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Posts Tagged ‘angels’


Matthew 2:13-15: A Time to Flee

Monday, January 8, 2018

When is it appropriate to flee rather than witness?  When do we step away from injustice rather than challenge it?

After [the Magi] had left, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Herod will be looking for the child in order to kill him. So get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you to leave.” (GNT)

Commentary tells us that, “Egypt was a place of refuge for those fleeing from danger in Palestine (see 1 Kgs 11, 40, Jer 26, 21), but the main reason the child is to be taken to Egypt is that he may relive the Exodus experience of Israel”. (Senior 9)

The Holy Family become refugees in a world of turmoil. A world that persists in tumult today. Seeking shelter, much like their Hebrew ancestors, Mary, Joseph and the child Jesus understand that it is time to seek sanctuary.

Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left during the night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod died. This was done to make come true what the Lord had said through the prophet, “I called my Son out of Egypt.” (GNT)

Leaving during the night . . .

The act of slipping away in the darkness tells us that Joseph and Mary understood the gravity of the threat. They know that although they have shepherded light into a shadowy world, and despite their belief that God’s light pierces those shadows, they must also act in prudence. They must listen to the voice of God that comes to them through the angel.

“I called my Son out of Egypt . . .”

Jesus re-experiences the exodus journey of his people, showing us that if his family trusts God enough to step away from evil, then so must we.

Stay there until I tell you to leave . . .”

Today we reflect on the flight of The Holy Family to hear what it has to say to us

After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.” (MSG)

Are we open to the angels who bring us God’s word?

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.” (MSG)

Do we obey the call of God’s voice?

He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness . . .

Are we willing to take flight from injustice?

Stay until further notice . . .

And are we prepared to return when God calls us?

When we use the scripture links to read varying translations of these verses, we open our hearts to the messages of angels.

Gentile da Fabriano: Flight Into Eygpt

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.9. Print.

For a chronology of Jesus’ life, click on the map above, or visit: http://www.bible-history.com/Chart_Jesus_Chronology/

For a reflection connecting this reading with the plight of refugees, visit the Flight Noontime at: https://thenoontimes.com/2011/10/24/flight/

 

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Acts 12:1-19: No Small Commotion

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Mattia Preti: Saint Peter Freed

Spending time with Peter’s sermons, we find that, filled with the Spirit, he raises his voice. We find that step-by-step, and trusting God’s voice, he delivers the message of Good News. And as if to prove that God loves us with great power and fidelity, God releases the faithful servant from prison. We read the miracle of Peter’s escape from prison and ask ourselves . . . Why do we so often doubt that God can do great things for us?

Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his wrists. 

We read the miracle of Peter’s escape from prison and ask ourselves . . . Why do we so often doubt that God releases us from the chains that bind our lives?

The angel said to him, “Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.” He did so. Then he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.”

We read the miracle of Peter’s escape from prison and ask ourselves . . . Why do we so often fear following the angels God sends to us?

Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel’s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision.

We read the miracle of Peter’s escape from prison and ask ourselves . . . Why do we so often ascribe God’s intercession to coincidental circumstances?

After they had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left him.

We read the miracle of Peter’s escape from prison and ask ourselves . . . Why do we so often balk at moving through the doors and gates God opens for us?

When morning came, there was no small commotion among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 

We read the miracle of Peter’s escape from prison and ask ourselves . . . Why do we so often deny the commotion that takes place in our lives when God intercedes for us?

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to explore this sermon, we allow ourselves to consider the small and great commotions God makes in our lives. And we determine to share the Good News of our redemption with the world.

For another reflection on Peter’s miraculous deliverance from prison, visit the Suddenly post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/01/07/suddenly/

 

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John 20:11-18: Turning Again

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

James Tissot: Mary Magdalene and the Holy Women at the Tomb

In this second week of Eastertide, we spend time with the Gospels of the Easter Octave, the eight days comprising the celebration of Easter. On day three, Easter Tuesday, we heard John’s account of the discovery of the empty tomb. Today we focus on a few details that bring this story alive. First, we chose a translation that speaks to us most clearly, and then we reflect. Today’s verses are from the USCCB site. (This link also contains an audio version.) We may find other versions by using the scripture link and drop-down menus.

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been.

When harsh realities challenge our beliefs and foundation, we mourn our loss, question all that we thought certain, and doubt the facts before us. Do we also look for the angels who move with us through our days? Do we offer our suffering as a sign of our trust in God? Do we fall back on the familiar or move forward in hope?

[Mary] turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus.

