Laura Bernardini is director of coverage in CNN's Washington Bureau. The views expressed in this column belong to Bernardini.
A Catholic reads the Bible, Week 18: If you feed them, they will come
A confession: Sometimes during Mass, I flip through the bulletin or the Missal.
I chose to consider it a kind of mind-wandering meditation rather than not paying attention.
I have also gotten in trouble with my mother for occasionally looking at my iPhone during Mass. Yes, I still get those looks of disapproval.
The Bible readings during Mass, though, have always been interesting to me. I love looking at which excerpts were used, not knowing someday I would be reading the Bible cover to cover.
As I flipped through the Missal in the past few weeks, I noticed something unusual.
For the first time in 18 weeks, my readings fell in line with the liturgical year.
I was so pleased. And then I felt like a nerd.
Over the course of three Sundays, two readings came from Kings, which astute readers will recognize as the subject of my past two posts.
As I read through the Sunday readings of Kings, I noticed something: The focus wasn't on the wanton actions of monarchs; it was on the prophets.
That is, rather than read about the forgettable and poorly behaved kings such as Manasseh or Elah or Ahaz, at Mass we heard about the prophets Elijah and Elisha.
Whether it be following false idols or the immolation of children as sacrifice (yes I googled it, and it is exactly what you think it is), almost every king "does evil in the sight of the Lord." (Too many instances of that to cite a specific passage).
Not Elijah or Elisha.
The reading a few weeks ago was about a man who presented to Elisha 20 barley loaves that were supposed to feed a town. The man was afraid he was going to run out of loaves. Elisha assured the man that God would provide for the crowd of 100 and they would have plenty of food from their sparse provisions. And they did. The Lord provided.
And then when I sat in church this past Sunday, it was the story of Elijah from the first book of Kings.
It wasn't pretty.
Elijah was afraid he was like his "fathers" or Ahab and should die. An angel of the Lord feeds him and tells him to continue his journey.
These two passages were juxtaposed against Gospel readings from John about similar sustenance to sustain our faith. As I heard the priest's homily at the church I grew up in Vermont, I had a moment of clarity.
I needed a pen to write this down. Immediately.
As a nod to my Mother's dislike of my cell phone habits, I left my bag in the car. I first asked her for a pen to write my thoughts. She didn't have one. I then demanded her phone. I didn't want to lose my idea.
My Mom wasn't pleased. But reluctantly, she relented. All for the good, Mom!
Both the reading from Kings and the New Testament passages from John talk about food -- spiritual food.
Our priest focused in his homily on how in his ministry with students, if you fed them, he learned, they would come to events. He made the parallel about feeding the soul. It clicked for me that God was feeding the faithful and sustaining his prophets in both the Old and New Testament readings.
It's a thread that is a basis of faith. It's my revelatory moment of the week.
When I got to the car after Mass, my Mom forgave my cell usage. It was for a good cause.
Finally, I'm starting to connect the dots between the Old Testament and the New, between the faith of ancient Israelites and my modern, iPhone-enabled fumbling toward clarity.
Still, tweeting at Mass? I'm pretty sure that's a sin.