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Posts Tagged ‘Christ’s peace’


John 15:15: Fools and Friends

Friday, June 15, 2018

Jesus reminds us that he calls us his friends. To think we are otherwise is foolish.

I do not call you servants any longer, because servants do not know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father.

As we consider what it means to be a friend of Christ, we remember this Favorite written on November 1, 2009. Sirach 22

There are many verses in this chapter that to make us smile and at times laugh aloud. Jesus ben Sirach knows human nature well; and he understands the importance of true friendship in which even the action of drawing a sword against a friend can be undone.  Yet, in these verses there are gentle warnings: the rest of us stand aloof from those who harm friends, treachery can drive away any friend, prosperity can get in the way of friendship, insults cause great harm in close relationships.

Equally significant are the verses pertaining to fools and those addicted to laziness.  Who among us has not been a fool at one time or another, and who among us has not been damaged by a fool?  Sirach advises well when he writes: teaching a fool is like gluing a broken pot, or disturbing a man in his sleep . . . speak seldom with the stupid man, be not the companion of a brute . . . neither can a timid resolve based on foolish plans withstand fear of any kind.

We find many examples of foolishness, laziness, brutishness; and we see the value of tending to friendships.  In his letters to the Corinthians, Paul plays with the ideas of foolishness and weakness in humans and in God.  We become weak and foolish as humans in order to become strong and wise with and in Christ.   We give over our worldly wisdom and strength in order that we might submit ourselves freely to God’s will and power.  This is the secret of inversion in Christianity; and it is a truth we sometimes find difficult.  In 1 Corinthians 3:18-23 we read:  Do not deceive yourselves.  If anyone of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a fool so that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.  As it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness” and again, “the Lord knows that their thoughts are futile”.  So then, no more boasting about men . . . all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God. 

Today we have something to ponder as we wind down into the evening, into prayer and into sleep.  What or who do we see as foolish?  What or who do we see as wise?  What or who do we see as strong?  What or who do we see as weak?  Do sincere friends abound?  Who and what do we suffer and why?

Sirach presents a stark contrast in this chapter as do our own lives.  Everywhere we look we see the lights and darks that present an ever-shifting world; but the one true place we will always find a steady foundation is the masonry bonded with wooden beams . . . not loosened by an earthquake . . .This foundation is Christ.

A resolve that is backed with prudent understanding is like the polished surface of a smooth wall.  This resolve is funded by Christ.

Small stones lying on an open height will not remain when the wind blows . . . so this is why we must stand on the rock of Christ.  All else is weak.

Neither can a resolve based on foolish plans withstand fear of any kind . . . and this is why we must place our friendship in Christ.  All else is foolish.

We consider our friendship with Christ as we pray Psalm 122, and repeat the antiphon, For the sake of my family and friends, I say it again: live in peace.

Tomorrow, becoming salt. 


For more reflections on friendship, enter the word friend into the blog search bar and explore.

For more on the friendship pyramid and the stages of friendship, click on the image from: https://humans.media/stages-of-friendship

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Luke 24:35-48: Incredulous for Joy

Thursday, April 12, 2018

James Tissot: The Appearance of Jesus in the Upper Room

In this second week of Eastertide, we continue to find nourishment in the Easter miracle of our resurrection as we re-visit the Gospel readings for the Easter Octave. Today we accompany the Emmaus disciples who return to Jerusalem to confirm the rumors that Jesus lives, to affirm the good news that Christ walks among them.  Like these faithful, we are terrified and startled by the darkness that stalks those who want to live in the light. Like these followers, we are amazed when we allow ourselves to take in the goodness of God. Like this remnant of the Spirit, we move out of our fear to amazement and incredulous joy when we open our hearts to Christ.

Suddenly the Lord himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

When we are honest, we admit that life’s struggles are impossible to surmount on our own. What do the immediate followers of Christ show us?

They were terrified, thinking that they were seeing a ghost. But he said to them, “Why are you alarmed? Why are these doubts coming up in your minds?”

When we are vulnerable, we feel more intensely the soothing presence of God. What does Christ himself say to us?

They still could not believe, they were so full of joy and wonder; so he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of cooked fish, which he took and ate in their presence.”

When we are doubtful, we have the opportunity to turn to the only authentic source of consolation and healing. What do those who followed Christ two millennia ago say to us?

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

When we reflect with The Word, we tap the root of our faith and nurture our budding hope. What do those who believe in Christ tell us?

You are witnesses of these things.

When we listen to The Word, we allow Christ to carry us from startled fear to joyful, incredulous amazement; and we come to understand that we too, are witnesses of these wonderful things.

When we reflect on the times in our lives when Christ has made the impossible possible, we too are seized with the Spirit’s incredulous joy.


Enter the words fear or hope into the blog search bar for more  reflections on moving from anxiety to joy.

When we compare other translations of these verses, we arm ourselves to be witnesses of these things. 

