Catechist Corner

It's all about sharing the faith.

Storytelling and a Stiff-Necked People

Day 55.  I have been following my Bible and Catechism in a Year reading plan, which I mentioned in a prior post,  for 55 days now.  As of today, I am through Genesis and Exodus, through Psalm 57 and through the Gospel According to Matthew.  I’m also through Paragraph 440 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

There is so much to gleam from these two inspired works and so many observations and lessons to learn from them as well.  Two things that have struck me so far as I read the scriptures in a focused way.  The first is the use of parables by Jesus as a means of teaching.  While the use of this method of teaching by Him is not new knowledge for me, reading these parables consecutively like this brings a new perspective as a catechist.  It is so easy for me to “teach” something, but seeing Jesus use them in context like this reminds me of a saying that fellow blogger Joe Paprocki of Catechist’s Journey often quotes from St. Ignatius of Loyola, “entering through their door but leaving through your door”.  This is exactly what Jesus does with these parables.  He frames it in a way that his disciples can relate with, but uses that to bring his lesson out.  It’s very easy to fall back to catechizing from our viewpoint without remembering to catechize from their viewpoint so it has more meaning.

The second observation is from my readings in the Old Testament.  Both the LORD and Moses use the term “stiff-necked people” when referring the people of Israel.  As I’ve been reading, my initial impression is that these people just don’t get it.  Why are they so dense?  I mean, God just smote the first born of an entire nation for them, split a sea in half and fed them out of no where and they are just a bunch of spoiled brats!!  Then it hit me.  We are a “stiff-necked people” too in our day.  In fact, I myself am a “stiff-necked people”, if I am honest with myself.  How many times have I turned my back on God, whether a little of a lot?  Whether I’m choosing to do something else over prayer, or deciding to do something other that what my conscience is telling me to do, I have many time done something contrary to what God wants me to do, even in the face of all the reminders of His will for me.  This makes me just as much a “stiff-necked people” as the decedents of Israel in the Book of Exodus.  We are all sinners and stiff-necked in our own way.  And just how many times did Jesus imply the same thing in Gospel I just finished reading?  This ends up being a good reminder for me for the next time I end up at that crossroads (which should be any minute now).

Deciding to undergo this activity is turning out to be a great method of spiritual growth for me.  I am starting to appreciate scripture so much more by doing this.  I do find myself challenged in relating to the Psalms very well at this point of my readings, however.  I have a tendency to be literal when I read and I’m just not in the middle of a physical war or a battle where I can relate to the psalmist’s plight.  I recognize that I am in a spiritual sense, but I still have trouble relating to many of them.  I’ll have to pray on that point.

Until next time, keep sharing the faith.

  • Christian LeBlanc

    Good report.