Good Friday, April 18, 2014

Red Sea Find

Red Sea Discovery

John 7:32-36


In today’s Noontime we hear words from Jesus that cause his listeners, both then and now, to ask questions. Rather than stifling curiosity that will lead to a fuller understanding of his identity and purpose, Jesus initiates a sense of inquiry that continues today. Jesus frequently answers questions with further question. Jesus regularly creates open conversations instead of shutting down curiosity. Jesus refuses to take these questions as a challenge to his divinity and instead, uses these questions to call each of us to our own divinity.

Any creed that provides firm and pat answers to all question about our relationship with God does not reflect the life Jesus lives with his followers. What we experience today is God’s invitation to open and free dialog with God’s Word. We experience the patient and compassionate Spirit that abides with us despite our reluctance to believe.

On this Good Friday, find an hour of time to listen to an On Being podcast of an interview conducted by Krista Tippett with Avivah Zornberg, a midrash expert. (The interview was conducted on April 7, 2005 and was first aired on April 10, 2014.) We investigate the Exodus story about a people who were once honored guests who have become slaves in ancient Egypt.

“With a master of midrash as our guide, we walk through the Exodus story at the heart of Passover. It’s not the simple narrative you’ve watched at the movies or learned in Sunday school. Neither Moses or Pharaoh, nor the oppressed Israelites or even God, are as they seem. As Avivah Zornberg reveals, Exodus is a cargo of hidden stories — telling the messy, strange, redemptive truth of us as we are, and life as it is”. (On Being: http://www.onbeing.org/ April 10, 2014)

Zornberg points out that this story of flight does not happen in order that we merely re-tell or re-read it; rather, it takes place so that we will each tell a greater story of our own exodus from slavery to salvation. Listen today . . . and think about how each of us might recount our own redemption story.  Listen today . . . ask questions today . . . experience the events of Good Friday in which Christ makes his own exodus . . . and be prepared to listen to God speak to us in a new and redemptive way.


Listen to the unedited version of this interview to hear how Zornberg explains God’s passion for the faithful, and the importance of women in this saga when she connects The Song of Songs and Exodus.

The image above is an object found in the Red Sea. The image of a chariot axle is superimposed. To find out more, click on the image or go to: www.bibleresearcher.org/comments/Exodus-the-crossing.html

To learn more about the midrash, go to: www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/Rabbinics/Midrash.shtml

Holy Thursday, April 17, 2014

John 7:28

jesus healingA Prayer for Holy Thursday

Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him”.

The Messiah stands before us and cries out. How might we show him that we recognize him?

O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. (Isaiah 25:1)

The Spirit lives within us, constant and abiding. How might we acknowledge the presence of God within?

I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you. (2 Kings 20:5)

Our God calls to each of us. How do we respond?

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort. (Isaiah 66:13)

We ask for healing and salvation. How do we show our love and awe of the LORD?

I will never forget you, says the LORD. (Isaiah 49:15)

We are the well-loved Children of the Living God. How do we give thanks?

Whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has passed from death to life. (John 5:24)

We have the opportunity to witness to the presence of God. How do we show our gratitude and love?

Can it Be?

Holy Wednesday, April 16, 2014

prayer-for-messiah2John 7:25-26

Can It Be?

Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah?

We have journeyed with the Prophet Amos to listen to God’s words and to reflect on the world’s woes. We have experienced Amos’ visions and seen the foreshadowing of the coming of the Messiah. We have examined life’s many pathways and determined how we might best live through the bounty or obstacles we encounter. We have opened our eyes and our ears to see and hear the Messiah.

On this morning before the Easter Triduum, we wonder if is possible that the gift of resurrection might lie before us.

On this noon before the Easter Triduum, we declare ourselves in hope of Messianic transformation.

On this eve of the Easter Triduum, we prepare to enter into the Messianic feast.




phariseesHoly Tuesday, April 15, 2014

John 7:14-24


We might picture ourselves in this story on the side of Jesus in this debate; and yet each time we judge by appearances we chose the side of those who are narrow-minded.

