Tuesday, 26 August 2008

My Thoughts on Today's Bible Readings

Today's gospel reading mentioned tithing. God had commanded a tithe of the first fruits of one's labor as an expression of thanksgiving and honor for his providential care for his people [Deuteronomy 14:22; Leviticus 27:30]. The experts of the law during Jesus' time, however, went to extreme lengths to tithe on insignificant things (such as tiny plants) with great mathematical accuracy. Kinda missing the point, Jesus told them. Did more giving mean more thanksgiving? Extremely accurate tithing sounds like a mask for greed, don't you think?

What about "straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel"? Gnats were considered the smallest of insects and camels were considered the largest of animals in Palestine. Both were considered ritually impure. The scribes went to great lengths to avoid contact with gnats, even to the point of straining the wine cup with a fine cloth lest they accidently swallowed a gnat. In other words, they would do anything to ensure they stay ritually pure. What's the point of all this, Jesus asked them. God is more interested in what people do for others than what they do for themselves. And according to Jesus these experts are definitely not ritually pure when it comes to the way they treat others.

So let us not use laws as masks for bad attitude and habits (greed, apathy, etc.) Let us interpret laws with an eye to love (God's love, not lustful love). Let us be merciful and jjust in our dealing with others.

What do I think of contraceptive use by couples suffering from AIDS?

First of all, this topic will NOT touch on contraceptive use by unmarried sex partners or unmarried couples suffering from AIDS. The focus is strictly on married couples with at least one partner suffering from AIDS. In other words, should such a couple use contraceptives to avoid spreading of AIDS? What if they want children?
IMHO, I don't think it's Catholic to put more concern on not spreading AIDS compared to not getting in the way of God giving such couples children. Confused? Read on...
"It is in cases in which sexual expression is sought outside sacramental marriage, or in which the procreative function of sexual expression within marriage is deliberately frustrated, that the Catholic Church expresses grave moral concern." (Wikipedia). Looking at the above teaching on sex within marriage, it is clear that married couples having sex without opening the door to having children is very bad indeed. I would assume this applies too to couples with STD. In such cases the couples should not fear death by AIDS so much that they do not allow God to give them children. After all, simple medication is enough to prevent the baby in the womb from getting AIDS.
Some parents may say that having children while the parents are going to die from AIDS is irresponsible. My answer? Trust in God. Let Him deal with it. After all, He would not give them children if they are incapable of dealing with children, right?
In conclusion, it is my opinion that all those complaints by people on the Church's harsh stand on condom use even in the case of AIDS sufferers are not going to be heeded by the Vatican. If I'm correct, then the Church will not make policy that will directly contravene God's will. The Church will not allow Catholic married couples suffering from AIDS to get in the way of God when it comes to child-bearing. That's all, folks.

Today's Bible Readings (26 Aug, Tue - 21st Week)

2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3, 14-17
Now regarding the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to be easily shaken from your composure or disturbed by any kind of spirit or message or letter allegedly from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. Let no one deceive you in any way.
He called you to this salvation through our gospel, so that you may possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions that we taught you, whether by speech or by letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good thing you do or say.

Matthew 23: 23-26
Jesus said: "Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel! Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too!"