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Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category


Genesis 1:9-31: The Mystery of IncarnationNativity_450x259

Monday, June 13, 2015

Richard Rohr, OFM in his June 5, 2015 tells us: “If incarnation is the big thing, then Christmas is bigger than Easter (which it actually is in most Western Christian countries). If God became a human being, then it’s good to be human and incarnation is already redemption. Francis and the Franciscans were the first to popularize Christmas. For the first 1,000 years of the church, there was greater celebration and emphasis on Easter. For Francis, if the Incarnation was true, then Easter took care of itself. Resurrection is simply incarnation coming to its logical conclusion: we are returning to our original union with God. If God is already in everything, then everything is unto glory! Much of the early church did not have trouble with what many would now call universal salvation (apocatastasis, as in Acts 3:21). We are all saved by infinite love and mercy anyway. ‘God alone is good’ (Mark 10:18), so there’s no point in distinguishing degrees of worthiness. Everything in creation merely participates in God’s infinite goodness, and our job is to trust and allow that as much as possible.

“As Matthew Fox said, we made a terrible mistake by starting with ‘original sin’ (a phrase not in the Bible); we absolutely must begin with original blessing. ‘God created it, and it was good’ is stated six times in a row in our Creation story (Genesis 1:9-31), ending with ‘indeed it was very good!’ But, up to the present time, most of Christianity concentrated on what went wrong with our original goodness . . .

“The Franciscan starting point is not sin; our starting point is Divine Incarnation itself. So our ending point is inevitable and predictable: resurrection. God will lead all things to their glorious conclusion, despite the crucifixions in between. Jesus is the standing icon of the entire spiritual journey from start to finish: divine conception, ordinary life, moments of enlightenment (such as his baptism, Peter’s confession, and Jesus’ transfiguration), works of love and healing, rejection, death, resurrection, and ascension. That is not just Jesus; it is true for all of us.”

Richard Rohr, OFM, Adapted from an unpublished talk and posted on June 5, 2015 at: https://cac.org/richard-rohr/daily-meditations

Christ is present in all of creation. Christ is present in each of us. This is the mystery of incarnation. We know that God creates the universe and the microverse out of great love and deep compassion. We know that Christ comes to walk among us as salvation and redemption. We know that the Spirit abides with us to console and heal. This we know and yet it is mystery when we wonder . . . how is it that God loves us this deeply and this well? And how is it that we fail to trust this great love?

To read a commentary about the mystery of the incarnation, click on the image above or visit: http://www.catholica.com.au/ianstake/023_it_print.php 

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Acts 2:1-11: Pentecostpentecost

June 5, 2022

All through Eastertide we have reflected on the gifts and treasures God so generously bestows on us. We have considered our role in God’s great plan. And we have remembered Jesus’ actions and words as he worked to build God’s kingdom on earth among God’s children. Today spend time with these verses and look for their impact in your own life.

When the time was fulfilled . . . frequently we hear these words in scripture. When we take these words in we understand that God’s work comes about in God’s time and space, and not ours.

They were all in one place . . . a number of times we hear God’s call to unity in the Spirit. When we come together in Jesus’ name our prayers are answered even though we might not believe this truth to be so.

The Spirit enabled them to proclaim . . . through both Old and New Testaments we are often told that the Spirit will tell us which way to walk, that a voice will speak to us to give us the words we will need to speak in God’s time and in God’s plan. When we relax into this knowledge we find new peace, a new skin, a new heart.

They were confused . . . so often in the Bible stories we read we understand that even those who are intimately involved with God are confused by the plan that lies before them. When we rest in the knowledge that God has nothing but our joy in mind, we can trust the Spirit to show us which path to take in labyrinth of life.

They were astounded and in amazement . . . repeatedly we hear this news in both Old and New Testaments that we humans are astonished at the depth and breadth and height of God’s goodness and love. When we allow ourselves to believe this good news, we find new peace, new life and new serenity.

We hear them speaking . . . we are constantly barraged by so many words and so many images. Today we open our hearts to the Spirit and focus on one or two of these phrases or words. Today we allow God to speak through us. Today we celebrate the enormous gift and presence of the Spirit in our lives. Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost.


mainslide-pentecostUse the scripture link and the drop-down menus to spend time with these Pentecost verses today . . . imagine the world we might create . . . let go of all small and petty plans . . . prepare to be amazed by God’s goodness . . . to be wrapped in Christ’s love . . . to be healed by the Spirit’s power to restore. Let us go out to all the nations in Christ so that all will hear us as if we were speaking in their own tongues . . . for it is in this way that we encounter the gentle compassion and eternal strength of Christ.

