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jeremiah brown copyTuesday, December 21, 2021

Joy and Jeremiah

Passion

“The office of prophet was due to a direct call from God. It was not the result of heredity, just as it was not a permanent gift but a transient one, subject entirely to the divine will”. (Senior 877) Today joy surprises us from the depths of despair as a people lifts hope high . . . waiting for the coming of the Messiah.

The prophet Jeremiah responds to God’s call as a young man in the 13th year of King Josiah, approximately 612 B.C.E. He persists faithfully in conveying God’s word to a recalcitrant people “with enthusiasm and hope”. (Senior 949) He remains in the rubble of Jerusalem’s ruins but is forced into exile in Egypt by conspirators. Tradition tells us that he was murdered by these countrymen and that his prophecy was recorded shortly after his death. (Senior 949)

Jeremiah 15:16: When I found your words, I devoured them; your words were my joy, the happiness of my heart, because I bear your name, Lord, God of hosts.

God’s word sustains and upholds us; it nurtures the joy within. Jeremiah’s enthusiasm for his God and God’s word sustain us today.

Jeremiah 31:13: Then young women shall make merry and dance, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will show them compassion and have them rejoice after their sorrows.

God’s love redeems and rescues us; it calls forth the joy within. Jeremiah’s fidelity to his God and God’s mercy liberates us today.

joyJeremiah 33:9: Judah will be to me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.

God’s goodness heals and transforms us; it celebrates the joy within. Jeremiah’s passion for his God and God’s power renews us today.

As we await the birth of the Christ who rescues, transforms, heals and makes new, let us reflect on God’s power to bring life out of ruin, healing out of destruction and hope out of death for a renewal of life.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urge you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 877 & 949. Print. 

Image from: http://tharderdesign.blogspot.com/2011/03/jeremiah-2911_30.html

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isaiah9Monday, December 20, 2021

Joy and Isaiah

Hope

“The office of prophet was due to a direct call from God. It was not the result of heredity, just as it was not a permanent gift but a transient one, subject entirely to the divine will”. (Senior 877) Today joy surprises us from the depths of despair as a people lifts hope high . . . waiting for the coming of the Messiah.

In the 8th Century B.C.E. the nations of Israel and Judah are threatened and then overcome by the Assyrians to the north and the Egyptians to the south. The prophecy of Isaiah, thought to be the combined work of several men, takes us on the rollercoaster ride of political, social and moral upheaval the faithful of Yahweh experience. But despite the dreadful events and circumstances that surround the faithful and strip away all they hold dear, the words of this prophecy bring hope.

Isaiah 24:14: They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for joy in the majesty of the Lord, they shall shout from the western sea.

In a moment when we have no words, we allow the Spirit to give voice to our hope.

Isaiah 35:6: The lame shall leap like a stag, and the mute tongue sing for joy.

On a day when we find ourselves unwell or incapacitated, we allow Christ to heal our illness.

Isaiah 55:12: Yes, in joy you shall go forth, in peace you shall be brought home; mountains and hills shall break out in song before you, all trees of the field shall clap their hands.

joyIn an hour when we see no reason to hope, we allow God to transform our fear.

Isaiah 65:18: Shout for joy and be glad forever in what I, the Lord, am creating.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urge you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 877-879. Print. 

Image from: https://advent.wordpress.com/

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finding restSaturday, December 18, 2021

Joy and Sirach 6

Rest

Today we come to the end of the wisdom recorded by Jesus ben Sirach, the last of the Wisdom Books offered by the ancients; and we discover that all we need to know about finding wisdom is within. All we need do is rest in the wisdom of the Lord . . . and in this we find great joy. If today’s Noontime calls you to search for more ways to encounter wisdom or joy, click on those words in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the words in the blog search bar. Today we determine to rest in wisdom, to rest, to rest in wisdom, to rest in the Lord.

Reflecting on Sirach’s description of wisdom, we pause with these verses from Chapter 6 (18-37) Click on the scripture link and compare different versions of these words and rest in the Wisdom that speaks within.

My child, from your youth choose discipline;
    and when you have gray hair you will find wisdom.

As though plowing and sowing, draw close to her;
    then wait for her bountiful crops.
For in cultivating her you will work but little,
    and soon you will eat her fruit.

She is rough ground to the fool!

To encounter true wisdom, we must allow ourselves to rest in God . . . and this can be as difficult as plowing a spring field after the ice and snow of winter.

The stupid cannot abide Wisdom.
She will be like a burdensome stone to them,
    and they will not delay in casting her aside.

