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Thursday, June 3, 2021

1 John 4:1-6madonna and child and lamb

Belonging – A Reprise

We have studied the opening verses of this chapter before to take a look at how and why and when we belong. We have reflected on true and false teachers and have spent time thinking of how and why and when we acknowledge Christ. Today we consider what it means to fully and wholly belong to Christ.

We have no way of predicting how our belonging to a particular group will change our lives or affect our emotions, but we know for certain that when we belong to Christ our lives are changed irreparably and eternally and always for the better.

We have no way of knowing how our acknowledgement of our membership in a specific organization will change our environment or heal our wounds. But we know for certain that when we acknowledge our union in Christ’s Mystical Body that we are never alone and we are never lost.

We have no way of understanding the effects of Christ’s friendship on our lives, but we understand deeply that without Christ we belong to nothing of any account.

Spend some time today with these verses and compare several versions by clicking on the scripture link above and pondering . . . how and why and when we admit to belonging to Christ.


Visit the Belonging post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/07/04/belonging/

Image from: http://www.vanishingtattoo.com/tds/tattoos_designs_symbols_religious_madonnachild_inspiration.htm


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

1 John 3

presence ofholinessA Prayer for True Children

The Apostle John repeatedly and earnestly calls us to be true children of God. John, the Beloved Apostle who writes a soaring Gospel of hope and light, brings us the constant message that we can do nothing to earn God’s grace – it is a gift already given. John, one who walked and talked and ate with Jesus, reminds us that as true children of God we have the privilege, and the responsibility, to allow our holiness to take us over and to call forth in others that same holiness in God.

From the July 20, 2010 MAGNIFICAT Sunday Day by Day reflection by Fr. Maurice Zundel: Holiness is you who have become the Kingdom of God, it is you divinized by the gift of yourself. Precisely, if we see that this [divine life] is about a Presence, about a person-to-person exchange, if we see that each gesture allows us to be in communion with divine life, we will understand that the eternal is now . . . That is exactly what we must do. There is no question for us waiting until the afternoon. It is now, here . . . That is where God is waiting for you. There lies your eternity, your infinite communion, because each human act, if it is a gift of ourselves, is an act creating eternity. There is nothing else to expect. If you die tonight and your day has been full of God, you will be in eternity because you yourselves will have become eternity . . . God is not someone we speak about, he is someone we breathe, whom we communicate through the atmosphere emanating from ourselves. People around you will feel if you are in constant communion with God. There is not a religious action: it is the whole of life that is religious, the whole life or nothing, I repeat, the whole life or nothing”.  

And so in the presence of God’s holiness we pray for holiness as true children of God.

Holiness is you who have become the Kingdom of God, it is you divinized by the gift of yourself . . . and as children of God this is the kingdom we receive as inheritance.

The eternal is now . . . it is here . . . and as children of God we are presently and will always be integral building blocks in the infinite now.

Each human act, if it is a gift of ourselves, is an act creating eternity . . . and as children of God we are bound eternally to the Father.

God is someone we breathe . . . and as children of God we cannot help but inhale and exhale his love for all creation.

It is the whole of life or nothing . . . and as children of God we are content with living out God through the whole of life, through every moment of life . . . or we are content with nothing.

This relationship is a present reality and also part of the life to come . . . and as children of God we are both gifted and gift.

Holiness is you who have become the Kingdom of God, it is you divinized by the gift of yourself . . . and as true children of God this is the inheritance for which we give praise and thanksgiving to God.  This is the inheritance we pass along to others. Amen.


Adapted from a reflection first written on July 20, 2010.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 20.7 (2010): 33. Print.  