Images from: https://stephenlbaxter.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/celebrating-hope-at-pentecost/ and http://www.westburyumc.org/pentecost-sunday-2013

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Matthew 10:1-15: Our Commission 

Tissot: Exhortation to the Disciples

James Tissot: Exhortation to the Disciples

Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 29, 2022

We are a week away from Pentecost Sunday and so we take time to review our Eastertide Noontimes to consider God’s wisdom in each of us as we look for the answer to these questions: What does Jesus have in mind for us this Eastertide? How does Jesus expect us to bring compassion to the world? And, where will we find the wisdom, courage and strength to do so?

A foundational theme in Jesus’ work and words is the importance of inclusion. We see him interact with women, tax collectors, Pharisees and lost souls. He walks among the clean and unclean alike; he ministers to the deaf and blind as well as the comfortable and well-off. Today and tomorrow we reflect on where and when we might step into the mission God extends to us. Do we move out and away from the community in which we are planted or do we remain and look for new windows of opportunity to enact our commission? As we prepare for our newest assignment in this important work, we do well to remember Jesus’ words.

Go to the lost sheep . . .

Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons . . .

Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give . . .

Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it and stay there . . .

As you enter a house, wish it peace . . .

If the house is worthy l let your peace come upon it . . .

If not, let your peace return to you . . .


Use the scripture link above to search other versions of these verses . . . and allow God to reveal to you the commission he has in mind for your work. Enter the word Pentecost into the blog search bar and explore.

Image from: 

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Matthew 9:35-38: The Compassion of Jesus – A Reprise harvest

Saturday, May 28, 2022

We have spent time with Jesus as he heals leprosy, paralysis and blindness, stills an intense and dangerous storm and enables the mute to speak. We have followed him as he casts out demons, admonishes corrupt leaders and heals an older woman’s hemorrhaging on his way to raise a young woman from the dead. We listen to Jesus when he reminds us to use shrunken cloth to mend our old cloaks and to put our new wine into new skins. Jesus is well aware of the suffering that surrounds him yet he does not shrink from the painful challenge; rather, he brings joy and healing and transformation.

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.

Let us imagine a world in which we all proclaim the good news, in which we all teach with our example of witness, in which we touch our enemies and friends alike with compassion.

At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.

Let us imagine a world in which we shepherd one another when our hearts are low and our spirits falter, in which we act in mercy rather than revenge, in which we look for union rather than separateness.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send the laborers for his harvest.

Let us imagine a world in which masters and laborers work together to bring compassion to work places across the globe, in which parents and children act in love and peace in their homes, in which leaders and followers find common ground for the common good.

As we prepare for the Feast of Pentecost and the close of Eastertide, let us imagine a world such as this . . . and let us step into the role that Jesus has in mind for us as we bring Christ’s compassion to the world.


Visit the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Movement site at www.catholicworker.org or another site of your choice, and be open to the harvesting work to which God may be calling you. Share your experience in a blog comment and invite others to join in Jesus call of compassion for the world.

Image from: http://www.outreach2day.org/our_story_vision.html

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Matthew 9:18-26: Two Women – A Repriseo-BIBLICAL-WOMEN-facebook

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

And the news of this spread throughout the land.

In a world that often discounts or neglects women, this story has much to tell us.

First, although in the ancient world – and in some parts of our modern world today – women count for little more than livestock or a good hunting dog, Jesus clearly values women.

We must consider how we respond to those who have little or no value to the world.

Second, reflecting on the juxtaposition of a vibrant young woman and a woman well along in years, we watch Jesus as he tends to both of them.

We must consider how we respond to those who are outside of our social loops and circles of acceptance.

Third, coming from two separate classes, these women both benefit from Jesus’ loving attention.

We must consider how we respond to those in power and those who live and move in our shadow.

Fourth, Jesus’ actions of loving acceptance are so unusual that the news of this spread throughout the land.

We must consider when and how and why we respond – or do not respond – to Christ’s call to care for one another, to accept one another and even to heal one another in his name.

As we reflect on the resurrection of an official’s daughter and the healing of the hemorrhaging woman, let us remember how quickly the good news of Jesus’ interactions spreads. And let us also reflect on our willingness – or unwillingness – to tell the story of the good news about these two women.


Use the scripture link above to compare versions of this story.

Enter the word tassel into the blog search bar and explore other posts.

