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Archive for the ‘Video Link’ Category


Luke 2:41-51: Found

William Holman Hunt: The Finding of the Savior in the Temple

Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 19, 2023

Today’s familiar story foreshadows the conflict that will take place in Jesus’ adult years when his message of God’s mercy brings the wrath of leaders against him, and lays the fate of creation in his hands. As a child, Jesus remains in Jerusalem after Passover to converse with temple elders. Discovered by his parents, he goes home to live obediently with them. The child Jesus dazzles leaders and yet lives in humility. The child Jesus knows that God is in charge.

Coptic Icon of the Transfiguration of Christ

Coptic Icon: Transfiguration of Christ

The man Jesus goes up to the mountain to experience his own transfiguration, but he does not go alone. He takes two friends who later testify to this beautiful experience on the mountain top. The man Jesus confounds his friends and yet delivers the expectation that his kingdom is here and now. The man Jesus knows that God’s outrageous hope is essential to human existence.

The prophet Jesus brings healing and confidence to the marginalized and forgotten. He escapes the crowd by disappearing over the brow of the hill. He slips through the fingers of those who would obliterate him. He challenges our beliefs and our doubts. The prophet Jesus knows that God’s enduring faith is critical in the human journey.

The risen Jesus defies all laws of physics and logic to bring hope to the abandoned and faith to the desperate. He hands himself over to the authorities who despise him. He suffers meekly at the hands of his enemies whom he calls to goodness. He offers the gift of healing and solace to all of creation. Christ Jesus knows that God’s enormous love is crucial in our human lives.

As we approach Palm Sunday and its story of Christ’s Passion, let us remember our Lenten practices while we journey up to Jerusalem. As we near our Easter home, let us pray, meditate and remember that once we were fearful, and now we rest in Christ. Once we doubted and now we believe. Once we were lost and now, like the child Jesus, we are found.


Images from: https://fineartamerica.com/art/pharisees and https://www.stvnashville.org/feast-of-transfiguration

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John 8:12-20Missing God

Monday, March 13, 2023missing puzzle piece

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”

If this is so, then why do we miss God when God accompanies us in joy and sorrow?

The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on”.

If this is our thinking then we miss God’s presence just as many religious leaders did in Jesus’ day, and as many do today.

Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed. You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don’t make judgments like that. But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me”.

If this is so, then we will want to move out of our narrowness and into the largeness of the one who creates us. If this is so, then we will want to dwell with Jesus’ words for a time, and allow them to sink into the marrow of our bones. If this is so, then we have much to forget and much to learn. If this is so, we want to offload all that constrains us and encourages us to judge; and we will want to open our hearts and minds and very selves to welcome this big and generous God.

Today we continue this week’s Lenten practice as we open ourselves to the enormity of God’s light and promise. Rather than thinking: “I will set all things right in God’s kingdom,” let us think instead, “I will strive each day to follow Jesus’ example of forgiveness, mercy and love”.

Tomorrow, dead end. 


HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD? Watch this short video by Fr. Paul Coutinho, S.J., and smile with the images he creates in this brief video, and reflect on how we might be missing God’s generosity and enormity each day. We may also find refreshment with his delightful book HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD: THE FREEDOM TO EXPERIENCE THE DIVINE.

When we use the scripture link to spend time with various versions of these verses, God becomes big enough to hold the multiverse. 

Image from: https://www.istockphoto.com/photos/silhouette-of-missing-puzzle-piece

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Luke 5:27-32: The Great Banquet

Saturday, February 11, 2023luke 5

Jesus tells us many times that his kingdom is like a boundless wedding feast where all come together at the abundant table of God’s love. How can we see ourselves in this gathering where all will be equal, where the little divisions we set up no longer exist, when only unity and charity abide? Jesus calls the tax collector Levi to follow him and then he attends a party in Levi’s home.

Luke sets the stage: Everybody was there, tax men and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. 

The scholars ask: What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and sinners?

Jesus says: Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.

God says: When you come to my feast you need only focus on your own transformation. If you want to join this banquet of love you must learn to speak its language and to live and act in its culture. Remember your Lenten practice and when you feel that you are asked to do the impossible, remember that with me all things are possible. Put out into deeper waters and shed your fear. No matter the elements or obstacles, my love is great than all of these.

We may be Levi, called to follow and called to celebrate. We may be the Pharisees, sticking to The Law and abiding with the details. No matter our identity, we must allow Jesus to enter into our hearts, and we must allow ourselves to serve as welcome and inviting guests at the wedding feast that is the kingdom of God.

We take care to remember our practice for the week: Rather than thinking, “This will not work,” let us say instead, “If you say so, Lord”.

Tomorrow, temptation.


Image and video link at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kqpyyUzmf0

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Matthew 23Denunciation

Saturday, November 19, 2022tassels

How many of us like to widen our phylacteries and lengthen our tassels? The footnotes for this chapter are extensive in the NAB and they are worth reading. This is the list of Christ’s woes as recorded by Matthew and these words have the feel of prophecy. Hypocrisy, lack of integrity when our words and actions do not match. This is what Jesus warns us about.

