Last summer I bought a daily Bible,,,each day has a reading from both the Old and New Testaments, and the idea is that you will read through the entire Bible in a year. You know, if you get up early enough to read it every morning, and if no small people wake up and wander in demanding food during your prayer time, etc.
Anyway, I have to say that I really don't like the Old Testament readings much. I mean, there's your standard stories of Moses and the Hebrews and all, but some of the Old Testament is a bit...tedious. Sorry, God. But my biggest issue is that I really don't *get* much of the Old Testament. I have a really hard time reconciling God in the Old Testament and God in the New Testament. Yeah, I know, they are the same God. That's my point. The laws given to the Hebrews, aside from being rather...bizarre...seem so harsh and exclusive, it seems you can hardly blame the Jewish people for being what they were at the time of Jesus' arrival on the scene. Sorry, again God, I know, everyone's a critic. I'm sure it's my own ignorance shining through, I'm sure they are really very *good* laws with *good* reason behind them, but...ok, like this one---
"None of your descendants who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or injured hand, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles;" Leviticus 21:17-20
A couple of thoughts here...
---Often when I read scripture I am pleasantly surprised to find passages I didn't even know I knew. This is a blessing of being Catholic. Most of the mass, including the music (if it's done right) is scriptural, and it's neat to find a verse that I realize I've known ever since I learned a certain hymn in 3rd grade. But, to my memory, I've never heard this particular passage in mass. I'm quite sure my children would have burst into hysterical laughter if someone had said "crushed testicles" in mass, so I would've remembered.
---Were crushed testicles a big problem back then? I mean, I guess it wasn't an unheard of problem or they wouldn't have mentioned it, right? I have never, even as a nurse, ever seen someone with this particular injury, unless you can count all those skateboarding guys on America's Funniest Home Videos. How on Earth were all of these Hebrews injuring themselves like this? Thank heavens for OSHA, huh?
---But, back on topic, this kind of passage, and there's many, many of them...like the whole book of Leviticus...shows such a big contrast between this God we meet in the Old Testament, who tells the Jewish people to exclude physically imperfect people, and Jesus in the New Testament healing the sick and touching the lepers. And why did God want such things from the Hebrew people? What was the purpose in these Old Testament laws? And what relevance do they have today? They must have some, if the church deems it worth studying. Anyone have a good resource for studying the Old Testament?