to have a defender of the faith show up to defend your hateful club (which btw has very darkly made it a crime imprisonable by up to eight years for reporting sex crimes against children). Hah! What is to be expected when a religious government has national sovereignty? Total insanity...that's what.

shoney45 said...

Sorry. That was the wrong post.

shoney45 said...

If nothing else though, I gotta hand it to you Leslie for your willingness to publish my vociferously anti-Catholic comment. These days, I look at rock solid faith in any religious institution such as the Church, the Bible, Christ, Mohammed, or whatever with (insanely gross expletive deleted). And most people with what I look upon as a fanatical commitment to some man made idea wouldn't post material speaking negatively to their organization or idea like that. It speaks of integrity to at least myself.

The contempt and anger I grew to have, and slowly work through (that work still continues) towards the world of religion, spirituality and theism has been no laughing matter at all. I also know I've been a moral failure in several regards while working through this aspect of myself. (I don't carry the guilt and shame religion brings anymore, but just recognize moral failure, and keep working to improve). One of those ways is vis-à-vis yourself as I came to just blow up towards yourself, and others as well as the reality that twenty five years’ worth of god-love turned out to not only be a failure, but served to be the primary thing which forged my life into the hell hole it was.

I couldn't sleep last night, and laid there thinking about yourself. While I didn't check back to see if you posted my material, I figured you must have because my stats were showing hits to my blog. I keep thinking about you every time some new twisted, bizarre and abusive story about the RCC comes out. But I keep on regretting the past in spite of the story, even though it seems clear to me that faith in the RCC enables its abusive behavior towards humanity. At any rate, something finally shifted enough inside, and the time seems right for myself to put the past behind, and I apologize for my hateful behavior towards yourself.

I hope you're well, and your own struggle in life fares well as you continue to find peace in your way, as well as for your Army relative and all the others you love.

Take care.

Leslie Klinger said...

Hi, Robert - I know exactly what you mean. I think there is a 'fake it until you make it' aspect to all levels of socialization. I think for people like you and me, we have that piece missing that allows us to connect to people unless we can spot a real shared experience - either a good one or a painful one - just like survivors on the life raft.

I am not sure who the second poster is and I am at a disadvantage as I am not sure what law you are refering to; however, I do sense a lot of anger and pain. You are in my prayers.

shoney45 said...

The second blogger is myself. I figured you knew. Religious people have brainwashed the culture into believing an atheist is to be trusted less than a rapist...literally according to polls; even though on any point of morality germane to religion such as abortion or divorce, atheists score about equal, or slightly better than religious people. So I want to protect my identity and income while making progress on a ten year goal to cultivate myself into a public atheist figure. I want to spread what is being called 'the new atheism', and via the force of reason, seek to diminish the amount of god-love in the world.

I am vociferously anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, anti-God, anti-religious, anti-spiritual and anti-religious. When weighed in global and historical scales, gods, their teachings, their prophets and their followers have made the world a vastly worse place than it could be otherwise. And yeah, a flood of anger erupted looking back at a life of total failure, waiting for some 'loving god' to finally respond to my love and show up, while my life descended into a slow-roasting spit somewhere deep in hell. (A god btw...well...if you've read my blog post, then you know what I think of god(s). What a sick, deviant, and hateful bunch of teachings.)

But that doesn't excuse poor behavior. So I'll man up and make amends where I need to. To be sure, I am in the camp of 'Sam Harris: The New Atheism's Pitbull' that ideas which are worthy of contempt and ridicule, ought in fact to be publicly derided, ridiculed and exposed, such as the teachings of the apostle Paul that women ought to be so subjugated that they aren't even allowed to speak in Church as an example. It is stunning to me to find that most Christians aren't even aware of those teachings. So I want to expose the teachings of the Catholic Church...amongst all the other religions as well...for the psychologically violent and twisted bundles of human crushing hatred that they are. But I need to be able to do it in a more detached manner. That is what my blogging effort is about, and why it is a ten year goal.

Thank you for your prayers. I don't need prayer anymore though. Being freed from the 'unholy' terror of faith in god(s) is powerfully liberating. I take charge of my own life now. And I AM forging myself into everything I've ever wanted to god(s) need apply. If you want you can peruse some FB profile pics to see the progress I've made in backbending. My frontbending goal is to be able to sit on my own face; fer real! And the mushroom farm? Yep! That’s gonna happen too.

Feel free to look up Robin Plice on FB if you want. I promise I’m not looking for fights with anybody anymore. In spite of religion (and I DO mean in spite of it), you’re without doubt a person of integrity, and those are good people to have around.

shoney45 said...

Where do you get that cool software device that tracks visitors to your blog?

shoney45 said...

Btw: Here's how the new law works. It's very clever how the Pope has made it illegal to report sex crimes under threat of prison. It is ingenious in fact. Here's how it works.

Pope Francis brought the Vatican’s legal system up to date by criminalizing leaks of official information and formalizing laws against sex crimes. And sex crimes within the Vatican can be punished by up to 12 years in prison. Sounds progressive right?