What do we do when the ugly green monster rears its head? When jealousy strikes, as it always does, what is our reflex? Do we allow ourselves to succumb to the temptation of taking credit even when it is due? Do we put the emotion which overtakes us in its proper place and convert it to humility?

Verses 37 to 39 are Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem, the city which ought to serve as a beacon to all, now drags her skirts in the mire as the prophets foretold. Jesus himself cannot sway these leaders. God’s own word cannot get their attention. The final woe defines Jesus’ audience as murderers of prophets, of the holy ones. This is scary stuff.  Chapter 24 follows with the foretelling of the destruction of the temple which actually occurred in 70 C.E. This event was on the horizon and yet they did not listen. Do we? How far do we have to go until God finally gets our attention? Are we this dense? We pray not.

And so we go to Jesus, hoping to learn how to avoid our own denunciation.

phylacteriesGenerous and faithful Jesus, may we narrow our phylacteries and shorten the tassels on our shawls. May we learn humility from your stories, and mercy from your actions. We ask this in your name. Amen.


To learn more about tassels and phylacteries, click on the lower image.

A favorite from January 28, 2008.

Images from: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/tzitzit/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh6hLqP-QPY

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Mark 16:1-3: Rolling Back the Stonerolling back the stone from the tomb

Monday, September 5, 2022

[Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome] were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”

Not long ago I heard a Ted Talk on rewilding on a day when I also had spent time reflecting on the last chapter of Mark’s Gospel. As a child I took for granted that the women who returned to Jesus’ tomb to dress his body might rely on finding someone to roll away the heavy stone for them. As an adult, I now better understand the trust these women, either knowingly or unwittingly, placed in God’s plan that they might be given the opportunity to serve as an integral part of the resurrection story. They thought they were going to anoint the dead body of a well-loved prophet and healer; but what God has in mind is their role as the first proclaimers of the Good News that Jesus has risen.

On that warm afternoon in August I considered how off the mark we are when we make plans with definitive outcomes without considering God’s input. And I determined to readjust my thinking yet again to leave my thinking more open to God’s powerful dreams and possibilities.

If we ever doubt God’s desire to love us into goodness, we need only remember the outcomes of giant dreams and enormous possibilities presented in these and other video presentations. Today we pause in our study of Mark’s story and remember why, and when and how the little roles we imagine for ourselves in kingdom building become opportunities for intimate relationship with our loving and healing God.

Watch one or all of the short clips below and consider how and when and why God rolls back the heavy stones in our lives. Reflect on the power of God to heal, restore and change . . . and how we humans fit into God’s amazing plan.


How Wolves Change Rivers at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q

How Whales Change Climate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M18HxXve3CM

Humpback Whale Shows Appreciation after Being Freed from Nets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcXU7G6zhjU

To learn more about rewilding, visit: http://rewilding.org/rewildit/

More Ted Talks can be found at: https://www.ted.com/talks 

Image from: https://stthomasplymouth.org/the-stone-that-needs-to-be-rolled-away/ 

 Enter the words The Magdalen into the blog search bar and discover more about Christ’s first disciple.

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Matthew 9:1-8: Taking Up Our Bedtake up your bed

Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 22, 2021

They brought to him a paralytic lying on a bed . . .

Jesus says: Take courage . . . Get up . . . pick up your bed and go home . . .

God says: Each little incident that paralyzes you with fear is not from me. I only bring you love. Each enormous obstacle that looms before you is not from me. I only bring you hope. When you are paralyzed with fear, reach for me. When you are knocked off your feet, take up the bed of sorrow onto which you have fallen, and come home.

When we give ourselves over to fear we let go of God’s hand. When we languish in our sorrow and remain on our paralytic bed we reject the offer of newness God brings. If depression or anxiety overwhelm us we must seek professional guidance and help. God wants to convert the paralysis in our lives to loving acts of kindness, mercy and justice.

 


Image from: https://www.wordonfire.org/articles/fellows/pick-up-your-mat/

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Matthew 8:23-27: Stilling the Storm

James Seward: Peace, be Still

James Seward: Peace! Be Still!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

We say: Lord, we are perishing!

Jesus says: Why are you afraid?

God says: You and I have spoken about the storms of life so frequently – nearly every day – yet still I am willing to hear you again cry out for my help. And I am willing to give my help to you. I know that the circumstances of the world frighten you; yet I ask for your patience and courage. I know that the troubles of the world alarm you; yet I ask for your perseverance and fidelity. I know that the anxieties of the world panic you; yet I ask for your mercy and kindness. I know that the injustices of the world anger you; yet I ask for your confidence and love. When I calm the storm I calm you. When I ask for stillness I ask for your open heart. When I ask for love I ask for your full and abiding presence in me. Practice this when you are not distressed and you will see how natural this becomes in the way you interact with others. And you will find that a new peace and tranquility abide within. You will find that the approaching storm will roll over you to leave you unscathed. And you will have stilled the storm within.


