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Archive for the ‘Video Link’ Category


90_the-nativity_1800x1200_72dpi_4Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Feast of the Three Kings is celebrated on January 6 in many cultures around the world.  Today we re-post a reflection first written in 2015.

Joy and the Magi

Jude 1:24-25

The New Testament Letters bring us the good news that the risen Christ still walks with us each day. Paul, Peter, James and John remind the faithful that although much has been asked of Christ’s followers, much is also given. With them, we remember that there is always hope when we are overcome by doubt, always light that will pierce the darkness, and always joy, even in days of deep and unrelenting grief. Today Jude – like the Magi whose visit to the stable we celebrate today – calls us to discover the true identity of the Christ Child. Jesus as the true joy of the world.

“This letter is by its address attributed to “Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James. Since he is not identified as an apostle, this designation can hardly be meant to refer to the Jude or Judas who is listed as one of the Twelve. The person is almost certainly the other Jude, named in the gospels among the relatives of Jesus, and the James who is listed as his brother is the one to whom the letter of James is attributed. Nothing else is known of this Jude”. (Senior 396)

Jude 1:24-25: Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling and to make you stand joyful and faultless in his glorious presence, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus the Messiah, our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time and for all eternity! Amen.

Jude’s letter contains just twenty-five verses. Visit with his words today. Compare the International Standard Version (ISV) with others found at the scripture link above, and allow God’s joy to settle into your day.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.396. Print.   

To watch a King James version of the Nativity story, click on the image of the Magi above. 

joyImage from: https://www.lds.org/bible-videos/?lang=eng

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.

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joySaturday, October 30, 2021

2 Chronicles

Joy in Return

We move forward in our journey as we visit with scripture looking for stories about joy that will amaze us in a number of ways. To explore other stories in which joy surprises us, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today our stories are from 2 Chronicles.

Hezekiah is a name long connected with the people’s return to the covenant promises. Scholars tell us that he repairs and cleanses the Temple erected by Solomon to house the Ark; he destroys the bronze serpent reported to have been created by Moses for miraculous healing because it had become an object of idol worship; and he invites the people to a new celebration of a special Passover in which the faithful renewed their promises to God.

Hezekiahs tunnelOnce his house is in order, Hezekiah leads the people in campaigns to push back the Philistines and Assyrians. He pleads with God for a longer life in order to complete his work of the people’s return and God grants this request (2 Chronicles 32).  He directs the building of a tunnel to bring water into Jerusalem so that they might survive the Assyrian siege that blockades the city. And he is rewarded when God sends an angel of death to wipe out hundreds of thousands of Sennacherib’s enemy troops in an astounding miracle.

It is no wonder that we read today: There was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel. (2 Chronicles 30:26) It is no wonder that there is great joy in this homecoming. It is no wonder that there is great joy in this return to promises made, forgotten, and finally remembered.

Might we also find joy in our own returning to celebrate the many small and big miracles in our lives? Might we also find joy in recognizing the amazing, loving presence of the Living God?


To see pictures taken inside Hezekiah’s Tunnel, click on the tunnel image above or go to: http://www.livingbylysa.com/2012/05/hezekiahs-tunnel.html

For a video tour of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boC7lOV-1PU

For more information on the miracle against Sennacherib, go to: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112337/jewish/The-End-of-Sennacherib.htm

 

For more about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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christ heals crippled womanWednesday, October 20, 2021

Luke 13:10-17

Set Free

When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said . . .

Jesus heals in the moment he sees suffering. Let us also heal one another with kind words and acts of mercy.

“You are set free . . .”

Jesus speaks in the simplest of terms the words we long to hear, “You are set free!” Let us also keep our hearts simple and our minds open for possibility.

He laid his hands on her . . .

Jesus does not fear interaction with the stranger. Let us also extend ourselves to those we meet in our daily journey, especially the broken-hearted and the down-trodden.

At once she stood erect . . .

Jesus brings healing to those who suffer. Let us also offer hope and love and faith to those who are troubled or oppressed.

But the leader, indignant, said . . .

Jesus is condemned by those who want to regulate or limit God’s infinite love. Let us also remember that discipleship is a difficult road.

“Why heal today when there are six days to heal . . . ?”

Jesus is challenged by stiff necks and narrow minds. Let us also offer Christ’s goodness and power against the stinginess and cruelty we meet in these words.

And Jesus said . . .

TwoBrothers_BentWoman_710Jesus so often answers a challenge with a question. Let us also offer up a question rather than argument to those who would bend the world to their will.

“Does not each of you untie an ox on the Sabbath . . . ?”

Jesus is so sensible and concise in his replies to those who wish to silence him. Let us also remember to keep our dialogs simple, our prayers intense, and our eyes always on the Lord.

It is in this way that we set one another and ourselves free of terror, oppression and fear.

