Thursday, July 14, 2011
Of Beans and the Bible...
...yes, I did it, option a)! The beans have had some happy sunlight time outside near their future home, the garden at the bottom corner of the yard. And I had some happy sunlight time, too, as I guarded the beans from potential predators, watched bees pollinating the marigolds, admired the one lone magnificent dragonfly as it zoomed around, hovered a bit, and landed on the tomato cages (the dragonfly, not me!)...oh yes, and I also looked at the Mass readings for tomorrow.
The reading from Matthew's gospel account started a process of what I like to call "daisy chaining" (I don't think I made this term up, but I'm not sure where I got it...from one of Prof. Holder's theology classes, maybe?)...I was struck by chapter 12, verse 7: “If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men,” and thought of something similar from somewhere else in the Bible, but wouldn't you know, I couldn't remember the source of my second quote. So I followed the trail of the notes in my Saint Mary's Press College Study Bible (NAB)...
first to Hosea 6:6: "For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than holocausts.” Hosea then sent me to 1 Samuel 15:22, Ecclesiastes 4:17, and Matthew 9:13, which for the sake of brevity, I will not quote here,
except for 1 Samuel 15:22, as it turned out to be the next link in my chain: “But Samuel said: ‘Does the LORD so delight in holocausts and sacrifices as in obedience to the LORD? Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams." After telling me this, Samuel sent me on to Proverbs 21:3, Amos 5:21-25, and Hebrews 10:8-9.
Hebrews, in turn led me to Psalm 40:7-9, which is what I was looking for. (I knew it was from a Psalm! I just didn't know which one!
So here are the last two links of the chain, Hebrews 10:8-9: “First he says, ‘Sacrifices and offerings, holocausts and sin offerings, you neither desired nor delighted in.’ These are offered according to the law. Then he says, ‘Behold, I come to do your will.’ He takes away the first to establish the second.”
and Psalm 40:7-9: “Sacrifice and offering you do not want; but ears open to obedience you gave me. Holocausts and sin offerings you do not require; so I said, ‘Here I am; your commands for me are written in the scroll. To do your will is my delight; my God, your law is in my heart!’”
So what did I get from all of this?
1) A reminder of the unity and complexity of Scripture...the notes are there for a reason...but I wouldn't do this every day as it takes a while and after too much of it my head starts spinning and it would be all to easy to lose sight of what I'm looking for or why I'm even reading the Bible in the first place. This is supposed to be preparation for Mass, after all, not an academic exercise.
2) An interesting journey through the themes of love, mercy, sacrifice, knowledge of God, and obedience...but did I really get a chance to think about any of them in depth as I was chasing references down? Nope. Ok...lesson learned, maybe?
3) I'm still looking forward to what Leiva-Merikakis has to say on this verse, either tonight if I have time or tomorrow morning...hopefully he will be able to help me and reinforce what little I did get out of the daisy chain adventure.
P.S. I finally started getting over my writers block and began drafting my application letter for the convent yesterday! It still needs a lot of work, but it is started anyway and I think I know how I want to continue it...also I have a dentist appointment tomorrow, and a doctor's appointment sometime next week, praise be to God, now and evermore...