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Archive for the ‘Mini-Noontime’ Category


Monday, May 17, 2021

Simon Vouet: The Apostle John

Simon Vouet: The Apostle John

1 John

Connection

“The purpose of this letter is to combat certain false ideas, especially about Jesus, and to deepen the spiritual and social awareness of the Christian community . . . The author affirms that authentic Christian love, ethics, and faith take place only within the historical revelation and sacrifice of Jesus Christ . . . The letter is of particular value for its declaration of the humanity and divinity of Christ as an apostolic teaching and for its development of the intrinsic connection between Christian moral conduct and Christine doctrine”. (Senior 387)

God comes to live among the created as one of their number. God wants to share our sorrows and our joys. Gods want to be numbered among us. God wants to number us as Children of God. The apostle John records not only his beautiful Gospel of love, he also leaves us his letters of assertion and encouragement.

What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with God and with the Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that your joy may be complete.

God says: I want you to make the connection that just as Jesus is both divine and human so are you. Just as my Spirit comforts and consoles so do you. Just as I myself save and guide. So do you. I send you this invitation to be one with and in me. If you turn me away today I return tomorrow. This is how much I love you. My apostle John makes connections in his letter to you, and he asks that you connect what you do with what you believe, what you say with how you act.  Make that connection now, put aside all else, and come to me.

“1 John lends itself more readily to every time and place . . . It is amazingly positive and loving in tone. For Christians through the ages it has transcended its hard circumstances of origin to be considered one of the great spiritual witnesses of the New Testament”. (Senior RG 563)

In the coming days we will explore John’s message of love that nourishes the faithful throughout time, and we will explore ways to make connections to what John has seen and heard and touched.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.387 and RG563. Print.   

For another Noontime reflection on this letter, go to the 1 John – Testimony page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-new-testament-revising-our-suffering/1-john-testimony/

Image from: https://www.pinterest.dk/pin/459226493229842593/?amp_client_id=CLIENT_ID(_)&mweb_unauth_id={{default.session}}&amp_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.dk%2Famp%2Fpin%2F459226493229842593%2F&from_amp_pin_page=true 

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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Mark 13:24-27

Jan Wildens: Landscape with Christ and his Disciples on the Road to Emmaus

Jan Wildens: Landscape with Christ and his Disciples on the Road to Emmaus

The Coming

Today we look at more verses that cause fundamentalists to calculate the exact date of the ending of life as we know it for all. Today we have an opportunity to grow in our knowledge of God. Today scripture is opened for us just as Jesus opened scripture for the disciples who journey to Emmaus. As we continue in our Easter pilgrimage, let us pause for a moment to consider Mark’s record of Jesus’ words.

Jesus says: If you know me then you will know my Father. Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me? (John 14:7, 9)

God says: If you know me than you know that I do not wreak havoc upon the earth. If you know me you understand that I am both patient and persistent.  If you know me you know that I am with you always and that I am willing to wait an eternity for you to turn to me, but turn you must. Do not be afraid to come to me. Be open to my invitation to be one in me. Do not fret about the details of your life but be open to my plan for you. It is a plan of wonder not of woe; it is a plan of love and this love has already come upon you. Do you wait and watch for a distant coming? I am already among you. You only need open your eyes and ears and hearts, and you will know.

When we find that we begin to fuss over the detail of who numbers in the elect and who will be left behind we can be certain that we have focused our energies incorrectly. When we make room for others at the table, when we forgive those who harm us, when we ask intercession for our enemies, then we know that we understand that the coming is already upon us.


Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walk_to_Emmaus

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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Mark 13:14-23

joy-with-white-300x214A Prayer for Times of Tribulation

When you see the desolating abomination standing where he should not [let the reader understand], then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, [and] a person on a housetop must not go down or enter to get anything out of his house, and a person in a field must not return to get his cloak . . . Be watchful!

These are words that are often construed by fundamentalists to predict the idea of rapture, of the faithful being taken into God’s presence suddenly while the unfaithful are left behind. Here Jesus speaks words of warning, but what do they really mean?

God says: You worry and fuss, you compare yourselves with others, and you focus on the minutiae of your day while you neglect The Word. When fear begins to overtake you, remember that I want to bring each of you to me, even those of you who have much to account for.  Keep in mind that you are joy to me . . . and I want to be joy to you. Remember that I find joy in you . . . and I want you to find joy in me.

And so we pray with the words of the psalmist.

Great things are they that you have done, O LORD my God!

Remind us, God – when we are stressed – that your hope heals many wounds.

How great your wonders and your plans for us!

Remind us, God – when we are tired – that you care us for each moment of the day and night.

There is none who can be compared with you.

Remind us, God – when we are sad – that you are our greatest champion.

O, that I could make them known and tell them!

Remind us, God – when we are worried – that you suffer with us through all misfortune.

But they are more than I can count!

Remind us, God – when we finally come to rest in you – that your love counters all tribulation.

