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Posts Tagged ‘anger’


Ephesians 4:25-32: A Clean Break

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Friends advise us: Just make a clean break. Go cold turkey. Say no. Walk away. These words are easily heard and just as easily ignored for it is so difficult to break away from habits that feel so comfortable and people who are so predictable . . . despite the fact that these people and circumstances bring us pain. We listen – as did the Ephesians – to Paul’s advice. From THE MESSAGE:

No more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

We tell ourselves to remain calm, to go with the flow. Paul has other words for us.

Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life

We convince ourselves that we harm no one if we remain in a dishonest relationship. Paul tells us differently.

Did you used to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work.

We say to one another that our anger is justified. Paul reminds us that there is another way.

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

We believe that we are disconnected, abandoned, neglected or forgotten. Paul tells us otherwise.

holy spirit dove in flightDon’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

In the end, Paul tells us, a clean break is better than a rotting connection.

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

 When we compare this translation with others, we find new meaning in old words.

Tomorrow, God’s shepherding love. 


Images from: https://www.thehealingcentervegas.com/blog/the20-secondruleandhabits and http://thesurprisinggodblog.gci.org/2012/12/does-everyone-have-holy-spirit.html

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Matthew 5:20-25: Murder


Matthew 5:20-25: Murder

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Murder is more than a snuffing out of life, it is the destruction of a hope for potential. Today Jesus tells us that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Jesus cautions us to take care with our words: Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.

Our actions, words and thoughts have the power to bring death or life, so what is the advice that Jesus sends us along with his caution? This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. We cannot make peace with God if we do not make peace with our fellow human beings. We cannot become a full and positive member of the kingdom as long as we abuse our mother planet. We cannot hope to find the peace we claim to seek when we hurl words that murder.

Today we reflect on the power of our words and we place hope in the power of our Lenten practice to transform us as we pray: Rather than thinking: “I am misunderstood,” let us think instead, “God is so understanding”.

Tomorrow, knocking on the door. 


Image from: https://mountbm.org/managing-anger-with-gods-word/

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James 3:13-4:10: Envy

Saturday, November 12, 2022envy

“Within this call to conversion, James develops the theme of envy as exemplifying the measure of the world . . . Why is envy so singled out? Because its underlying assumption is that your gain is my loss. This is the opposite of the Spirit of the community, where all gain by anyone’s growth and all rejoice in anyone’s good fortune. Envy causes me to sorrow when another has something I lack. And when life is measured simply in terms of what I possess – ‘I am what I have’ – then for another to have and me to lack is intolerable. Envy drives the acquisitive instinct . . . the step is a short one to conflict, war, and murder, not only between individuals but also between nations . . . It is remarkable that this passage, which alone in the New Testament analyzes the causes of human conflict, should play so little role in moral discussions of war and peace”. (RG 551-552)

God says: James is correct when he tells you that envy is often at the root of your violence and anger. He is also correct when he points out that life in the Spirit means that you feel joy when one of you rejoices and sadness when one of you is in pain. Your friendship with me brings much than consolation; it brings you the ability to see the world as I see it, full of potential for goodness. I resist those who are full of pride in themselves and I nurture those who look for life in me. When you agree to live in The Way you will no longer be envious of others and you will celebrate when any one of you does well because you will understand that all good things come from me. When you are envious of others I am saddened, for your envy tells me that you do not understand my generosity. When you make war against one another I grieve,  for I can see that you do not understand my love. James is bringing my message to you . . . take time with it today.

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


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 551-552. Print.

Image from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-couch/201307/why-women-fear-envy-and-why-we-dont-need

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James 1:19-21: God’s Garden of Love

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends . . . 

What news does James have for us today and how do we proclaim that news to others? How do we see God’s wisdom?

Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.

Wisdom is found in listening more than we speak, in loving more than we despise.

God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.

God’s wisdom is not found in antagonism.

So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage.

God’s truth cannot flow from false virtue or from thoughts that want to hide the light.

In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

God does not live in pride but in the humble belief that we are all flowers in God’s garden of love.

