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Posts Tagged ‘authority’


Sirach 45:1-5: The Old and the New

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Written on January 18 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Moses Pleading With Israel

“Moses manifested God’s power through miracles, God’s authority through the promulgation of the commandments and the law, and God’s mercy through the intimacy granted him by the Lord for his own faithfulness and meekness. The very personification of the old covenant, Moses was also a type of Christ, the Prophet and Legislator of the new.  God’s honor devolved upon him: Moses was actually God’s substitute in dealing with Pharaoh, hence God entrusted his own honor to Moses”. (Senior 867-868)

Power, authority, mercy, intimacy, faithfulness and meekness:

Here is a valuable lesson for us.

The sort of meekness that is the gracious humility shown by Christ is also the meekness that Moses demonstrated.  This meekness leads to faithfulness.

Jesus Teaching in the Temple

The sort of faithfulness that is constant and intentional is the fidelity shown by Christ to the father and to his flock.  This faithfulness leads to intimacy.

The sort of intimacy that shares and does not control is lived by Christ in every story we read about him.  This intimacy leads to mercy.

The sort of mercy that is compassion is personified by Christ.  This mercy leads to authority.

The sort of authority vested in Christ is the same authority we are granted when we follow Christ.  This authority leads to power.

This power is everlasting.  It comes from the father, is explained to us by the prophets, and is lived for us by Christ.

Moses is a personification of the Old Covenant, Jesus is the New.  God entrusts Christ’s honor to those who are meek, merciful and in intimate relationship with him.

Here is a valuable lesson for us.  Let us take it in today . . . and ponder it.


A re-post from November 1, 2011.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.867-868. Print.   

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John 10:1-21The Good Shepherd

Monday, May 14, 2018

This week we explore the manner in which Jesus defines himself, helping us to better understand the importance of his presence in our lives, to better take in the enormity of God’s love for us, and to better open ourselves to the healing power of the Spirit. Today we share this reflection adapted from a Favorite written on August 6, 2007. 

This was the Gospel reading at my mother’s funeral mass – and it is one of my favorite readings.  Perhaps it is yours as well.  There are several verses I like in particular.

With today’s he reference to the gate, we might also think of Jesus as “The Narrow Gate,” the Way by which we might live this life.  Christ’s constant call to forgive and love those who injure us, to always begin again in the Spirit, is heard – sooner or later – by those he calls. Many of us hear this message later, but no matter our circumstances, Christ is always ready to guide us back into the sheepfold.

In this reading, I like the way Jesus explains his own imagery.  We can only imagine how frustrating it must have been for this man to repeat himself in so many ways and have so few truly hear him.  Here we see Jesus as patient and clear, saying that not only does he speak from God the Father’s authority, but that he IS the New Law of Love, fulfilling and superseding the Mosaic Law.

Toward the end of the citation, we see the difference between those who listen and those who truly hear.  Some said he was ‘mad.’  Others said he was not.

When we act in Jesus’ behalf here in this life, when we bloom where we are planted, when we go about the minutiae of our days, when we work at living in the Spirit, some will say we are ‘mad,’ and others will say we are not. When we shepherd as The Good Shepherd does, we will look for Christ’s guidance. And so we pray.

Gentle and Good Jesus and Lord, keep us always mindful of your love for us.  We know that we are “pearls of great price” that you put all else aside to recover from its place of exile.  we know that you are The Gate and The Way, the only True Shepherd.  Keep us mindful of your patience and your perseverance.  Continue to speak to us in that sacred place that each of us knows with you.  Protect us from those who would harm us. Help us to pray for those who injure us. Keep us ever close to you in mind and body and soul as we shepherd one another.  Amen.


Enter the words Good Shepherd into the blog search bar and explore.

Image from: http://bradylanechurch.org/series/i-am-the-good-shepherd/ 

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Matthew 9:32-34: The Mute

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tissot: Jesus heals a Mute Man Possessed by Demons

Tissot: Jesus heals a Mute Man Possessed by Demons

The crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.”