Psalm 40:4-5


For interesting insight into the English expression, “head for the hills!” go to: http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/80681/does-make-for-the-hills-still-hold-currency-as-an-idiom

For further information on the idea of the Rapture, visit: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Rapture-the 

Image from: http://www.christiansciencechicago.org/self-sustaining-joy/

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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Mark 13:9-13

Brueghel_l'Ancien_-_La_Prédication_de_Saint_Jean-Baptiste

Pieter Brueghel The Elder: The Preaching of St. John the Baptist

Preaching With Our Lives

Watch out for yourselves. They will hand you over to the courts. You will be beaten in synagogues. You will be arraigned before governors and kings because of me, as a witness before them. But the Gospel must be preached to all nations. When they lead you away and hand you over, do not worry beforehand what you are to say. But say whatever will be given to you at that hour. For it will not be you who are speaking but the holy Spirit.

False preachers might leave us with a negative impression of God’s word. Good preachers leave us with an inspired desire to know more. Each of us is a preacher in that we speak of our relationship with God in every interaction we have with others. Each of us tells the story of the Living God in every action we carry out in the quiet times and places when no one sees what we are doing. Each of us speaks our creed loudly not in our words, but in our care for self and others, and in our trust in the Spirit of the Living God.

God says: It is really quite simple. You cannot rid the world of corruption and ruin but you can react to it as the Spirit directs you. Open your mind to the gift of counsel that the Spirit brings to you. Open your hands to my gift of consolation. Open your hearts to my gift of love. Nothing will destroy you for you are my love in and to the world. Nothing will obliterate you for you are my hands and feet in and to the world. Nothing will annihilate you for you are my presence in a world that longs for peace.

As we consider how we live out God’s presence through our words, thoughts and acts, reflect on the preaching you have heard . . . and reflect on the preaching your life brings to the world.

Tomorrow, a prayer for times of tribulation.


Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Preaching_of_St_John_the_Baptist_(Pieter_Brueghel_the_Elder)

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history-of-clocks_mdMonday, May 10, 2021

Mark 13:3-8

Such Things

See that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name saying, “I am he,” and they will deceive many. When you hear of wars and reports of wars, do not be alarmed; such things must happen but it will not be the end.

We live in a world in which information flies around the globe more quickly than we can take it in. Some of us are overwhelmed. Some of us become desensitized. Some of us try to find a place for our fear and an appropriate reaction.  Some of us hide and try to protect ourselves in the monuments to our fear and control that we build for ourselves and loved ones. Some of us take in this news and try to balance our caution with our love.

God says: It is impossible to sort out all the conflict that surges around you locally and globally. This information is fearsome but do not let it drive you further from me. I am not in the event. I am in you. I am not in the dreadfulness. I am in the caring hands and feet and hearts that tend to the wounded. When such things happen that frighten you, remember that I watch over you just as I watched over the Hebrews when I guided and protected them as the pillar of smoke and fire. You are as precious to me now as were the Hebrews then. Live out my love as you address the wars and reports of wars but do not be alarmed. Such things happen but it is not the end.

Let us consider how we might preach the good news Jesus speaks to us today in these words recorded by Mark.  We may want to visit an “End Times” web site and applying God’s words about such things.  (A typical site can be found at http://www.signs-of-end-times.com/.) Think about the presentation of such information, and reflect on how we react, why we react, and how we might live out the Gospel words we read today.

Tomorrow, the coming persecution.


To learn about the history of clocks and timekeeping, click on the image or visit: https://interestingengineering.com/the-very-long-and-fascinating-history-of-clocks

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Temple Mount in Jesus' Time

Temple Mount in Jesus’ Time

Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 9, 2021

Mark 13:1-2

Foretold

As he was making his way out of the temple area one of his disciples said to him, “Look, teacher, what stones and what buildings!” Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be one stone left upon another that will not be thrown down”.

The disciple in this story is not named but his words are recorded. Clearly the temple and surrounding buildings strike him with awe. This is what King Solomon foresaw when planning the temple complex.  It housed the Ark of the Covenant and was meant as a suitable abode for God on earth, a place where the faithful might come to offer sacrifice, to atone, to be in the presence of the Living God. The disciple in today’s story is walking and talking with Jesus – the Living God’s living presence – and yet he focuses on the old order and sees not the presence of God beside him but the stationary temple that no longer wanders with her pilgrim people. Jesus re-directs his disciple’s attention and he also reminds us that these stones, this temple cannot stand eternally.

God says: You worry about your structures, your titles, your possessions and your awards. Turn from them and turn to me. Put aside the power you believe you have consolidated. Put down the tools you use to create your little empires and come to the living one who brings you eternal peace. There is no need for the status and goods you amass. They do not really protect you. They cannot really save you. I am the Living Presence among you. This has been foretold. Heed these words and show that you believe them in every waking moment of every day.

Consider the stones of our thinking that weigh us down. Consider the great buildings to ourselves that will tumble in time. Consider the eternal rest and security that Jesus foretells.

