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Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

tumblr_m82nssecoa1rsdmtxo1_5001.jpgJohn 16:12-15

Trinity of Love

A re-post from Trinity Sunday 2013.

Throughout Eastertide we explored the gifts we receive when we open ourselves to the privilege of serving as Christ’s disciples: meekness, broken-heartedness, constancy, honesty, truth revealed, willingness, steadfastness and celebration.  Today as we celebrate the mystery and gift of the Trinity, we might well wonder how and where and when we will find the stamina to endure.  We might ask . . . how are we to endure?

Jesus said to his disciples: I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. 

It is true that if we were to see the fullness of our lives rolled out before us we might fall into despair.  How wise it is that in God’s plan we live only a day at a time.

When the Spirit of truth comes she will guide you all to truth.

It is best that we learn to live in truth alone.  It is the very essence of God’s plan and so we must set aside all thought of deception, subterfuge and deceit.  How good it is in God’s plan that we look forward in hope.

She will not speak on her own but she will speak what she hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. 

It is correct that once we use our suffering to tune ourselves to hear God’s word we find the work of discipleship less painful.  How wonderful it is that God is so constant and loving.

She will glorify me, because she will take from what is mine and declare it to you.

It is amazing that God continues to love us despite our smallness and reluctance to follow the difficult Way.  How astonishing is God to show us this intense and passionate fidelity.

Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you she will take from what is mine and declare it to you.

It is humbling to discover that God and Christ and the Spirit live together in lovely harmony.  How marvelous it is that God shares the mystery of this union even though we understand it so poorly.

Jesus said to his disciples: I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. 

Let us cease our grumbling, let us banish our doubt, and let us come to God willingly, honestly and steadfastly.  Let us bring our brokenness.  Let us surrender our willfulness.  And let us rejoice in celebration that this Trinity of Love counts us at her center.


Image from: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/trinity%20knot

For other reflections on Creator, Redeemer and Spirit, type the word Trinity in the blog search bar and explore.   Tomorrow, the Trinity and time unknown . . .

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020 – 2 Corinthians

file[1]Chapter 12, verses 7 to 10 and Chapter 13, verses 5 to 13

“By a barrage of questions, by challenges both serious and ironic, by paradox heaped upon paradox, even by insults hurled at his opponents, [Paul] strives to awaken in his hearers a true sense of values and an appropriate response.” (Senior 275). Sometimes in community we need to do the same. We need to challenge, and we also need to use uncomfortable means to save souls. Yet we do this from a stance of weakness, as Paul says, and not from a position which overpowers. We call, we do not force. Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in faith. Test yourselves. . . For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we rejoice when we are weak but you are strong.

Paul and the Jesus community of Corinth struggled within a long, faithful, combative covenant, the one never giving up on the other. Scholars believe that this letter may be a cobbling together of several smaller letters and for that reason may seem disjointed; but it is evident that the people in the community of Corinth kept these missives and read them aloud at their gatherings, even though there are passages that are critical of the Corinthians themselves. These people are a solid example of those who are willing to remain in relationship with one another through trial, beyond criticism, straining toward unity and the formation of community.  Paul says in these verses that his own amazing strength comes from his weakness, and that he relies on this mystery of strength through weakness as it was taught by the risen Jesus.  And it is Jesus who continues to teach this lesson to us each day.

We have been celebrating Eastertide and we have examined the gifts we receive through discipleship.  We move toward the Pentecost event when the Spirit comes to live in intimacy with us.  As we witness the mystery of Christ’s passion and resurrection, and our own redemption and restoration, it is good to look at the closing words of this letter. We recognize some of them as the prayer we hear at Mass just before the kiss of peace.

Rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the holy ones greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

And may the peace of Christ be with each of you. Amen.


Image from: http://strengththroughweakness.forumer.com/index.php

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.275. Print.

Adapted from a Noontime written on April 5, 2007

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Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 17, 2020

Sandro Botticelli: Judith Leaving the Tent of Holofernes

Judith 15:9-15

A Celebration of Deliverance

Today we reflect on joyful celebration after deliverance from disaster, and we pause to consider the sudden and surprising gifts of discipleship.

The book of Judith is a wonderful story about a woman who puts aside her widow’s weeds to save her nation. Her ability is doubted by the elders of her own community, and her enemy underestimates her by a wide margin. Judith succeeds in accomplishing the impossible. We watch her follow a dangerously treacherous and narrow path, listening for and then obeying God’s voice.  We see her unfold in beautiful discipleship.  During this Eastertide we have re-discovered the gifts of discipleship that bloom in our lives when we see our vulnerability to God as privilege; and we watch Judith as she trusts in God alone to deliver her people and herself from a deadly enemy.

Judith’s meekness brings her humility . . . an ability to listen for God’s word and to heed it.

