Posts Tagged ‘captivity’

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Hosea 10:1-10: Captivity Endured

4handcuffs_Sergey_Venyavsky[1]We are a captive people . . . longing to be free.

We are a searching people . . . longing to be fulfilled.

We are a hopeful people . . . longing to be restored.

False altars will crumble.  Safe harbors will silt in.  Wooden idols will disintegrate into dust.  Sacred pillars will fall.

Since they do not fear the Lord, what can the king do for them?  Nothing but make promises, swear false oaths, and make alliances, while justice grows wild like wormwood in a plowed field! 

If we are able to take the time today to read these verses slowly we might be able to see our own lives through the prism Hosea hands to us.  God loves God’s creatures so dearly that God prunes their wild vines and disciplines them in their way of walking the path. God also promises restoration, and God always keeps promises made.

We know what we seek; yet we sometimes are our own false prophets.

We know that there is the choice of light and dark always before us; yet we sometimes we linger in the shadows.

We know how to transform pain; yet we sometimes act as though we have not heard or seen the message.

God prunes in order to produce fruit in abundance.

God endures through evil and invites us to participate in turning it to good.

God restores in order that we learn to live in outrageous hope.

God loves in order that we turn and return to God’s call of The Way.

God is.  And we are God’s captive people . . . we are a seeking people . . . we are a hopeful people . . . longing to be free . . . longing to be fulfilled . . . longing to be restored. 

In this Lenten time we know that God accompanies us in our Jerusalem journey.  We know that God abides with us.  We know that God calls each one of us by name from eons before our birth.  We know that God is.  Come, let us follow The Way.   

First written during the Christmas octave in December 2008. revised and posted today as  a Favorite

Image from: http://voicerussia.com/radio_broadcast/61124198/91577572/

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Jeremiah 50 & 51: Against Babylon

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A re-post from the Third Sunday of Easter, April 22, 2012

Eastertide is the traditional time in the liturgical year when we rejoice that we are loved and rescued by God, that we are redeemed and saved by Jesus, that we are consoled and nurtured by the Holy Spirit.  We celebrate our new life; we give thanks that we are not forgotten.  Our Noontime Easter journey has taken us, however, in a different direction: we have re-visited the Tales of the Diaspora; we have gone into exile and remained remnant; and we have heard the news that even when we feel abandoned and defeated.  We hear that especially at these times God abides with us in our sorrow and pain.  Rather than be downcast when we are held captive, we have every reason to experience Easter joy because we know that Christ’s love for us pierces the darkness of addiction and obsession.

Babylon appears to be the winner as she conquers little Israel; but as always we see that God abides with the little and the oppressed, the sorrowing and the broken-hearted.  We have been swept away into captivity and exile; but God has remained with us.  The tiny remnant becomes the messenger of good news.  The rejected lover becomes the cornerstone of the new kingdom.  Let us join our voices with Jeremiah’s as we watch mighty Babylon fall . . . as we come to understand that God resides with the homeless; God heals the grieving and wounded; God loves us infinitely . . . and calls us to witness to this amazing love.  Jeremiah predicts the fall of the empire that has deported and held captive the people of Israel.  He also predicts the coming of the one who will release all nations on earth.

In today’s Gospel Luke (24:35-48) tells the story of Jesus’ appearance on Easter Sunday night when the two disciples who had met the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus joined the apostles to describe their experience with the risen Christ that day.  While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you”.  But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost.  Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? 

We too often tremble in hidden places hoping to escape the notice of oppressors.  Jesus comes to us to ask us as he asked the disciples, Why do questions arise in your hearts? 

We too suddenly accept gloom and refuse to find hope when all is dark.  Jesus comes to us to show us his wounds as he showed them to the disciples as he says, Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have. 

We too quickly accept the last words of a bully or tyrant as the ultimate outcome in a conflict or as a final decision that will last forever. Jesus comes to us as he came to his apostles and he says, It is written that Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations . . . You are witnesses of these things

And so we pray with the words of Jeremiah as we retell the story of the risen Jesus.

Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord with covenant everlasting, never to be forgotten . . .  and let us turn to Christ who comes to us through the locked doors of our hearts.

Lost sheep were my people, their shepherds mislead them, straggling on the mountains . . . let us follow Christ who gathers us up to lead us to our peaceful home with him.

For Israel and Judah are not widowed of their God, the Lord of hosts . . . we have not been left behind by Christ.

You are my hammer, my weapon for war . . . you are Christ’s faithful ones, you are witnesses to the goodness he has done . . . go and tell what you have seen.  Amen.

Image from: http://rosemaryl.blogspot.com/2010/09/light-in-darkness-blog-carnival-round-2.html

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Jeremiah 45: Living as Remnant

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

During Easter Week we have celebrated our return from Captivity, our release from all that holds us back.  Today we return to Jeremiah to take a last look at what it means to live as remnant either when we are left behind as others are taken from us, or when we live in exile from all that we love.   Written on December 15, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

In today’s Noontime reading we can see clearly that God is in charge.  He can, and will, break down what he has built and pluck up what he has planted.  Baruch, the man who wrote down Jeremiah’s oracles in about the year 605 B.C.E., is promised here that his own life will be spared.  Baruch will be a part of the remnant who will receive life as a prize of war in every place to which he may go. 

Being remnant is difficult work which calls for perseverance and patience with both the world and self.  Today’s first reading at Mass is from the prophet Zephaniah (3:1-2, 9-13) who also cries out woe is me!  He, like Baruch, is overwhelmed by the madness and corruption he sees around him and he writes of the rebellious and the polluted who hear no voice and accept no correction.  They have not trusted in the Lord and to them God has not drawn near.  They leave behind them, in the wake of their churning lives, many who are brokenhearted, many who see great possibility, many who are ignored by those in power.

From today’s MAGNIFICAT mini-reflection: The prophet Zephaniah makes clear that the world is in sore need of the redeeming presence of Christ who will be revealed not among the powerful who use their power for evil but among the poor and powerless who seek the Lord in poverty of heart.  These are the remnant who remain faithful through all hardships. 

As we have already said, being remnant is difficult work and just this morning I was thinking of how many times in our lives we are called to share a vision we have . . . only to be ignored by those who have it in their power to do good . . . but who have something else in mind.

How do we live as remnant in the face of so much ignorance and willful neglect of the spirit?  We empty ourselves of our own goals and agendas.  We open ourselves to the Word of God who longs to dwell within each of us.  And we take this presence with us in every place to which we may go. 

This is the only certain way to live as remnant because to live with our own agendas means that we are one of those who oppress . . . and it also means that we are lost.

This is imperative: That if we wish to conduct a life worth living, we must remain always in . . . for . . . and with Christ.  For this is the only way to live as remnant.

A re-post from April 16, 2012.

Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Mini-Reflection.” MAGNIFICAT. 15 DECEMBER 2009. Print.

Image from: http://catherinewhite.com/rough-ideas/2008/12/5—remnant—winter-solstice.html 

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From the Prison

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

jeremiah 33Jeremiah 33

From the Prison

From his prison Jeremiah continues to cry out the word of God.

Call to me, and I will answer you; I will tell you things great beyond reach of your knowledge.

From our own prisons of unhappiness, illness, anxiety or fear, we might also listen for the word of God.

Through his prophecy, Jeremiah continues to console the lost.

Behold, I will heal them, and reveal to them an abundance of lasting peace.

From our own sadness or sorrow, we might also offer a word or gesture of solidarity.

Through the promise of redemption, Jeremiah continues to call us to God.

I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. I will raise up a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land.

From our yearning for seeking, we might also bring God to all that we say and all that we do.

Spend time today with Jeremiah 33. Study other Bible versions of these verses by clicking on the scripture verse here or above. Compare translations and listen. Like Jeremiah, we will hear God’s word. And also like Jeremiah, from our prison, we will send it on.

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