Tomorrow, a reflection on signs of the end. 


For more information on the Temple Mount in Jesus’ time, or to see the detail in the image above, click on the image or go to: https://www.esv.org/resources/esv-global-study-bible/illustration-41-temple-mount-in-jesus-time/

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Robert Zünd: The Road to Emmaus

Robert Zünd: The Road to Emmaus

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Luke 24:25-27

Our Experience of Christ Part III

Jesus taught his disciples saying: “You foolish men! So slow to believe all that the prophets have said! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer before entering into his glory?” Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them all the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself”. 

God says: There was a man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and then went on a journey for a long time.  At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenant farmers to receive some of the produce of the vineyard. But they beat the servant and sent him away empty-handed. So he proceeded to send another servant, but him also they beat and sent away . . . Then he proceeded to send a third, but this one too they wounded and threw out. The owner of the vineyard said, “What shall I do? I shall send my beloved son; maybe they will respect him”. But when the tenant farmers saw him they said to one another, “This is the heir. Let us kill him that the inheritance may become ours”. So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him”.  (Luke 20:9-15)

If we believe God to be away on a long journey we are mistaken. God dwells within each of us to guide and protect. If we believe that Jesus died in vain we would be incorrect. Jesus walks beside us to save and lead. If we believe that the Spirit hides in fear we have strayed from the very truth that lives in us. The Spirit calls and comforts, advises and consoles.

Let us not be mistaken. Let us not live in error.  Let us read more of the story recorded by Luke and determine for certain just how we characterize our own experience of the Christ who dies to save.


For more on Jesus on the road to Emmausclick on the image above or go to: http://www.jesus-story.net/emmaus.htm

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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Free picture (Greed) from https://torange.biz/greed-16736

Amos 8:4-14

Against Greed

We find that it does not matter how much we humans advance in our understanding of our past, the science and nature that surround us, or the human condition in which we find ourselves . . . greed is our constant companion. We need only take a moment to look at ourselves, our families and friends to witness how greed works in a local way. And we have only to look at the international stage to see how greed functions in a global way.

God says: You need not shove against one another to scoop up or hoard food, materials for shelter or even love.  These life essentials are yours in abundance. When you begin to share you always find this is so. You need not cheat one another in the market place. I see who swindles and who is fair. You fool no one in the end for the truth always reveals herself. You need not struggle to make yourself look better than others or to criticize others to make yourself look better. I know each of intimately and so well that you can hide nothing from me. So put aside your fear. Put away your anxiety. Come to me openly and honestly. In the end, I am all there is. You need nothing more.

We ask ourselves these Lenten questions. In what way do I trample the needy and destroy the land of the poor? Do I use more than my share of natural resources? Do I waste the food or shelter or love that God bestows on me? Am I fair and honest in my interchanges with others? Do I correct mistakes made when I under-pay or over-charge? Do I try to hide part of myself from God? Am I open and honest about who I am? Do I acknowledge my fears and disquiet? Am I willing to believe that God is all I need?

Lord, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. My travels and my rest you mark; with all my ways you are familiar. Even before a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it all. Behind and before you encircle me. Such knowledge is beyond me, far too lofty for me to reach. Psalm 139:1-4

Let us spend some time today with the rest of Psalm 139 to determine how and where we might stand Against Greed. 


For an interesting read on the concept of greed, click on the image above or visit: https://fhctoday.com/27470/uncategorized/greed-being-a-disease/ 

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Monday, March 22, 2021

Balthasar Van der Ast: Still LIfe with Basket of Fruit

Amos 8:1-3

Vision of the Fruit Basket

The time is ripe to have done with my people . . .

Locusts and fire are turned away when the prophet pleads the case against destruction.  The plumb line measures behavior and this time Amos is silent except to record what he sees. Amos dares to engage with the corrupt priest, Amaziah.  And now he brings us a vision of the fruit basket, the symbol of a life lived justly, honestly and lovingly, without corruption or deceit.

God says: My prophet Amos served the people well. Many did not heed his words. They relied instead on their influence and wealth, not understanding that all of this passes away under my hand. Do they care for the poor, the orphan and the widow? They do not. They tend to their comfort and power base. Do they believe that the devastation Amos predicts will fall upon them? They do not. They are immune to his words, they believe that the world’s woes are not theirs; and they believe Amos’ visions to be false. Do they heed my words as brought to them by my faithful prophet? Again the answer is no. 

Rather than mercy from those whom God has blessed with power, we see exploitation and cunning.

Rather than love from those whom God has blessed with intelligence, we see narrow-mindedness.

Rather than compassion from those whom God has blessed with fruitful lives, we see greed.

As we continue our Lenten journey, let us consider what visions we have been sent . . .  and how we respond to them.

Tomorrow, Against Greed.

 


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Still_Life_with_Basket_of_Fruit_-_Balthasar_van_der_Ast_-_Google_Cultural_Institute.jpg

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