Sunday, August 12, 2012

Being Taught By God

James Tissot: Jesus Teaching at the Seashore

I love the readings for today, especially the first one from the Book of Kings. I had this comical vision of Elijah asleep and the angel coming to wake him. The angel just sort of hovering next to the prophet poking him with an angelic finger telling him to get up and eat. Poor Elijah had about had with himself and was basically saying to God: "Take me now!" Well God wasn't having any of that so the angel returns and pokes Elijah once again, but this time his command comes with an important reason: If you don't get up and eat the food God has left for you, the journey will be too long for you. This got our weary prophet's attention, and so he did as the angel said. He found that the angel was right, and that he had the strength to walk for forty days and nights to God's Mountain.
I learned a lot from Elijah today. I too at times find myself saying to God: I have had enough, I can't go on another step, I keep falling into the same sins, and the litany could go on. Well thanks be to God, He isn't having any of that from me either.
My whining is like that of the murmuring Jews in today's Gospel. Jesus stops them right then and there: "Stop murmuring among yourselves." He shows them, once they quieted down, that they were being taught by God. The reason they were there hearing Jesus was because the Father had taught them and led them to Jesus~even if they were not ready to accept Him or His message. Some would stay, and others would leave.
If we believe in Jesus, it is because the Father has led us to Him; it is pure grace. If we believe in Jesus in the Eucharist, it is because the Father has drawn us there and has given us this gift of faith.
The Father is pure spirit. He knew and knows that we would need a physical Presence as well. He gave us that in Jesus Christ. Through the teachings of Jesus, we hear the Father. After all, the Father tells us on two occasions in Scripture who Jesus is and that we should listen to Him. First at the Jordan where Jesus is baptized, and then again on Mount Tabor during Jesus' Transfiguration. This my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.
God sent His angel to Elijah to teach him; later the Father sends His Son to teach us, and to stay with us if we will have Him.
God does what any good teacher does~ He tells us what we need to know (in Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition), gives us the tools to use the knowledge (grace through the Sacraments), and then allows us to go from there, but remaining close by should we need a refresher, and you know we will.
Jesus was teaching the people of His day and us that He is the Bread of Life~that food that we would need so that like Elijah, we would have the strength to make the journey(with less murmuring and whining) to God's Holy Mountain.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.