Image from: http://www.lornemitchell.com/?p=1270

For a look inside the theology of Fr. Maurice Zundel, go to: http://books.google.com/books?id=YX5wW8upXgYC&pg=PA7&lpg=PA7&dq=fr+maurice+zundel&source=bl&ots=NfkHQyaeJ-&sig=hoEa1zPgRflfHY6pQOtB6GM1V0k&hl=en&sa=X&ei=leOBU7SuFYnMsQT8_YLAAg&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=fr%20maurice%20zundel&f=false


land of nod

Land of Nod

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

  Genesis 4

Considering Cain and Abel

How do we see the story of Cain and Abel through the lens of Johannine thought? The keeper of flocks contrasted with the tiller of soil. The favored first-born versus the overlooked second. The key to the story, as we are constantly told, lies in verse 3: Through the course of time Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the soil, while Abel, for his part, brought one of the firstlings of his flock.

Cain, the eldest and sower of crops, is described as crestfallen and greatly resentful when God favors the loving offering brought by Abel but God does not leave Cain alone with his anger, fear and envy. God asks Cain why he feels these negative emotions. No reply is recorded from Cain but further words from God are: If you do well, you can hold up your head. God warns Cain of sin and describes it as a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master. As we read this story we hope that Cain can resist the power of envy because we want to resist this green devil ourselves; yet we know the story too well. Cain goes out to speak with Abel and unable to resist the skills of the demon, he kills his brother. Several verses later Cain asks God to allow him to be killed as he wanders the earth but God refuses this request. So Cain finally settles east of Eden in the land of nomads, Nod.

When we consider this story through the perspective of the writings of the Apostle John, we might spend time today considering three points.

God is honest with both Cain and Abel, acknowledging Abel’s true love of God and Cain’s more egocentric self. God does not pamper us by avoiding the truth. We see this same honesty in Jesus as John tells the story of the woman caught in adultery. (John 8:1-11)

God does not abandon Cain in his sadness and grief. He abides with him, yet continues to present him with truth. God allows Cain the freedom to choose his own path. We see this same fidelity in Jesus when John retells his words about the Good Shepherd. (John 10:1-21)

God does not create an easy exit for Cain but rather allows him to experience the consequence of listening to the demon who lurks at the door. God offers Cain transformation through suffering. We see this same love in Jesus with every story John tells of the Resurrected Christ. (John 20 and 21)

And we also experience this same love from Jesus each day of our lives when, as true children of God, we take our cares and worries, our joys and delights to God.

Tomorrow, considering holiness and a prayer for true children.


Image from: http://thesestonewalls.com/gordon-macrae/in-the-land-of-nod-east-of-eden/


God's love language stewardshipMonday, May 31, 2021

1 John 3

True Children

“The greatest sign of God’s love is the gift of his Son (Jn 3, 16) that has made Christians true children of God. This relationship is a present reality and also part of the life to come; true knowledge of God will ultimately be gained, and Christians prepare themselves now by virtuous lives in imitation of the Son . . . Love, even to the point of self-sacrifice, is the point of the commandment [verses 11-18]. The story of Cain and Abel . . . presents the rivalry of two brothers, in a contrast of evil and righteousness, where envy led to murder. For Christians, proof of deliverance is love toward others, after the example of Christ. This includes concrete acts of charity, out of our material gain . . . Living a life of faith in Jesus and of Christian love assures us of abiding in God no matter what our feelings may at times tell us. Our obedience gives us confidence in prayer and trust in God’s judgment. This obedience includes our belief in Christ and love for one another”. (Senior 390-391)

Daniele_Crespi_-_Cain_Killing_Abel_-_WGA5743

Daniele Crespi: Cain Killing Abel

Knowledge of God leading to virtuous lives. Concrete acts of charity from our material gain. A life of faith in Christ. Confidence in prayer and trust in God. We have spent several days with the third chapter of John’s first letter and we might pause today to consider . . . what have we learned? What might we have changed in our relationships?

