Aloha Friday Message – January 24, 2020 – Put that back!

2004AFC012420 – Put that back!

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    Isaiah 9:1-2 1 But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.

In the Hebrew texts and various translations, these verses are numbered 8:23 [9:1] & 9:1 [9:2]

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! E pili mau na pomaika‘i ia ‘oe a me ke akua ho’omaika‘i ‘oe, ʻŌmea! (May blessing always be with you and may God bless you, Beloved!) Today’s Key Verse is referred to in the Gospel reading for January 26th, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. For Catholics around the world, it is the first celebration of Word of God Sunday. Pope Francis has frequently encouraged Catholics to become better acquainted with the Bible. Honestly, not many Catholics are fully aware that the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist are based in Scripture. Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC← Check it out!) is jam-packed with Scriptural references and passages of Scripture. It is my belief that this heightened exposure to Scripture will greatly benefit all the faithful in Christ – Catholic and non-Catholic alike. It’s time we put the Bible back into our daily lives, and it is vital that we do that in a very open and deliberate way. It is an integral part of God’s Plan that all should know about the Gospel – and how we received it. To understand that a little better, let’s go back to the roots of today’s Key Verse and see what happened before that time, and then we’ll take a look at what’s happened since then. Hmmm. Where do we start?

Well, it’s always best to start at “In the beginning.” You know the stories – God made the universe. He put a Garden in the middle of the dry land of the Earth, and covered the Earth and filled the seas with every sort of creature. He put a man in the Garden, and then added a woman. A deceiver came along and convinced the man and woman they could do a better job of creating Paradise than God did. They blamed the snake, so God condemned the snake but made Adam and Eve a Promise that it would all be put back in place as it should be. After he found out, he took them away from the Tree of Life, told them that the World would now know Death, and kicked them out of the Garden. They had some kids, Cain and Abel. Cain murdered Abel, so he got booted out of his home, and received an indelible mark as a consequence of his sin.

Cain got a mark that protected his earthly life, but it didn’t do much for his spiritual life. The First Sacrifice by Abel ended up in the first murder by Cain. Blood was shed in the sacrifice of Abel. Cain shed the blood of Abel and tried to deny it. The shedding of blood – in birth, in sacrifice, in sin – leads to exile, but in that exile, there is always the hope of MERCY. It is Mercy that will put us back into the Original Righteousness with God first known by Adam and Eve.

Thousands of years followed and the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve at least followed through on the command to be fruitful, and multiply, and subdue the Earth. Families became villages, villages became countries, and countries became kingdoms. For a long, long time lots of nasty stuff went on, and then God decided to hit RESET and wipe out pretty much everything except for a handful of people and a massive menagerie of animals. Life was pretty good for a while, but then that deceiver was back and put things all out of whack again. He took a Persian from Ur named Abram and moved him to the east end of the Mediterranean promising that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars. Abram was an exceptional leader and warrior, and having defeated the evil enemies he encountered in the place where God placed him, he shared his victory with the King of Salem – Melchizedek. The place of their meeting eventually became Jerusalem. Centuries passed and David made Jerusalem the capital of his kingdom, a kingdom devoted to God.

More centuries passed and again God’s people turned against him. Here’s an example of what they did:

Isaiah 8:19-22 19 Now if people say to you, “Consult the ghosts and the familiar spirits that chirp and mutter; should not a people consult their gods, the dead on behalf of the living, 20 for teaching and for instruction?” surely, those who speak like this will have no dawn! 21 They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry; when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will curse their king and their gods. They will turn their faces upward, 22 or they will look to the earth, but will see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be thrust into thick darkness.

2 Kings 17:7-18 This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They had worshiped other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had introduced. The people of Israel secretly did things that were not right against the Lord their God. They built for themselves high places at all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city; 10 they set up for themselves pillars and sacred poles on every high hill and under every green tree; 11 there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the Lord carried away before them. They did wicked things, provoking the Lord to anger; 12 they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, “You shall not do this.” 13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the law that I commanded your ancestors and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” 14 They would not listen but were stubborn, as their ancestors had been who did not believe in the Lord their God. 15 They despised his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their ancestors, and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false; they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do as they did. 16 They rejected all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves cast images of two calves; they made a sacred pole, worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. 17 They made their sons and their daughters pass through fire*; they used divination and augury; and they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight; none was left but the tribe of Judah alone.

*”pass through fire” – the sacrifice of infants by placing them in the arms of Moloch to be burned alive on a white-hot iron idol of the false god.

The People saw “distress and darkness” because they sinned greatly against God and were conquered by the Assyrians. That conquest started in “the land of Zebulon and Naphtali” around the Sea of Galilee (called the Sea of Chinnereth then). They were exiled, blood was shed, they were marked for destruction, yet there was the Hope of Salvation; they just continued to fail to hold onto that Hope. Again, centuries later, at the very place where that doom and gloom first started, Light came into the World (See John 1:1-5) to dispel the darkness. The goal was to put things back to the way God made it. It required exile (“his own accepted him not”), and the shedding of blood. Jesus started his ministry in “Galilee of the Gentiles,” a region where the Jewish population was a minority, but also a cosmopolitan region where people were open to hearing and doing new things – and a region in which God’s plan was first set in motion during the reign of King Hoshea – about 732–724 BC – which was the beginning of the collapse of the Davidic Kingdom. God’s plan was to place a King on the Throne of David – a Messiah who would put back Honor, Obedience, and Glory to God’s Kingdom. That Messiah’s name was “Salvation,” and like his ancestral predecessor Melchizedek, he would be a Priest Forever. How do we know this? It’s like the song says – The Bible tells me so!

We are familiar with these accounts in the Bible, but do we know how to string them together to make it possible to follow God’s plan? We hear The Word every day (and mostly on Sundays), but do we recognize it, do we attend to it, do we hold it in our hearts and minds, and through it know our God and what he has done for us? We need to put the Bible back in everyone’s hands, hearts, minds, and souls, and THE SOONER THE BETTER!! Why is it important to put the Bible back where it belongs as quickly as humanly possible? Because, in Matthew 24:14 we read 14 And this good news [Gospel] of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come. Remember, “It’s always good in the end. If it’s not GOOD yet, it’s not the END yet.” That means there is still HOPE of SALVATION, and we have that hope because we have God’s Word on it – the B-I-B-L-E. Take it back out of the bookshelf, take it back off the coffee table, take it back into every moment of every day, and the exile will end, no more blood will be shed, Hope will come to fruition, and we will be back where we started – in Original Righteousness, walking in the Garden-Made-Anew, and walking there with our Creator. We’ve seen a Great Light, the Great Dark is overcome. We, too, have an indelible mark given in Baptism, and it protects our Eternal Life. Grab your Bibles, Brothers and Sisters! We’re going to a MEETING – a meeting with the Lord!! AMEN? AMEN!!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever —

at your service, Belovéd!

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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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