The legal overhaul however, makes it illegal under threat of imprisonment for betraying or receiving confidential Vatican information. And wouldn't you know it? It turns out sex crimes against children (perhaps all sex crimes) are considered confidential Vatican information.

So because all sex crimes are kept confidential, there is no longer a legal way for Vatican officials or laity for that matter to report sex crimes, without risking imprisonment for up to eight years (although one source said two I'm honestly not sure which it is).

Leslie Klinger said...

I am still confused. Are you stating their is a prison at Vatican City?

Leslie Klinger said...

and if I could spell...the sentence would have been:

Are you stating there is a prison in Vatican City?

I was under the impression that all crimes committed within the city-state legal limits are turned over to the Italian authorities. This would mean that leaking information would be a crime turned over to Italian authorities.

I also think you may be confusing confidential personnel files with criminal files. Even in the United States personnel files are confidential. This means that if a teacher commits a crime against a child and is dismissed from their post without being prosecuted their file is confidential. You do not, for instance, have access to the personnel files of police officers without a special court order. I guess I just don't get your point.

I do remember you now and I do hope you are doing better. I never understood what happened but I figured you had your reasons. Of course I accept your apology and I will continue to hold you and all those who have rejected God in my prayers. You may not want them but you will be remembered when I pray.

I don't get the idea of ridiculing people's beliefs as a way of promoting your own. It will not work for a lot of us. It doesn't work when either side of the political aisle uses that tactic for most of us. We see it for what it really is - prosletyzing. If people want to do that it is fine but it works as a convesion method only slightly better than the methods used by the US Govt. against Native Americans...or Muslims against anyone they come across.
The laity and Vatican Officials are more than able (and willing) to report sex crimes. In fact we were instrumental in cleaning up a pretty rancid sexual abuse ring that invovled a very sick man who was operating as a priest in Rome.

I wish people in San Diego had been willing and able to report sex crimes. Unbelievable how grown women were reluctant to come forward because their political party told them to shut up.

Anyway, I am glad you are feeling better.

shoney45 said...

"I don't get the idea of ridiculing people's beliefs as a way of promoting your own. It will not work for a lot of us."

I understand that. It won't work for many religious people. And it's not necessarily ridiculing 'beliefs'. It's ridiculing ideas that deserve to be ridiculed. It’s basically just studying ideas from another perspective, and then publishing that perspective. Many religious have simply never considered the fact that in the Bible, well over two million murderous deaths are attributed to God (not including the global flood and other general pestilences), but only ten deaths are attributable to Satan. And even with those murders (Job's family) God allowed Satan to kill. It's a simple examination of ideas from another side of the idea. That isn’t ridiculing someone’s beliefs. THAT is simply an ‘atheistic Bible commentary’, and DOES influence some people.

My commentary on the RCC's bizarre demonization of sexual behavior...a sort of ‘J.V. Islam’ if you will is a fine example. Why should children be burdened with the fear of being lit on fire by God forever for discovering their bodies, and pleasuring themselves? I realize that fear-driven sexual pathologies feel very natural to many believers because of how afraid they are of being lit on fire by God for whatever the transgression is. But to the rest of us, such gratuitous psychological abuse seems downright biolent and hateful…and totally unnecessary. I happened to notice your commentary on one of your other posts honoring the Judeo Christian ethic which honors women, and I was flummoxed. The teachings of the Jewish Bible and the NT itself are brutal to women. Many people just need exposure to another side of the coin, and that will be enough to get them thinking on their own.

Religion doesn't much appreciate hard thinking individuals, because critical examination of the underlying dogmatic foundations of faith creates rifts in the faith of SOME people. That's all. The simple matter of Christ removing a towel covering his genitals in order to wash people’s feet is another example of an ‘atheist Bible commentary’ that no-one thinks about. There are people whose faith develops small holes in the levee upon exposure to these sorts of ideas. So its not a matter of ridiculing personally held 'beliefs'. It's a matter of exposing the insanity of religion and engendering critical thought. Its a process of utilizing reason to unravel the vast field of conflicted values and internal contradictions of the world's religions. Unraveling the destructive power of faith takes years and years. No one person does it. But each person ‘plants a seed’ if you will. I want to plant many seeds, and help many people become free from their heavy burden of faith.

Religious people have bullied the rest of the world into giving them a pass when it comes to mentally ill behavior. That needs to change. We expose racism, communism and other foul teachings for what they are. Why not religion? Why do only non-religious ideas fueling vast global human suffering get a pass? I just want to be on the team which examines this behavior, and these ideas from another perspective, make that examination public, and work to influence people in that way. From my vantage point, religion has poisoned and crushed vast portions of the human potential. God(s) from Zeus to Christ have failed humanity. It’s time to move on in my opinion, build a better world ourselves, and abandon god(s) to the same ash heap of history where the god(s) of mythology now rest.

What I would love to see is a day in history where Christ is a cartoon figure, or a comic book hero like in The Avengers, such as Thor is now….and not be taken any more seriously than that. It won’t happen in my lifetime, but I want to be a part of the future working to see this happen.