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Archive for the ‘Joy’ Category


John 12:44-50: Re-Creation – Christ

the_good_shepherd_by_zaghami-d6rzo8x

ZaGHaMi: The Good Shepherd

Second Sunday of Easter, April 23, 2017

When we see the Bible as an entire story of God’s people, we know that Jesus is not God’s Plan B. Jesus is Plan A. God does not see that humanity has gone awry and then decide to send in the saving force of Jesus. God’s direct interaction with creation has no beginning or end. It is eternal, just as God is eternal.

Jesus says: Whoever believes in me, believes not just in me but in the One who sent me. Whoever looks at me is looking, in fact, at the One who sent me. I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.

God always has faith that God will find every lost sheep.

If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world.

God has outrageous hope that every lost sheep will return to the fold.

But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection. The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, that Word and no other is the last word. I’m not making any of this up on my own.

God’s love knows no bounds. God has always loved us. God will always love us. God continues to love us each day.

The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. And I know exactly what his command produces: real and eternal life. That’s all I have to say. What the Father told me, I tell you.

As Richard Rohr, OFM, has said with a chuckle, “God is victorious. God doesn’t lose. That’s what it means to be God”.

Today as we settle into this second Sunday of Eastertide, let us hold these truths closely. Let us open our ears and open our eyes. And let us determine to be re-created in Christ so that we might live as Jesus lives . . . so that all may be one in this universal message of universal love.

Listen to a four-and-a-half minute chat with Fr. Richard Rohr on this topic at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owZRS5WVJuM

jesus-icon-1000

The photograph above was taken “along the dusty roads of rural Punjab, Pakistan”. The icon is a traditional early image of Jesus.

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Photo by Moyan Brenn

Photo by Moyan Brenn

Sunday

January 25, 2015

Psalm 37:4

Joy and Happiness

Today’s post is the last in a series in which we visited scripture looking for stories about joy. These tales may have surprised us in a number of ways. We may have found our personal invitation to a disciple’s intimacy with Christ. Perhaps we have been fed by the stories of God’s love and joy in our existence.  Or perhaps we have felt the Spirit’s joy that heals, calls and binds us together. In this concluding reflection, we gather our thoughts on joy from the last several months, and we contemplate how it is that despite travail and suffering, joy continues to sustain the human race.

Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the Lord; and God will give you the desires of your heart.

In recent years the topic of sustainable happiness has piqued the interest of many and two authors, Joe Loizzo and Sarah Van Gelder, have both written books on the subject. YES! Magazine publishes articles on the subject every few years and their website hosts pages “Peace and Justice,” “Planet,” “New Economy,” “People Power,” and “Happiness”. There is always interest in how to find and maintain a happy, balanced life style. Given current world events, we might imagine that more of us will be looking for the source and nourishment of happiness, and some of us might be surprised to find amazingly simple answers to what we believe are complex questions.

We have just completed a journey through scripture looking for the many times and places that joy has surprised the human race; and we have seen that while we assume that joy accompanies celebration, she is always found in times of great pain and great loss. Indeed, happiness is most intense in the deepest darkness; and her sister joy is most healing when our wounds are deepest. Spend time today exploring sustainable happiness. Listen to On Being podcasts of conversations with the Dalai Lama and others as they discuss the concept and experience of happiness. When we allow joy to settle into our hearts and take up residence in our very bones . . . we too, will know the real meaning of lasting and sustaining joy.

For more on sustainable joy, visit: http://sustainablehappinessbook.com/ and http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice

For thoughts from Sarah van Gelder, click on the image above or visit: http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/7-ways-to-get-happy-without-costing-the-planet

Visit the On Being site at: http://www.onbeing.org/program/pursuing-happiness-dalai-lama/147

joyIf 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. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

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

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3.3-1_Goodall_The_BrideSaturday

January 24, 2015

Joy and Union

John

We are invited into a disciple’s intimacy with Christ. Jesus offers friendship that is personal, immediate and joyful. Today we remember that Christ is the groom and that we are his bride. And we consider how God’s incredible love calls and binds us together.

John the Baptizer recognizes that his joy increases when he finds union with others in and through Christ.

1-3-rebecca_at_wellThe Bride and Groom John 3:25-30: There arose a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.” John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.

Jesus tells us that the union we seek with him – the union we already have if we might recognize it – is the sole source of lasting and satisfying joy.

grapes71The Vine and the Branches – John 15:11: These things I have spoken to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Jesus reminds us that his joy is complete in us and that as we turn over the cares of the world to him our joy will increase. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches; he sustains and we celebrate and bear fruit. Our pruning strengthens us and brings us closer to God. Our fidelity and persistence bring us the reward of God’s genuine and enduring joy.

This is the Good News John brings us. Today we might consider how we will share this joy with others.