As always, when goodness happens, evil will be lurking nearby, looking for an opportunity to douse the light, hoping that the darkness will take over. When we have no moral compass night and day look the same to us. Truth and lies have no boundaries. Deceit and honesty are difficult to discern. The innocent suffer as the wily take over. But this describes the world in which we live. In the Kingdom, the Beatitudes hold sway . . . the broken-hearted, the poor in spirit, the meek, the hungry, the thirsty, those who mourn and suffer persecution, the merciful, the pure of heart, those reviled in the name of goodness . . . all of these have value.

When we are confused or frustrated by the events around us we might turn to Matthew 5 to the new Rules for the Road that Jesus gives us so clearly. The inversion of values will not make sense to the unscrupulous or greedy, but what do we do when we are up against those who cheat a system meant for good or who look out only for themselves? How do we address such darkness? And must we speak or act when confronted by violence that takes advantage of the innocent?

Today we read about Jesus bring speech to a man who could not speak and we see that the crowds were amazed for never before had they seen such authority used to heal someone afflicted and disadvantaged. Those in power, on the other hand, are alarmed. We know the end of this story as does Jesus; still, he moves forward with his acts of healing, opening eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear. Are we as willing as he is to step into the darkness, bearing the light of The Word?

We are not Jesus, we tell ourselves. We are not expected to interfere with those who hold so much authority and power, we say as we comfort one another, so we will let someone else speak up. But is this the case? Are we – who have the gift of speech and the ability to use it – expected to remain mute in fear and confusion when we have the Beatitudes to guide us? Or might we use the words the Spirit gives us to bring clarity to obfuscation? Might we use our strength in Christ to shed light in the darkness? Might we use the power of Christ’s love, in solidarity with others, to bring about kingdom moments in a world waiting for freedom and honesty?

We have this to ponder today as we compare the translation above with other versions using the scripture link and drop-down menus. 

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Acts 15: Control

Friday, May 6, 2016Jerusalem-Council

In this book which describes the birth of a community, we see how the followers of Christ dissent and argue, come together and unify. They are much like members of any community we might see today. In this reading, church members gather in an effort to both communicate and to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  We witness the concern for what some believe to be a lack of control and what to others appears as micro-management.  We can find ourselves at the office lunch table or coffee pot, at a family or neighborhood gathering to say the same things about our own society.  Who has control over what and why?  Where do we leave room for the Holy Spirit to speak?  Are we falling back on old rules, customs, habits and traditions?  Are we seeking change because we are bored or because it is needed?  Today’s reading can give us a good deal to ponder.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Tower of Babel

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Tower of Babel

In many churches, authority comes not only from the bishops and the hierarchy, but also from the people in the pews; yet sometimes the little voice is overridden by the bigger, more powerful one.  In a family, each generation’s voice must be heard if the large unit is to flourish and give life; yet sometimes the children, the tired and those who are marginalized are ignored.  God’s diversity not only allows for a variety of voices; it requires an array of choice. We have only to look to the story of the Tower of Babel to see why.  (Genesis 11) Humankind survives the great flood yet still has the impression that they are in charge, and so God sends an assortment of languages upon them, causing them to separate and diversify.

Those of us who teach the acquisition of language know that we teach far more than verbs and nouns; we teach a way of thinking and various modes of expression. We teach a way to step out of ourselves and into the shoes of another.  In God’s plan, this rainbow of sound and form is brought back from its prism of variety at the feast of the Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit descends upon the apostles who go out to tell the story of Christ.  The amazing part of the story is that people from differing lands understand what the apostles say.  The people were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?  Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language?”  (Acts 2:7-8) This variety of people hears because the Holy Spirit speaks . . . and it is the presence of the Holy Spirit we must seek when we feel ourselves to be in a circumstance where control or passive aggression are being unjustly exercised – either by others or ourselves.

We might, when we find ourselves in these restricted places, intone the words of Psalm 133.

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!  It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes.  It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.  For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

It is good . . .

Even life for evermore . . .

Amen. 

Adapted from a favorite written on November 3, 2009.

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