We might picture ourselves in this story as a member of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus; and yet each time we judge by appearances we chose the side of those who are short-sighted.

We might picture ourselves in this story among Jesus’ disciples who follow him up to Jerusalem; and yet each time we judge by appearances we chose the side of those who focused on themselves.

You circumcise a man on the Sabbath . . . are you angry with me because I made a whole person well on the Sabbath?

We seek the “in crowd” while we forget to look for the principles of those who company we keep.

We long for comfort while we neglect the simple basics of life for the refugee, the homeless, the wisdom and the orphan.

We take pride in our country, our parish, our family, and ourselves while we feel no shame that our neighbors go without medical care, a diet that sustains or access to clean water.

Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly.

We listen to and even pass on gossip. We remain silent when our co-workers ostracize a colleague. We believe that our pettiness can be hidden and that our transformation can wait for a more convenient day.

Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly.

We gently yet firmly put an end to gossip in our lives. We speak carefully yet firmly about local and global injustice. We engage in acts of kindness that rescue and transform others and ourselves.

In this Holy Week that announces the Easter miracle, and in each day of our lives . . . our actions speak loudly about our relationships. Our actions say volumes about our image of self and God. Our actions declare how much we heed Christ’s words when he calls us to judge as we ought . . . with justice . . . rather than by appearances.

Within Galilee


Sea of Galilee

Holy Monday, April 14, 2014

John 7:1-9

Within Galilee

Jesus moved about within Galilee; but he did not wish to travel to Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him.

We have begun our ascent to Jerusalem and so we gird ourselves for the arduous journey with its dreadful yet glorious end. We have heard the words and woes of Amos and so we understand that change must and will come upon us. We set our feet on the path we have chosen and we step forward with both dread and hope. What do we discover about ourselves and our world that we must change? We believe that we are well aware of the pitfalls we will meet.  We know that there are barriers that will stymie and frustrate us. We realize that if we hope to be made new we leave the refuge we have created for ourselves if we hope to travel up to Jerusalem. We recognize the hostile nature of the world we traverse and yet somehow we feel strangely safer once we commit to moving forward. Still, for a while we determine to remain where we feel safest while we prepare for our moment of boldness when we will allow ourselves to be open to rescue from our old way of living. And so for a time we remain in Galilee . . . while we prepare for our own conversion, change and resurrection

Second Jerusalem Temple

Second Jerusalem Temple

For another reflection about resting before our journey to Jerusalem, visit the Resting in Bethany post for Holy Monday 2013 on this blog at: http://thenoontimes.com/2013/03/25/resting-in-bethany/

For more information about the location and nature of Galilee and Judea, go to: Galilee http://bibleatlas.org/galilee.htm and Judea http://bibleatlas.org/judea.htm


flame RwandaPalm Sunday, April 13, 2014

Romans 8:11


Last week the country of Rwanda commemorated the 20th anniversary of horrific genocide not with more invective speech but with forgiveness and reconciliation . . . and with a flame of remembrance.  As St. Paul reminds us, with God all impossibilities become possible. In Christ all hope becomes reality. In the Spirit all that was once dead comes to new life . . . in Christ.

The one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.

And so we pray.

As we begin Holy Week, let us determine to change ourselves, to bring the light of change to the world, and to live always in the peace of the Living God who raises all death to new life.

As we enter Holy Week, let us consider how one million dead in Rwanda now rise in the reconciliation of enemies, now live in the acts of forgiveness offered by victims, and in the repentance felt by murderers.

As we move forward into Holy Week, let us pray that we always hear the voice of God. Let us pray that we always see Christ’s light in the darkness. And let us pray that we allow the Spirit to move us as we put the woes and words of the prophet Amos to work for the Gospel of the Christ. Amen.

