Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
- Talmud (attributed)
Sometimes I think that's my problem; being overwhelmed by the sorry state of the world stymies me into inactivity. I ask, almost indifferently, "What the hell can I do about it? Why waste my time? I certainly can't make eveything better, so I may as well not even bother." I suspect many folks feel the same.
This Talmudic quote tells me why. I have an obligation to love, to act justly, to be merciful, and to walk humbly, whenever the opportunity presents itself. I don't...I can't...make everyting better. I have a responsibilty to make better what I can.
May I...may we all...remember this always. We can't make it ALL better...we're required to make the world in front of us a little more just, more merciful, more full of love. With God's grace, this will spread to the world at large. We may never see the fruits of the seeds we plant. Planting them is the thing that matters.

Daily Mass Readings
Hebrews 12:1-4
Psalm 22:26-28,30-31
Mark 5:21-43

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lost in translation?

I was interrupted during Mass today by trying mightily to stifle an attack of the giggles. The Gospel was the Sermon on the Mount according to Matthew, one of my favorite passages. Fr. Jerry got to "Blessed are the peacemakers" and my mind immediately dialed to Monty Python's LIFE OF BRIAN:
Spectator I: I think it was "Blessed are the cheesemakers".
Mrs. Gregory: Aha, what's so special about the cheesemakers?
Gregory: Well, obviously it's not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.
After I had gotten over the worst of my unseemly chuckles, I got to thinking about how Scripture and Tradition have made it all the way to the 21st century. It really is impressive. However, it makes one wonder what the message originally was. As the above quote demonstrates in all the Pythons' silliness, even as the original message is delivered, something can get lost in translation. And if the message is immediately translated improperly, some fantastic gaffes can occur. It's like a centuries-long game of Telephone.

Don't get me wrong; I believe that the gist of Christ and his message have been as preserved through Scripture and Tradition as is possible. But it leads me to ponder...what HAS been lost in the translation?

Daily Mass Readings
Zephariah 2:3,3:12-13
Psalm 146:6-10
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Matthew 5:1-12a