Posts Tagged ‘complaint’

John 6:36-51: Some Left Over – Part IX

Tabgha Church Mosaic: The Miracle of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves

Tabgha Church Mosaic: The Miracle of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

It is inevitable, we know, that when light begins to call the faithful together darkness arrives, and so once Jesus announces his offering of eternal bread, the complaining begins.

Murmur not among yourselves: Jesus says to the grumblers and to those who saw him grow up in the carpenter’s family. They ask: Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? And Jesus replies: Whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I give is my flesh for the life of the world.

As this story unrolls to reveal God’s enormous love, where do we stand? Do we number among the grumblers to look past the risen Christ who stands before us, offering us the Eucharist as God’s eternal sustenance for an eternal life? Or do we follow this healer. Do we scatter the bread he breaks open? Do we tend to Christ’s sheep? Do we gather up all that is left over to share with those who have yet to arrive?

We look for answers to these questions as we compare varying versions of these verses. And we look for bread that will live forever, the bread that Christ gives for the life of the world.

To read about the restored mosaic in the ancient church at Tabgha commemorating the miracle of multiplication, click on the image above, or visit: http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=10&Issue=3&ArticleID=1 

Tomorrow, words of eternal life.

Image from: http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=10&Issue=3&ArticleID=1

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Exodus 16: Some Left Over – Part II

Tissot: The Gathering of the Manna

James Tissot: The Gathering of the Manna

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Bread from Heaven

The Lord said to Moses, “I will now rain down bread from heaven for you . . . Present yourselves before the Lord for God has heard your grumblings”.

How quick we are to complain when life does not go “our way”. When we take time to read the story of the desert manna we see that we are not the first people to forget our deliverance from slavery. And we suspect that we will not be the last to protest our circumstances. But are we willing to see how God cares for us when we are troubled and anxious?

In the Exodus story God provides a double portion of manna on the day before the Sabbath so that the weary desert wanderers may be sustained on their day of rest. On God’s direction, Moses calls forth water from rock (Exodus 17 & Numbers 20) when the people complain. Despite all of this grumbling, God provides enough so that there is some left over. God gives us more than what is sufficient to see us through the difficult places in our lives. It is up to us to remain open, listening and accepting. It is up to us to present ourselves. And when we do, we receive far more than mere bread and water.

Aert de Gelder: Abraham and the Angels

Aert de Gelder: Abraham and the Angels

Abraham’s Visitors

While the day was growing hot . . . Abraham saw three men standing nearby.

We might also take a lesson from Abraham who, on an ordinary day and in an ordinary way, unknowingly encounters God when he receives strangers into his camp. (Genesis 18) Abraham extends desert hospitality and sees that his guests’ feet are washed and that they receive food and drink. This traditional hospitality on a typical day brings a surprise announcement: despite their age, Abraham and Sarah will receive the gift of a child. When they open their hearts and home, Abraham and Sarah discover new depth in their lives; they celebrate new gifts.

The Road to Media

Bernardo Strozzi: Tobias Curing his Father's Blindness

Bernardo Strozzi: Tobias Curing his Father’s Blindness

Tobiah went to look for someone acquainted with the roads who would travel with him to Media.

In this wonderful story of Tobit, the faithful man who remains loyal to God even in the land of exile, we find another reason to open ourselves to the outsider. When Tobias (Tobiah) invites a stranger to accompany him on his journey to Media, he unwittingly enlists the aid of the Angel Raphael. (Tobit 5) Once again, we find that hospitality and fellowship lead to such great gifts and such great reward that there is always some left over.

Tomorrow, more Old Testament stories in which God provides more than enough.

To reflect more on these stories, enter the words Tobit, Abraham or Angels into the blog search bar and explore.  

Images from: https://thejewishmuseum.org/collection/26365-the-gathering-of-the-manna and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham and http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/437763

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je suis charlieSaturday, January 15, 2022

Joy and Habakkuk


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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In ChristTuesday, October 12, 2021

Jeremiah 1:1-10

I am too young . . .

This week we buried a young woman who was months away from her high school graduation. She was much too young to die. In our Noontime journey we have spent time with Jeremiah and today this reflection comes back to us. It was first written on September 26, 2008 and is adapted as a post today.

We just received word that the brother of one our ninth graders was killed in a car accident on his way to high school today.  He is a junior.  He is too young to go.

Looking for consolation we turn to scripture . . . the book opens to Jeremiah . . . and our eyes fall to see . . . I am too young.

We complain to God when he sends us or calls us that we are not the one to do this work with which he has tasked us.  We believe that we are not the proper servants.  We do not have the tools.  We do not know what to say or to do.  We are ill-equipped.  We are a constant Jeremiah.  And then events like today’s happen and all things come into perspective.

In a sense, each of us is too young.  None of us has the answers to the many questions we hear. We search for ways to solve the mystery before us . . . and we feel too young.

When the darkest hours hover, when the rain does not end, when the pain feels as though it is taking over, we can do only one thing.

Be still and know that I am God.

In sorrow and in silence my heart waits for you, O Lord.

Truly we are wonderfully made, and you are our wondrous God.

We will call upon the Lord and we will be saved.

At dusk, dawn and noon we will complain.

And our prayer will be heard.

God in heaven be with us always.

And let perpetual light shine upon us.


In light of the pandemic and natural disasters that leave us with too many deaths of those who leave us too soon, we re-post this reflection written on October 26,2014.

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jeremiah1Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Jeremiah 15

The Grasp of the Violent

The Lord said to me: Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me, my heart would not turn toward these people.

Conditions have reached a dreadful pitch. God’s people have gone so far astray that no one is listening to anyone. They ignore God’s words of warning delivered through Jeremiah and now their very existence is in the hands of the wicked. The Lord tells Jeremiah that he has done with words. Even from the wisest of prophets.

Then who will guide and protect God’s faithful remnant who suffer because they have obeyed God’s word?

Who will pity you, Jerusalem, who will console you?

Jeremiah sees no reason for his existence and delivers his plaint to the Lord, a plaint that many peoples of the world might lift to God today.

Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth!  Tell me, Lord, have I not served you . . . I did not sit celebrating in the circle of merrymakers; under the weight of your hand I sat alone . . . why is my pain continuous, my wounds incurable . . .?

Then from the ferocious maelstrom, God says: If you bring forth the precious without the vile, you shall be my mouthpiece . . . I am with you to deliver you. I will free you from the hand of the wicked, and rescue you from the grasp of the violent.  Listen to my prophet Jeremiah for he brings you words of wisdom, words of life, words that will break the fist of the vile, wicked and violent.  

Enter the word remnant into the blog search bar and consider how each of us might bring forth precious acts rather than return violence for violence.

For more information about the prophets Moses and Samuel visit: http://biblehub.com/dictionary/m/moses.htm and http://biblehub.net/searchdictionary.php?q=samuel 

For another reflection on Jeremiah 15, enter the words God’s Words into the blog search bar and explore.

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