Archive for November 15th, 2016

Luke 15:4-6: With Great Joy

James Tissot: The Good Shepherd

James Tissot: The Good Shepherd

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Jesus poses a question to us.

Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them—what do you do? 

Jesus shows the path to us.

You leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the pasture and go looking for the one that got lost until you find it.

Jesus recalls our humanity for us.

When you find it, you are so happy that you put it on your shoulders, and with great joy you carry it back home.

Jesus models a faith-filled life for us.

Then you call your friends and neighbors together and say to them, “I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate!”

Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne: The Good Shepherd

Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne: The Good Shepherd

When confronted with an enormous problem or a nagging worry, we consider the abiding faith Jesus shows us when he abandons the ninety-nine in search of the one. Might we be so courageous as to allow God to guide our actions? We also consider the hopeful persistence Jesus displays as he endures in his search for the one lost sheep. Might we persevere and allow God to bolster our work in the kingdom? And we consider the compassionate, joy-filled mercy with which Jesus celebrates. Might we be as exuberant in our love for even the darkest of our nights and the most difficult of our days . . . always knowing that these trials will ultimately bring us great joy?

When we use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to compare varying translations of these verses, we find that in our darkest circumstances, in our longest battles, and in the narrowest of places, Jesus shows us that with the Good Shepherd we might find the faith, hope and love to celebrate with great joy.

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Ezra 6: 19-23: Marvels – Part VI

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

El Verones: Jesus and the Centurion

Paolo Veronese: Jesus and the Centurion

Luke 7:1-17: Resuscitation

We have reflected on the marvels God worked for Ezra and the Israelites who returned from exile. We have considered the marvels God works in our lives, and the miracles Jesus brings to us. We have deliberated on the nature of the Holy Spirit who dwells in the new temple of our hearts. Today we turn to a well-known story from the New Testament as we also consider the human deeds at which Jesus himself marvels. And we celebrate the great gifts God gives us freely. Rebirth. Renewal. Rejuvenation. Restoration.

James Tissot: Jesus Raising the Son of the Widow at Nain

James Tissot: Jesus Raising the Son of the Widow at Nain

This is the message of today’s reading of the two stories The Healing of a Centurion’s Slave and The Raising of the Widow’s Son.  A pagan master who is more giving, loving, hope-filled and faithful than the people of Israel stirs the Messiah to act with compassion.  A woman whose only son dies moves the Teacher with pity.  So too can we move the Christ and be moved by him.  When we read these stories we understand fully how much God forgives, how much God yearns for union, how much God wants our trust, how much God is present to us . . . constantly.

From today’s MAGNIFICAT:

You are faithful in your forgiveness: strengthen in trust all who fear to approach you in the sacrament of penance.

You are gracious to all who come to you: make gracious all who represent you in the presence of sin and suffering.

You are merciful to all who turn to you for help: enlighten in wisdom all who have the opportunity to encourage others in prayer.

You forgive every human failing: preserve us from the temptation to trap others in their sins by passing on small-minded gossip.

So wide is God’s mercy that no sin is too great or too small for forgiveness.  So much narrower is our charity that we often find the small annoyances the hardest to forgive.  The more we turn in prayer to the all-forgiving God, the more we will become like him in extending the hand of pardon to others in every daily circumstance.

celebrateGod is not afraid of sin.  We are.  God does not take revenge.  We do.  God wants perfect union with us.  And we are invited in to perfect union with Christ.

God does more than sustain and nourish.  God is constantly present.  God heals.  God renews.  God will even resuscitate.  We demonstrate our belief in all of this when we take our small and large problems to God.  And we demonstrate our love God when we act in deep and abiding trust . . . even as we marvel at God’s great work in us.

Adapted from a Favorite written on September 19, 2008.

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 19.9 (2008). Print.  

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