Amen.


Click on the image above to see a video clip from the Jesus Film Project posted on YouTube, or visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_80Xpyqibr0

For commentary on these verses, click on the carving above or visit: https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1753

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KIng Zedekiah

King Zedekiah

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Jeremiah 52:1-11

The End – Part I: Capture

Over the next days we will look closely at the end which came to Jerusalem, the end that Jeremiah predicted. We will examine the verses carefully, looking for a hint of lessons we might learn from this ancient people who would not heed a warning so clearly spelled out for them. We will explore our own temptation to deny the reality in which we live. And we will consider what lessons we might learn so that our own end becomes a new beginning rather than a final departure.

king-zedekiahZedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.

God says: Watch for the times when you believe you have all answers to all problems. When you learn to rely on yourself alone you draw hour heart away from me . . . and this is an end that is difficult to overcome.

His mother’s name was Hamutal, daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

God says: Your parents bring you into this world and they tend to you while you are young. I tend to you for now, in the past, and into the infinite future. This is a relationship you will not want to ignore.

He did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, Just as Jehoiakim had done.

God says: I do not ask much of you but I do ask is that you enact goodness in the world. In order to do this well it is essential that you listen for my word daily and that stay always close by and in me.

Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

God says: Be careful about the alliances you make and break. Use caution when you pledge yourself to another person or cause. These may be your undoing if you do not exercise great care.

In the tenth month of the tenth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and his whole army advanced against Jerusalem, encamped around it, and built siege walls on every side.

Jerusalem: Zedekiah's Cave

Jerusalem: Zedekiah’s Cave

God says: When the enemy threatens, turn to me. When the earth rumbles with the steady onslaught of forces that will surely overcome you, stay with me.

The siege of the city continued until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.

God says: When you feel you can no longer go on, turn your struggle over to me.

On the ninth day of the fourth month, when famine gripped the city and the people had no more bread, the city walls were breached.

God says: When you struggle to lift your head and raise your arm, place your burden on my broad shoulders.

Then all the soldiers took to flight and left the city by night through the gate between the two walls which was near the king’s garden.

God says: When everyone else abandons you, remain in me. You are never alone for I am always with you.

Destruction of JerusalemWith the Chaldeans surrounding the city they went in the direction of the Arabah.

God says: Do not think that you can avoid or outrun me. Do not be anxious that you may be unworthy. I am waiting to heal and transform you, and for me all things are possible.

But the Chaldean army pursued the king and overtook Zedekiah in the desert near Jericho, while his whole army fled him.

God says: Even when you have strayed far from my precepts and my truth I will still welcome you home and celebrate your return. This is how much I love you.

Tomorrow, Part II . . . Destruction


To learn more about King Zedekiah, click on his images above and find study outlines at: http://biblestudyoutlines.org/bible-study-outlines/bible-study-outline-on-king-zedekiah/

Find video at: http://bibleseriesguide.com/episode5.htm#.VDb_L_ldWSo 

To learn about the enormous cave under the city of Jerusalem, how it came to be there, and why the Freemasons gather there every year, click on the cave image above or visit www.aboutjerusalem.com at: http://allaboutjerusalem.com/article/zedekiahs-cave-secret-cave-jerusalem to watch a brief, interesting video clip.

 

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Romans 8:38-39: Something Eternal

Friday, May 4, 2018

You are going to die AND life never ends. (Rohr 135)

Science and faith participate in a constant dance of doubt and belief, reality and fantasy, humanity and divinity. Quantum physics tells us that we can apply mathematics as we attempt to understand energy and matter on the smallest of scales. Discussions – and arguments – between those who want an absolute adherence to evolution OR creation theories miss the beauty of creation itself. The reality that this science is perfectly compatible with teachings we find in the Bible may be difficult to believe; yet Richard Rohr, OFM reminds us that . . .

“It seems that we are born with a longing, desire, and deep hope that this thing called life could somehow last forever. It is a premonition from Something Eternal that is already within us. Some would call it the soul. Believers would call it the indwelling presence of God. It is God in us that makes us desire God. It is an eternal life already within us that makes us imagine eternal life. It is the Spirit of God that allows us to seriously hope for what we first only intuit . . . When we love consciously within this love, we will not be afraid to die, because love is eternal, and that core self is indestructible. ‘Love never ends’ (See 1 Corinthians 13:8). The entire evolutionary thrust of time and history is making this very clear. Now we know that nothing really dies anyway”. (Rohr 135-136)

As Rohr describes, we too often search for the gift we already possess, the gift of eternity. We too often doubt that God’s love creates and sustains us. We are too ready to discount the idea that God creates us in and for love.

