Sunday, January 29, 2017

Extra Ordinary

So I've been reading the Bible & the Catechism of the Catholic Church together for 3 months now.
I prefer doing what's known as a read-thru, which means reading as much as possible when possible. Even though I have scheduled readings for each day, I often go beyond by a few days or even a week at a time. Some might say that this kind of reading isn't fruitful, but I find that I'm able to get a feel for the bigger picture more quickly.

One of the things I find most fascinating is how ordinary life was for the patriarchs. The snapshots we have from scripture highlight extraordinary moments with God here & there, but usually they're over a span of years (sometimes even decades). For the most part, when we read through the history of each patriarch & the long lists of “begats”, one can't help but notice that most of their time was actually spent traveling or raising families or maintaining business with their neighbors.

For instance, each of Jacob's sons were named not by the miraculous appearance of an angel, but by Jacob's wives or their maids. His wives Leah & Rachel were sisters who were constantly at odds with one another, each trying to see who could bear the most offspring. They were in such fierce competition, it seems they chose to name their children based on the particular drama of the day (See Genesis 29 & 30). Yeah, that's mature.

Each son had one dad, 4 different mothers in the mix & a gaggle of siblings to get into trouble with. Can you imagine the daily chaos? But because of God's covenant to Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, God made each one of those sons a tribe anyway- the 12 tribes of Israel. Each one of those sons played a part in the fulfillment of the covenant, but as far as they were concerned, they probably had no clue how integral they were to the bigger picture. They were just ordinary guys, living their lives like everybody else.

There's definitely a balance & continuity in the Bible that one can't see by merely picking out an individual, a topic or a scripture here or there. The 12 tribes of Israel gave us the foundation for why Jesus had 12 disciples. Man sinned through Eve, man is saved by Jesus through Mary, the "new Eve". In the beginning, God  said "Let there be light". Jesus came as the Light of the world. Many "ordinary" Old Testament symbols foreshadow counterpart realities like these in the New Testament.

God works with man in the moments of his ordinary life to accomplish something truly extra ordinary. Sometimes it happens in a lifetime; sometimes it happens over a span of generations & various geographical locations. When I start to grasp the bigger picture, I can't help but wonder what He might already be up to in my own "ordinary" life...



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