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Archive for the ‘Comparing Scripture’ Category


daniel-3-furnace

The Fiery Furnace

Friday, January 7, 2022

Joy and Daniel – Ordeal

We have discovered the many ways that joy visits us in celebration but we also find her during days without light and nights without end. From the stories of Genesis to the extravagant images of Revelation we find that no matter the circumstance God’s joy rescues us from sure destruction, Christ’s joy redeems us from our recklessness, and the Spirit’s joy heals us despite the gravity of our wounds.  For the next several days we re-visit the prophets for a final experience of joy in darkness. And we remind ourselves that we have the power to bring God’s infinite, sustaining, persistent joy to others.

Daniel’s prophecy includes familiar stories: the writing on the wall, the lion’s den, the fiery furnace and in the Apocrypha, Susana’s rescue and Bel and the Dragon. The prophecy also contains the first reference to one like the son of man, coming from the heavens (Daniel 7:13) with whom Jesus later identifies himself (Matthew 8:20, Mark 2:10, Luke 5:24, and John 1:51), with whom others identify Jesus (Stephen in Acts 7:54-8:1, and as our brother by the writer of Hebrews 2:5-8). This Son of Man reappears in Revelation as the living one who was dead in 1:13 and again at the harvest of the earth in 14:14. These stories and images have much to communicate to us, especially when we undergo a great ordeal.

 “Strictly speaking, the book does not belong to the prophetic writings but rather to a distinctive type of literature known as ‘apocalyptic,’ of which it is an early specimen . . . This work was composed during bitter persecution carried on by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and was written to strengthen and comfort the Jewish people in their ordeal”. (Senior 1086)

Through the story of Daniel in the lion’s den, we learn that the faithful need not fight, they need only remain faithful in and with God.

Daniel 6:23: The king was beside himself with joy and ordered Daniel lifted from the den. And not a scratch was found on him because he believed in his God.

Through the words of Daniel’s prayer, we learn how to rise in hopeful joy in the darkest of hours.

Daniel 9:17: O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead! Let your face shine again with peace and joy upon your desolate sanctuary—for your own glory, Lord.

joyThrough Daniel’s actions, we learn how to remain faithful in a world that worships power, breeds oppression and disdains a life of joy in God. Let us consider the lessons of Daniel today.


Make time today to look through Daniel’s stories. Choose one that might apply to the circumstances playing out around you. Compare different versions of this story . . . and commit to living it out as might be possible in this new year.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1086. Print.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the Old or New Testaments, 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.

Image from: https://fccya.wordpress.com/tag/fiery-furnace/

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90_the-nativity_1800x1200_72dpi_4Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Feast of the Three Kings is celebrated on January 6 in many cultures around the world.  Today we re-post a reflection first written in 2015.

Joy and the Magi

Jude 1:24-25

The New Testament Letters bring us the good news that the risen Christ still walks with us each day. Paul, Peter, James and John remind the faithful that although much has been asked of Christ’s followers, much is also given. With them, we remember that there is always hope when we are overcome by doubt, always light that will pierce the darkness, and always joy, even in days of deep and unrelenting grief. Today Jude – like the Magi whose visit to the stable we celebrate today – calls us to discover the true identity of the Christ Child. Jesus as the true joy of the world.

“This letter is by its address attributed to “Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James. Since he is not identified as an apostle, this designation can hardly be meant to refer to the Jude or Judas who is listed as one of the Twelve. The person is almost certainly the other Jude, named in the gospels among the relatives of Jesus, and the James who is listed as his brother is the one to whom the letter of James is attributed. Nothing else is known of this Jude”. (Senior 396)

Jude 1:24-25: Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling and to make you stand joyful and faultless in his glorious presence, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus the Messiah, our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time and for all eternity! Amen.

Jude’s letter contains just twenty-five verses. Visit with his words today. Compare the International Standard Version (ISV) with others found at the scripture link above, and allow God’s joy to settle into your day.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.396. Print.   

To watch a King James version of the Nativity story, click on the image of the Magi above. 

joyImage from: https://www.lds.org/bible-videos/?lang=eng

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges 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.

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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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king-solomon

King Solomon

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Joy and Songs

Celebration

We continue our reflection on joy in the Books of Wisdom and today we see joy in the event of King Solomon’s marriage. When we read the full story of this man’s life we come to understand that although he demonstrated so much, and although much of God’s promise is fulfilled in him, this promise deteriorates, and at his death the kingdom that Solomon and his father pulled together begins to unravel.

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.

It is so very easy to be joy-filled when all is going well; and yet . . . is it? A famous comedienne once commented that after honors were distributed for a unique award she had earned and the celebration ended, she went home and put a load of laundry in the clothes washer. She realized that the trappings of fame were not nearly as important to her as the simple joy of tending to her children and husband. Let us remember that when we have few hurdles to overcome and we find ourselves in the easy place of joy, we must weigh out accolades to put them in proper perspective. Perhaps this is what Solomon does today as he appears for his wedding procession as the beautiful Song of Songs describes.

joyVerses 3:10-11: Solomon made the columns of his litter of silver,
    its roof of gold,
Its seat of purple cloth,
    its interior lovingly fitted.
Daughters of Jerusalem, go out
    and look upon King Solomon
In the crown with which his mother has crowned him
    on the day of his marriage,
    on the day of the joy of his heart.

