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Archive for the ‘Lent’ Category


Luke 6:24-26: Trouble Aheadrough-road-ahead

Fifth Sunday of Lent, April 3, 2022

From Luke’s account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain . . .

But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way. (New American Standard Bible)

Jesus is quite clear. The content and happy must tend to the poor and broken-hearted. Those who rejoice must shepherd those who mourn. Humility is far more valuable than pride.

But woe to you that are rich: for you have your consolation. Woe to you that are filled: for you shall hunger. Woe to you that now laugh: for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets. (Douay Rheims 1899 American)

Jesus makes no mistake. The full and sated must share food and drink. Those who rejoice must accompany those who mourn. Self-knowledge is far more important than denial.

Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets. But it’s trouble ahead if you think you have it made. What you have is all you’ll ever get. And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself. Your self will not satisfy you for long. And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games. There’s suffering to be met, and you’re going to meet it. There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular. (The Message)

jesus-on-the-crossJesus calls to each of us, warning of trouble ahead. Trouble that lies not in deprivation and disaster . . . but in our hubris, our narcissism and our corruption. When we spend time reading and comparing various versions of these verses, we receive the gifts of clarity, truth and grace. Reflect on these words, or use the scripture link to choose other versions. On this day when all seems bleak and dark, and the cross dominates our thinking, let us remember that after the cross, resurrection is not far behind. There may be trouble ahead, but we need not fear. Christ is among us . . . now. Christ is in us now . . . and forever.


 Images from: https://nzesylva.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/may-your-road-be-rough-2/, and https://byhisgrace211.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/the-importance-of-jesuss-death-on-the-cross/

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Matthew 5:12 and Luke 6:23: Heavendressmakerkhair-hc-c_custom-04a264c841961e0a604539154daf878633162c96-s200-c85

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

God says: You have heard it said that your reward is great in heaven, and today I have more good news for you . . . Heaven is now. First, you must open your heart and mind to me alone. Then consider these questions. Can you see each sorrowful experience as an invitation to allow my faith to abide in you? Can you allow each betrayal to become an opportunity for alliance with my son? Can you open your heart and mind to my healing, serene Spirit? If so, your reward is now. Heaven is now. Ultimately, my plan encompasses all sorrow and converts it to joy. All suffering becomes celebration when you live in my love. Do not be afraid; I am with you. Do not shrink; I am your guide. Take heart; I am your strength. Take heart; I am your fire of love.

Today we remember and re-live the last meal Jesus shared with his followers. In his discourse after this meal, he reminded the apostles that although they might not understand his need to be away from them a little while, they need not fear. As we celebrate this Last Supper moment in our own lives, let us heed these words. Let us allow the fire of God’s love to transform all that troubles us. And let us remind ourselves and others that Heaven is with us even now.

Tomorrow, Luke’s woes.


kamila sidiqi npr

Kamila Sidiqi in the foreground

Read about Kamila Sidiqi, the dressmaker of Kabul, or listen to the NPR podcast by clicking the images in this post. What heaven on earth has she encountered and share with others?

Sidiqi image from: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/15/134533995/in-kabul-a-dressmaker-sows-entrepreneurial-seeds

Book NPR image from: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/15/134533995/in-kabul-a-dressmaker-sows-entrepreneurial-seeds 

 

 

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Matthew 5:6 and Luke 6:21: Hunger and Thirstfood for the poor

Friday, April 1, 2022

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

ACCESS TO WATER AND SANITATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIESGod says: Food and water are essential to sustain human life. It is for this reason that I sent manna to the desert and poured forth water from a rock in the dry and difficult journey my children made to the Promised Land. It is for this reason that I open human minds to possibility through scientific discoveries. It is for this reason that I call those of you who have plenty to be good stewards of my gifts and to share them. When have you seen me naked and alone, hungry and thirsty? When you have seen the least of my children you have seen me. When you satisfy these need, you discover my righteousness. When you share what you have . . . you receive far more that you give.

protectcleanwater_concernedcitizenforslideshowAs we continue our Beatitudes thanksgiving, we might consider giving alms to an organization whose mission is to secure clean water for God’s miraculous creation. We might sponsor a child or her family in a third-world culture to assure she has enough to eat. We might also join our voices in solidarity with others to raise public awareness of food and water shortages on our planet. We might sign a petition, write to a legislative representative, or begin a blog. We might pray for both those who live on the margins of human society and those who marginalize the powerless. In any case, we will want to do as the Gospel encourages us to do, stand as one with those who hunger and thirst.

