Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘betrayal’


Ezekiel 12: Ridicule

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fake Dictionary, definition of the word bullying.

In Acts 26 we see that the people of Caesarea listening to Paul think him mad from too much learning!  Today we see that the prophet wars exacted a toll on those who spoke on God’s behalf.  The HARPER COLLINS COMMENTARY tells us that in chaotic times such as those in the days of the exile, prophets often gave “conflicting messages concerning the way people should react and by predicting different courses for future events.  In times of prophetic conflict, people are likely to question prophetic authority, and prophets often respond to this situation by undergirding their own authority in various ways and by undermining the authority of their prophetic rivals”.  We see the conflict in Ezekiel 12 with false visions or deceitful divinations within the house of Israel.  This calls us to think about the false prophesies or divinations we may have witnessed or passed on.  How do we know a false prophet when we see one?

If we have never placed our faith in those who betray our trust, we might thank God. If we have suffered betrayal, we may become more circumspect in our interactions with others, and we may even discover that our actions become too cautious, too prudent. We must guard against giving in to any temptation to strike back, or to submitting to fear or paranoia. We must be willing to move forward in hope, ignoring any ridicule we suffer, doing the work we are meant to do.

Ridicule is a weapon used expertly by mean girls and bullies.  A recent survey gave us an interesting statistic: upwards of 68% of people who dislike their work do not dislike the actual task they have chosen or been given . . . they dislike the work place . . . because of bullying. We may naïvely believe that most people in most work places have equipped themselves with the necessary tools to defend themselves from haranguing and harassment.

In the U.S. this spring and summer we have seen bold examples of rude behavior and name-calling used to overpower others. This meanness is often described later as “a joke gone bad,” sarcasm or frank speech that is meant to counteract political correctness.

We might look for solutions to bullying but no matter the action we decide to take it is always good to remember to communicate our fears to God. If we do not know where to begin, we might find Psalm 42 helpful: Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.  My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life; when can I enter and see the face of my God? . . . Deep is calling on deep, in the roar of the waters: your torrents and all your waves swept over me . . . With cries that pierce me to the heart, my enemies revile me, saying to me all day long “Where is your God?”  Why are you cast down, my soul, why groan within me?  Hope in God: I will praise him still, my savior and my God.

Where is your God?  Hope in God. We will praise God still.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you looking for?  . . .  Go to my brothers and your brothers and tell them, “I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God”.  (John 20:15)

Where is your God?  Hope in God. We will praise God still.

When bullies approach, as they surely will, we must hope in God to defend us from ridicule. We must rely on God to show us the way to go. And we must praise God still.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. Print.

Adapted from a reflection written on March 25, 2008.

When we compare varying translations of these verses, we open our eyes and ears to God’s wisdom as God shows us how we might confront the ridicule we meet.

For a parent guide to combat bullying, click on the image above or visit: http://wpri.com/parent-resource-guide/bullying-prevention/ 

For an interesting article on workplace bullying, visit the Society for Human Resource Management at: https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/pages/1014-viewpoint-workplace-bullying.aspx

 

Read Full Post »


John 13:31-35: Loving Judas

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Caravaggio: The Taking of Jesus Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss

Caravaggio: The Taking of Jesus
Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss

We have reflected on seeking, finding and recognizing Jesus. We have thought about Jesus as God’s Word in human form among us.  We have explored what God must mean when coming to live with us and one of us and we have been incredulous as we see how God, through Jesus, converts the impossible to the possible. Perhaps we remain incredulous. Today we see Jesus act in a most challenging way . . .

When Judas had left them, Jesus said . . .

We cannot escape betrayal, abandonment, deception or chaos. These disruptive forces must be seen for what they are. When in doubt we might follow Jesus, the one who knows both pain and joy, corruption and peace.

Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I’m telling you: Where I go, you are not able to come.

Jesus does not stop Judas from reporting his whereabouts to the authorities. Instead, he prepares those who love him. When confronted with our own Judas, we might follow Jesus, the one who knows both sorrow and rejoicing, evil and mercy.

Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.

Jesus does not stop us from doing evil. Rather, he calls us to his side, to accompany him as a child follows a loving parent. When lost in our world of ego and self-orientation, we might follow Jesus, the one who knows both cruelty and kindness, hate and love.

When we suffer at the hands of Judas, let us remember to follow Jesus in love.

Compare differing versions of these verses today, and allow God’s Word to bring reconciliation so that we might better love the Judas in our lives. Or enter the words Judas or betrayal into the blog search bar and explore. 

Read Full Post »


John 12:1-11: Anointing in Bethany

Holy Monday, March 21, 2016Mary_Anointing_Jesus__feet

Perhaps it was in deep gratitude that Mary, Lazarus’ sister, uses a jar of expensive aromatic oil to anoint and massage Jesus’ feet when he visits his friends’ home in Bethany. These are the same feet that will be pierced in a short time giving us a sign of Jesus’ deep sacrificial love for each of us. Other omens of the drama to come unfold in these verses: Judas’ betrayal and the plot to do away with Lazarus. As we read and reflect on these verses today, let us consider how Jesus’ great love is met with great betrayal. On this Holy Monday, let us resolve to bring healing and peace to the world – even in the face of great deceit or duplicity – so that in our small way we might perform our own anointing of Jesus’ feet.