Judith’s brokenheartedness brings her vulnerability . . . an ability to petition God for help.

Judith’s constancy brings her fidelity . . . an ability to rely on God alone.

Judith’s honesty brings her truth . . . an ability to see reality as God sees it.

Judith’s willingness brings her integrity . . . an ability to perceive and respond to God’s call authentically.

Judith’s steadfastness brings her persistence . . . an ability to follow God without flagging.

These are the gifts of discipleship with which God graced Judith . . . and these are the same gifts of discipleship that God gives to each of us today.

As we near Pentecost, let us consider these gifts that God freely gives.  And let us celebrate our own deliverance.


Image from: https://www.wikiart.org/en/sandro-botticelli/judith-leaving-the-tent-of-holofernes-1500

For more reflections about this amazing woman, type the word Judith in the blog search bar and explore.

Adapted from a Noontime reflection written on April 10, 2007.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Gerbrand Van den EEckhout:Hannah presenting her son Samuel to the Priest Eli

Gerbrand Van den Eckhout: Hannah presenting her son Samuel to the Priest Eli

1 Samuel 1

Steadfastness in Hope: Miracles

As we continue to shelter in place in order to combat a pandemic, we remember the steadfastness of Hannah. 

Today we read the story of a woman who is well-loved . . . and well taunted, a woman who will not give up her hope for something new.  Previously in our Noontime journey we have examined the piety, constancy and fidelity of Hannah.  Today, as we continue to explore the quality of steadfastness, we look for surprises, joy and hope that mark Hannah’s journey, and we allow ourselves to be open to surprise, joy and hope even as we remain steadfast.  Several verses leap off the page to give us new meaning from familiar old words.

Verse 6:  Her rival, to upset her, turned it into a constant reproach to her that the Lord had left her barren.  Knowing that a woman’s worth in ancient times was measured by her virginity as a maiden and her fertility as a woman, Peninnah, the second wife of Elkanah, is perhaps jealous of the double portions of love Hannah receives despite her barrenness.  Perhaps Peninnah is younger and more beautiful . . . and thinks herself deserving of something better.  We know many people who are Peninnahs to us and to others.  During this Eastertide, let us pray that the joy of life in Christ softens their hearts of stone.

Verse 15: I am an unhappy woman . . . I was only pouring out my troubles to the Lord.  Hannah takes her burden to the proper place . . . to her creator who knows both her gifts and her plight better than any human.  We are all Hannah at one time or another in our homeward journey.  Sometimes we try to carry our burdens on our own; sometimes we share our woes with friends and counselors as we should.  We must also remember to take our problems daily to the one who has the best solutions. During this Eastertide, let us pray that our confidence in Christ softens our hearts of stone.

Verse 18:  She went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and no longer appeared downcast.  Hannah is first rebuked by the priest Eli who thinks that she is drunk as she prays.  Once he understands her misery, he blesses her and urges her to in peace, relying on the God of Israel to hear her request.  She exhibits immediate confidence and joy. We find consolation when we take our troubles to God.  May we encourage one another to bring their burdens to the Lord who heals and frees all from sadness.  During this Eastertide, let us pray that the hope of life in Christ opens our hearts of stone.

Verse 19: The Lord remembered her.  The Lord is mindful of his faithful handmaid for many years.  Hannah not only bears a son, Samuel, whom she dedicates to God; she also receives the gift of three more sons and two daughters.  This family is an ample witness to Hannah, to Peninnah, and to us that a steadfast, confident, joyful heart receives miracles beyond imagining.  During this Eastertide, let us pray that our life in Christ opens all hearts to the miracles God has in mind for us this day.

When we persist in our steadfastness we ultimately experience hope.  When we rest in our steadfastness we ultimately experience joy.  When we persevere in our steadfastness we ultimately experience surprise.  In this Eastertide, let us welcome God’s presence in our lives and remain steadfast.  Let us be open to the surprises, joy and miracles that await us.

Amen.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gerbrand_van_den_Eeckhout_-_Anna_toont_haar_zoon_Samu%C3%ABl_aan_de_priester_Eli.jpg

Adapted from the December 7, 2008 Noontime.

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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Where-the-willingness-is-great[1]Nehemiah 13

Willingness

I am always struck by the need to separate self from the alien or pagan world in these Old Testament scriptures when the message of unity and universality is taught by Jesus in the New Testament.  As a practicing Jew, Jesus would have known the warnings of Nehemiah quite well . . . yet he challenges us to cease our separatism in order to come to him with others, even those others we have previously avoided.  I believe that God, through Jesus, was calling humanity to something higher.  God is calling us to our divinity . . . through Christ.

