Twinkies, transmission fluid, and lard

A Rosary Meditation: The Fourth Joyful Mystery, The Presentation.

“According to the Law of Moses, they took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” Luke 2:32.

The directions on a box of Macaroni and Cheese calls for milk and butter. What do you think it would taste like if you used vinegar and lard instead? When you change the oil in a car it calls for new oil. How would it turn out if you used transmission fluid in place of the motor oil? I mean, think about it. Vinegar and lard are food stuffs so they ought to work, shouldn’t they? And transmission fluid is made to go in the car just like oil is so it shouldn’t make any big difference, should it?

There’s a right way and a wrong way to do anything. As Catholics we should be well aware of this. We’d be shocked if the parish priest tried to consecrate Twinkies and Pepsi. We’d know that wasn’t right, that it wouldn’t work any more than substituting vinegar for milk or transmission fluid for oil would. Even less so.

When Joseph and Mary presented Jesus to God in the Temple how did they do it? According to personal whim? No, they did it the right way according to the Law of Moses. They understood that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do a thing. They made a wise choice and with good results.

Today and every day you’ll go out into the world and, like it or not because you can’t get away from this if you’re Christian, you’ll present Jesus to those around you. And trust me, they may not say anything about your manner of presenting him, at least not to your face, but they will be watching your method of presentation. They’ll see, and they’ll take notes. Which is a good thing. At least its a good thing if your presentation is a good one. But if it, your presentation, your life style, comes off as being no different than any non-Christian’s, well, they’ll be getting transmission fluid in their crankcase and a dish of macaroni and cheese that’s way less than appetizing. Even worse, they’ll be getting spiritual Twinkies and Pepsi instead of the real Jesus from you.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Twinkies and Pepsi. According to the bathroom scales I like ’em way to much. But there’s a time and place for everything. In our daily Christian walk there’s only a time and place for one thing primarily. That’s the correct presentation of Jesus, like Mary and Joseph correctly presented him in the Temple. Nothing else would have satisfied God then, nothing less satisfies Him now.

“So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … There isn’t a lot of nutritional value in Twinkies. The people around you won’t get that much out of a mediocre Christian presentation either. And that’s one of the reasons that the mediocre doesn’t satisfy God. He expects more from us for the sake of all those He loves.

Just another thought … OK, so I’m long winded today. 😉 This is Lent. Most of us either do something extra or give something up. That’s good. Lets try something else this Lent. At least for today. Along with whatever we’re doing that’s extra, or whatever it is that we’ve given up, lets do one other thing. Whatever it is we do? Lets try to do it according to God’s will. Just like Mary and Joseph did when they presented Jesus in the Temple.

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Rise, Fall, Contradict … Monday, April 8

Presentation of Christ in the temple (Candlemas)

Presentation of Christ in the temple (Candlemas). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. “And he said to Mary, ‘Behold, the Child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted.’ ” The fall and rise of many = Follower of Jesus or one of the crowd calling for His death? Contradiction = An expected political messiah or a spiritual Messiah? The rise and fall of many = Peter or Judas? Contradiction = Simple bread and wine or flesh and blood? The rise and fall of many = Saul or Paul? Contradiction = The Jewish Levitical high priest or a Priest from the tribe of Judah? The rise and fall of many = John the Baptizer proclaiming repentance and the coming of the Christ or the “spiritual” path of the Pharisees? Contradiction = A simple carpenter or the Anointed One of God? The rise and fall of many = Physical or spiritual Israel? Contradiction = A King descended from David or “We have no king but Caesar!”? To make it personal, to bring it down to the third millennium. The fall and rise of many = Saint or sinner, good Catholic or mediocre follower of relativism? Contradiction = Pro Jesus, Who is Life itself, or “pro-choice” resulting in a choice of death. (What’s the REAL difference between abortion on demand and “Crucify Him!”?) The fall and rise of many = Choose you this day who you will serve. Joshua 24:15. Contradiction = “Cafeteria” Catholics. It’s a simple verse, isn’t it? But it isn’t easy.

Today … St. Aedesius. Martyr and brother of St. Apphian. Aedesius, a Christian of some note in Caesarea, now part of modern Israel, witnessed the persecution of Christians, the result of Emperor Diocletian‘s policies. He publicly rebuked the local Roman officials who were placing Christian virgins in brothels as part of the persecutions. Arrested, Aedesius was tortured and then drowned. The fall and rise of many = Loyal Roman citizen or loyal follower of Jesus? Contradiction = None.

For Christians … When we remain in Christ to fall is impossible, to rise is to be like Him. The only contradiction involved is between the “us” that we are as opposed to the “us” that we can be in Him.