Matthew tells the story of Jesus’ anointing in Bethany in the house of Simon, a man who suffers from leprosy. (Matthew 26:6-13)For another Noontime reflection, visit: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/03/11/the-anointing/ March 11, 2013

Today we might also consider the Passover anointing of the faithful before their exodus from Egypt and how it foreshadows Jesus’ anointing in Bethany. For a video message from musician Matt Maher that reflects on the Exodus Passover and the Last Supper,  visithttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN9hroFevrM

Read Full Post »


Matthew 20:17-28: The Chalice

Wednesday, February 24, 2016communion-cup_bread

Salome, the mother of James and John, the Zebedee brothers, asks Jesus to give her sons places of honor in the new kingdom; yet she does not fully understand . . . and so Jesus explains the terrible and beautiful importance of this special cup of blessing.

From Psalm 116 (verses 12-18)

What can I give back to God
    for the blessings the LORD poured out on me?

We are accustomed to asking God for favors. Do we think about giving thanks for our cup of salvation?

I’ll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to God!

We are accustomed to thanking God quietly and privately. Do we think to join our voices with others in praise of God’s goodness?

I’ll pray in the name of God;
I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do,
    and I’ll do it together with God’s people.

We are accustomed to joining in Sabbath prayer and song. Do we think about giving testimony to a broader circle about God’s mercy?

When they arrive at the gates of death,
    God welcomes those who love the LORD.
Oh, God, here I am, your servant,
    your faithful servant: set me free for your service!

bread cupWe are accustomed to approaching each day’s obstacles. Do we think about serving God by tending to the barriers we meet as Jesus does? Do we think about the cup we have asked to take as curse or blessing? Are we prepared to accept the cup that passes before us?

As we think about God’s beautiful and challenging cup of salvation, we remember our Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “Let us make three tents to contain the joy of God’s wisdom,” let us think instead, “Let us share the joy of God’s great gift of love”.

Tomorrow, the rich man and Lazarus.

 

Read Full Post »


Mark 14:17-21: The Betrayer

Caravaggio: The Taking of Christ

Caravaggio: The Taking of Christ

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

During Holy Week we often reflect on Judas’ betrayal of Jesus on the evening of the Last Supper. Today in our journey through Mark, we open scripture to the moment when we hear Jesus announce that his betrayer is quite close by. As we read varying translations of these verses, we ask ourselves if we have suffered betrayal at the hands of someone close to us . . . or if we have been the betrayer. In either case, Christ understands the piercing pain of this intense suffering that comes when we arrive at the end of our strength.

From MAGNIFICAT: In the suffering of Christ, we hear the depths of God’s love spoken in a language we can understand. (Cameron 78)

From Psalm 69: More numerous than the hairs on my head are those who hate me without cause.  Those who attack me with lies are too much for my strength . . . You know how they taunt and deride me; my oppressors are all before you.  Taunts have broken my heart; I have reached the end of my strength.

God says: Life will include sorrow but you are not expected to cry alone. Life will include joy. Remember me as you celebrate. When you are betrayed, remember that my son has walked this Way before you, and he walks with you today.

This is the dreadful beauty of the story of Christ.  He suffers with us . . . so that we might believe.  If we can but stay with him a little while.

When we spend time with Psalm 69 and Mark 14:17-21, we find the gift of Christ’s company. If we can stay awhile with him. Choose a face in the image above and focus on the emotion Caravaggio communicates. Who are we in this moment of betrayal? And what does Christ say to us? 

Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Mini-Reflection.” MAGNIFICAT. 20 March 2008: 78. Print.

Adapted from a reflection written on March 20, 2008.

Read Full Post »


John 14:1-14: Glory, Part III – Fear

Tuesday, July 21, 2015uppsala-sweden-psychology-study-erasing-fear

As we explore the mystery of Christ’s power found in humility, emptiness, and service, we continue with words recorded by John, The Beloved Apostle. John leaves this recording for us that we might discover Christ’s presence among us today, Christ’s glory that lives with us still.

Today’s lesson on Glory: There is nothing and no one that we need fear. Christ comes to us in the anxieties of our days and the terrors that come with the night.

In response to our distress, Jesus says: Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me . . . What you are going to do, do quickly”.

Rather than succumb to our fears, how different it is to open ourselves to them, knowing that God is present in our brokenhearted-ness, our poverty, abandonment, denial and betrayal. Jesus tells us: Where I am going, you will know the way.

When Thomas asks – as do we – We do not know where you are going; how can we know the way? Jesus answers: I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.

When Philip says – as do we: Show us the Father, and that we will be enough for us.

Jesus replies: Have I been with you for such a long time and still you do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.

