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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gospel Commentary for Sunday, July 29, 2007

...but first, a little music(without hot dogs and donuts dancing about!)

Here is the second part of Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3, the 2nd movement

Vladimir Horowitz, pianist

Start playing it and enjoy the music while reading this posting:

Sunday's Gospel was from Luke 11:1-13

St. Luke and I have more than just our profession in common: we both also like scorpions.

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples’.

He said to them, ‘Say this when you pray:
“Father, may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come;
give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test.”’

He also said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, “My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him”; and the man answers from inside the house, “Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up to give it you”. I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.
‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg? If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’


This is one of two places in the Bible where scorpions play a pivotal role in understanding the Word of the Lord. A scorpion is known to be dangerous; in some cases its sting can be lethal. By using a scorpion as an alternative to an egg, Jesus has deftly impressed on His disciples the way that God will answer our prayers. There will be no nasty surprises from God; whatever He gives us is in some way for the good of our souls. This is the case even if the answer to our prayers is one of the least-used words in the English-speaking world: NO.

The other example of scorpions that comes to mind is also from Luke: 10:19, "I have given you the power to tread upon serpents and scorpions."

Once again, the humble scorpion serves as an example of how God will provide for us. When we lived in San Antonio in a house that had been overrun with scorpions, I had an uncanny knack of knowing where a scorpion would be hiding, and I avoided multiple stings as a result. I attribute it all to Divine Providence; God has something more dramatic in mind for me, like myocardial infarction or a stroke or a horrible auto accident, when it is my time to go...but once again, as the prayer from the Chaplet of Divine Mercy says, the will of God is Love and Mercy Itself.

While I have lost the reference, I know for a fact that the egg in question was that of a duck, not that of a chicken.



Scorpion Stalking Duck.



On another note, I wrote a poem(more bad poetry!) inspired by this reading - in particular the comment about waking up a neighbor for bread. Here in North Texas this behavior is done at risk to one's life.

This is from August 1,1999:

The Neighbor's Bread

With confidence I knocked on your door.
You said you’d never ignore me.
Now I sit in your dining room,
a feast you set before me

Long ago, I asked you because
You said you always would provide.
And so now in the middle of the night
You bid me come inside

You gave me what I asked of you
And as I turned away
You said ‘just wait a moment.’
And bid me come and stay.

Within my grasp was all I wanted
And all I needed (I thought)
And yet you offered far more to me
Now in your arms I’m caught

I asked for life for my wife and children
To stay with you forever
But I never imagined what more you could give
- I’m not considered clever

For a loaf of bread I knocked on your door
To steal my life away
But now for the bread of life
I will always stay.

My good intentioned selfish plan
Was to gain a loaf of bread
But you gave me far more, the bread of life
Now I plan to stay instead

The banquet you lay before me
Is full of bitter and sweet
But all of it I must partake
For you and I to meet

Not only partake, but prepare and serve
Is what you call me to
For what you give I must pass on
To those I love so true

Here is the man who woke you up
For just a loaf of bread
Now let me stay and serve your table
And those who come for bread.


Then there's this issue. I am a girly saint?

I was St. Joan of Arc.

It got in the way of the post below.

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Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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