Tomorrow, rejoice and be glad!


11-March-2015-FAOClick on the images for local and global information and opportunities. For news about the United Nations Zero Hunger Challengeclick the image to the left or visit: http://www.un.org/en/zerohunger/#&panel1-1

Other images form: http://www.foodforthepoor.org/, http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/water/, and http://www.cleanwateraction.org/

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Matthew 5:4 and Luke 6:21: Mourningmourning angel

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

God says: When you sink into deepest grief, remember me – for I am with you. When you believe you will never smile again, remain in me – for I live in you. When the darkness is so dense that the light of hope struggles to pierce it, call on me – for I am that light that no darkness can hold back. The prophets foretold and my son retells you that your mourning will become dancing. The psalmist reminds you that those who go out weeping as they carry seed to sow will also return with triumphant sheaves of joy.

As part of our Beatitudes thanksgiving, let us consider how we might bring the gift of presence to someone who mourns the loss of a person, employment, or a lifestyle.

nilmdts_logo1Find out more about the NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep) organization, a group of photographers whose mission is to introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture. Visit: https://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/

Tomorrow, hunger and thirst.


Image from: http://galleryhip.com/mourning.html

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Matthew 5:3 and Luke 6:20: The Poor in Body and Spirit02-sermon-on-the-mount-1800

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

We have reflected on some of the many names of Jesus; we have considered how we name ourselves as his followers and how we find Christ within. Through this Holy Week we will examine the inverted nature of the Kingdom that Jesus calls each of us to join.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

God says: When you are at your lowest ebb, consider that you have your greatest strength – in me. Consider that when you have nothing, you have all – in me. Also consider this . . . when you have an abundance of joy and a surfeit of goods, you do well to consider sharing them intentionally, thoughtfully and prudently with those who do not. Such is the nature of my kingdom.

Explore the preferential option for the poor as declared by Pope Francis at: http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/pope-francis

Tomorrow, Mourning.


To see a Beatitudes video, click on the image above or visit: https://www.lds.org/bible-videos/videos/sermon-on-the-mount-the-beatitudes?lang=eng 

Károly Ferenczy: The Sermon on the Mount

Then, explore options for improving the life of someone who is financially or spiritually poor, and offer God’s abundance as a healing, hope-filled action. 

Firenczy image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Sermon_on_the_Mount_K%C3%A1roly_Ferenczy.jpg

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Colossians 1: 24-29Christ in UsChrist-in-you

March 29, 2022

That we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

This is St Paul’s goal. And as modern apostles, it can be ours. We work on our own conversion, we rebuke sinners, we pray for our enemies, we hope for the impossible, and we abide in the faith that all will be well.

The letter to the people of Colossae was written before Paul had visited the town east of Ephesus. A small Jesus community had begun there but they had no clear disciple to follow. A man named Epaphras asked Paul’s help in instructing the people about the Christ . . . and so we have these words today.

Paul writes that suffering and persevering through the antics of pagans and heretics is precisely the work of a disciple of Christ. This letter is a mini-lecture on who the Christ is, the nature of our work done in his name, various warnings against false teachers, and what our mystical end ought to be. It is a snapshot of who and what we are, and who and what we hope to be. The letter is a perfect message for us when we find ourselves surrounded by ineptitude, corruption, deceit, envy, pride and vice.

When we reflect on some of the conversations we have had during these weeks of lent, we might use these verses.

When we think about our Noontime reflections this week, we might use these words.