Quantum physics often deals in probability and is frequently counter-intuitive; and so we may pose the same questions as those in a Discover Magazine article: “Do any physical theories allow room for God to influence human actions and events? And, more controversially, is there any concrete evidence of God’s hand at work in the physical world?” Rohr invites us to open ourselves to the possibility of God’s paradox of love.

Click on this image to take Britannica’s quantum mechanics quiz.

The more we explore the contrast between science and theology, the more we question.  In his article published in the Huffington Post on July 13, 2011, Peter Baksa writes that “ our thoughts are the language of the universe” as he describes the relationship between energy and matter. Might this be the something eternal we possess and still seek? Might our thoughts be actual energy that connects with the energy that is God’s love? Might this be the message that all of creation and all of scripture shouts at us? And might we want to join in this great shout?

Today as we explore both science and scripture, we practice the art of taking in opposites as we allow God to reveal the something eternal within, the Common Wonderful nature of the universe, the splendor of God’s unending love.


Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

When we compare different translations of these verses, we find tools to help us understand the common wonderful paradox of our universe, and our place in it. 

Chad Orzel gives us a simple list to describe Quantum Physics at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2015/07/08/six-things-everyone-should-know-about-quantum-physics/#7d9994187d46

For a quick video lesson on quantum mechanics, and the double-slit experiment, click on the image above or visit: https://www.hidabroot.com/article/194842/Can-Quantum-Physics-Prove-G-d 

Or take the quantum mechanics quiz at:https://www.britannica.com/quiz/quantum-mechanics 

Other resources: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-baksa/who-is-god-can-he-be-expl_b_894003.html and http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/galleries/how-quantum-physics-proves-gods-existence.aspx and http://discovermagazine.com/2011/mar/14-priest-physicist-would-marry-science-religion and https://www.gotquestions.org/God-and-quantum-physics.html

Enter the words God spots into the blog search bar and reflect on The Common Wonderful gift of the Spirit.

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Isaiah 43Promises of Redemption and Restoration

Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Favorite from February 21, 2008. 

We sing this hymn so often that these words of Isaiah are familiar to us . . . and they are so beautiful.

I have called you by name; you are mine.

Dear God in Heaven, we so many times feel so alone or abandoned.  We think we have done what you have asked, but somehow things just are not working out.  We feel as though we are sinking to the bottom of the sea.

When you pass through the water, I will be with you; in the rivers you shall not drown.

Dear God on Earth, we so many times know that we are called and, wanting to be good servants, we want to obey but we are frightened or anxious.  We feel as though we are burning alive.

When you walk through fire, you will not be burned; the flames shall not consume you.

Dear God who dwells within, we so many times feel so apart from you as we do the work you have asked of us.  We feel isolated and misunderstood.  We want to come home to you.

I give . . . your ransom because you are precious in my eyes and glorious, and because I love you.

Dear God who made us, we wander here on earth and long for the serenity and beauty of your Holy City on a Hill.  We want to hear you clearly, we want to see you distinctly.  We long to be with you.

I will say to the north; Give them up! and to the south: Hold not back!  Bring back my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth: Everyone who is named as mine, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.  Lead out the people who are blind though they have eyes, who are deaf though they have ears.

Dear God who is tender, kind and loving, we are many times afraid to stand when you say stand, to sit when you say sit, to be still when you say be still, to speak when you say speak.  We want to trust.  We want to be authentic.  We want to embody integrity.

Let them produce witnesses to prove themselves right, that one may hear and say, “It is true!”  You are my witnesses, says the Lord, my servants whom I have chosen to know and believe in me and understand that it is I. 

Dear God who is glorious, awesome, and all-knowing, we do not know how to begin, we do not know where to go.

Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!  Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland rivers.  Wild beasts honor me, jackals and ostriches, for I put water in the wasteland for my chosen people to drink, the people who I formed for myself, that they might announce my praise.

Dear God who walks among us, you have shown us The Way, the Truth and the Light.  We will follow you.  We will enter the desert to meet you . . . for we know that is where you are.  We will sojourn among the jackals and the ostriches . . . for we know that is where you are.  We will walk beside the humble . . . for we know that is where you are.

Fear not, I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.

Amen.

Find the hymn “Be Not Afraid” by John Michael Talbot, with video clips from the 1998 film The Prince of Egypt, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI49peWG2d0 

David Haas’ hymn “You Are Mine” is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sgm9lkTNQmc 

Image from: https://rickandlindareed.com/2014/12/12/do-not-be-afraid/ 

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2 Maccabees 12:38-46: Battle – Part V

Click on this image for a video commentary.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Today’s Favorite returns once more to 2 Maccabees, the first Book cited in the first Noontime Scripture reflection. The message is as simple, constant, and powerful today as it was more than a decade ago. Be steadfast. Trust in God. Remain faithful to God. Life is a struggle, but God is with us. We need not be afraid. 