For discipline is like her name,
    she is not accessible to many.

Listen, my child, and take my advice;
    do not refuse my counsel.

Put your feet into her fetters,
    and your neck under her yoke.

Bend your shoulders and carry her
    and do not be irked at her bonds.

To encounter true wisdom, we must allow ourselves to rest in God . . . and this can be as difficult as bending our necks in obedience to a plan that is not of our making.

joyWith all your soul draw close to Wisdom;
    and with all your strength keep her ways.
Inquire and search, seek and find;
    when you get hold of her, do not let her go.
Thus at last you will find rest in her,
    and she will become your joy.

Her fetters will be a place of strength;
    her snare, a robe of spun gold.
Her yoke will be a gold ornament;
    her bonds, a purple cord.

You will wear her as a robe of glory,
    and bear her as a splendid crown.

To encounter true wisdom, we must allow ourselves to rest in God . . . and we will discover that the yoke we thought a burden has become a source of joy.

If you wish, my son, you can be wise;
    if you apply yourself, you can be shrewd.
If you are willing to listen, you can learn;
    if you pay attention, you can be instructed.

Stand in the company of the elders;
    stay close to whoever is wise.
Be eager to hear every discourse;
    let no insightful saying escape you.
If you see the intelligent, seek them out;

    let your feet wear away their doorsteps!

Reflect on the law of the Most High,
    and let God’s commandments be your constant study.
Then God will enlighten your mind,
    and make you wise as you desire.

To encounter true wisdom, we must allow ourselves to rest in God . . . and this will fill us with such great joy that we will be moved to share it with others.

Choose another chapter from the Book of Sirach, compare the verses in different Bible versions, and allow God’s wisdom and joy to fill you in this time of Advent waiting.


Image from: http://www.gopixpic.com/500/finding-rest-in-god-%F0%9F%99%87-godismystrength-psalm-/http:%7C%7C24*media*tumblr*com%7Ctumblr_ma951dNwK51qaxjifo1_500*jpg/

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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parentsFriday, December 17, 2021

Joy and Sirach 3

Honor

Continuing with wisdom recorded by Jesus ben Sirach, we find more words that surprise us with joy. If today’s Noontime calls you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. Today we consider the great joy that is found when we honor wisdom.

In this Chapter, Ben Sirach writes about family relationships, humility, docility, and the giving of alms to the poor. In all of this lies the quiet theme of honor.

Verse 3:5: Those who honor their parents will have joy in their own children, and when they pray they are heard.

joyGod says: Some of you have no children born from your union with another; yet you provide the wisdom of elders to many. Some of you have never known your parents; yet you honor those who have served you well as mentors and guides. Many of you have siblings who love your parents as you do and siblings who are jealous of your relationship with your parents. There is not a singular model for family life in the many cultures that blossom around the world, but there is a singular path to follow in finding joy. Through your humble service to others you honor me and bring honor to your family. Through your quiet, docile care of the poor you gladden others and bring joy to me.  

Choose more of these verses and reflect on them, considering how often honor and wisdom are present in your own family. Compare the different versions of Sirach 3 at the scripture link above and reflect on Jesus Ben Sirach’s words.


Image from: https://humanangels.wordpress.com/tag/people/

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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main_joy_0Monday, December 13, 2021

Joy and 

Ecclesiastes 8:14-15

Compensation

We continue our reflection on joy in the Books of Wisdom and for the next few days we spend time with Ecclesiastes, verses that focus on the purpose and value of human life. Joy in merit, material wealth, pleasure of every kind evades the human race when chased. The mystery is that truly fulfilling and lasting joy comes upon us when we least expect it – and when we find ourselves in the most trying of circumstances. If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. Today we wonder why joy appears to accompany the wicked rather than the just.

It is so very difficult to be joy-filled when our world is falling apart. When cataclysm strikes, the faithful bend forward into the Lord, relying on God’s strength, wisdom, courage and stamina. And yet, the wisdom imparted to us today says precisely that when we cannot understand the complexities of our universe, we move forward as best we can . . . and we rely on God’s joy that somehow arrives even in the darkness. This is the message of this third week in Advent: when it is darkest, God is nearest.

joyVerse 8:15: Therefore I praised joy, because there is nothing better for mortals under the sun than to eat and to drink and to be joyful; this will accompany them in their toil through the limited days of life God gives them under the sun.

Compare the MESSAGE version of this passage at the scripture link above that includes verse 14: Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke. So, I’m all for just going ahead and having a good time – the best possible. The only earthly good men and women can look forward to is to eat and drink well and have a good time – compensation for the struggle for survival these few years God gives us on earth.

