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phariseesFriday, April 16, 2021

John 7:14-24

Appearances

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 whose company we keep.

We long for comfort while we neglect the simple basics of life for the refugee, the homeless, the widow 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 Eastertide that persists in announcing 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 Christ calls us to judge as we ought. With justice, rather than by appearances.


Image from: http://mymorningmeditations.com/2012/08/08/jesus-the-traditionalist-jew/


TIBERI~1

Sea of Galilee

Thursday, April 15, 2021

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. 


 

the-second-temple-jerusalem-aryeh-weiss

Aryeh Weiss: The Second Temple Jerusalem 

For another reflection about resting before our journey to Jerusalem, visit the Resting in Bethany post by entering the words into the blog search bar to explore. 

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

The Temple image from: https://pixels.com/featured/the-second-temple-jerusalem-aryeh-weiss.html

Sea of Galilee image from: http://www.christianholyland.com/sea-of-galilee-tour-maps-facts-and-pictures.html


flame RwandaWednesday, April 14, 2014

Romans 8:11

Genocide

When the country of Rwanda commemorates its anniversary of horrific genocide not with more invective speech but with forgiveness and reconciliation, the people remember with a passion for mercy.  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 continue our journey through Eastertide, let us continue 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 continue to celebrate the Easter Passion, 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 beyond 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 victim


For 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 story from AP News describing Rwanda’s reconciliation villages, go to: https://apnews.com/article/719ac8f0c4da4d2b80976057d869562a 

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


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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.


Images from: http://brainpathways.net/college.aspx 

Eyes to See


Monday, April 12, 2021

pathway in sunEyes to See

As we celebrate the transforming path of mercy that leads to 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.


Images from: http://brainpathways.net/college.aspx 

Ears to Hear


college_nature_imageSecond Sunday of Easter, April 11, 2021

Ears to Hear

We celebrate The Octave of Easter on the pathway we have chosen, and as we celebrate 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

Image from: http://brainpathways.net/college.aspx 


paths 17Easter Saturday, April 10, 2021

John 13:24-30

A Prayer for the Journey

We have examined a number of different pathways our lives might take as we journey with God.  Some offer no options and seem to have little hope. Others are open and give us a variety of choices.  As we move through these last weeks of Lent, let us pause to consider the Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat.

A man sowed good seed in his field . . .

Good and gentle God, you sow your word in our hearts and minds. May we come to fully hear your word.

While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off . . .

Good and wise God, you offer us the grace of your love. May we come to completely see you in others.

When the crop grew and bore fruit then the weeds appeared as well . . .

Good and gracious God, you plant a desire in each of us to know you intimately. May we arrive at seeing you in all of creation.

paths 20The slaves of the householder came to him and said, “Master, did you not sow good wheat in your field? Where did all these weeds come from?

Dear and humble Jesus, you accompany us when we need you most. May we respond to your quiet and healing touch.

He answered, “An enemy has done this”.

Dear and practical Jesus, you see each of us entirely and totally. May we seek to love you as you love us.

His slaves said to him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?

Dear and loving Jesus, you give us your full and total attention. May we learn to spend time with you each day.

He replied, “No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them . . .

Loving and serene Spirit, you see both eagerness and reluctance in each of us. Help us to find unity within sunset-barn-and-wheat-field-steptoe-craig-tuttleourselves and with one another.

“Let them grow together until harvest; then I will say to the harvesters, ‘First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning . . .

Loving and compassionate Spirit, you provide endless time and limitless space for us to grow in you. Help us to forgive ourselves and one another without reservation as you forgive us.

‘But gather the wheat into my barn’.”

Loving and providential Spirit, you persist against all odds. Help us to move forward on the path of our life . . . even when we are wearied by the trials of the journey.

God the Creator, God the Redeemer, and God the Healer, abide with us this day and every day. We know that the obstacles along our way are stepping stones to encounter ourselves.  We know that you are with us even when we cannot see or hear you. And we live in the expectation that the harvesters will bundle us in to your enormous and generous barn. Amen.


Images from: https://www.joe-ks.com/2012/amazing-paths


paths 15Easter Friday, April 9, 2021

Matthew 13:17-23

So Many Paths – Part IV

Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.