I am also struck by the MAGNIFICAT Meditation.  Dom Guillerand, a French Carthusian monk who died in 1945, writes about the kind of willingness we must find within ourselves if we are to find intimate union with God.  He writes about training our willfulness so that the journey – with all its obstacles – becomes our desire; he explains that wishing for something is different from desiring it.  True desire is accompanied by willingness and perseverance.

What distinguishes wishing from real willing is this: the true will wants both the end and the means; mere wishing wants only the end.  Simple desire is conditional: “I would like to reach the end . . .”  “All right, go ahead!”  “But there is this difficulty and that”.  And so mere wishing remains simply an unfulfilled desire – an intention, and nothing more.  Further, it is not a question of just saying or thinking; the essential thing is to act.  Do thoroughly at every moment whatever it is you have to do.  Then you will be strong, although you may not know that you are.  By “thoroughly” I mean with the firm conviction that you will arrive, and the determination to overcome, sooner or later, every difficulty.

In our Eastertide journey we have discovered that although discipleship is arduous and difficult, it is also privilege.  We receive the gifts of meekness, constancy, broken-heartedness, honesty and truth.  Today we add the concept of willingness.  The willingness to live for and in and with Christ.  The willingness to become one with and in Christ.

Tomorrow, the difference between willfulness and willingness . . .


Written on July 21, 2009. Re-written and posted today.

Image from: http://www.quoteswave.com/picture-quotes/32526

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 21.7 (2009). Print.  

For another reflection on Willingness, enter the word into the blog search bar and explore. 

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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Salomon de Bray: Joseph Receives His Father and Brother in Egypt

Salomon de Bray: Joseph Receives His Father and Brother in Egypt

Genesis 45:1-15

A Prayer for Truth Revealed

It was not really you but God who had me come here.

People, places and situations do not govern us. We do not even govern ourselves. God sees, knows and does all.  God pulls goodness out of harm.  God converts evil into something that we can use.  God transforms all suffering and sadness.  If we trust in God above all else and at all times, this truth will eventually dawn on us.  And we will be grateful for this dawning.  We will be grateful for this plan that at first seemed all wrong but which later comes into full focus as being better than any we might have devised on our own.

As St. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians: In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Jesus Christ.

As we suffer, as we undergo, as we bear all things, endure all things, we do well to do them for Christ and in Christ . . . because Christ does them with us.

As we strive to be faithful disciples, as we struggle and persevere, follow and persist, we do well to abide with and in the Spirit . . . because the Spirit dwells in us.

As we seek God, as we knock at God’s door, as we petition, question and dialog, we do well to turn to God first in all matters . . . because God awaits our turning with eager and open arms.

Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers and it is not until years later that the truth is revealed.  Joseph waited, worked, prayed, remained, dwelt, and loved in God.  Truth revealed.  Character honed.  Spirit strengthened.  Pain transformed.  Love born.  This is the gift of integrity and honesty.  It is the gift of discipleship.  It is the gift of life itself.

And so we pray . . .

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit,

We thank you for having created us.

We thank you for having saved us.

We thank you for dwelling in us.

May we always reach for the hope you place in us.

May we always remain faithful to your promise which rests in us.

May we always abide with one another as we undergo suffering.

May we be good and faithful remnants for you in all of the places and situations we find ourselves which feel so foreign.

And may we, as Joseph did when he heard your voice, listen for you . . . and spread open arms to welcome those who have harmed us.

We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salomon_de_Bray_-_Joseph_Receives_His_Father_and_Brothers_in_Egypt_-_WGA3146.jpg

First written on November 15, 2007. Re-written and posted today.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Tissot: Joseph Sold into Slavery

James Tissot: Joseph Sold into Slavery

Genesis 45:1-15

The Truth Revealed

As a child I was always enthralled with the convolutions of the story of the tribes of Jacob – and I have always loved the figure of Joseph – the harbinger of the Joseph who serves God so loyally as Jesus’ earthly father.  The Joseph of Genesis was innocent, happy, and the apple of his father’s eye . . . and for this he suffered greatly.  He was nearly murdered, was sold into slavery, and escaped the vamping of a woman only to land in jail for his moral rectitude.  Even while imprisoned he remained faithful and he listened for Yahweh’s voice . . . heard it and obeyed.

We all know the denouement of how he came to be reconnected with the family he had lost – at the hands of his own brothers; and today we see his reaction when the truth is revealed.  He does not accuse, he does not punish . . . he cries for joy at seeing the people he thought he had lost.  And then look at verse 7.  Joseph has so tuned himself to understand God’s word to him, that he immediately understands the reason for his suffering.

God, therefore, sent me on ahead of you to ensure for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance.

This is what we are called to do for one another.  Those who have vision, rather than take advantage of the weak, are to go on ahead to prepare a place.  Those who have voice, rather than shout down an unpleasant story, are to proclaim it to all.  Those who have ears, rather than turn away from the truth, are to hear it and witness to it.  Those who experience God in a very real way, rather than hide God’s light under a bushel basket, must raise it on a lamp stand to shine throughout the world.

