Mary Magdalene was transformed by God’s love so are we

Answer Number 2: Jeannie’s Question When Did Jesus Know

Jeannie asks:

Saint Thomas Aquinas

I’ve always been confused about this passage:  “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…..” Luke 9: 23. Did He, (Jesus), know he would be crucified and predict it exactly or did Luke paraphrase His words after the fact?

This is a great question for you to try a Saint Ignatius mediation technique: praying over a scripture/theological question, like the one you ask.

To help you begin let’s look at each of the Gospel writers individually:

  • Most scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark was written by a second-generation Christian and Mark’s material was dictated to him by St. Peter, who later compiled it into his, (Mark’s), gospel.  He seems to not be from the area, because much of the geography was wrong, but that does not take away from the importance of the message.
  • The Gospel of Matthew was written by an witness: Matthew himself.  His Gospel was written for Jewish Christians by a Jewish Christian.
  • The Gospel of Luke written by Luke who was an associate of St. Paul but not an eye witness.  Luke was a Christian writing for Christian.
  • As for the Gospel of John is very interesting.  Many scholars believe that the “beloved disciple” is a person who heard and followed Jesus, and the gospel of John is based heavily on the witness of this “beloved disciple.”
Gospel Traditional author and apostolic connection
Gospel of Matthew Saint Matthew, a former tax-collector, one of the Twelve Apostles.
Gospel of Mark Saint Mark, a disciple of Simon Peter, one of the Twelve
Gospel of Luke Saint Luke, a companion of Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles
Gospel of John Saint John, one of the Twelve, referred to in the text as the beloved disciple

If we read the passages before verse 23 we read: “And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must  suffer many things and  be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Luke 9: 21-23

Did Luke paraphrase? I don’t think that paraphrase is the right word here.  As Catholics we believe that the writers of the Gospels were guided by the Holy Spirit, had the resources of the oral tradition of the knowledge of those disciples who were in a directed relationship with Jesus and had gone on before them, as well as the teaching of the early church.  Seeing that each writer had a specific audience the wording difference, or paraphrasing, is the choice of the writer to make Jesus’ message clearer, not as an attempt to change the meaning.

Now for the technique. Before you begin take the time to pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit. Imagine yourself in the scene of Luke where he telling his disciples that he will die.  Imagine yourself there.  Imagine you asking a disciple what they think, ask Jesus himself.  Take time to pray over what you experienced.  Then let me know what you come up with, write me a comment, I think many would be interested by what you experience.


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We ask how can God allow suffering to happen. He doesn’t. That is our work.

Mommy Mantra July 16, 2014: “The Lord will not abandon his people.” Psalm 94:14 (Responsorial Psalm)
“The Lord will not abandon his people.” That is a promise! But we get so caught up in the everyday, we get buried by our own worries and concerns, we take on the news about celebrities as if it were mother’s milk, we hear about events of the world and we feel so overwhelmed by it all that God being in his universe and all is right with the world seems like a cruel joke.
We ask how can God allow suffering to happen. He doesn’t. That is our work.
Why does he seem to give more to others and less to some. Again that is on us. Why didn’t/doesn’t he answer prayer. How do we know he hasn’t?
It is said that all it would take to relieve hunger is 30 billion dollars while we spend 780 billion on war. It is not God that does this.
Yet God loves and provides for us everyday.
We pray and think God does not answer our prayer but how many of us look back over the months that have past and suddenly see God’s hand all over the situation? When we are in the midst of it we can not see the whole.
It does a heart good to detach from the news which feeds us facts along with hyperbole and spend time with God: praying, reading Scripture, absorbing the beauty that surrounds us. God’s good give balance to the evil of the world.
Today let’s pray for balance

OMG do I know how Jesus must have felt

Mommy Mantra July 15, 2014 MT 11:20-24
Jesus is rebuking the towns of Galilee where he preached and did great deeds and those towns did the so what shrug.
I am sharing what a friend has posted about her experiences of today and I wonder if Jesus wasn’t thinking exactly the same thing when he confront the people of Galilee:

I am so annoyed with everything today. Stupid government websites and error codes; stupid people doing yard work with the most noisy machines possible while (my child) is napping; irritating statements being made by numerous individuals. Can I have a reset button please?

Was Jesus standing in the road pulling his hair out muttering to himself: “Why don’t they get it!”

How many times have we done that?  Stood in our kitchens so frustrated at what is going on in our lives that we want to push the rest button.