Click on the image above for a Huffington Post article on biblical women and Easter, or visit: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/lets-remember-the-biblical-women-at-easter_b_2839014

 

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Matthew 9:9-13: Loving God

love-godMonday, May 23, 2022

We have spent the last weeks journeying through the Gospel of Matthew, comparing different versions of holy verse, reflecting on beatitudes, teachings, explanations and hidden meanings and open miracles. Today we arrive at the poignant story of Matthew’s call. Jesus saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me”. And he got up and followed him. Jesus finds a stalwart follower among the least likely of candidates. He chooses a man closely linked with the corrupt structure of his day. He chooses a man avoided by adherents of his own religion. He chooses a man who is much like each of us.

Today we consider words written by Saint Caesarius of Arles, (c. 470-543) bishop, theologian, and preacher. His message about our relationship with, and love of God is as pertinent today as it was in the fifth century.

Begin to love God, and you will love man for his sake . . . When he are called to God’s work, we respond as we would to a dear and valued friend, and although this response may bring us turmoil it also brings us union with Christ himself.

If a man begins to love God, he will love nothing in man except in him . . . When we begin to regard God as a dear friend, we can do nothing but respond to God’s call, and although this call may at times confuse us it will ultimately bring us healing and transformation.

You should not possess or love a friend in order that he might give you something . . . A friend must be loved without recompense . . . When we begin to love without asking in return, we receive recompense far greater than any we might have imagined.

sermon_lovinggodThere is nothing finer, nothing sweeter than God . . . When we fully realize that there nothing in the world as valuable as our friendship with God, we begin to comprehend the meaning of loving God before anything or anyone else.

As we approach the miracle of the Pentecost, let us move forward in Easter resurrection celebration. And let us willingly, fully and openly step forward to follow our dearest friend, our loving God.


Images from: http://calltoawareness.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-importance-of-loving-god-special_7.html and http://rightfromtheheart.org/sermon-series/loving-god-means/

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Matthew 8:14-17: Casting Outjesusheals-300x298

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Those who suffer from leprosy, those who are scorned and separate. Those controlled by circumstances beyond their reach. Jesus interacts with all, no matter their status or condition, and for this we are grateful for how are we to know when we will number among them? Today we watch as Jesus ministers to those possessed by the forces of other worlds, those driven by powers from other dimensions, those tortured by fears and anxieties that live within.

When we realize that we are in a relationship that takes us beyond our depth, let us ask God to guide us home.

When we feel we are pushed beyond limits that are already stretched too far, let us ask Jesus to cast out our fear.

When we believe we are beyond healing and peace, let us ask the Spirit to bring us restoration and serenity.

He took our infirmities, he bore our diseases . . .

As Christ heals so many among us with the hope of Easter resurrection, we give thanks for this great casting our of worry and pain

He cast out spirits with a word and cured all who were sick . . .

As Christ steps into shoes that we find too large and shoulders burdens we find too heavy, we give thanks for this great love that so eagerly casts out the pain and sorrow of the world.


Image from: http://wonder.oca.org/2014/09/23/except-through-prayer-and-fasting/

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James 3:17-18: A Holy Life
burning-bush1

Monday, May 16, 2022

“Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor”. THE MESSAGE

Jesus has told us about the nature of true discipleship. God has created us in the image of goodness and light and truth. The Spirit lives within, waking us each day to new possibilities of hope and peace and mercy. In celebration of the continuing gift of Easter life, let us spend time today in God’s intimate company, and let us thank God for the gift of a holy life by striving to live on true discipleship.

Using the scripture link above, compare other versions of these versions from James’ letter


Image from: http://providenceswfl.com/blog/brought-near-a-holy-god/

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Matthew 7:21-23: True Discipleshipdisciple

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven . . .

We so often call of God when we are troubled and we too seldom include God in our celebrations of good news. We say that we know God and want to do God’s will and yet we too often believe that God has abandoned us.

God says: My true disciples sees me in all those who suffer or are alone or abandoned. My true disciples rejoice in their sorrow as often as they rejoice in their celebrations. In the downward spirals of your life you cling to me, and in this I rejoice for I am the vine that sustains the branches of your life. Remember me as well in the beautiful upswings and your days of celebration for I am also there – although you may forget me. My true disciple remains in me as much as possible just as I remain in them always. In your days of woe you remember me. Remember me as well in your days of joy.

To better understand Jesus’ concept of a true disciple, use the scripture link to examine varying versions of his Vine and Branches discourse (John 15:1-8).


For more Noontime reflections on true disciples, enter the word discipleship into the blog search bar and explore.

Image from: http://www.choicesandavoice.org/sheris-blog/true-discipleship-what-are-the-characteristics-of-a-true-disciple-part-1 

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