When someone new joins our work or play community, do they see us as holy? If someone new arrives at our place of worship, do they see us as authentic and genuine? Do they see us as brothers and sisters who support one another rather than envy? Do our actions indicate that we know we have been released from bondage? Do our deeds say that we are grateful for all that we have and that we covet nothing, envy no one? Do others see us supporting one another out of our material gain and spiritual gifts? Do others hope to be one with us as children of the Living God and as building blocks of The Kingdom? Do they see us as true children of God?

Tomorrow, considering Cain and Abel.


Adapted from a reflection first written on July 20, 2010.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.390-391. Print.

Images from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Daniele_Crespi_-_Cain_Killing_Abel_-_WGA5743.jpg and https://everythingiswhatyoumakeit.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/all-you-need-is-heart/book-pages-heart/

 


little and big handsTrinity Sunday, May 30, 2021

1 John 3:19-24

Confidence Before God

Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth . . .

Now this is how we shall know that we walk in Christ’s footsteps . . . when we show confidence as we do God’s work.

God is greater than our hearts and knows everything . . .

This is how we know that God guides us . . . when we show confidence in God’s plan.

We have confidence in God . . . and we do what pleases God . . .

This is how we know that we live in God’s plan . . . when we find serenity.

We will believe in the name of God’s son, Jesus Christ . . .

This is how we bring serenity to others . . . when we give all to God.

We will love one another as Jesus asked us . . .

This is how we are able to love our enemies . . . when we rest in God’s Spirit.

Those who keep this commandment of love remain in Christ . . . and Christ in them . . .

This is how we find peace in turmoil . . . when we allow Jesus to make a way for us.

The way we know that Christ remains in us is from the Spirit that he gave us . . .

This is how we know we have confidence before God . . . when we fully and totally and faithfully trust God.


Read Luke 17:5-10 and consider Jesus’ words to us as he describes faith and the attitude of a servant.  For a reflection on this citation, click on the image above or go to: http://frvlad.blogspot.com/2013/10/trust-and-confidence-in-god.html

Using the scripture link above, study several versions of these verses and reflect on how or if or when we have confidence before God.


Let us loveSaturday, May 29, 2021

1 John 3:11-18

From the Beginning

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another . . .

For this is the message we carry into the world: we must love one another, even – or perhaps especially – our enemies.

Do not be amazed, then, if the world hates you . . .

We are not amazed, then, when the world condemns us.

Whoever does not love remains in death . . .

Whoever loves those who hate him remains in life eternally.

The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers . . .

The way we come to know love is to enact it. The way we come to know hope is to give it.

Children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and truth . . .

Sisters and brothers, let us not love in what we say but in what we do.

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another . . .

Spend some time today with the four selected versions of this citation in the scripture link above. Choose another version from the drop down menus and ponder what we have heard from the beginning, what we know, and how we enact God’s love in the world.


Image from: http://www.annarborrehab.com/


weeds and wheatFriday, May 28, 2014

1 John 3:4-10

The Weeds and the Wheat

Today we hear some difficult words that we must not take too casually or too harshly. Today we are given the opportunity to heal rifts and bridge gaps in our relationships. Today we have the opportunity to turn away from judging one another and to turn toward loving one another . . . even our enemies.

It is of paramount importance to read these verses carefully lest we use them as a club against one another.

The Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil.

It is imperative to enact these words with love lest we convince ourselves too quickly that it is our responsibility to see that no one breaks any rules.

No one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God.

It is essential for our eternal well-being that we see these words as a license to forgive with deep compassion.

No one who fails to love his brother belongs to God.

It is vital for our own serenity that we allow these words to transform any small-mindedness we might harbor, so that we become passionate in our love for the universal Christ that lives in each of us.

In Jesus’ Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13:24-30) we realize that each of God’s children is a field of wheat and weeds that God patiently tends as we grow, knowing that the weeds will be sifted from the wheat when the harvest time arrives. Therefore, rather than judge or condemn ourselves or our fellow pilgrims, let us do as John asks and love each of our sisters and brothers into goodness just as Christ loves each and every one of us into goodness.