When we consider the gift of a Lenten journey and our Easter Resurrection, we might enact this message.

When we put ourselves in the first century in the place of those in Colossae, we might better understand that the perfection to which we are called is not a lock of error, but rather a perfection in perseverance. For it is in this way that we best find Christ in us.

Tomorrow, the poor in body and spirit.


Adapted from a Favorite written on April 20, 2007.

Image from: http://www.unlockingthegrowth.com/2013/06/invitation-to-discover-christ-in-you/

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John: Naming OurselvesMislabeling-the-Word-of-God

Monday, March 28, 2022

In beautiful prose, the writer of John’s Gospel gives us many portals to name Christ, to understand the person of Jesus, and to model ourselves after this Word of God Among Us.  As we move closer to Palm Sunday, as we prepare to enter the holiest of times in the liturgical calendar, let us take time to assess who Jesus is, how we convey to the world our own understanding of God in the person of Jesus, and how we intend to change in order that we become more like this saving servant.

Chapter 1: Word of God and Light of the World – What does it mean to be the Word of God? Do we enact God’s mercy and justice in our actions and words? How might we bring light to the world’s darkness? Do we look for hope, bring peace, and heal others?

Chapter 3: Spirit of God – God grants us eternal life. What do we store up for this eternity? Where does our treasure lie? Do we offer life or death to ourselves and others?

Chapters 4 – 9: Healer and Miracle Worker – How do we become the hands and feet of Christ? When do we allow God to work many small miracles for and through us? How often do we witness to injustice? When and why do we heal ourselves and others?

good shepherdChapter 10: The Good Shepherd – We have the prophets’ cry out against false shepherd and teachers. Do we number among them? Do we listen for the voice of Jesus the Shepherd? Do we put aside the world to follow the one true shepherd? When do we call others to follow in Christ’s Way?

Chapters 11-12: Restorer of Life – We cannot raise Lazarus from the dead but we can restore wounded hearts, ask and grant forgiveness, bridge gaps and mend fences. We are capable of bringing hope to the hopeless, mercy to the marginalized and love to the abandoned and brutalized. When and where do we grant these gifts we have been given by God?

Chapters 13 – 14: Advocate – It is easy to look away from problems and slip into denial. Who are our loved ones, associates, colleagues and friends? Do they call us to good or encourage us to hide in darkness?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChapters 15 – 17: Vine for our Branches – God gives us the choice to be life-takers or life-givers. What path do we choose and why? Are we willing to change course once we see that we need to change? Do we offer to God the apology saying that we are content in our comfort zone? Do we inflict discomfort on others or call them gently? What nourishment do we allow God to bring us and how do we pass this sacred sustenance along?

Chapters 18 – 20: Lamb of God – Humility is such a difficult quality to wear in our status and power-driven world and yet it is essential. Do we strive for the meekness that Jesus displays? Do we give more than we receive? What role does pride play in our lives? How do we handle our own sense of entitlement and that of others?

Chapter 21: Resurrection – There are no words to express the beauty of God’s desire to bring us to eternal happiness in the kingdom. What fidelity to do we show to the Gospel story in our actions and words? What narrative of resurrection do we live out? What promise of resurrection to we believe? And how do we witness to the miracles of resurrection we know God performs constantly in our own lives and in the lives of others?

empty tomb with sheet and lightWe are perhaps too accustomed to these images and if this is so, we must spend quiet time with them today. If we celebrate and enact these metaphors in our lives daily then let us rejoice in the Good News that is so familiar. In either case, let us spend time with these names and call ourselves followers of Christ as today we prepare for the Palm Sunday gift of Jesus as the very name of God.

Tomorrow, Christ in Us.


Images from: http://www.redletterchristians.org/mislabeling-the-word-of-god/, http://jnwheels.com/tag/jnwheels/, http://galleryhip.com/i-am-the-vine-you-are-the-branches-bible.html, and http://wallpaper-kid.com/empty-tomb-worship-backgrounds.htm

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Luke 24: Resurrection Narrative

Carracci: Women at the Tomb of Christ

Hannibale Carracci: Women at the Tomb of Christ

Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 27, 2022

The stories we read in the closing chapter of Luke are ones that bring us through dark nights and heavy days. They bolster our spirits and restore energy. They lend us strength and heal our wounded-ness.

