Pondering for Monday, March 20, 2023

Daily Office Readings for Monday of the 4th Week in Lent: Year 1

Morning, Psalm 89:1-18; Evening, Psalm 89:19-52 ;  
Jeremiah 16:10 to 21Romans 7:1 to 12John 6:1 to 15;

“Our ancestors have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.” (Jeremiah 16:19)

I feel very strongly that some of our Biblical teachings, even Christian teachings, have been tainted to suit those teachers whose purpose is to shape their respective communities into beliefs that would support racist and misogynistic codes of  community conduct. Such biblical teaching taught that slaves should obey their masters, and that wives should be subservient to their husbands.

I believe there should be no slaves at all, and that marriage is an equal partnership where either partner may lead in family life depending on the individual strengths, not their gender or sex. God says through Jeremiah, “I am now sending for many fishermen, says the Lord, and they shall catch them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks.” (Jeremiah 16:16)

This is perhaps the first time that the use of fishermen and hunters are used to go do the Lord’s work.  Of course, we hear of fishermen called into the service of the Lord on the shores of Capernaum in the Gospels. These callings are very different. The fishermen and hunters of Jeremiah are called to find and bring in those who, through their iniquity and promotion of idols, are an abomination to God.

The fishermen of Capernaum, and Paul, the hunter of the faithful, are those sent to evangelize the world in the way of God through our Lord Jesus. John and James, Peter and Andrew as well as Paul are among the first saints who speak to us about the truth of who Jesus is and about what God wants for us.  However, even with some of the letters supposedly from Paul, we must be careful.

Too much of the Bible story has been twisted to suit the bigotry and misogynistic rhetoric of self-serving and racist males to suit their own narcissist desires. These are worthless things in which there is no spiritual profit. For the most part (with some exceptions) John, James, Peter and Andrew along with Matthew, Mark and Luke tell the Gospel truth. When the Gospel is read in Church, the whole congregation re-orients itself in turning to face the words therein. The Gospel then changes us in ways that point us to the inclusive truth about God. This is done through living a life of love and listening to the loving saints of God. Love is most important.

Today we remember Joseph the earthly father of Jesus. For me, Joseph is the patron saint of fatherhood. We have no words from Joseph and any of the Gospels, yet, He hears and silently obeys the will of God. So should all fathers everywhere.

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine and Russia.

As we listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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