Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Favorite’ Category


Matthew 2:1-12Leaving by Another Road

Friday, July 20, 2018

Written on June 7 and posted as a favorite today . . .

I love this portion of the Christmas story.  The wise men are so wise that they are able to read Herod’s secret intent.  Nothing can be hidden from the wise because they are so connected to the creator that they appear to have special insight.  What they really have is patience, serenity, and a finely tuned ear for God’s word.  And so the magi left for their own country by another road.

I am thinking about the number of times I have averted disaster because that calm, strong voice within indicated that I was to stay put.  We notice that an attitude of patience and a willingness to obey always accompany the wise.  They do not appear to be brash or excitable.  They do not speak harshly, nor are they silenced.  Like the Persistent Widow, they know when to persevere in speaking God’s word.  And like the Three Magi, they know when to stand down and melt away into God’s protecting presence.

The wise know when to stand and witness . . . and when to leave quietly by another road.


Read the parable of The Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8.

We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on July 29, 2011.

Image from: http://lifeasilookatit.blogspot.com/2011/03/road-not-taken.html 

Read Full Post »


2 Kings 6Trusting the Lord

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A favorite written on January 25 and posted today . . .

Why should I trust in the Lord any longer?

There are so many times we hear these words from the lips of one who is deep in grief.  There are many times when we think or say these words ourselves.  The answer to the ageless questions is simple:  God does not create calamity and chaos; rather, God calls us to peace and unity.  It is up to us to respond, and to take all our problems to God, both the small and the large.

The scene depicted here today is both beautiful and dreadful; a miracle is juxtaposed with severe famine.  Elisha finds himself in danger because he accurately predicted all that takes place.  The irony and inversion we see here echo in our own lives: good things happen in the midst of great suffering, faithful servants are vindicated after intense persecution, hope outlives desperation.  Today’s accounting might be an older version of our own lives.

Why should we trust the Lord any longer?

We have reaped mercy when we thought there was no compassion.

We have known peace at a time when we thought there was only turmoil.

We experience joy just when we believe all is lost.

Why should we trust the Lord any longer?

There is no God who saves as the Living God saves.

There is no God who redeems as Christ Jesus redeems.

There is no God who loves as the Spirit loves.

And so we pray . . .

Ever present and all-knowing God, you wait patiently and allow us to wander from you, yet you always call us home.  You forgive our anger and calm our fear.  You remind us that you are with us always, even in the midst of horror.  You allow us and even encourage us to grow in you.  Why do we trust you, Lord?  Because there is no place else to go where we are so well protected, so well refreshed, or so well loved.  We thank you, God, for abiding with us always.  We thank you, God, for bring us your peace.  Amen. 


We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on July 28, 2011.

Image from: http://perkettprsuasion.com/2011/04/07/define-trust-not-so-easy-is-it/ 

Read Full Post »


Isaiah 9:1-6: People of Light

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Jesus tells us, I am the light. (John 8:12)

John tells us, In [Christ] was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)

Jesus tells us, You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.  (Matthew 5:14-15)

How do we bring light to a world that seems determined to live in darkness? We remember this Favorite written on October 19, 2007.

Isaiah tells us, The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light!

We sing these words in the advent season when Christmas nears.  Handel set them to music and surrounded them with soaring strands of notes to lift us up.

You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing . . .

We believe that Christ’s presence among us is a joy.  We believe that he has come to release us from bondage, to set us free from our exile of anxieties, addictions, and damaging behavior.

For a child is born to us, a son is given us . . .

We know these words in the marrow of our bones.  Jesus resides in each of us.  We are his adopted brothers and sisters.  He has come to redeem, to restore, to heal, to transform.

They call him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.

We hear these words and somehow know them to be true, know them to be meant as a consolation, yet we fear that the reality we live in is more true than the one these words describe.

His dominion is vast and forever peaceful . . . both now and forever . . . 

Good and gracious God, you know that we walk in darkness and so you reach out your hands to us.  You know that we see the light but are often afraid of its fierce honesty.  Help us to meet the intensity of this light with our own courageous response to your Call.  Abide with us now and forever.  May your zeal and passion for us bring us fully into your light and bring us fully to life.  Bring us to your celebration. Amen.

Today as we pray Psalm 18, we repeat verse 29 as an antiphon: For you, Lord, give light to my lamp; my God brightens my darkness. 

Tomorrow, we are leaven for the world. 


