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Posts Tagged ‘ACts’


Psalm 96: God of the Universe

Easter Thursday, April 25, 2019

A re-post from Easter Week 2012.

From commentary: “A hymn inviting all humanity to praise the glories of Israel’s God (1-3), who is the sole God (4-6).  To the just ruler of all belongs worship (7-10), even inanimate creation is to offer praise (11-13).  This psalm has numerous verbal and thematic contacts with Isaiah 44-55, as does Psalm 98.  Another version of the Psalm is 1 Chronicles 16, 23-33”. (Senior 712)

During the Easter Octave the entire universe confirms that God is great, God is good.  On this third day of Easter we will want to join our voice with all other voices in creation.   The Psalms give us a special way to praise God and from the earliest days of the Church this pattern of public, daily prayer was established. We read the Book of Acts frequently during Eastertide as it tells us of the passion and awe the disciples felt as they began to understand the inversions in the resurrection story and the implications it had for God’s entire creation.  In these verses we frequently hear that the disciples, inculcated in Jewish life, moved in a cycle of prayer.  For example, we read: Now Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o’clock prayer. (Acts 3:1

The Psalms played an important part in these prayers and centuries later the Christian Liturgy of the Hours continues to call both clergy and lay with these old patterns.  Today, as we move through the Easter Octave celebrating the miracle of Easter, let us investigate these Psalms from a long-ago time that still have very modern application.  These hymns of sorrow, praise, thanksgiving and petition are formed by ancient people but embody modern hope.  They are songs of acclaim and appeal, great sadness and un-bounding joy.  They are sacred poems traveling through time that together tell the marvelous story of our deliverance at God’s hand, and the limitless love that this God of the Universe has for us.


You may want to take some time today to read more about The Psalms on this blog at: www.thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/psalms-the-praises/, or Acts at:

Image from: http://tourinord.com/

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.712. Print.   

For a wonderfully accessible explanation of the Liturgy of the Hours and for a version that has universal appeal, look for the series by Tickle, Phyllis published by Doubleday. 

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Exodus 36-38The Altar of Our Lives

Friday, December 28, 2018

At this harvest time of year when we gather to give thanks for all that we are and all that we have, let us consider our thoughts, words,and deeds in light of the Hebrews’ desert experience and in gratitude for the fulfillment of God’s best hope in us.

Written on November 16, 2008 and posted today as Favorite . . .

The Israelites were faithful to Yahweh in constructing a residence for their one true God, and this one God Yahweh – who tolerated no other gods before him – was faithful in accompanying his people to guide and protect them.  Today’s reading describes the detail the Israelites followed in order to provide the appropriate altars, veil, table, ark and lampstand.  The chapters preceding these describe the collection of materials and artisans.  The chapters following these describe the vestments, and dwelling . . . and how Yahweh settles into his home on earth among the human race.

El Greco: Christ Cleansing the Temple

In the New Testament story, Jesus comes to earth to be the new high priest . . . and to construct a new temple in place of the former one.  He also calls his artisans and gathers his materials . . . his original apostles and disciples . . . and all those apostles and disciples who have heard his story . . . and who have acted in faith to join this story.  He also settles into his home on earth . . . in the hearts, bodies and minds of all those who follow him today and all days.

In Acts we read about the coming of the Holy Spirit settling upon the original apostles in flames of fire.  The Spirit still settles upon and in those who join with Christ in his mystical body to become living stones in the new living temple of Yahweh.

The Hermitage of San Girolamo, Italy

We are creatures seeking the God who created us, the God who walks with us, the God who abides with us.  We are formed for worship and for joy.  Each day at our rising, each noon at our pausing, each night at our entering into the world of dreams and sleep we have a new opportunity to refurbish our temple . . . to keep it always a pleasing place of adoration . . . a place where our souls sing in communion with others who wish to walk and live in this liminal space of love and peace, mystery and serenity.

What does our God require of us?  This is no mystery.  He does not require holocausts or sacrifice.  He does not require incense morning, noon and night.  But this is what he requires: that we do what is right, love goodness, and walk humbly with our God.  (Micah 6:8

Let us offer our sacrifices of fear, anxiety, pain and anger on the altar of our lives.  Let us do what is right; let us love goodness; and let us walk humbly as we work at the building of God’s temple with the surrender of our lives.

John Pettie (1884):Fixing the Site of an Early Christian Altar


A re-post from November 25, 2011.