The Parable of the Sower is a familiar one and yet . . . we resist changing so that our journey might be a little lighter. We refuse adjustment from our present position even though modification in our living might offer and opportunity for conversion. When we find ourselves traveling a road that seems immutable and absolute we need not fear, for we are graced with the Word that combats all Woe. How do we tune our ears so that we might honestly listen to God’s word? How do we un-muddy our eyes so that might rightly see God’s presence in our lives?

Life gives us surprising obstacles and we lose heart. We lament and complain. We recoil and mourn. Life treats us well and we take credit for all that we have and are. We act with hubris. We become pompous and self-righteous. Once we have set out on a path, do we have any recourse to change? Once we are well on our way, are we doomed to a single outcome?

paths 16The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart.

When we hear the Torah, the Prophets and the Gospel we are as free to heed God’s Word as we are to ignore it.

The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away.

When we hear Jesus’ parables we are as free to search for meaning as we are to treat these stories as children’s tales that hold no meaning for adult lives.

The seed sown among thorns in the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit.

paths 18When we witness injustice we also witness the presence of the Spirit in a hostile and frightening world. We are as free to respond to that Spirit to unit ourselves in God’s grace with Christ’s mystical body as we are to squelch it.

But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.

When we find ourselves on a difficult path fraught with danger and friction . . . we are as free to ask for, to receive and to respond to God’s grace as we are to remain implacably set in our own rigid way. As we near the end of the Lenten season and prepare to open ourselves to Christ’s Easter joy, let us determine to receive Christ with gratitude, to celebrate God’s presence with delight, and to rest in the serenity of the Spirit.

Tomorrow, a prayer for the journey.


Images from: https://www.joe-ks.com/2012/amazing-paths


paths 5Easter Thursday, April 8, 2021

Matthew 13:1-17

So Many Paths – Part III

Jesus says: “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, more will be taken away”.

Some lives are hidden journeys, following tracks laid down by unknown forces that pull us forward rapidly. We fly past dense underbrush that hides us from the openness of the world. We are enslaved to a strict pathway that does not allow for deviation in any way. Journeys like this seem pleasant and ordered but they eliminate the opportunity to make choices. We find that we have no freedom. When we realize that we have chosen a pathway that thinks for us and keeps us away from the fullness of creation, we find that we are missing out not only on risk and danger but on our own development. We begin to understand Jesus’ words when he says that those with more will prosper and those with little will fail. It dawns on us that these words do not refer to material goods but rather, to a life lived in fullness of heart versus a life lived with a narrowness of mind. A constricted, prescribed and confining journey brings with it its own punishment of more constriction; while open and generous pathways call us out of ourselves and ask us to stretch. Open and flexible journeys offer us a new prosperity of love, peace and fulfillment. We discover that as we move away from restriction to stretch beyond our comfort zones, we learn about the depth and breadth and beauty of our gifts.

paths 6“This is why I speak in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand’. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them”.

There are paths that bring us changes that are so sudden that at first we believe ourselves to be lost. Huge, impassable obstacles loom large before us and all we see is a roadblock. All we hear is chaos. When we look closely, however, to discern God’s plan and call, we notice alternative routes we had not previously seen. We hear precious words of advice and encouragement to which we had earlier been deaf. With this new discovery of trusting God, we also realize a life of eagerness, adventure and acumen. We become wiser. We hear better. We see further. We find endurance. We find that we can bear far more that we had imagined. We understand that we are loved far more than we had hoped. Our eyes see opportunity where before we had seen loss; our ears hear rejoicing where before we heard only dirges.

paths 14Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears because they hear. Many prophets and righteous people have longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Spaths 9ome journeys convince us that the world is made of two kinds of people: the good and the bad. We find ourselves believing the illusion that we can divide everyone and every idea into opposing camps or positions. And then we find ourselves either allying with the position we think is the safest and most suitable . . . or we struggle to achieve an impossible compromise that addresses none of the problems we find before us. This kind of living begins as an innocent attempt to simplify our journey, and it ends in a passage that is rigid, unforgiving and blind.

Tomorrow, So Many Paths – Part IV.


Images from: https://www.joe-ks.com/2012/amazing-paths

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