When we compare these verses with other scripture versions we have the opportunity to imagine what sort of flower we might be. Do we prefer shade or sun? Do we grow best in damp soil or dry?  What color bedecks our blossoms? And what good nectar do we produce for the good of the kingdom?

Tomorrow, the importance of doing the word.


Image from: https://www.thespruce.com/flower-garden-paths-4046012

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2 Corinthians 9: God’s Indescribable GiftGenerosity_Header

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

These are St. Paul’s words in today’s reading and we come upon them as we continue to reflect on the mysteries of our relationship with God, and the paradoxical nature of sowing and reaping. Paul writes about service to the holy ones in reference to the collection he has taken up in his far-flung churches, a gathering of funds that will go to the church in Jerusalem to sustain its work and ministers. Today Paul calls us to consider the joy we reap when we serve others, reminding us that the reward is great when our generosity is great.

You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God.

A number of years ago I shared a portion of a poem by Philip Appleman with the Noontime Circle entitled Birthday Card for my Mother. It had been sent to me as part of a birthday greeting from my own daughter at a time my resources were low. Appleman’s words amplify Paul’s when we realize that it is in the very act of giving that we ward off bitterness and anger. It is through the act of giving that we find sustenance, new energy and grace.

You have survived it all,

come through wreckage and triumph hard

at the center but spreading

gentleness around you – nowhere

by your bright hearth has the dust

of bitterness lain unswept;

today, thinking back, thinking ahead

to other birthdays, I lean upon your courage

and sign this card as always,

with love . . .

As we give to others we find that it is we ourselves who are immensely enriched, and that we can in turn pass this blessing on to others. As we give to others we find that bitterness and anger melt away, and that joy and peace arrive in their stead. Let us consider this gift of harvesting as we say with Paul: Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Consider surprising a friend or family member who needs encouragement and send Appleman’s on to them. We need not wait for a birthday to celebrate God’s indescribable gift of generosity.


Adapted from a reflection written on December 9, 2007.

philpapplemanFind a Philip Appleman bio at: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/philip-appleman

For a full version of the poem click on the image to the left.

Philip Appleman, NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (1956-1996), University of Arkansas Press, 1996. 107-108. Print.

Generosity image from: https://weaver1888.com/2020/10/06/generosity-is-a-virtue/ 

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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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Habakkuk 2:3-4: The Delayimpatienceordivineanticipationb1

First Sunday in Lent, March 6, 2022

In this Lenten season, we witness to the presence of Christ in our daily routine. In this time of introspection, we welcome the Spirit into the temple of our hearts. In this time of healing and re-making, we thank God for the gifts of grace and mercy and patience. In this time of transformation, we come to understand the essence of our Lenten delay.

If it delays, wait for it . . .

Like small children, we want all our woes and anxieties resolved within seconds of their borning; like small children we must learn that waiting in joyful anticipation brings the gift of wisdom.

It will surely come . . .

Like energetic teenagers, we easily slip into the thinking that the multiverse holds us at its center; like energetic teenagers we reluctantly admit that our way is not always God’s way.

It will not be late . . .

Like impatient adults, we ask the world to move at our singular command; like impatient adults we come to see that the common good is more valuable in God’s eyes than our individual desire.

The rash one has no integrity . . .

In our Lenten journey we come to understand – if we are open – that God is present in misery just as in joy.

But the just one, because of faith, will live . . .

In our Lenten passage we come to know – if we are open – that God’s delay is part of God’s plan.

As we move through this second full week of Lent, let us take all of our impatience and anxiety, all of our anger and frustration to the one who mends and heals all wounds. And let us – like Jesus – make a willing sacrifice of our waiting as we anticipate in joyful hope God’s fulfillment of our great delay.


Image from: http://vividlife.me/ultimate/6328/impatience-or-divine-anticipation/

Enter the word Habakkuk into the blog search bar to explore other reflections on the wisdom brought to us through the words of this prophet.