Today’s citation reminds us of a strong underpinning of those themes: there is life after our apparent death, and we must pray not only for ourselves but for those who have strayed from the covenant as well.  1 Maccabees 5:6 gives a different reason for the fall of the Israelite troops – the priests had wanted to distinguish themselves in battle – but the message is the same: if we succeed in remaining faithful to our covenant with God, we must pray for those who fallen.

We will not want to miss the true life that follows this one, and we will want to share this full and generous life with our families and friends.  And lest we fear that our loved ones will not accompany us, we remember that it is possible to bring straying sheep into the fold through petition to the Creator. We remember that with God all things are possible.

Christ is the one who offers himself in expiation for the downfall of the world and thus becomes the Redeemer of all.  We participate in this redemption by offering our own sufferings in expiation for others.  The dead will live again, and this we can believe.

Over time, we have spent several Noontimes reflecting on the lessons brought to us by the Maccabeus family.  Their stamina, their perseverance, their refusal to be extinguished, and their refusal to allow God’s law of forgiveness, mercy and justice to be extinguished is seen again in all of Christ’s followers.  Jesus’ disciples are constant searchers of God’s essence and truth.  They will always hunger and thirst for an essence they feel but cannot see, a Spirit they know but cannot always touch. The Maccabeus family tells us this story. Jesus the Redeemer invites all of us to be these followers.

It is the endurance of the Maccabees we seek through our intense hope in the promises of God.  It is the fidelity of the Maccabees we seek through our deep faith in the goodness of God.  It is the devotion of the Maccabees we seek through our passionate love for the ways of God. 

Tomorrow, a prayer for trials and obstacles.

Adapted from a Favorite written on April 25, 2009.

To learn why the Books of the Maccabees are not included in the Jewish Bible, visit: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/omitting-the-maccabees/ 

Watch a video commentary at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdHjJFQAoZk 

Images from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leaders-mind-3-steadfastness-barry-walsh/ and https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/omitting-the-maccabees/

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Esther 5: Building the Gallows

Queen Esther

Thursday, February 15, 2018

We must take care to observe what schemes we enter, knowingly or unknowingly. In today’s reflection, a parade of characters brings us an invitation to explore our own motivations and actions.

Queen Esther waits beyond the throne room, knowing that entrance without permission results in death. Does she know that she will need more courage than she believes she possesses?

King Xerxes offers half his kingdom in a magnanimous gesture. Does he know what price he will actually pay for this promise?

Haman wells over with envy and anger. Does he understand what happens to plotters and schemers?

Haman’s wife Zeresh urges her husband to build an execution scaffold. Does she understand who will eventually stand on its trapdoor?

Mordecai insists on worshipping no other god before Yahweh. Does he know that the LORD will protect him?

Haman, Zeresh, and Friends

These characters invite us to explore what gallows we build for ourselves and others. They call us to examine our goals and incentives. They ask us to open ourselves to the possibility of conversion and mercy.

We use the scripture link and the drop down menus to compare varying translations of these verses. We explore more about the lives of the characters in this story today.

For a film representation of Esther’s story, click on her image, or visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYOaP2rf–Q 

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Hosea 2: Expectation

Charlie Mackesy: The Prodigal Daughter

Thursday, January 11, 2018

What does God expect of me?

Where is God?

How can God expect so much from me?

Why does God allow me to feel so alone, exasperated, angry or sad?

If we hear ourselves asking these questions frequently, we may need to think of them as inversions.

What do I expect of God?

Where have I put God in my life?

Why do I ask so little of God?

Why do I forget God or turn away from God’s love when I am alone, exasperated, angry or sad?

Today we re-read the prophecy of Hosea, the man who married an adulterous wife and we focus on Chapter 2 to find a description of Gomer, the unfaithful wife.  Metaphorically, Gomer is each of us when we reject the conditions in which we find ourselves.  As difficult as our problems may be, they are our stepping stones to self-discovery . . . and to serenity.  Once we learn to turn everything over to God, the sorrow and anger slip away.  And we are at peace with the circumstances surrounding us.

Today’s Gospel is John’s story of the feeding of thousands (6:1-15) and we might look at how Jesus asks the disciples how they want to feed so many – John writes: He said this to test them.  This does not mean that Jesus wants to throw his friends into turmoil; rather, he wants to see how they hope to solve the problem before them.  Do they resort to their own resources, or do they rely on God in any way?

We must remember to ask for miracles, because God wants to grant them.

We must remember to take our woes to God, because God welcomes them and erases them.

We must remember to leave our sadness in God’s hands, because God heals all mourning with deep and abiding love.

Hosea laments his unfaithful wife.  God misses us when we stray.  Why do we try to solve everything on our own?  And why do we expect so little from a generous, loving God?

A Favorite from May 6, 2011.

For a video lesson on Hosea and Gomer, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XerNMZNmKF0 

 

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