Image from: http://www.joyfulheart.com/holy-week/appearance_of_christ_in_the_upper_room.htm 

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Job 3Misery

Wednesday, October 12, 2016peace-in-christ

We continue our reflections on peace and we find that even in the depths of misery, there is peace. 

In the Biblia de América, the commentary refers to the technique used in this book as a dialog of the deaf.  This certainly explains how we so often feel misunderstood, misheard, misspoken, misunderstanding.  As humans, we are often poor at expressing ourselves clearly . . . and we are equally poor at hearing well.  Job’s three friends, in an effort to either console Job in his misfortune or to justify themselves in their good fortune, do not fully comprehend the depths of Job’s misery.  He is innocent.  He has followed God’s precepts well.  He has done nothing wrong.  He has done all things well . . . yet he suffers tremendously.  This does not fit the Old Testament thinking that if we do as we are asked to do, we will not suffer.  Goods and good times come to us as a reward.  Suffering and pain come to us as a punishment.  Job struggles to find the logic in what has happened to him, and here in the opening chapters he is clear about his grief; yet his friends will reply as if they have not heard the idea their friend struggles to communicate – he has done nothing wrong and still he suffers greatly.  Job, looking for justice and compassion, will find only preaching and separation from his friends.  It is not until the end of this travail that he will see the wisdom and awesome power of God.  And for his fidelity and his willingness to suffer . . . Job will receive compensation beyond his imaginings.

Still, we are struck by the phrase: a dialog of the deaf.  Is this the way we listen to one another?  Are we bent on finding answers?  On ending pain?  On bending circumstances to our own will?  Why do we not hear?  Perhaps the other’s experience is beyond anything we can imagine.  Perhaps others frighten us and we fear contagion.  Perhaps we do not want to admit that discipline from God is necessary and that our role is to abide by those who suffer.  Perhaps we are not willing to become co-redeemers with Christ and enter into the salvific pain which redeems us as well as our enemies when we pray for their conversion.

Job speaks of wishing he had never been born.  This is true misery for this admits that we would rather be without God and free of pain than with God and suffering with God.  Yet we only become truly free when we give over our self-control to the guiding hands of God.  We can only become truly happy when we agree to live a life which depends on God’s plan for our happiness rather than our own.

True freedom and true joy can wipe out the kind of misery Job expresses here.  Authentic faith, enduring hope, genuine love . . . these are the antidote for deep and inconsolable misery . . . and these come from God alone.  As sufferers here in this life we can listen more to one another, we can abide more with one another, and rather than recriminations, accusations or platitudes . . . we might offer God’s peace to one another.

This is the power, the mystery and the comfort that comes from saying to one another . . . may Christ’s peace be with you.  For it is the only peace that knows the depth of pain that cries out . . . if only I had not been born.  It is the eternal peace of God with which God graces all life.  If only we might find a way to listen . . .

Adapted from a reflection written on February 17, 2009.

LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.

 

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2 Corinthians 2:14-3: The Mystery of Covenant Contract_with-_Seal_XL

Friday, June 26, 2015

Christ comes into the world not to abolish the old covenant but to fulfill it. Christ comes into the world not to erase the old agreement but to bring it to fruition. Christ comes into the world not to punish us for wrongdoing but to heal and comfort, pardon and redeem.

Paul tells the people of Corinth and he tells us that there is a contrast between the old and new covenants. And he tells us that we must caution ourselves against a smug pride in our credentials that may – or may not – match our life in the Gospel. Do we claim to be followers of Christ through our words or through our actions? Paul questions us today.

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you?

Paul also tells us that it will be our work in the world that defines us as disciples of Christ – or that shows us to be followers of false gods and idols. We find Christ’s true presence, and our “letter of recommendation,” in the fruit of our labor. What fruits do our labors bear? Paul asks us today.

You are our letter, written on our hearts . . .

Christ’s peace is eternal and universal.

You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all . . .

Christ’s letter of recommendation is our covenant of love.

You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all, shown to be a letter of Christ administered by us . . .

Christ’s covenant with God’s people lives in and through us.

You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all, shown to be a letter of Christ administered by us, written not in ink, but by the spirit of the living God . . .

love_of_god1Christ’s covenant of love is permanent and impermeable.

You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all, shown to be a letter of Christ administered by us, written not in ink, but by the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but in tablets that are the hearts of flesh.

Christ’s covenant is a mystery written on our hearts, never to be extinguished, always to be cherished, always to be trusted, always is gift.

To better understand the concept of covenant as used in the Old Testament, click on the contract image above, or visit: http://www.setapartpeople.com/introduction-covenants-part-1

To understand the covenant written on the human heart that Paul describes, click on the heart in scripture image above or go to: http://heavenlychristianforums.com/threads/a-love-letter.294/ 

Tomorrow, moving from the old to the new covenant. 

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