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Judges 16: The Strength of Samson

Reubens: Samson and Delilah

Peter Paul Reubens: Samson and Delilah

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Then Delilah said to Samson, “How can you say that you love me when you do not confide in me?”

In this often-told Old Testament story we see how words can be used to deceive and conceal. Words of love can manipulate and destroy as well us build up and restore.

So he took her completely into his confidence and told her, “No razor has touched my head, for I have been consecrated to God from my mother’s womb”.

In this well-told Old Testament story we see how trust and betrayal both tug on the body, mind and soul.  Acts of deceit become preludes to acts of greatness when God is central to our lives.

Delilah had Samson sleep in her lap, and called for a man who shaved off his seven locks or hair. Then she began to mistreat him, for his strength had left him.

In this familiar Old Testament story we see how intimacy and revenge are dichotomous sisters in our modern lives. But always, as in this story, malice is superseded by God’s love.

Samson cried out to the Lord and said, “Oh Lord God, remember me! Strengthen me, O God.

In any array of negative emotion we call on God for strength; and so our fear, anger, and desire for revenge become hope, mercy and love.

Jesus reminds us: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

In this often-told Old Testament story we see how words can be used to deceive and conceal. In this often-told New Testament story we see how words of love can build up and restore. As we journey toward season of Lent and the Easter promise, let us reflect on the actions and words of Samson, Delilah and Jesus. Let us determine the source of our strength; and let us determine who we choose to follow and why.


Image from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Samson_and_Delilah_by_Rubens,_1609.jpg

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je suis charlieSaturday, January 15, 2022

Joy and Habakkuk

Questions

The prophets warn, threaten, exhort, and promise us that God is always present, even though we may not recognize this presence. The Old Testament prophecies foreshadow the good news of the New Testament, and they remind us that no matter our circumstance God’s joy rescues us from sure destruction, Christ’s joy redeems us from our recklessness, and the Spirit’s joy heals us despite the gravity of our wounds.  Today Habakkuk reminds us that too often our ways are not God’s ways.

“For what may be the first time in Israelite literature, a man questions the ways of God, as Habakkuk calls him to account for his government of the world”. God replies that he will send “a chastising rod, Babylon”. And God also replies with divine assurance the faithful will not perish. (Senior 1150)

God says: I know that my plan seems slow to you and I understand your impatience for my ways are not always your ways. My prophets deliver your anger, exasperation, and sorrow to me; and I hear your plaint. My prophets also deliver My Word to you. I walk among you as the man Jesus and although you may not see him he is with you all the same. The anger of Habakkuk has not dissolved . . . and nor has my love. Each time you throw your anger at me I return it to you transformed in and by and through love. I return it to you as the gift of love. Read the words of Habakkuk . . . and bring me your fears and desperation. Bring me your sorrow, your worries and your questions. In return, you have my answer . . . the gifts of my presence, mercy, rescue and love.

In this prophecy, it is difficult to find the joy we hope to experience.  How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you “Violence!” but you do not intervene. (1:2)

In this prophecy, we hear the words that speak to human fear, suffering and frustration with the divine plan. I will stand at my guard post, and station myself upon the rampart, and keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what answer he will give to my complaint”. (2:1)

In this prophecy, we hear the Lord’s reply that we will want to hold close when pain and anxiety set in, when we wonder about the promise of God’s rescue and redemption. The vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. (2:3-4)

In this prophecy, we pray with Habakkuk: God, my Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet swift as those of hinds and enables me to go upon the heights. (3:19)

In this prophecy . . . we have the eternal answers to our unrelenting questions.

Several years ago, after the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices, the nation of France prepared to welcome visitors from around the world to celebrate with joy in the face of enormous anger and grief. To learn more, click on the image above or go to: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/d0cc3eca-9943-11e4-be30-00144feabdc0.html#slide0

Or you want to visit: https://www.britannica.com/event/Charlie-Hebdo-shooting

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 1150. Print.

joyIf 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.

Image from: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/d0cc3eca-9943-11e4-be30-00144feabdc0.html#slide0

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