Select more of these beautiful verses and ponder them, considering your own marriage relationship with Christ. Compare the different versions of Songs at the scripture link above and reflect on how well God loves us, how much God guides us, and how much God heals and restores.


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

Image from: https://rainingtruthprayer.wordpress.com/tag/king-solomon/

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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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advent-2009Saturday, December 4, 2021

Joy and the Psalms

Blessing

The Book of Psalms calls us to praise God and during this first week of Advent we will focus on the power of the psalms in a number of ways: to connect us with God as sisters and brothers in Christ, to give us a healing pathway on which to carry our lament to the Spirit, to call us together as we praise and honor the creator God, and to offer us more examples of how God’s joy is a precious blessing.

Click on the scripture links and explore other versions of these verses. Share an idea about the surprise of joy in the dark places and times in our lives with a loved one, a neighbor or friend. And allow the surprise of joy to brighten each day as we move forward in the season of hope-filled waiting for the arrival of the Christ.

Psalm 119 verse 111: Your testimonies are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.

God replies: You are the apple of my eye; the delight of my heart!

Psalm 132 verse 16: Those who wept as they went out carrying the seed will come back singing for joy, as they bring in the harvest.

God replies: I have plans for your future, plans for joy and not for woe.

joyPsalm 137 verse 6: May I never be able to sing again if I do not remember you, if I do not think of you as my greatest joy!

God replies: You are my creation, my own sweet child.

Psalm 139 verse 5: Let God’s people rejoice in their triumph and sing joyfully all night long.

God replies: I lament with your sorrow and I delight in your happiness.

Together we pray . . . Good and ever-present God, you are with us even when we find ourselves in a world of deceit; we must remember to have open ears. Good and holy God, you are present even in the deepest darkness; we must remember to have open eyes. Good and loving God, you are with us in the presence of every kind of abuse and even in death . . . and so we must remember to have open hearts. Hold us always in you. Amen.

Tomorrow, the Second Sunday of Advent.


If this week’s exploration of Psalms calls you to search for more surprises, 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. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there.

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

Image from: http://joycarol.com/blog/?p=543

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emmanuelstillFriday, December 3, 2021

Joy and the Psalms

Conversion

The Book of Psalms calls us to praise God and during this first week of Advent we will focus on the power of the psalms in a number of ways: to connect us with God as sisters and brothers in Christ, to give us a healing pathway on which to carry our lament to the Spirit, to call us together as we praise and honor the creator God, and to offer us the opportunity for our conversion.

Click on the scripture links and explore other versions of these verses. Share an idea about the surprise of joy in the dark places and times in our lives with a loved one, a neighbor or friend. And allow the surprise of joy to brighten each day as we move forward in the season of hope-filled waiting for the arrival of the Christ.

Psalm 105 verse 43: So he led his chosen people out, and they sang and shouted for joy.

God replies: I am with you when you are abandoned and rejected.

joyPsalm 119 verse 143: I am filled with trouble and anxiety, but your commandments bring me joy.

God replies: I am with you when you are disheartened and oppressed.

Psalm 126 verse 5: Let those who wept as they planted their crops, gather the harvest with joy!

God replies: I am with you when you are broken-hearted and alone.

Psalm 126 verse 6: Those who wept as they went out carrying the seed will come back singing for joy, as they bring in the harvest.

God replies: I am with you when you beaten, and abused, and ridiculed for my sake. I come to walk among you . . . and you call me Emmanuel!


For a reminder of God’s promises, spend time with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 or his Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6 . . . and rejoice. For God is with us and God has converted all manner of injustice against us.

Image from: http://www.boisemustardseed.org/2012/11/29/advent-2012/

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rejoice-godThursday, December 2, 2021

Joy and the Psalms

Gratitude

The Book of Psalms calls us to praise God and during this first week of Advent we will focus on the power of the psalms in a number of ways: to connect us with God as sisters and brothers in Christ, to give us a healing pathway on which to carry our lament to the Spirit, to call us together as we praise and honor the creator God, and to invite us to express our gratitude for God’s abiding love.

Click on the scripture links and explore other versions of these verses. Share an idea about the surprise of joy in the dark places and times in our lives with a loved one, a neighbor or friend. And allow the surprise of joy to brighten each day as we move forward in the season of hope-filled waiting for the arrival of the Christ.

Psalm 70 verse 2: May all who come to you be glad and joyful. May all who are thankful for your salvation always say, “How great is God!”

God replies: I understand how difficult it is for some of you to see beyond yourselves. I also see how much the woes of the world overwhelm others of you. 

Psalm 92 verse 4: Your mighty deeds, O Lord, make me glad; because of what you have done, I sing for joy.

God replies: All that I ask is that you allow me to surprise you with joy, and to pull you out of your sorrow and despair.

joyPsalm 95 verse 2: Let us come before him with thanksgiving and sing joyful songs of praise.

God replies: Remember to invite those around you to share their own stories of joy-filled fidelity.

Psalm 107 verse 22: They must thank God with songs of joy and must tell all that God has done.

God replies: Come together as community to share the news of my hope and love. Always be ready to see, feel, and share my joy. 

If this week’s exploration of Psalms calls you to search for more surprises, 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. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there.

Tomorrow, we rejoice in God’s gift of conversion.


Image from: http://godzdogz.op.org/2011/12/third-sunday-of-advent-rejoice.html

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