Click on the image of the bride above to learn more about women in ancient times, or visit: http://www.womeninthebible.net/3.2.Major_Events.htm

joyIf 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. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

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

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mini-nativity-kate-cosgroveFriday

January 23, 2015

Joy and Resurrection

Luke

We are invited into a disciple’s intimacy with Christ. Jesus offers friendship that is personal, immediate and joyful. Today we consider how God’s amazing generosity continues to sustain us.

Luke’s Gospel has many calls to joy and the first arise from Jesus’ arrival among us.

The Christmas Invitation Luke 2:10: But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people”.

God’s messenger reminds us that we need not be afraid for we are always accompanied by joy . . . even when we might not perceive it.

Reward  Luke 6:22-23: Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.

joyIn his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that we will find joy in the darkest of places . . . even when we do not welcome the darkness.

Repentance  Luke 15:3-7: So Jesus told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

In his Parable of the Lost Sheep, Jesus reminds us that great joy can arrive after great error . . . even if we believe this is not so.

tomb-2Resurrection – Luke 24:41-42: While his disciples still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, Jesus said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of a broiled fish; and he took it and ate it before them.

When he returns after death, Jesus continues to feed his people . . . even when we do not recognize him.

Luke reminds us that Jesus comes not only to heal and sustain us in this world but forever. This is good news indeed, and today we consider how we might share and celebrate this news with great joy.

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. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

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

 

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Gerard van Honthorst: The Nativity

Gerard van Honthorst: The Nativity

Thursday

January 22, 2015

Joy and Witness

Matthew

Yesterday we reflected on words from the Apostles whose relationship with Christ was personal, immediate and joyful. Today we consider how we might join these disciples to witness to God’s incomparable goodness.

Matthew tells us that Jesus is Emmanuel, God among us. He announces the coming of great joy.

The Christmas MiracleMatthew 2:10: When the magi saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

Matthew records Jesus’ description of heaven as a hidden reassure. He announces the unfolding of deep joy.

joyHidden TreasureMatthew 13:44: The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Matthew records Jesus’ parable of stewardship. He announces the unfolding of the kingdom’s joy.

The Parable of the TalentsMatthew 25:19-21: Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, “Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents”. His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master”.

Matthew reminds us of the resurrection miracle. He announces the promise of our own profound joy.

emptytombgraveclothesAt the Tomb – Matthew 28:8: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to Jesus’ disciples.

We are called to witness to God’s promises, to Jesus’ intercession, and to the Spirit’s healing. What will we do today to pass along the Good News and joy in Matthew’s story?

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. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

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

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??????Wednesday

January 21, 2015

Joy and Testimony

From the first verses of Genesis to the last words of Revelation, we have explored the many ways our God delights in surprising us with joy; and we have seen that God is always with us healing, rescuing, restoring and transforming. Through narratives, chronicles, prophecies, poems, songs and psalms, God finds a way to bring joy into the darkest moments of our lives. We have visited a list of calamities, catastrophes, outrages and scourges to find that even in the face of so much evil there is the promise of joy in living in Christ. No matter the turmoil, deceit, conspiracy, suspicion, tears or desperation, the Spirit is present to sustain us. Through misery and intrigue, arrogance and folly we have found a reason to celebrate. Today, the apostles who know Jesus most intimately describe their incomparable joy in knowing the risen Christ and they share this joy with us. How might we share our own stories of God’s surprising joy with those who look for peace?

2 John 1:12: Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.

1 Peter 1:8: Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.

Galatians 5:22: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

James 1:2: Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.

Jude 1: 24-25: Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

joyIf 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. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

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

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ironworker4Tuesday

January 20, 2015

Joy and Malachi

Corruption

The prophets warn, threaten, exhort, and promise us that God is always present, even though we may not recognize this presence. The Old Testament prophecies foreshadow the good news of the New Testament, and they remind us that no matter our 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. Today Malachi uses the imagery of the smith who patiently and slowly smelts ore to let the dross run off. In this way we encounter joy even in the midst of deep and intense corruption.

“This work was composed by an anonymous writer shortly before Nehemiah’s arrival in Jerusalem (455 B.C.). Because of the sharp reproaches he was leveling at the priests and rulers of the people, the author probably wished to conceal his identity . . . It is likely that the author’s trenchant criticism of abuses and religious indifference in the community prepared the way for those necessary reforms”. (Senior 1170)

Malachi 3:1: “Listen: I will send my messenger before me to prepare the way. And then the One you are looking for will come suddenly to his Temple—the Messenger of God’s promises, to bring you great joy. Yes, he is surely coming,” says the Lord Almighty.

We have just closed Christmastide when we have welcomed Emmanuel, The Lord among us. In the midst of poor leadership and corruption, and despite our own indifference, God still loves and rescues us.