Two men in dazzling garments are waiting in the empty tomb. Can we take ourselves to that moment and that space to imagine this Easter surprise that both heartened and frightened Jesus’ followers? Can we imagine God’s messengers comforting us and bringing good news as we stand in our own empty tombs? We must . . . for this is part of our own resurrection miracle.

Hendrick Terbruggen: Supper at Emmaus

Hendrick Terbruggen: Supper at Emmaus

Two followers of Jesus realize that their hearts were burning within while their dinner guest spoke to them to open scripture and ease their sorrow. Can we put ourselves in a moment when we have just been touched by the resurrected Christ but were too anxious or too angry to look fully in the face that wants to relieve our suffering? Can we relive the healing touch and grace-filled words that flooded the moment when a stranger or friend spoke just the right word at just the right moment? We must . . . for this part of our own resurrection promise.

Peace be with you. Can we recall an experience when we were startled and terrified and thought we were seeing a ghost only to succumb to incredulous joy and amazement at the recognition that God moves in our lives each moment of our existence? Can we recollect the understanding that all is well and that God is in charge? We must . . . for this is our own resurrection narrative.

Velázquez: Kitchen Scene with the Supper in Emmaus

Diego Velázquez: Kitchen Scene with the Supper in Emmaus

This week we remember that we are Theophilus, God’s own friend, and we have dedicated time with scripture to allow God’s Word to enter into our hearts and minds. We journey with the Gospel stories to find clues to our identity as sisters and brothers of Christ. And we open ourselves to a candid examination of what and why we want to change. Luke records Jesus’ resurrection narrative that we read again today. Let us begin to fully believe the miracle and promise of this story. And let us determine to make Jesus’ narrative our own.


Use the scripture link to compare differing versions of Luke 24 as we open our hearts and minds to the Living Word of God Among Us.

 Carracci image from: http://www.artbible.net/3JC/-Mat-28,01_Women_Resurrection_Femmes/2nd_16th_Siecle/slides/16%20CARRACCI%20WOMEN%20AT%20THE%20TOMB%20OF%20CHR.html

Terbruggen image from: http://www.wikiart.org/en/search/supper%20at%20emmaus/1

Veláquez image from: http://www.wikiart.org/en/search/supper%20at%20emmaus/1

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Luke 12:22-34: Allfarming for hunger

Saturday, March 26, 2022

If we learn nothing more about ourselves in this Lenten journey, let us pray that we understand how much easier life when we learn the simple lesson Jesus teaches us daily: Where your treasure lies, there also will your heart be.

Where do we place our priorities each morning? Do we jump into our day or do we pause to spend time orienting ourselves to God’s agenda rather than our own?

Where do we place all our energies each afternoon? Do we make plans for vacations, parties, and reunions as frequently as we plan to spend time in prayer and fellowship with others?

Where do we place our petitions each evening as we tumble into sleep? Do we give thanks for the good we have received as much as we worry about all that did not go well?

Jesus is quite clear. Where we focus our attention and anxiety, this is the place we are storing up the essence of ourselves. Where we spend our time in kingdom building, this is the place we are calling our home for all eternity.

farming 4 hungerWhere do we choose to deposit all that we do and are? In our wealth and power? In our influence and possessions? How much better it is to place all we are and all we do in the ample heart of God.


Spend some time with Luke 12:22-34 today and compare biblical texts. How will we change our hearts as we move toward the closing days of Lent?

Visit http://www.farming4hunger.com/, or click on the image to the left, to see how one man’s determination to store up goodness has changed his life and his world. Consider sending some of your Lenten alms to a kingdom-building organization that gives its all to enact God’s goodness and mercy.

Special thanks to a Noontime friend for sharing the good news about Farming 4 Hunger. 

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