While thinking of these verses, click on the scripture link above and study the four pre-select versions of this citation. Choose another version and read these words again and reflect on the opportunity to love that John brings to us.

Image from: http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2013/october/subversive-kingdom-parable-of-wheat-and-weeds.html?paging=off


Thursday, May 27, 2021

1 John 3:1-3

1 johnSee What Love

See what love the father has bestowed on us that we might be called the children of God.

We need say nothing more about our relationship with God. We are God’s children.

The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know God.

We need write nothing but that God loves each of us dearly. We are God’s children.

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.

We need not expend energy worrying or tears crying about what the creator may or may not think of us. We are God’s children.

Everyone who has this hope based on God makes himself pure, as God is pure.

Today, click on the scripture link above and study the four pre-select versions of this citation while thinking of these statements. Choose another version and read these simple yet hope-filled verses again and reflect on the amazing truth John brings to us . . .

See what love the father has bestowed on us that we might be called the children of God.


Image from: http://imgracemadewoman.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/bible-quotes-1-john-3/1-john-1-3-niv-wallpaper/


Ary Scheffer: Saint Augustin and Saint MOnica

Ary Scheffer: Saint Augustin and Saint Monica

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

John 14

A Prayer for Our Days and Nights

Perhaps because our circadian clock plays a quiet but powerful role in our lives we are subtly convinced that the universe is a mystery of black and white principles and forces. Perhaps because we see so much duality in others we are convinced that God punishes or saves depending on our behavior. Perhaps because we divide our lives between forces of good and evil, our perceptions between dark and light and our hours between day and night . . . we see God as something or someone we must seek. Perhaps because of all of this . . . we believe that seeking God means leaving what we know to journey toward what we do not.

St. Augustine of Hippo writes: Don’t go looking for any end beside God, in case by looking for an end beside God, you find yourself being consumed, not completed. (Cameron 277)

St. Augustine lived a life of dissipation in an era when the Greek and Judeo-Christian worlds were merging. He eventually changed his way of living and thinking to become an early leader in the Western Christian Church and to merge the worlds of day and night for himself and others.

In Chapter 14 of his Gospel, St. John records Christ’s words at the Last Supper in which we hear the dialog between Jesus and his followers. Spend some time with it today and consider the world of black and white that we have constructed for ourselves. Consider what it is we would do well to change. And as the day comes to a close and begins to merge into night, join those in the Noontime Circle to pray.

Loving God, protect us from consuming ourselves as we fight against a world that struggles to reconcile darkness and light. Teach us to complete ourselves in you so that we might learn to live in a world that has both nights and days.

For those who convince themselves and others that creation divides itself into worlds of evil and good we pray: allow us to understand that God is every thing and every person.

For those who believe that God’s grace and blessing are earned and not given, we pray: allow us to learn that God’s compassion and love are gifts freely given.

For those who tell themselves and others that our task on earth is to find God while we live safely and comfortably without risking ourselves for others, we pray: allow us to see that we are complete in God when we allow ourselves to be consumed for and in God,

For those who understand Jesus’ words: I am the way and the truth and the life: inspire them to help others to see The Way of days and nights.

For those who live Jesus’ words: No one comes to the Father except through me: encourage them to bring the wisdom of a world of days and nights to others.

For those who enact Jesus’ words: If you know me then you will also know the Father: strengthen them as they bring Christ’s love to all who live in a divided world of days and nights. Amen.


Visit the scripture John Chapter 14 link above and read the versions that have been pre-selected. Choose another version and consider how we might live on a world where dark and light co-exist without consuming us, where the coming together of nights and days become a force in our transformation.

St. Augustine’s citation from SERMONS and cited Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 18.5 (2014): 277. Print.  

For more information on circadian and biological clocks, visit the NIH (U.S. National Institutes of Health) at: http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx

For more about St. Augustine and the divergent worlds his life helped to merge, visit the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/augustine/

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scheffer_Saint_Augustine_and_Saint_Monica.jpg

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