Malachi 3:7: Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.

We enter Ordinary Time and wait for the Easter promise to spring upon us once more. In the midst of reproaches and despite our vanity, God still heals and transforms us.

Malachi 4:1: For lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them afire, leaving them neither root or branch, says the Lord of hosts. But for you who love my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.

joyThe choice lies before us: To burn with fire in our passion for The Word . . . or to dissolve into ash in the fire of our own self-importance. God is the patient silversmith who devotedly sits at the furnace smelting the ore of our life’s offerings. God keeps a watchful eye on the fire of love that refines our work, assuring run off of dross and the pureness of the ore. And it is through this fire of God’s love that we are either consumed or brought to new life. It is from the pungent ash of our past corruption that God’s joy springs forth to surprise us again.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 1170. Print.

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. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

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

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Joy and Haggai – Degradation


MinorProphets_HaggaiMonday

January 19, 2015

Joy and Haggai

Defeat

The prophets warn, threaten, exhort, and promise us that God is always present, even though we may not recognize this presence. The Old Testament prophecies foreshadow the good news of the New Testament, and they remind us that no matter our 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.  Today Haggai urges us to remember that despite our weariness and our sense of loss we can be joyful . . . for God is always with us.

“The Jews who returned from the exile in Babylonia had encountered formidable obstacles in their efforts to re-establish Jewish life in Judah. The Samaritans had succeeded in blocking the rebuilding of the temple; but after Darius acceded to the throne (522), permission was given to resume the work. At this critical moment, when defeatism and certain lethargy had overtaken his repatriated countrymen, Haggai came forward with his exhortations to them to complete the great task”. (Senior 1157)

Who among us cannot see our world today reflected in Haggai’s first oracle: Now thus says he Lord of hosts: Consider your ways! You have sown much, but have brought in little; you have eaten, but have not been satisfied; you have drunk, but have not been exhilarated; have clothed ourselves, but have not been warm; and he who earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it. (1:5-7)

Who among us does not remember a time of former glory as described by the prophet Haggai: Who is left among you that saw this house in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem like nothing to your eyes? (2:3)

Who among us does not know that God is with us always . . . and especially when we feel defeated: For I am with you, says the Lord of hosts. This is the pact that I made with you  . . . and my spirit continues in your midst; do not fear! (2:4-5)

And who among us cannot say that the faithful are the well-loved children of God . . . even when we are overcome with lethargy: I will set you as a signet ring, for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts. (2:23)

joyThe joy we find in the words of the prophet Haggai comes from the quiet knowing that God is with us, no matter our circumstances and no matter our merit. When we consider the return from exile of the remnant faithful we will understand that even in defeat, when we live in God we are in victory. This is, indeed, something we will want to celebrate.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 1157. Print.

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. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

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

 

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UNESCO: World Press Freedom Index 2104

UNESCO: World Press Freedom Index 2104

Sunday

January 18, 2015

Joy and Zephaniah

Degradation

The prophets warn, threaten, exhort, and promise us that God is always present, even though we may not recognize this presence. The Old Testament prophecies foreshadow the good news of the New Testament, and they remind us that no matter our 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.  Today Zephaniah describes how we might respond in joy even when we suffer the curse of degradation.

“The age of Zephaniah was a time of religious degradation, when the old idolatries reappeared and men worshiped sun, moon, and stars”. This prophet calls us to oppose the worship of false gods and the adulation of false priests and ministers. It is a message we cannot hear too often. (Senior 1153)

Fanaticism will always flourish whether it comes from the both ends of a political, civil, social or religious spectrum. Ancient and contemporary philosophers promote moderation and balance. Scholars assess the values presented by sophist, pluralistic and diverse viewpoints. Arguments divide families and workplaces. Corruption finds a home in an environment of fear and settle into our bones as a response to our anxieties. Extremism and division will always plague us. What then, is to be done?

Zephaniah 3:17-18: For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you.” Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord himself exulting over you in happy song. “I have gathered your wounded and taken away your reproach.

God says: So what is the great gladness that lives among you and does not accuse you? It is My Word. What is the joyous choir we hear? It is the billions of voices in my creation coming together: the songs of my trees and winds and seas, the voices of my birds, and reptiles and mammals, the songs of my faithful people. All of this beautiful, universal sound is in and with and through me. Come to me. Despite the degradation that threatens to pull you into darkness, listen for the songs of joy that the faithful are singing. And join your voice with theirs.

A week ago today more than three million people in the country of France came together to sing in the universal song of solidarity. Spend some time investigating the myriad issues that surfaced in Europe and around the world last week. Click on the image above and visit the UNESCO Free Press post. Reflect on the importance of open, free and authentic journalism, and decide how our many voices might come together in a song of joy to God.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 1153. Print.

joyIf 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. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

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

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