Image from: https://www.democraciaejustica.org/galery/a-candle-loses-nothing-by-lighting-another-candle.html

Read Full Post »


John 15:15: Fools and Friends

Friday, June 15, 2018

Jesus reminds us that he calls us his friends. To think we are otherwise is foolish.

I do not call you servants any longer, because servants do not know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father.

As we consider what it means to be a friend of Christ, we remember this Favorite written on November 1, 2009. Sirach 22

There are many verses in this chapter that to make us smile and at times laugh aloud. Jesus ben Sirach knows human nature well; and he understands the importance of true friendship in which even the action of drawing a sword against a friend can be undone.  Yet, in these verses there are gentle warnings: the rest of us stand aloof from those who harm friends, treachery can drive away any friend, prosperity can get in the way of friendship, insults cause great harm in close relationships.

Equally significant are the verses pertaining to fools and those addicted to laziness.  Who among us has not been a fool at one time or another, and who among us has not been damaged by a fool?  Sirach advises well when he writes: teaching a fool is like gluing a broken pot, or disturbing a man in his sleep . . . speak seldom with the stupid man, be not the companion of a brute . . . neither can a timid resolve based on foolish plans withstand fear of any kind.

We find many examples of foolishness, laziness, brutishness; and we see the value of tending to friendships.  In his letters to the Corinthians, Paul plays with the ideas of foolishness and weakness in humans and in God.  We become weak and foolish as humans in order to become strong and wise with and in Christ.   We give over our worldly wisdom and strength in order that we might submit ourselves freely to God’s will and power.  This is the secret of inversion in Christianity; and it is a truth we sometimes find difficult.  In 1 Corinthians 3:18-23 we read:  Do not deceive yourselves.  If anyone of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a fool so that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.  As it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness” and again, “the Lord knows that their thoughts are futile”.  So then, no more boasting about men . . . all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God. 

Today we have something to ponder as we wind down into the evening, into prayer and into sleep.  What or who do we see as foolish?  What or who do we see as wise?  What or who do we see as strong?  What or who do we see as weak?  Do sincere friends abound?  Who and what do we suffer and why?

Sirach presents a stark contrast in this chapter as do our own lives.  Everywhere we look we see the lights and darks that present an ever-shifting world; but the one true place we will always find a steady foundation is the masonry bonded with wooden beams . . . not loosened by an earthquake . . .This foundation is Christ.

A resolve that is backed with prudent understanding is like the polished surface of a smooth wall.  This resolve is funded by Christ.

Small stones lying on an open height will not remain when the wind blows . . . so this is why we must stand on the rock of Christ.  All else is weak.

Neither can a resolve based on foolish plans withstand fear of any kind . . . and this is why we must place our friendship in Christ.  All else is foolish.

We consider our friendship with Christ as we pray Psalm 122, and repeat the antiphon, For the sake of my family and friends, I say it again: live in peace.

Tomorrow, becoming salt. 


For more reflections on friendship, enter the word friend into the blog search bar and explore.

For more on the friendship pyramid and the stages of friendship, click on the image from: https://humans.media/stages-of-friendship

Read Full Post »


John 1:12-13: A Child of God

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

God tells the faithful, “I am who I am”. Jesus says to us: “I am the Good Shepherd, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Door, the Resurrection, the Life, the Way, and Truth. I am the great Vine to your Branches”. Today we begin a series of posts on who we are to God. We open with an adapted reprise of a Favorite posted on August 3, 2012.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. 

For a long time I have reflected on the idea of how God determines who receives the gift of faith and who does not.  I have had conversations with God in which I ask why it is that some of us are so stiff-necked and others of us have the gift of patience.  I trust God’s plan, I believe that we are created to be God’s children, and here in the Gospel of John, in one simple sentence, we are enlightened.  I will have to refer to this citation when the questions rise again to pull me from the core of my belief.

Believing in Jesus as the Word, as Resurrected, as brother – this is what makes us children of God.  Through him, with him, in him, in unity with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is infinite pre-existence.  Jesus is all of creations’ eternal future. Jesus is the Incarnation – the word and thought and touch of God amidst us.  Jesus is an offering, a gift freely given by a loving and passionate God . . . a God who loves us so deeply and so endlessly . . . that God brings God’s self to us without our even asking.

When we act in child-like trust rather than childish petulance, we experience the faith of one who is sister and brother to Christ. When we act in outrageous hope that the Father loves each of us more than we can imagine, we experience the bond we have with Jesus. When we act in compassion and mercy toward those we love and those who do us harm, we experience the Holy Spirit’s healing, truth, and transformation.