God says: This advice sounds like the hedonistic refrain to “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you die!” But it is not. Read these verses in the context of the whole and you will find that they speak to the human condition. It is true that many times it appears that the wicked receive the gifts meant for the faithful. It is also true that dreadful things happen to good people. What is also true is that the plan of the universe is quite complex. And it is also true that I know every step you take, every wakeful moment of the night that you pass, every injustice you suffer. Remember that I am with you in those dark times just as I am in the happy ones, and that joy accompanies you always although you may not discern it.

Spend some time today remembering the times when you have been treated unfairly. Jot down a few words on a piece of paper that describe the dark feelings you experienced. This may be a simple list like: alone, betrayed, misunderstood, attacked, and so on. On the reverse side of this paper, write the word JOY. In this way we ask God to convert our sorrow into joy. Seek professional help for feelings of depression or suicide. Gather friends around you who will treat you with the care God wants to lavish on you. Place your JOY petition in your Bible, in a prayer-book, or in a special prayer basket set aside as a cradle for your sorrow. Imagine the Christ child arriving to sleep in this crib . . . and give all your anxiety to him.

At noon each day, the petitions of The Noontimes readers are remembered in prayer. May God’s serenity guide you, may the Christ child’s humility sustain you, and may the peace of the Spirit dwell within you at this very special time of year. Amen.


For interesting ways to handle stress, to find a balance in life, to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, and to find joy in living, click on the image above, or go to the Complete Health News site at: http://www.completehealthnews.com/interesting-ways-to-find-joy-life/

Image from: http://www.completehealthnews.com/interesting-ways-to-find-joy-life/

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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nativity-of-christThird Sunday of Advent

December 12, 2021

Joy and 

Ecclesiastes 5:17-19

Vanity

We continue our reflection on joy in the Books of Wisdom and for the next few days we spend time with Ecclesiastes, verses that focus on the purpose and value of human life. Joy in merit, material wealth, pleasure of every kind evades the human race when chased. The mystery is that truly fulfilling and lasting joy comes upon us when we least expect it – and when we find ourselves in the most trying of circumstances. If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. Today joy surprises us when we find ourselves overwhelmed by the world’s vanities.

The Book of Ecclesiastes is often remembered for its opening words: Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! Through centuries we humans have sought the mystery of joy and continue to find that try joy arrives with most impact in times of sorrow or loss. We are constantly learning that we cannot earn joy; rather, joy finds us when we most need and appreciate it.

Ecclesiastes 5:17-19: Here is what I see as good: It is appropriate to eat and drink and prosper from all the toil one toils at under the sun during the limited days of life God gives us; for this is our lot. Those to whom God gives riches and property, and grants power to partake of them, so that they receive their lot and find joy in the fruits of their toil: This is a gift from God. For they will hardly dwell on the shortness of life, because God lets them busy themselves with the joy of their heart.

joyCompare the MESSAGE version of this passage at the scripture link above that begins with verse 13: Here’s a piece of bad luck I’ve seen happen: A man hoards far more wealth than is good for him and then loses it all in a bad business deal. He fathered a child but hasn’t a cent left to give him. He arrived naked from the womb of his mother; he’ll leave in the same condition—with nothing. This is bad luck, for sure—naked he came, naked he went. So what was the point of working for a salary of smoke? Continue reading and allow the Word to resonate within until the mystery of finding joy in misery rather than in our stockpiled treasures begins to speak in our hearts. Consider that all joy is a gift from God, shows us God’s presence, and lifts, sustains and renews us . . . without our even asking.


In some Christian traditions, the Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday. Enter the word Gaudete into the blog search bar and reflect on the nourishing joy that comes from God to renew and sustain us in the darkest of days. Find out more about Gaudete Sunday at this link: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06394b.htm

While reflecting, listen to the Medieval Latin Carol Gaudete arranged by Michael McGlynn and sung by ANÚNA posted on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbKWk6RzaiM  As the ancient words resonate, allow them to awaken joy within . . . Rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary! The light, the truth, the healer, the Word is among us. 

This week, let us look for joy in a controversial issue that consumes our local or global world. It may be a topic that reverberates through the global community or it may be a problem that you share with a few friends, family members or neighbors. No matter the range or depth of this concern, turn it over in light of the week’s Noontime readings and allow the joy that is hidden in great darkness to spring upon you.

Visit the ANÚNA site at: http://www.anuna.ie/

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

For the lyrics to the carol Gaudete and another music video, click on the Nativity image above or visit: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2012/12/gaudetechristus-est-natus/ 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.781. Print.   