Images from: http://www.oceansbridge.com/oil-paintings/product/73395/fixingthesiteofanearlychristianaltar1884 and http://taniarubimenglish.blogspot.com/2011/02/bible-trivia-furniture-of-tabernacle.html and http://www.journeywithjesus.net/Essays/20060313JJ.shtml and https://thenoontimes.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/cucco711.jpg

A good website for information concerning the Hebrew temple furnishings.  http://taniarubimenglish.blogspot.com/2011/02/bible-trivia-furniture-of-tabernacle.html

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Luke 24:36-49Jesus Appears to the Eleven

Monday, November 20, 2018

We are accustomed to hearing the story of “The Road to Emmaus” which immediately precedes this citation, when Jesus appeared “to two of them,” meaning some of Jesus’ disciples – Luke is not clear about who these two are – “were conversing and arguing together” about Jesus’ death and what it meant for them.  Jesus accompanies these two and it is only at the breaking of the bread that they recognize him – at which point “he vanished from their sight.”  Yes, this is the story we know so well.  It describes those of us who are so often in Jesus’ company but do not know it because we are so concerned with our daily obstacles.

Now look at the ending story with which Luke transitions to the second book of his Gospel, ACTS.  Here we see Jesus again appear to his followers, but look at how this story differs.  I wonder why we do not spend more time with it.

Jesus’ first words are of comfort because the apostles – like ourselves if we were to see a person in full flesh whom we knew had died – think they have “seen a spirit”.  In this encounter with his disciples, rather than instruct them on the wisdom and accuracy of the prophets, Jesus comforts them and shares a meal with them to demonstrate that he has indeed returned.  Jesus does for these men and women what he constantly does for us, “he opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures” . . . because the Scriptures are The Word of God just as Christ himself is the Word of God.

If we will only let Jesus in when he knocks at the door we, like the apostles on the road to Emmaus, might well say, “Oh how our hearts were burning!”  And our hearts may burn each day as we spend some time with the Written Word to better see the Living Word who approaches us each day in so many ways.  All of this might be revealed . . . if we might only trust Christ as the Eleven did.

Caravaggio: The Incredulity of Saint Thomas


A re-post from October 18, 2011. Today is Saint Luke’s feast day.  In his Gospel and in Acts he tells us a story that brings us hope.  He reminds us that we are not lost and that we are loved.  He takes us on a journey of faith in which he describes the events around Jesus’ life in such a way that we – like the eleven – are filled with wonder. Luke also gives us the courage to turn to others to tell our own story of rescue and redemption. As we read and reflect on Luke, we join him in the telling of the miracle of God’s compassion for us. This God who loves us so much . . . that he constantly appears among us.  We have only to open our eyes and look for him.

Images from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doubting_Thomas, http://godswordtooyou.wordpress.com/2009/04/ and http://brookiecookies.blogspot.com/2011/04/blog-post.html

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1 Kings 1: Power Changes Hands

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

As Easter approaches, and as we witness the swirling tides of power grow and collapse around us, we remember this reflection from March 14, 2008; and we remember that we are children of God, living with God’s loving promise.

This is a story or power ebbing and rising.  It is also a story of corruption, convolution and byzantine conniving.  And it is also the story of God’s providence, God’s openness to the impossible being possible, and God’s awesome ability to turn all harm to good.  Just reading the first chapter of this book gives us a sliver of our history as Yahweh’s people.  It can even give us a context for the corruption in our church structure today.  We know who we are as God’s children: we are created, we are loved, we are longed for, we are anointed, we are blessed, we are saved, we dance an intimate dance with our God.  The greater question for us may be: Who am I in God’s creation? 

Sometimes these answers are more difficult to live with. If we believe, for example, in the sanctity of life, we must also believe that torture is an unjust way of interrogating people. If we believe that the Christ is present in the world today through us, we are still all God’s children, even if we cannot all agree about all of the details of an issue.

When we read about the people in these historical books, we come away with the assurance that no matter the era or epoch, we are all God’s people under the same skin.  We all err.  We all have the opportunity for redemption.  We may all make reparation.  We may all forgive and be forgiven.  We are all God’s children.

When we read ACTS OF THE APOSTLES to remind myself of the many struggles which the early Church had during its formation, we can see clearly the presence of the Holy Spirit, God’s nurturing, abiding presence hovering constantly around these early apostles.  We see power transferring from the Pharisees and their separatist thinking to the apostles and their universal salvation thinking.  And even among the early Christians there was dissent: the necessity of circumcision, the need for baptism by the spirit, and so on.  The Holy Spirit shepherded these people . . . and shepherds us today.

In both the Old and New Testaments we read of the human qualities of contrivance, deceit and falsehood . . . and we also read of honesty and redemption.  Nathan, Bathsheba, Adonijah, Solomon, Zadok are all characters in this tale from long ago . . . and they are the people we see before us on the television screen each evening when we tune in to hear the day’s news.  When we watch these people of then . . . or of today . . . how do we see ourselves responding?  How do we witness to The Word?  How do we react as children of God?

We might ponder these things tonight in our evening prayer.

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