Published in: on April 7, 2013 at 11:18 pm  Comments Off on Rise, Fall, Contradict … Monday, April 8  
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OK, now close your eyes and hold out your hand … Thursday, February 21

StJohnsAshfield StainedGlass Simeon

StJohnsAshfield StainedGlass Simeon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. “Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples.” Luke 2:30-31. Blessed eyes, weren’t they? Simeon holding a baby, THE Baby, knowing Who and What he was looking at. It’s not everybody that recognizes salvation when it’s offered. Lots of people who have eyes to see in the physical world are blind in the spiritual realm. Its easy enough to see this blindness during Christ‘s earthly ministry and things, people that is, seem to have not changed much. But blindness has been cured before and so there is hope for the world. Closer to home we’ll hope there’s hope for us because we, as Catholics, can suffer from a dimmed vision from time to time. The symptoms are a lack of faith and obedience. Not so terribly difficult to overcome with a little effort. Pray for faith and trust I’ve been given it. (See? There it is already!) And do the deal even when I wonder if Holy Mother Church is right THIS time. (History, personal history, helps with this. I just ask myself when was the last time she was wrong? Ah, more faith right there with trust to go with it!) Wondering is natural, doubt is a temptation, a temptation is not a sin. Self-will is always self-defeating. Better to have vision, like Simeon. Better to keep my eyes on the Christ and hold Him close, like Simeon. When salvation came Simeon saw it, recognized it even when it was wrapped in swaddling cloths. Now salvation is brought to me disguised in other ways. Bread, wine, a divine institution that looks all to human much of the time. Its OK. All these things, the bread and wine and more, are seen through eyes of faith because they are gifts given by the One Simeon held. And even when the package looks a little odd to me, because the gift comes from Him, I can trust in the content, I can hold out my hand and receive the gift. Even with my eyes closed.

Today … St. Felix of Metz. Third bishop of Metz, France. He is believed to have ruled that see for more than four decades. I picked the good bishop this morning for a simple reason. “Felix” is Latin for “Happy”. So I figured he obviously knew about the Gift, and that he saw.

And … Seeing can be a strain, eye strain. Eyes get tired? Its OK. We have a Shepherd to lead shortsighted sheep. Trust me, I know. Now if I could only remember where I laid my glasses. 😉

Monday, November 26

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. Have you ever wanted something REALLY bad? Maybe a B-B gun or Betsy-Wetsey for Christmas? Those were top priority back in the late fifties and early sixties. And now that we all know how old I am, with life span in mind, can you imagine waiting expectantly, in faith and with patience, for all your life? I don’t mean part of your life but all of it, right up to the point that you’re so old you know you won’t last much longer? Because that’s where Simeon was. He’d heard about the Promised One, Messiah, since childhood. Later God had promised him that he would live to see this One. For some the longer they wait the more disgusted they become. Just watch people in a long checkout line. But others, like Simeon, know that the longer you wait the closer you get. Anna was there waiting too. We aren’t told that God had promised her anything but, and this is just a thought, if she knew something as wonderful as seeing the Messiah was going to happen to Simeon, well, maybe she stayed close so that it would happen to her too. In today’s Gospel reading, Luke 21:1-4, a poor widow tosses all her money into the temples collection plate. In giving all she gave more than any other. Anna and Simeon, there in the temple, worshiping and serving God through sacrifice and prayer, were giving all they had, their very lives. Like good priests and nuns do today. People like the poor widow and Simeon and Anna and faithful religious are all rewarded. Ultimately they are all rewarded in the same way. They get to see Jesus. 1 John 3:2. Where are WE? We’re waiting whether we want to be or not, whether we know it or not. And it doesn’t matter if we’re a Simeon, poor widow, nun, Anna, or priest. Do we wait in faithful, patient expectation? And what is it that we give while we wait? Part of what we have, part of our self, reserving some for us? Look at the Babe in Simeon’s arms and at the happy mother with a heart so loving as to willingly be pierced. Fast forward, but go slow, 33 years. Think about their lives. Ask yourself one simple question. What did they hold back? Luke 10:37b. The faithful and patient will be presented with their reward in the end. Revelation 22.

Today … St. Basolus. Never heard of him? It’s no wonder. He lived as a hermit for 40 years, living on a hill near Reims, France. Forty years is a long time. Wait, sacrifice, pray, be faithful, be patient. Why? For the same reason Simeon and Anna did. He was waiting to see Jesus, waiting for the promised reward of the Beatific Vision. Revelation 22 again. And now, after forty years of faithfulness, a drop in the bucket compared to eternity, he enjoys Christ forever. “Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.” Matthew 5:12a. Remember that and wait with patient expectation. Even when you’re at the end of a long checkout line at Wal-Mart.

Colossians 1:11-12 … “Strengthened with all might, according to the power of His glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy, giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light.”

Published in: on November 26, 2012 at 5:49 am  Comments Off on Monday, November 26  
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