Anger and fear, confidence and mercy. In times of deep stress, the primal parts of our brain take over and we instinctively collapse into familiar patterns of flight and denial, aggression and accusation. Might we practice the art of relying on the positive influences in our lives? When we feel panic and worry taking over, might we remind ourselves to look for Jesus who stands before us . . . even when we do not recognize him?

She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.

James Tissot: The Women at Jesus’ Tomb

Our pastor last week, in his morning homily, asked a question we may have been asking ourselves when we look at the detail John provides us. If Mary has already turned away from the empty tomb to look at the man she thinks is the gardener, why does she turn again? And how? When we reflect on these verses, we begin to understand that the second turning is toward a newness in perspective. Mary allows herself to see that the gardener is, in fact, Jesus. Might we follow her example to open our eyes and ears in a new way? Might we have full confidence in the promise of the Christ?

Today we spend time with John’s story of the conversion of Mary at the tomb, and all that followed in the baffling commotion of distrust touched with intense conviction and enduring love. As we read this account today, let us see if we are able to move beyond our anxieties for the world, with the joyful turning of Mary Magdalene.

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Luke 1-2: Behold the Christ

Antonio Baletsra:

The Nativity – detail

Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, 2016

In this final week of Advent, let us decide to make our hopes tangible, our dreams a prayer for our reality, our faith unwavering and our love secure. Let us cleave to the Creator, follow the Redeemer and rest in the Spirit. This week let us give one another the gift of preparing for the very real promise of eternity.

The high priest Zechariah learns patience so that he might behold Emmanuel, God Among Us. While he awaits the birth of his only child who will become the announcer and baptizer of the Christ, he waits in patient hope until the day his speech returns.

And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” (Luke 1:20)

The girl Mary learns that God can do the impossible when the angel Gabriel visits her with the astounding news that she will bring the Light of the World to waiting humanity.

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. (Luke 1:31)

Mary learns the astounding news that her elderly cousin Elizabeth has conceived life. An affirmation that with God, all things are possible.

And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. (Luke 1:36)

Mary learns that her confidence in God is rewarded as she responds with her, “Yes,” to God’s invitation to enter into union with all of creation in a most special way.

And Mary said, “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)

Elizabeth learns that her young cousin Mary is the new ark of the new Word. These kinswomen greet one another just as each of us might if we understand God’s message of hope.

For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. (Luke 1:44)

The marginalized shepherds learn the redeeming news that the Messiah has come to live among them as a vulnerable child.

But the angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; (Luke 2:10)

The wise man Simeon learns that his outrageous hope has been rewarded. He has met the Savior of the World, just as God has promised.

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— (Luke 2:34)

The woman Mary learns that this child she must share with world for the redemption of all is fully human and fully divine.

When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” (Luke 2:48)

Each of us is given the opportunity on this Good Night to become apostles of Christ. Each of us might carry Christ within and share him with the world. Each of us truly human and truly divine as our brother Jesus tells us. Each of us is given the gift of this Nochebuena, this wonderful Good Night. Let us rejoice with the shepherds. Let us give our confident “yes” to God’s plan. And let us behold the marvelous gift we hold in our hands.

In the Hispanic culture Christmas Eve bears the title of Nochebuena. Read more about this custom at: http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/spain.shtml

These verses are taken from the NASB translation of Luke. Other versions open this story so that our ears might hear, our eyes might see, and our hearts might open wide to welcome Christ into our lives in a very real, very human, very divine way.

adoratio

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Luke 22:39-44: The Garden of Olives

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Jesus and the Angel in Gethsemane

Jesus and the Angel in Gethsemane

When we believe that we are alone with our suffering, we need only remember the presence of God’s angels about us. When we search for images of angels on the internet we are met with a wide range. Today as we choose those that speak to us and read about Jesus in Gethsemane we remember . . . we are never alone.

We might choose another versions of this part of Jesus’ story. Mark 14:32-42 and Matthew 26:36-46.

To learn more about this painting, click on the image. To suggest other images we might enjoy seeing, enter the painter and the name of the work as a the comment to this post. This week we pause to read scripture and to pray and reflect at noon, keeping those in The Noontime Circle in mid-day prayer. You may want to click on the Connecting at Noon page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/connecting-at-noon/ Or you may want to follow a series of brief posts that begins today, inspired by paintings of the life of Jesus Christ  that can be found at: http://www.jesus-story.net/painting_family.htm In these posts, we will have the opportunity to reflect on a scripture verse and an artist’s rendition of that event. Wishing you grace and love and peace in Christ Jesus.

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Hebrews 13: Pleasing God

Tuesday, April 12, 2016Angels-Artwork-Christmas

The writer of this letter has so much common-sense advice for us.

Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it!  (verses 1-2)

The writer of this letter has so much good news for us.

Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. (verse 5)

The writer of this letter has solid cautions for us.

Don’t be lured away from Jesus by the latest speculations about him. The grace of Christ is the only good ground for life. Products named after Christ don’t seem to do much for those who buy them. (verse 9)

The writer of this letter has practical advice for us.

Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. (verse 16)

The writer of this letter opens up God’s vision for us.

Friends, please take what I’ve written most seriously. I’ve kept this as brief as possible; I haven’t piled on a lot of extras. (verse 22)

The writer of this letter reminds us of all that is important.

shlach_lecha_640x360Grace be with you, every one. (Verse 25)

The writer of this letter deserves a bit of our time today as he tells us how easy it is to please our loving God. When we use the scripture link to compare different translations of these words, we draw closer to God, and we invite waiting angels into our hearts and homes.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

desert in bloomJoel 2:18-27

Blessings for God’s People

I will repay you for the years which the locust has eaten . . . you shall praise the name of the Lord because God has dealt wondrously with you . . .

When we experience loss we believe that our work has been in vain; yet God says: There is nothing lost that cannot be found.  Nothing spent that cannot be restored.  Nothing ruined that cannot be rebuilt.  I am the great restorer. It is not true that the work you have given to me as a kingdom-builder can really be destroyed. Nothing done by you in my name is ever erased, and I can call it to life in an instant so do not panic.  Do not be afraid.  I see a vast and complicated plan which you cannot perceive or understand.  When you are troubled about how this plan appears to be ineffective or ridiculous, remember to bring those fears and anxieties to me.  And when you find yourself feeling as though you are alone with nothing and no one to sustain you . . . remember that I am with you always.  Even in the most brutal and hostile of deserts.

After his baptism, the Spirit drove [Jesus] out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.  (Mark 1:12-13)

When we experience our own desert times we too feel surrounded by evil beasts; yet we are accompanied by angels who minister to us.  When we ask God to bring us patience, humility and serenity these gifts will arrive on angels’ wing.  Then will the desert begin to bloom in an extraordinary way; and then will we find that for long, dry days and dark, cold nights we have been sustained by the mystery and miracle of God’s love.

Tomorrow, Blessings In the Desert.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Carlo Dolci: The Angel Gabriel

Carlo Dolci: The Angel Gabriel

Luke 1:18-19

How Shall We Know This?

I am Gabriel who stands before God.  I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.  

Gabriel appears to Daniel (Daniel 9:21), Zechariah (Luke 1:19) and Mary (Luke 1:26) to announce good news from God.  We too want to hear words that lift our hearts as we manage the complexities and challenges of living.

God says: My angels bring you constant messages although they struggle to be heard amid the cacophony of your lives.  If you are able to find a regular quiet time – even if for only a few moments each day – when you will draw apart to open the door of your heart to me, you will feel the presence of my angels.  You will also feel my own presence within you.  How shall you know this?   Only come to me . . . and you will know.

The words of Psalm 138 remind us: I thank you, Lord, with all my heart, you have heard the words of my mouth.  In the presence of the angels I will bless you . . . I thank you for your faithfulness and love  . . . You increased the strength of my soul . . . All earth’s kings shall thank you . . . They shall sing of the Lord’s ways. 

How shall we know that God is great?

St. Paul reminds the Colossians: Be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 

How shall we know?  When we create time for God in our hectic lives, we will come to know.

Enter the word angels into the blog search bar and explore.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

GIMP_Arrogance_Grunge_II_by_Project_GimpBC[1]2 Peter 2:10-13

Bold and Arrogant

Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to revile glorious beings, whereas angels, despite their superior strength and power, do not bring a reviling judgment against them from the Lord.  But these people, like irrational animals . . . revile things they do not understand, and in their destruction they will also be destroyed, suffering wrong as payment for wrongdoing.

As we hear so often in the Peter’s words: We reap what we sow. False teachers are always among us but Jesus is clear in his many parables that wheat is separated from chaff and sheep from goats.  The marvelous quality about God’s love is that God is always willing to forgive us.  The story of the Prodigal Son might also be named the story of the Forgiving Father and we are grateful for this parable of abundantly generous love.

Today, let us spend some time reflecting on who we follow and why.  Let us decipher the words we take as true and why.  What campaigns do we believe?  What newscasts or papers do we follow?  Which of our family, neighbors or friends do we believe over others and why?  Do we pursue comfort or growth?  Do we look for unity or create division?  Do we question to learn or question to make a point?  Are we bold and arrogant and irrational?  Or are we humble and modest and rational?  And why?

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