But maybe that is what Jesus is asking us to do, push the reset button.

Let’s take the day and look at all the blessings we have gotten. All the answered prayers. All the situations changed, and stay with that for a moment. It will help us all feel better.

It will also awake us to what Jesus has done for us and how much more work there is yet to do to help Jesus in his mission.

Stages of spirituality: Matthew 13:1-23

“The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart.  The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.  But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away.  The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

I believe that the Scripture speaks to us, teaches us those truths we need; today is one of those times for me.

Listening to the Gospel and homily I heard what everyone heard the four different person’s and their spiritual response to the word of God.  Still there was something more; maybe because of where I am in my mothering experience I see more of the path than someone starting out so, while some aspects of mothering are still new: Granmothering and the like, the history of my own mothering gives me a perspective and helps me see deeper into both God and my calling, today was no exception.

I listened to the homily, but also thought how each one of those “persons”  could just as easily be stages in spirituality.

    • 1.  Seed sown on the path.

Just beginning to understand God, but not yet knowing God.

    • 2. Seed sown on rocky path

Joyful to know God but is just beginning to know God and create a faith life so faith is not yet strong

    • 3.  Seed sown among thorns

Faith life and relationship with God is affected by concerns and worries which makes God seem far away, but there is a desire to keep going

    • 4. Seed sown on rich soil

Life experience has shown God even in the most difficult times, “stays with it” and just seems to know it will get better

Can we surrender

Our Church, we sit on the left hand side

Our family often sits in the side pews of our church which means we look across to other pews on the opposite side. There is a young man who brings his adorable little boy to Mass.
This morning’s Mass his little boy was tired and fussy, and the young Dad did everything to keep him comfortable and content. The little boy finally found himself on his fathers chest sleeping peacefully, and I was suddenly brought to mind of Joseph caring for the baby Jesus.
This sweet little boy felt so safe, so loved that he could give up the control of being awake to the surrender of sleep on his father’s chest. Can we do the same? Can we give up our control to the surrender of God’s care?

What Would Mary Do. Random Acts of Kindness Makes You God’s Hero

marybuttonWhat Would Mary Do.
Thinking about the reading and Gospel and the random acts we can do; here is one.
This older mom pays for the nappies of a young struggling mom. For the younger mom it is an answer prayer. For the older, she feels like a hero.
Her feeling like hero isn’t a sign of selfishness. No! It’s a sign that she knows she has done her part in the mission of Christ. It may be something  the older mom will forget. But I know the younger mom never will.

Mommy Mantra July 4: “Trampling Upon the Needy”

Mommy Mantra July 4, 2014 Amos 8:4-6, 9-12 Matthew 9: 9-13

Amos again is telling Israel to stop “trampling upon the needy” and the Gospel sees Jesus telling the Pharisees that he has comes for: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Look at Facebook and read all the posts about abuse, or crime, or scandal. Watch TV, listen to AM radio; you can not get away from it. Is this what the people of Israel were feeling as they listened to Amos day after day? How many of them must have thought the problem is too bad!

Then centuries later Jesus comes having to deal with the same problems. His answer is to go to the source and gently be with them. Eat with them. Laugh with them. Love them into changing themselves.

The snooty Pharisees must have loved that! Gave them something more to gossip about instead of working to resolve the problems of society.

As moms we are called to raise children who will be part of the solution. We are called to do the same, but the problems, like in Amos’ time, seem never ending!

Jesus shows the way. He isn’t trying to conquer the whole problem, he breaks it down to working within his corner of the world.

Pay it forward. Random acts of kindness. These are two of the ways to create a world where love triumphs over hate.

Amos and Jesus

smile to hideMommy Mantra July 1, 2014: Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12, Matthew 8: 23-27

For those of us with older children, tweens, emerging adults, these readings can speak volumes. The Prophet Amos is coming down hard on Israel. Jesus is in the boat asleep when a huge storm threatens to swamp it.

The two readings seem to have nothing in common with each other. Amos is dealing with an unruly Israel who think the rules don’t apply to them. Jesus is in control of a situation that terrifies his disciples.

Sounds very much like many parenting situations I have been in.

I am often like Amos reminding the children that they are loved but the rules are the rules. And my husband is more like Jesus taking control of a situation that could/did/have potential to get out of hand, and bringing it around. It’s the partnership of parenting styles that works.