Rwanda hopes to rise from the ashes of their brutal history to be the light of remembrance, the light of life for Africa and for the world. Now the cleanest and least corrupt country in Africa, Rwanda is hoping to become the Silicone Valley of their continent. Listen here at NPR: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/06/299708652/20-years-later-rwanda-hopes-to-be-a-light-for-the-world

rwanda victimFor more on finding grace and relying on faith after genocide, listen to an interview with the Reverend Celestin Musekura from National Public Radio. Let at: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/04/299054435/finding-peace-after-genocide

For a video story from Euronews describing Rwanda’s reconciliation village, go to: http://www.euronews.com/2014/04/05/rwanda-s-reconciliation-village-a-symbol-of-hope-20-years-after-the-genocide/

Or click on the image above to read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Daniel Flitton, and The Malay Mail Online.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

road to mountainA Prayer to Hear and See

For this reason you are great, O Lord God; for there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. (2 Samuel 7:22)

Good and generous God, you are quick to give us every opportunity to amend our ways, to make the most out of our life’s path.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 11:15)

Faithful and ever-present God, you are available and open to us in every moment of every day, in every step of our journey’s path.

Lift up your eyes round about and see. (Isaiah 60:4)

Bold and powerful God, you abide with us everywhere in every way, at each curve of the trail, at each hill, in each valley.

Then again Jesus laid his hands on [the blind man’s] eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. (Mark 8:25)

Serene and peaceful God, we sometimes create idols to worship as we wander along life’s path.

[We create idols who] have mouths, but they do not speak; they have eyes, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear, nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, yes, everyone who trusts in them. (Psalm 135:16-18)

pathway between treesKind and loving God, we need constant reminders to remain always in you. As our journey winds and rolls through obstacles, keep us close to you. As our journey brings us both fear and delight, keep us ever in you. As our journey moves inexorably toward you, keep our ears and eyes open that we might hear your word and see your light. We ask this as always in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Eyes to See

Friday, April 11, 2014

pathway in sunEyes to See

We approach Palm Sunday on the pathway we have chosen. As we near the celebration of the Paschal Mystery, we will want to have eyes to see the Word of God among us so that we might take heart when we are discouraged, so that we might have hope when we are in despair, so that we might have light when we are in darkness.

The prophet Ezekiel tells us: Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house. (Ezekiel 12:2)

The wisdom writer tells us: What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 6:9)

The prophet Zechariah tells us: Then the angel who was speaking with me went out and said to me, “Lift up now your eyes and see what this is going forth”. (Zechariah 5:5)

In Luke’s Gospel we hear Jesus say: Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them. (Luke 10:23-24)

The evangelist John tells us in his first letter: What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life – and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us – what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. (1 John 1:1-4)

Once we see how God’s Word heals the wounded and transformed the faithful, we will want to respond to God’s call. We need not use words. We need only act. As we near the Easter feast, let us decide how we will convey the love of the Living God to all. Let us decide how we will join those who also long for the world’s joy to be complete.

walkway over waterTomorrow, a prayer to hear and see.


Ears to Hear

college_nature_imageThursday, April 10, 2014

Ears to Hear

We approach Palm Sunday on the pathway we have chosen. As we near the celebration of the Paschal Mystery, we will want to have ears to hear the Word of God so that we might take heart when we are discouraged, so that we might have hope when we are in despair, so that we might have light when we are in darkness.

The prophet Jeremiah cries out: To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed and they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the Lord has become a reproach to them; they have no delight in it. (Jeremiah 6:10)

The prophet Isaiah replies: Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21)

The prophet Ezekiel tells us: And the man said to me, “Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel.” (Ezekiel 40:4)

The psalmist replies: We have heard with our ears, O God, our forefathers have told us, the deeds you did in their days, in the days of old. (Psalm 44:1)

In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus tells us: Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:43)

The evangelist John records Jesus as saying: Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears my word, and believes the one who sent me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24)

Once we hear God’s Word we will want to reply. We need not use words. We need only act. As we near the Easter banquet, let us decide how we will reply to the one who calls us to live as Children of the Living God.

To understand more about The Paschal Mystery in our daily lives, and for a few reflection questions, go to: http://www.loyolapress.com/the-paschal-mystery-in-everyday-life.htm


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