Today  we pause in our journey through Eastertide to reflect on our discipleship. We examine the hardships we suffer; and we give thanks for the gifts we receive in this special way in such a special time.  God asks much of us but he gives us much as well: meekness, broken-heartedness, constancy and honesty.  Let us consider how these gifts have changed us.  Let us consider how God has changed us.  And let us consider how we have used these gifts to change the world.

Tomorrow, a prayer for honesty and truth revealed . . .


Image from: https://www.jweekly.com/2019/12/19/caged-no-escape-in-judaism-there-is-always-hope/

First written on November 15, 2007.  Re-written and posted today.

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Saturday, May 2, 2020

honest11[1]Psalm 139: Honesty

Lord, you have probed me, you know me.  Why do we believe that we can hide from God?

You know when I sit and when I stand.  Why do we think that the acts we commit in secret, dark places are also hidden from God?

You understand my thoughts from afar.  You mingle with our thoughts even as we form them.

My travels and my work you mark.  You know where we are and where we go.

With all my ways you are familiarYou know our motives and our fears.

Even before a word is on my tongue you know it.  You know every word we are about to say even as we form our reasoning.

Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me.  You are with us always.

Such knowledge is beyond me, far too lofty for me to reach.  Your wisdom encompasses more than we will ever understand.

Where can I hide from your spirit?  From your presence where can I flee?  There is no point in our thinking that we can hide from you.

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.  You created every molecule of our being; you wove together our bodies and souls.

I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works!  We must remember to thank you each hour of each day.

How precious to me are your designs, O God.  We must remember that you are responsible for all of our successes.

Probe me, O God, know my heart.  So we place ourselves before you, Lord, and ask that you test our integrity.

Try me, know my concerns.  We place ourselves before you, O Christ, and ask that you test our honesty.

See if my way is crocked, then lead me in ancient paths.  We place ourselves before you, Blessed Spirit, and ask that you test our authenticity.

Lord, you have probed me, you know me. As we continue to move through this Eastertide, we place ourselves before you, Lord, and ask that you test our honesty. As we remember the sacrifice you made for us on Resurrection Sunday, we continue in our discipleship to you. As we remain in your Spirit through our trials and joys, we move through our struggles as we witness for you.

Amen.  

Tomorrow, finding self . . .


Image from: http://www.bagchurch.org/honesty-is-a-very-expensive-gift/ 

A re-post from May 2, 2013.

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Monday, April 27, 2020

faithful[1]1 Thessalonians 2: Constancy

During this Eastertide we have spent time reflecting on the hard work of discipleship and how we recognize it in ourselves and others.  We have focused on the qualities of meekness and broken-heartedness and how they bring us strength despite our fear that they might sap our enthusiasm and energy.  Today we begin to examine the quality of constancy, how we see it, where we find it, and why it is so important.

Constancy is more than fidelity; it is steadfastness under duress.  Constancy is more than accuracy and exactness; it is a steady, changeless immutability.  Constancy is not capricious, it is not fickle.  It is stable, consistent and predictable.

Today’s Noontime is a lesson on being constant in our mission here on earth no matter how pleasant or how dire the circumstances.  These verses describe God’s

We look at Paul’s words and phrases and we examine how constant we are in our relationship with God . . .

We drew courage through our God  . . .

Not as trying to please human beings, but rather God, who judges our hearts.

Nor did we seek praise from human beings . . .

We were able to impose our weight as apostles of Christ  . . .

We were gentle among you . . .

We are determined . . .

We proclaimed to you the Gospel of God . . .

You are witnesses and so is God . . .

We too give thanks to God unceasingly . . .

We were all the more eager . . .

For you are our glory and our joy.

In his letters to the people of Thessalonica, Paul addresses the problems that arise when diverse people come together in community, and although these words were written so long ago, we might still use them as a daily guide as we struggle to live a common life from uncommon directions.  How do we remain constant when all we know is taken from us?  How do we maintain steadfast under the duress of betrayal by one who avowed their love?  How do we move on steadily through tumultuous days and dark nights when we have lost our way and see no hope for recovery?

When we read Paul’s epistle to the people of Thessalonica, we discover new wisdom for old problems.  When we offer our suffering with others who have also struggled with loss and fear, we find new courage in old circumstances.  And when we raise our voices with Paul’s closing words in a chorus of gratitude we come upon new strength against old enemies.

So we intone Paul’s words and offer them to heaven in our evening prayer:

Brethren, pray for us.  Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.  I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  Amen.  (1 Thessalonians 5:25-28)


Image from: http://dailyexplorationgodis.blogspot.com/

First written on October 13, 2008.  Revised and posted today.

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