Now we are imperfect beings dealing with things imperfectly, but the readings do speak to parents. What they are saying is we must set boundaries, give our children responsibilities, teach them the way they should go, but be prepared to see them do the opposite sometimes. Like Amos we got to lay the law down, repeatedly, but let them know they are loved and everything is a teaching moment, character builder.

But some parenting situations are a little bigger than undone chores. These are situations that try parent’s soul.

That is when a cool head must prevail. As Jesus did we can not let panic take over. If it does we are sunk.

That is when a grasp of the bigger picture is needed. Jesus knew what was, he had no fear because he knew what he could control. We are not Divine, but in every situation there are things we know we can control.

That’s when you call on the biggest guns ya’ got on hand: prayer.

I want to take a moment and talk about prayer and difficult situations.

As I have said in the past we are parents of four ranging in age from late twenties to late teens, and we have what seems to be two sets of kids: the ones that appear easy to raise, and our challenge children. It’s the challenge children that dropped us to our knees. We prayed for guidance. We prayed for courage. We prayed for wisdom. We prayed for the right words to say.

Sometimes it looked like God wasn’t listening and frankly that feeling sucks. But then something would happen that broken the situation open.

Parenting is both art and “science”, but what it truly is is faith. Faith in your calling. Faith in your spouse and helpmate, faith in God

Peter and Paul…Conversion, creation, transformation can not be done alone, it is always communal, God, you and your neighbour!

10306081_657017577719251_4288221757988880042_nThis picture I downloaded from a friend on Facebook, she and I both consider ourselves very spiritual people; the way we express that aspect of our lives is very different: she is more new age, (which frankly doesn’t bother me; didn’t Jesus come to bring a new age?), and I am Orthodox Irish Catholic, (we tend to be “new agey”).

I was scrolling my timeline after Mass and found this picture, it struck me how it fit in so well with today’s reading at Mass.  I agree with 90% of it.  We, as Catholics, are called to believe in ourselves as children of God, a priestly people, and to love God, our neighbour and ourself.

Our soul is precious, but they are not divine; as a Catholic I believe only Jesus/God is Divine, I am an imperfect person striving toward perfection; something I am not going to reach on this realm.  When I got to the “you’ll automatically be converted to a being who can create miracles”, my heart skipped a beat!

Peter, who becomes the rock onto which Christ will build his church, denies him three times; this man whom Peter in today’s Gospel calls Jesus the Christ, the living Son of God, will falter, must lose heart and deny him before he can be converted to his calling as foundation of the faith. Then, there is Paul, a tax collector, a persecutor of Christians, who even puts Christians to death, gets thrown from his horse and temporarily blinded by God before he can “see anew” and be converted to preach with such love the faith he sees so clearly.

The picture extols us to believe and it surely is the most important aspect of any conversion.  Jesus asks his disciples who they thought/believed he was.  So, it seems to me that conversion has an inherit believe that God sees such great potential in us, and that we must believe in something larger than ourselves, (God), whose faith and love for us and in our potential has no limits, no bounds!  It is this Divine force outside of our very flawed and limited selves that creates the power to convert from thinking so little of ourselves that we don’t realize, or accept, or honour the miracle that is us, the new day, the transformative power of us working united with God to seeing each day as a miracle of new beginnings.

There is also the stripping away of the old to be able to accept the new.  Both Peter and Paul’s transformations came only after the old life was stripped from them: Peter denial, Paul’s persecuting Christians.  This transformation did not come alone, it came about because of God’s power and the relationships that both men had, and changed.  Conversion, creation, transformation can not be done alone, it is always communal, God, you and your neighbour!

As human beings, and most definitely as mothers, we can not truly live life alone.  It takes the transforming power of two people to create a life, but the Divine power of God to infuse that life with a soul.  It takes the power of two to guide that new life toward a path, but God to infuse that life with a calling.   The miracle here is the conversion of the raw potential that is a child into the miracle of person with a calling and purpose.

Something that we as mothers must recognize as well.  The conversion of ourselves from who we were before our children to who we are with our children.  Like Peter and Paul this experience has changed us forever! We will never be who we were, would we want to be?

We have created the miracle of new life in our children but they have created the miracle of new life within us!  It is our responsibility to allow this transformation to change us into the people, mothers, woman God has called us to be.

So let us pray that we believe in the Divine transformation that converts us into miracles!  And let us pray for those moms who have yet to believe.