For a musical reflection on Peace! Be Stillby Seward, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DSYtYdjsbA

Find your former self in Seward’s painting . . . look for your new self in Christ.

For a reflection on fear, click on the image above or visit: http://www.shellyduffer.com/tag/jesus-calms-the-storm/

Enter the word storm into the blog search bar, think about how we react to crisis or strife, and decide to hand over the storm within to the one who calms all storms.

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Psalm 21: Assertiontell the storm

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Life’s problems are too complicated for us to unravel, our enemies are too numerous to number and as an answer to our frequent question asking God what are to do, we might read, reflect on and pray Psalm 21. This song teaches us how we might assert ourselves in the following loving ways – – – we petition God with our woes and worries, we give thanks where we are able, we do what we can, we watch and wait on the Lord . . . and we sing words of praise to our God . . . Arise, Lord in your power! We will sing and chant the praise of your might. 

In praying this psalm, we express our assurance that God will deliver us, and we remind ourselves that we are not in control of outcomes, nor do we know how any particular outcome will domino through our individual and communal lives.  What we do know when we pray this psalm is this: God will not abandon the faithful, and eventually – and under God’s direction – our enemies will come to understand how their actions have harmed others. Fr. Paul Coutinho writes of this when he describes how anger can take hold of us in his book, HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD?

Anger is a ridiculous emotion. Think about it. The people I am angriest with are usually having a good time. They seem to be blessed more and more by life. I believe that God will punish them eventually, but their lives only get better. I try to convince myself that that God is taking them high up in life only so that they may have a great fall. And yet nothing like this ever happens. The only one who suffers from my anger is me. Additionally, I become more ridiculous in my anger. I think about this person I am angry at when I wake up, and I feel his or her presence at the breakfast table. I leave my breakfast unfinished and rush off to my workplace, and this person’s presence, my angry idea of him or her, follows me there. I may inflict this angry feeling onto my co-workers or even my friends or clients. If I decide to go to the movies that evening, I find that person I am angry with sitting right next to me, and half the movie is over and I have not been able to follow the story. And then, of course, I bring this person to bed with me, and I toss and turn the whole night, feeling his or her presence in my own bed. See how ridiculous anger is?  And maybe, just maybe, the thing I am most upset about in another is something I have not reconciled within myself.  (Coutinho 136-137)

Fr. Coutinho suggests that there is an alternative to anger. We might pause, reflect and respond. And our response can be one of love for the other. Coutinho recommends that we love a person to goodness, or – as my mother always said – we kill them with kindness. This kind of assertive behavior leaves the doors of communication open, offers an alternative to anger, and might also help preserve friendships or even develop new ones.  (Coutinho 138) This thinking reminds me of the advice my father always gave us – we do what we are supposed to do, and then we step back and let God worry about the other guy. 

coutinho Big is GodIn today’s Noontime, the psalmist puts human anger into God’s hands and decides to watch the outcome, imagining God exacting a just punishment. Today we decide to go beyond this thinking to pray this psalm with a new assertion. An assertion that directs us to place the intricacies of our problems where they rightly belong . . . in God’s able hands.


Adapted from a reflection written on February 15, 2010.

As a Lenten activity, watch Paul Coutinho, S.J. for a positive, humorous, uplifting view about God and anger at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozevDJf9q9U

Fr. Paul Coutinho, HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD? Loyola Press, 2010.

Image from: http://indulgy.com/post/pkrr70ZTH1/dont-tell-god-how-big-your-storm-is-tell-th

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John 2:13-25: Cleansing the Temple 

El Greco: Christ Cleasning the Temple

El Greco: Christ Cleansing the Temple

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

In today’s Gospel we hear that Jesus made a whip out of cords and then used it to drive moneychangers out of a sacred place of worship. As we read Jesus’ words, we might consider how we have cluttered our hearts with sacrifices that mean little or with the bargains we hope to exact from a loving God.

Take these [doves] out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.

As we read Jesus’ words we might consider our willingness to give over the false temples we have constructed to the cleansing, healing hands of Christ.

Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.

As we read John’s words we might consider God’s great generosity and mercy.

Many began to believe in [Jesus’] name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.

As we read John’s words we might consider how we might begin to cleanse our hearts and minds, and how we might willingly offer them up for destruction.


Learn about Regina at the Women for Women site

Learn about Regina at the Women for Women site

Study El Greco’s rendering of Christ Cleansing the Temple above, then explore the sites below and determine if there is an appropriate action we might take toward removing the marketplace from our temples and releasing the captive doves.

Women for Women: http://www.womenforwomen.org/

Women in Black: http://womeninblack.org/

Read about Las madres de la Plaza de Mayo documentary at: http://www.nytimes.com/movies/movie/227561/Las-Madres-The-Mothers-of-Plaza-de-Mayo/overview

Watch the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo documentary trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jTxfPz3_rw

 

 

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