When we question how we are to see God, Jesus tells us: Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you will ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.

We begin to understand the concept of God’s glory that arrives with the washing of our tired feet. We begin to see God in the disappointments and fears that life brings to us. We begin to comprehend that glory comes quietly when we do not expect it, when we are troubled and laden with worry and dread. This is the glory that Jesus offers us. The glory of a personal relationship with God. The glory of knowing Jesus so well that we call on his name when we make our requests. The glory of the Spirit that resides within.

In today’s Noontime we hear Jesus say to us, his disciples: Do not let your hearts be troubled . . . If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.

And so we pray,

Generous and gentle God, lift us out of our fears and worries. Hear our petitions that we offer in your name. Allay our distress, smooth our unease, and transform our terror with your loving kindness. We ask this in your name. Amen.  

Write out Jesus’ words on a slip of paper and leave it on our pillow. Tonight as we prepare for bed, let us make Jesus’ words part of our evening prayer.

Click on the image above to read about fear and the memory. 

Tomorrow, experiencing God’s glory in the Advocate. 

Read Full Post »


Matthew 5:27-30: Teaching about AdulteryDishonesty

Third Sunday of Easter, April 19, 2015

These words spoken by Jesus may be difficult to understand and so we may want to read various versions in order to allow God’s teaching to settle into our consciousness.

God says: Adultery has many ways of seeping into your being. You may be deeply sad and looking for happiness in places and ways you will never find it. Infidelity has many forms of appearing in your lives. You may have arrived at performing ritual rather than actively engaging with me and with others. Deceit has many slippery slopes on which you may take the first perilous step. You may be seeking to deny a truth that stands before you; reality may be too difficult to take in or comprehend. No matter what form this betrayal takes, and whether you are the betrayer or the betrayed, remain close to me at all times so that you might recognize dishonesty when you see it at its inception. Remain in me so that you might have awareness of its strength. Remain for me so that you might overcome it at all times in all places.

Faithlessness is more that the sin of lust. It is even more than stepping into an act that we know is dishonest or unfaithful. It is the smallest turning away from what we know to be true. Let us consider Jesus’ teaching today and determine how we might bring Easter salt and light into the smallest part of each day.

Tomorrow, Jesus’ teaching about divorce.

Read Full Post »


Matthew 5:7: The Mercifulmercy

April 13, 2015

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Perhaps endurance is the quality we most need if we are to be merciful servants. Endurance indicates our fidelity and perseverance. Endurance reinforces our strength and courage. Endurance in Christ, remaining in the Spirit, commitment to God  . . . all of this endurance in God brings us the gift of mercy.

We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. (James 5:11)

It is so difficult to wait for mercy when we need it. It is so difficult to show compassion when we are betrayed; yet Jesus tells us so often that we are forgiven as we forgive. In Psalm 55, the psalmist tells us that when we are betrayed by one near to us – our own intimate friend – we must continue in mercy, even when this seems impossible, by enduring through and with and in God. On this Easter Tuesday let us reflect on the mercy we have granted those who wrong us. Let us remember the mercy we seek in our daily lives. And let us determine to cast our burden upon the broad shoulders of the Lord, for they are wide and broad and ready to take on all that we have to offer.

Tomorrow, the clean of heart.

Read Full Post »


hosea and gomerSaturday

January 10, 2015

Joy and Hosea – Metaphor

The prophets chronicle a people’s yearning for union with their creator and un uncanny understanding of their own vulnerabilities. Their words 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 Hosea shows us his love for Gomer, his unfaithful wife. And he tells us that God’s joy will renew the darkest betrayal.

“A very sensitive, emotional man who could pass quickly from violent anger to the deepest tenderness. The prophecy pivots around his own unfortunate marriage to Gomer, a personal tragedy which profoundly influenced his teaching. In fact, his own prophetic vocation and message were immeasurably deepened by the painful experience he underwent in his married life”. (Senior 1108)

Hosea 2:15: There I will give back her vineyards to her and transform her Valley of Troubles into a Door of Hope. She will respond to me there, singing with joy as in days long ago in her youth after I had freed her from captivity in Egypt.

We might see this prophecy as a description of God’s infinite capacity for unrelenting compassion and restoration . . . and we might also experience it as a call to our own potential to forgive and heal.

I will give back her vineyards . . .

We might see this prophecy as Gomer’s inability to remain steadfast or faithful . . . and we might also experience it as our own opportunity to change.

She will respond to me there . . .

We might see this prophecy as Hosea’s journey from sorrow to joy . . . and we might also experience it as our own deepening joy in God’s presence in our lives.

She will sing with joy . . .

joySearch the verses of this prophecy and look for the metaphors that reflect your own valleys of troubles and doors of hope. In what relationships have you experienced betrayal by someone quite close to you? Where are the deserts and vineyards in your life? What idols and their priests have drawn you into their false promise? What doors of hope and joy have opened to you?

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 1108. Print.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to further explore scripture, 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. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: