Wednesday, February 16, 2011

To You, Lord, I Will Offer A Sacrifice Of Praise.

Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading I
Genesis 8:6-13, 20-22
At the end of forty days
Noah opened the hatch he had made in the ark,
and he sent out a raven,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
It flew back and forth
until the waters dried off from the earth.
Then he sent out a dove,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
But the dove could find no place to alight and perch,
and it returned to him in the ark,
for there was water all over the earth.
Putting out his hand, he caught the dove
and drew it back to him inside the ark.
He waited seven days more
and again sent the dove out from the ark.
In the evening the dove came back to him,
and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf!
So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth.
He waited still another seven days
and then released the dove once more;
and this time it did not come back.

In the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life,
in the first month, on the first day of the month,
the water began to dry up on the earth.
Noah then removed the covering of the ark
and saw that the surface of the ground was drying up.

Noah built an altar to the LORD,
and choosing from every clean animal
and every clean bird,
he offered burnt offerings on the altar.
When the LORD smelled the sweet odor,
he said to himself:
“Never again will I doom the earth because of man
since the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start;
nor will I ever again strike down all living beings,
as I have done.
As long as the earth lasts,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
Summer and winter,
and day and night
shall not cease.”
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 116
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Mark 8:22-26
When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man
and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand
and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes
he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied,
“I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time
and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored
and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said,
“Do not even go into the village.”
St. Gilbert of Sempringham
(c. 1083-1189)

Gilbert was born in Sempringham, England, into a wealthy family, but he followed a path quite different from that expected of him as the son of a Norman knight. Sent to France for his higher education, he decided to pursue seminary studies.

He returned to England not yet ordained a priest, and inherited several estates from his father. But Gilbert avoided the easy life he could have led under the circumstances. Instead he lived a simple life at a parish, sharing as much as possible with the poor. Following his ordination to the priesthood he served as parish priest at Sempringham.

Among the congregation were seven young women who had expressed to him their desire to live in religious life. In response, Gilbert had a house built for them adjacent to the Church. There they lived an austere life, but one which attracted ever more numbers; eventually lay sisters and lay brothers were added to work the land. The religious order formed eventually became known as the Gilbertines, though Gilbert had hoped the Cistercians or some other existing order would take on the responsibility of establishing a rule of life for the new order. The Gilbertines, the only religious order of English origin founded during the Middle Ages, continued to thrive. But the order came to an end when King Henry VIII suppressed all Catholic monasteries.

Over the years a special custom grew up in the houses of the order called "the plate of the Lord Jesus." The best portions of the dinner were put on a special plate and shared with the poor, reflecting Gilbert's lifelong concern for less fortunate people.

Throughout his life Gilbert lived simply, consumed little food and spent a good portion of many nights in prayer. Despite the rigors of such a life he died at well over age 100.

When he came into his father’s wealth, Gilbert could have lived a life of luxury, as many of his fellow priests did at the time. Instead, he chose to share his wealth with the poor. The charming habit of filling “the plate of the Lord Jesus” in the monasteries he established reflected his concern. Today’s Operation Rice Bowl echoes that habit: eating a simpler meal and letting the difference in the grocery bill help feed the hungry.

Saint of the Day


Sarah in the tent said...

'The cup of salvation I will take up'

I was wondering what King David and his courtiers might have understood by this phrase. Kings led their armies into battle and so were particularly vulnerable. Every king depended on the loyalty and self-sacrifice of those around him to save him in battle. Perhaps, as an army celebrated living to fight another day, its king might start the festivities by raising a toast to their gods and to those who had protected him during the battle.
Or maybe the raising of such a 'cup of salvation' preceded a division of the spoils of battle among those who had helped protect the king, with loyalty being rewarded and disloyalty punished.

“I see people looking like trees and walking.”

It's almost as though the blind man has received a vision of the Crucifixion (people looking like trees). Our Lord then adjusts his vision, like a tv channel!

Anonymous said...

As my Bible points out, this Gospel story is similar to one shortly before which describes Jesus healing a deaf man. In that one and today’s reading, it’s the people who bring the deaf man, and the blind man, to Jesus, begging him to heal them. Jesus, in both instances, takes these men away from the crowd. The deaf man is healed immediately, the blind man, not so.

As individuals or as part of a group, in our prayers we bring to Jesus, people who need his help, his healing. We may even be moved to beg. Sometimes, the prayer is answered immediately, sometimes not. For the man who wasn’t healed immediately but eventually, the people who brought him to Jesus in the first place, must have kept praying for his healing. They didn’t lose faith even though their expectation (of Jesus to heal) wasn’t satisfied immediately. Yep, that sounds about right.

But wait!…when Jesus took the deaf man away from the crowd, he was healed immediately. When Jesus took the blind man away from the crowd, he wasn’t…Could it be that in the hearts of the people praying for the deaf man, they truly allowed Jesus to take the man into His healing space and the hearts of the people praying for the blind didn’t allow that right away?

When we pray for others, do we really “Let go and let God”?
Something to think about.