We are all the Children of God.

What a wondrous God is this.

The Life-Light was the real thing:
    Every person entering Life
    he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
    the world was there through him,
    and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
    but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
    who believed he was who he claimed
    and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
    their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
    not blood-begotten,
    not flesh-begotten,
    not sex-begotten. (THE MESSAGE)

Relying on God as a trusting child does, we pray Psalm 25 as we close our day. When we repeat the antiphon, Teach me your ways, O Lordwe place ourselves in God’s enormous, loving, life-giving hands. 

Tomorrow, we are branches.


When we compare other translations of these verses, we find that we have gathered at the Father’s knee, we are cradled in the Mother’s arms, we are EACH and ALL blessed by the Holy Spirit as precious and valued children of God.

Enter the words Children of God in to the blog search bar and explore more posts. 

Images from: http://wouldyouliketosingasong.blogspot.com/2013/01/practicing-i-am-child-of-god.html and https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/500000-afghan-children-affected-by-drought-unicef/articleshow/63893237.cms 

Read Full Post »


Romans 10: Disobedient and Contentious People

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

With this Favorite from November 17, 2010, we take a final look at Jesus as the Life we wish to live.

Paul explains here that faith has a way of saving us in a way that the Mosaic Law does not . . . and never will.  It is impossible to reach heaven or to be one with God if we live a life full of checklists that attend to the duties prescribed by a structure.  It is equally impossible to not be saved if we live our lives in Christ . . . if we live a life of acting according the Law of Love . . . even when this Law puts us in danger.

Footnotes explain the references to Old Testament verses, and they also remind us that to speak as Paul does here – or to tell and enact the Gospel story as Paul reminds us we are asked to do – often put us in danger.

In the first century, and in certain parts of the world today, being Christian brings exclusion from the wider society and even the death penalty.  We will need to rely on Christ once we respond to the call to tell the story of salvation.

Among many cliques and groups both now and in Paul’s day, living a life of faith brings scorn and derision.  We will need to rely on Christ once we commit to living a life of fidelity to Jesus’ Way.

In families, work places, schools, and any places where we humans gather, living a life of merciful justice and open trust brings ridicule and disdain.  We will need to rely on Christ once we live as fully in him as he asks.

Paul warns us about all of this today.  The easy, comfortable life spent in and for itself must fall away.  The disciplined life of service that we are called to live is not appealing to rebellious and difficult people. And so we have this clear choice before us: to opt for contention and disobedience, or to choose freedom and salvation in Christ.


Image from: http://lwccyork.com/blog/series/this-is-the-way-of-jesus/ 

Read Full Post »


Sirach 40: Joys and Miseries of Life

Monday, June 4, 2018

This reflection is adapted from one written August 8, 2007, and it reminds us that we benefit from exploring the human life of Jesus as we navigate the highs and lows of life.

The book of Sirach contains wonderfully easy-to-understand capsules of true wisdom intermixed with Old Testament ideas that Jesus the Messiah asks us to put aside.  Jesus Ben Sirach must have lived a full life in order to write all that he set down for us; and this chapter is no exception.  We examine verses 17 through 27 where he directly compares ways to measure our true success. Gold and silver make one’s way secure but better than either, sound judgment . . . The flute and the harp make sweet music, but better than either a voice that is true.

This chapter is sandwiched between two images of heaven, just as life is sandwiched between the two great transitions in life – our birth and our death. It follows one that describes the heaven we imagine and is followed by one that contemplates death.  This structure reminds us that all of us suffer, and all of us gain. All of us wonder about our origin and end. All of us wonder how we will survive all that destroys us, and how we will celebrate the joys that raise us up. But through all of this, Sirach reminds us that for those who worship false gods, the suffering will be worse while our gain will be as nothing.

All that comes from bribes or injustice will be wiped out,
    but loyalty remains forever.

Like Jesus, Sirach reminds us that all we accumulate vanishes while all we enact may live forever.

Wealth from injustice is like a flooding wadi,
    like a mighty stream with lightning and thunder,
Which, in its rising, rolls along the stones,
    but suddenly, once and for all, comes to an end.

Like Jesus, Sirach reminds us that all we do in anger destroys us while all we do in love is eternal.

The offshoot of violence will not flourish,
    for the root of the godless is on sheer rock.

Like Jesus, Sirach reminds us that all we hope in Christ comes to fruition and all we enact in love will endure.

But goodness, like eternity, will never be cut off,
    and righteousness endures forever.

