take heed, be not faithless

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A few weeks ago, I got tired of not being able to pull out the Bible and look things up quickly. I eventually need to get one for my palm, but I haven't found a readable Catholic version yet to download. So I bought a Catholic RSV with small print on bible paper, flexibly bound, and keep it in my purse now. It comes in handy.

Today at Mass, the first reading was from the book of Malachi. In his homily, father talked about the irony that today is one in which we are supposed to celebrate and support our priests, and the first reading is all about admonishing priests who are faithless and greedy. Anyhow, I took a few minutes later on to read the entire book of Malachi (easily done, it's only 4 chapters) and what struck me particularly was the segment below.
Malachi chapter 2 (RSV)
[13] And this again you do. You cover the LORD's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor at your hand.
[14] You ask, "Why does he not?" Because the LORD was witness to the covenant between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
[15] Has not the one God made and sustained for us the spirit of life? And what does he desire? Godly offspring. So take heed to yourselves, and let none be faithless to the wife of his youth.
[16] "For I hate divorce, says the LORD the God of Israel, and covering one's garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless.

What does God desire? Godly offspring.
It hit me really hard.
How does this happen? "Take heed to yourselve, and do not be faithless".
So often, the scriptures use the image of adultery as an image of how the children of Israel were faithless to their God. It seems to me that there is also a parallel here to the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 5 and the message of Ephesians 5.
I was mulling over Malachi 2 a little more, later today. It is a prophetic book, and I think that we can see in our culture the rejection of bearing offspring (because if you don't have any, how can they become Godly) and the widespread acceptance of infidelity and divorce. And what has happened? We are no longer offering the sacrifice that God desires. As mentioned in the first chapter of Malachi, we are offering the diseased and malformed to God, not the perfection and the first fruits.
A humble and contrite heart He will not refuse. Thank God! But I think that it becomes so easy to presume upon the forgiveness of God, and we fail to be truly contrite. I know that I have been guilty of this.
I hear in this scripture (as in Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.")the message that I really need to give from my substance, from myself, and not just from the extras.
As my husband would say, sometimes God needs to smack me upside with a 2 by 4.


Yeah, that 2x4 of God gets used on me a lot!

Enjoy the Bible in your purse, what a great idea! I just recently put a Prayer Book in mine and have found it quite useful.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on October 30, 2005 8:19 PM.

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