Image from: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2012/12/gaudetechristus-est-natus/ 

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Good-NewsSaturday

December 11, 2021

Joy and Proverbs

Good News

The Book of Proverbs is more than mere adages we repeat in moments of confusion or stress. They are universal metaphors that serve as anchors in a bewildering and sometimes tumultuous world. Many resources are available to understand these maxims and during this second week of Advent we will focus on the surprising power of the proverbs to reveal God’s truth to us.  If this week’s exploration of Proverbs calls you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. Today we celebrate the joy of Good News.

In this second week of Advent we have found joy in dark places as we share proverbs. Today we remind ourselves that the hope of the Old Testament is fulfilled in the Word of the New Testament. And we remember that Jesus, God Among Us, is the incarnation of that promise and word.

Proverbs 15:23: One has joy from an apt response; a word in season, how good it is!

We have the choice each day to speak words that hurt or words that heal.

Matthew 4:23: Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

We have the choice each day to speak words that burden us or words that uplift.

joyMark 1:14: Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.

We have the choice each day to speak words that bring energy or words that sap strength.

Proverbs 15:30: A cheerful glance brings joy to the heart; good news invigorates the bones.

We have the choice each day to speak words that speak truth or words that lie.

Luke 8:1: Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God.

We have the choice each day to speak words of Good News or words of darkness.

Mark 16:15: And Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation”.

We continue our Advent journey, and today we pause to consider the power of God’s joy when we share the Good News that God has come to live among us.


For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

Image from: http://thirteenthree.org.au/blog/13/03/2011/the-gospel-is-good-news/

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Joy and Proverbs 15 – Folly


foolishFriday, December 10, 2021

Joy and Proverbs

Folly

The Book of Proverbs is more than mere adages we repeat in moments of confusion or stress. They are universal metaphors that serve as anchors in a bewildering and sometimes tumultuous world. Many resources are available to understand these maxims and during this second week of Advent we will focus on the surprising power of the proverbs to reveal God’s truth to us.  If this week’s exploration of Proverbs calls you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. Today we find joy in folly.

During this second week in Advent we continue to share simple verses from Proverbs that bring us joy in surprising ways.

Verse 15:21: Folly is joy to the senseless, but the person of understanding goes the straight way.

joyGod says: False joy is present everywhere and it parades itself as serenity and wisdom. False joy is expressed by those who deny the truth that stands before them, or by those who close eyes and ears to the pleas of the poor and abused. False joy constructs bubble worlds and faerie castles of perfection to protect yourselves from reality. This false joy is folly and it is practiced by those who trust themselves more than they trust me, and by those who put aside prudence. When you find yourselves among fools, place your trust in me and move forward with caution and mercy. Rely on my wisdom rather than your own. Walk in the way my son has shown you. Allow my Spirit to abide in you and respond to her voice. When you clothe yourselves in prudence you not only resist folly . . . you allow your actions to speak in a way that words cannot. And you provide a lesson for the foolish who are ready to be transformed in me.

Use a Bible Concordance and look for Jesus’ words about prudence and folly.

Tomorrow, joy in the Good News!


For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

Image from: http://ilifejourney.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/are-we-wise-or-foolish/ 

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worried3344Thursday

December 9, 2021

Joy and Proverbs

Worry

The Book of Proverbs is more than mere adages we repeat in moments of confusion or stress. They are universal metaphors that serve as anchors in a bewildering and sometimes tumultuous world. Many resources are available to understand these maxims and during this second week of Advent we will focus on the surprising power of the proverbs to reveal God’s truth to us.  If this week’s exploration of Proverbs calls you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. Today we put aside our worries and discover the surprise of joy.

In this second week of Advent we continue to share simple verses from Proverbs that bring joy to our lives and lift our hearts.

Verse 12:25: Worry weighs down the heart, but a kind word gives it joy.

joyGod says: A million little worries throw up constant hurdles throughout your days and remain to haunt your troubled nights. These worries too often begin as small discomforts and then mushroom into crushing fears. When these niggling thoughts creep into your lives, bring them to me. When your heart is too heavily burdened, it cannot soar with the joy I have placed in you and so I ask you to place your worries on my broad shoulders. If you are living the gift of joy today, share it with one who is weighed down with uneasiness and disquiet. Lend a smile, share a warm embrace or give a ready hand to those who struggle. In this way, and to your great surprise, you will find that your own joy increases a thousand-fold.  

Jesus says: Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Tomorrow, God’s presence in folly.


For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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