Like Jesus, Sirach reminds us that all we live in Christ abides with us in our sorrow, and celebrates with us in our joy.

Explore the highs and lows in Jesus’ life by clicking on the category Life of Jesus in Art on this blog.


To learn more about how to find balance in life, click on the dancing flower girl image in this post or visit: https://findyourmiddleground.com/2014/01/08/the-highs-and-lows-of-life/ 

 

Read Full Post »


Colossians 3: The Ideal Christian Life

Sunday, June 3, 2018

This Favorite reminds us that because Jesus is The Life, Christ guides us to live in him

This is an interesting citation which follows upon yesterday’s recounting of the old covenant with Yahweh where we heard a description of what it meant to be a Jew.  Today’s Noontime is about the New Covenant: What does it mean to be Christian?

Of course, we must remind ourselves that St. Paul writes from an ancient perspective regarding women and slaves, but the essence of the message of this letter is valid.  To be Christian, one must not only turn away from vice, but turn to the qualities Christ exemplified.  Verse 8: We are to stay away from anger, fury, malice, slander and obscene language. Verse 12: We are to turn to compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another.  Do we need more guidelines?  Turn to verses 15 and 16: Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another . . . with gratitude in your hearts to God. 

The Old Covenant, as Jeremiah predicted in 31:31, has been re-written and this time it is in our hearts rather than on stone.  The New Covenant is universal, open to all, not just a select group.  And to be in community we are to be with one another in Christ.  We are to be thankful and demonstrate the qualities listed in verse 12.  We are to caution one another in peace and prudence.  We are to be loving, just and wise.  God no longer dwells in the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem temple; rather he now lives in each of us in as much as we are Christ to one another.

In the opening chapter of this letter, Paul tells us that the invisible God is made visible in Christ.  And this Christ is in us, and we in him, just as the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father.  What a wonderful gift we have been given . . . to share in the reward Christ has gained for us.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we thank you for your gifts of life and light which you give to all of us.  Help us to be more inclusive and less exclusive.  Teach us to me more loving and less judging.  Guide us in your wisdom and grace, and grant us your peace.  Amen.

A Favorite from August 26, 2007. 

Tomorrow, remaining in Christ as we live through the joys and miseries of life. 


Image from: http://thomastaylorministries.org/blog/bible-covenants/

Read Full Post »


Deuteronomy 5-8: The Covenant – Part II

Saturday, June 2, 2018

We explore a few Favorites as we consider that Christ is The Life we hope to live. 

Exploring these chapters of Deuteronomy, we return to the Readers’ Guide, page RG 112: “One of the themes that sets Deuteronomy apart from earlier thinking in Israel is that God’s promises either to Moses or to David are not simply guarantees that God will stand by this people with protection and help, no matter what they do.  Earlier theologies of God as divine warrior that always fights for his people is now transformed into a new view of God who will uphold the covenant and all of its terms, including blessings and curses, according to how Israel keeps its part of the treaty.  The stress falls on both faithful worship and social justice as ideals for Israel.  Repentance and change of heart are often required if Israel is to return to covenant loyalty”. And so we see that God’s love is merciful and ever present, yet requires us to forgive because God will forgive all who repent.  God, being God, must forgive us because God is good.  God longs and aches for us to answer the call to love, just as the prophet Hosea longs for his harlot wife Gomer. God is always waiting with outstretched arms, asking us to own our faults and ask forgiveness. Perhaps the difficulty of this kind of living is reinforced by Jesus when he says that he has come to “set the world afire”.  (Luke 12:49)

The writer of Deuteronomy tells us in Chapter 8: “Be careful to observe all the commandments I enjoin on you today, that you may live and increase, and may enter in and possess the land which the Lord promised on oath to your fathers”.  In this way, we know that our promised land awaits us. All our impossible dreams wait to be fulfilled In accord with our covenant, we only must turn, repent, repair and ask forgiveness.  Then will God’s all encompassing, ever-abiding, deeply trusting love restore us to our best potential.

God in heaven, God of all, we know that you are constant, just and compassionate.  Be patient with us as we search here in the desert for the narrow path that leads to you.  Save us daily through Jesus Christ.  Send your Holy Spirit to abide in our small little temples that we maintain in constant waiting for you.  Stay with us, comfort us, restore us.  Amen.

From a reflection written on August 25, 2007.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. RG 112. Print.   

Tomorrow, our life in the New Covenant. 


Image from: https://christianitymalaysia.com/wp/easter-covenant/

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: