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Posts Tagged ‘creation’


John 13:1-20: Glory, Part I – Washing Our Feet

Monday, July 18, 2022

Dirck Van Baburen: Christ Washing the Apostles' Feet

Dirck Van Baburen: Christ Washing the Apostles’ Feet

Over the next few days we will explore the mystery of Christ’s power found in humility, his love encountered in emptiness, and his leadership seen in his service. John, The Beloved Apostle, faithfully recorded Jesus’ last words and actions for his loyal and frightened followers. John leaves this recording for us that we might discover Christ’s presence among us today, Christ’s glory that lives with us still . . . even after two millennia.

Today’s lesson on Glory: We best find Jesus in the simple rather than the complex, in the overt, loving gesture, and in generous, self-serving love. 

Why do we always forget that Jesus is constantly at our side and that he is constantly washing our feet? Perhaps because he is no longer with us in a physical, three-dimensional form which we perceive with human eyes. Perhaps we must trust our senses more.

What do we do to find our spiritual eyes? Perhaps we better sense Christ in the touch, the word, the gesture of our fellow travelers, and in the presence of the miracles he is constantly performing among us. Perhaps we must listen for the whispered messages he delivers when we are confused and anxious.

What do we do when we long to touch Jesus in a very real way? Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that all of creation cries out as the sustaining presence of Christ and that no matter when we are, God’s loving presence surrounds us.

In today’s Noontime we hear Jesus say to us, his disciples: What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later. These words are so true . . . and we hear them so frequently when we take our problems to that quiet spot within where the voice speaks.

When we find the place where Christ speaks and we consider what we see and hear and touch. We consider that we need not understand the complexities of God’s plan. And so we pray,

Compassionate God, hear our petitions, abide with us, wash our feet, our hearts, our minds. You promised us your peace. Send it to us today and all days as we take in the beauty of your creation, and as we learn to serve others without complaining. We ask this in your name. Amen.

Find time today to write out Jesus’ words on a slip of paper: What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later. Put this paper in your pocket and take a walk outdoors to drink in God’s message. If the weather is unpleasant, find a window with a wide view that captures at least a small portion of God’s creation for you.  Later today, spend time with the image above – or another image of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet that you prefer – and make plans to take care of yourself in some special way within the next few days, if only for a half hour. And let us remember to let Christ wash our tired and dusty feet every night before we go to bed as he so longs to do, for it is in this way that we begin to experience Christ’s glory.

Tomorrow, finding God’s glory in disappointment. 


Image from: https://shadowlilies.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/christ-washing-peters-feet/

Adapted from a reflection written on June 1, 2007.

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Revelation 8:3-4: The Mystery of Angelsangel-angelinvesting-shutterstock-ubj-304

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Some of us are wary of those who believe in the attendance and work of angels in our lives.

Some of us see angels as compassionate humans, family, friends or strangers who come to us at times of trouble.

Some of us believe in the very real essence and interaction of angels, God’s messengers and presence in our daily living.

And some of us do not believe in angels in any form or manner at all.

Whatever our belief, there is always time and room for exploration. Today we consider the existence of angels . . . and the mystery they present. Whether or not we believe that these special spirits are harbingers of God’s word and action, the question of their existence calls us to think about our own status in the great plan and mystery of God’s creation.

God says: Do not be afraid when you feel the shimmer of my messengers as they tend to your needs. These special beings bring my word to you when you are too distraught to hear it on your own. They intervene for you in unseen ways when you are exhausted or overwhelmed. They deliver hope and grace to you when you are too tired to listen for my words of freedom and deliverance. Yes, you have guardian angels who travel with you always and everywhere. Yes, there are archangels who do my bidding for all of humanity. Yes, my angels can defend, heal, and deliver my word. Some of my angels went their wayward way and insist that they are more important than all of my creation, including me. But I notice that these dark ones come to me amidst the gleaming ranks of the enlightened. I see that what really motivates them is envy and egotism. I also see that they frighten you, but I give you this promise: you need never fear the demons that hope to catch you unaware for I and my messengers are with you. We never leave you alone, never deceive you, never pledge you empty words. I am infinitely patient with you even when you decide that you do not or cannot believe that my angels exist. Despite this disbelief, my angels and I continue to serve and protect you. And this is the mystery of angels. They express my love for you that will never waver and never fade . . . despite the unbelief that enwraps the world. They express my care for you that will always transform and always heal . . . despite the evil that stalks the universe. And at the end of this world that is passing away, you will live in peace with me and my angels. Of this mystery and promise you can be certain.


Explore the way in which the Old and New Testaments tell us about angels at: https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=angels&version=NABRE&resultspp=25

Enter the word angel into the blog search bar; listen and watch for the angels that deliver God’s word; and celebrate the presence and gift of these very special beings.

Image from: https://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/angels/a-sign-in-the-sky

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Genesis 1:9-31: The Mystery of IncarnationNativity_450x259

Monday, June 13, 2015

Richard Rohr, OFM in his June 5, 2015 tells us: “If incarnation is the big thing, then Christmas is bigger than Easter (which it actually is in most Western Christian countries). If God became a human being, then it’s good to be human and incarnation is already redemption. Francis and the Franciscans were the first to popularize Christmas. For the first 1,000 years of the church, there was greater celebration and emphasis on Easter. For Francis, if the Incarnation was true, then Easter took care of itself. Resurrection is simply incarnation coming to its logical conclusion: we are returning to our original union with God. If God is already in everything, then everything is unto glory! Much of the early church did not have trouble with what many would now call universal salvation (apocatastasis, as in Acts 3:21). We are all saved by infinite love and mercy anyway. ‘God alone is good’ (Mark 10:18), so there’s no point in distinguishing degrees of worthiness. Everything in creation merely participates in God’s infinite goodness, and our job is to trust and allow that as much as possible.

“As Matthew Fox said, we made a terrible mistake by starting with ‘original sin’ (a phrase not in the Bible); we absolutely must begin with original blessing. ‘God created it, and it was good’ is stated six times in a row in our Creation story (Genesis 1:9-31), ending with ‘indeed it was very good!’ But, up to the present time, most of Christianity concentrated on what went wrong with our original goodness . . .

“The Franciscan starting point is not sin; our starting point is Divine Incarnation itself. So our ending point is inevitable and predictable: resurrection. God will lead all things to their glorious conclusion, despite the crucifixions in between. Jesus is the standing icon of the entire spiritual journey from start to finish: divine conception, ordinary life, moments of enlightenment (such as his baptism, Peter’s confession, and Jesus’ transfiguration), works of love and healing, rejection, death, resurrection, and ascension. That is not just Jesus; it is true for all of us.”

Richard Rohr, OFM, Adapted from an unpublished talk and posted on June 5, 2015 at: https://cac.org/richard-rohr/daily-meditations

Christ is present in all of creation. Christ is present in each of us. This is the mystery of incarnation. We know that God creates the universe and the microverse out of great love and deep compassion. We know that Christ comes to walk among us as salvation and redemption. We know that the Spirit abides with us to console and heal. This we know and yet it is mystery when we wonder . . . how is it that God loves us this deeply and this well? And how is it that we fail to trust this great love?

To read a commentary about the mystery of the incarnation, click on the image above or visit: http://www.catholica.com.au/ianstake/023_it_print.php 

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Friday, February 12, 2021

Psalm 119

In a world that still struggles with so many assaults on love, God continues to abide with us to remind us that God’s love alone will bridge all gaps and heal all wounds. The skeptics among us scoff as they ask how the faithful believe that God is with us when anger and fear stalk the world. The defeated among us cry out to ask how long the faithful will carry the onerous weight of the war and pestilence that takes its dreadful toll. The remnant among us find joy and sing praise as they give their share of the world’s burden to a loving, generous God who converts all harm to good.

We spend time reflecting on the last chapters of this song of God’s love to creation.

Qoph: Redemption of Fallen Sparks – God’s love redeems us although we may not trust it.

Resh: Clarity – God’s grace and mercy are present to us although we may not see it.

Shin: The Eternal Flame – God’s Law of Love is infinite and all-encompassing although we may not count it.

Taw: The Seal of Creation – God’s creation marks us with the sign of love although we may not sense it. It is through this creation that God marks us forever with the mark of Love.

Tomorrow, God’s Love Letter.

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1 Corinthians 1:18-25: Wisdom’s Paradox

Saturday, December 28, 2019

At that time Jesus said in reply: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.  Matthew 11:25

The Tree of Knowledge

The Tree of Knowledge

The paradox of creation is that the weak are strong and the strong are weak.  This Theology of the Cross, then is present in all suffering and opposes the norms usually associated with power and wisdom.   From La Biblia de América: This foolishness of the cross becomes present in all debility, anguish and the profundity of God’s love.  This is the surprising path of salvation opened to all humans by Christ.

We look for signs yet the only sign relevant to us, Jesus tells us, is the sign of Jonah – – – the prophet who finally did as God asked to save the city of Nineveh, after spending three days in the belly of a whale.  God does not exact the punishment he had meant to carry out, because all of the inhabitants repent – – – inspired by the reluctant prophet.  Jonah then complains about his surprising success.  We are so often determined to be disappointed!

Notes will tell us that God’s ways are inscrutable because we insist on having things “our way” rather than in God’s way in God’s time.  The wisdom and mercy we experience with God is incomprehensible to us because we have not yet learned to trust that this paradox about which Jesus speaks is real.  Our viewpoint is too narrow, our perspective too self-centered to fathom the kind of acceptance and love the creator has for his creatures.

From the NAB comments on Jonah:  The prophecy, which is both instructive and entertaining, strikes directly at this viewpoint [of forgiving wicked enemies].  It is a parable of mercy, showing that God’s threatened punishments are but the expression of a merciful will which moves all men to repent and seek forgiveness.  The universality of the story contrasts sharply with the particularistic spirit of many in the post-exilic community.  The book has also prepared the way for the gospel with its message of redemption for all, both Jew and Gentile.  (Page 961)

These are God’s ways.  This is God’s wisdom.  We live the paradox that when we are weakest we are strongest . . . because we are nearest to God.  In this Christmastide, let us celebrate God’s coming to us as an infant, defenseless and small.  And let us remember that in a few short months we will journey through the Lenten time when we flourish in God’s forgiveness and mercy.  Let us take time today to reflect on the lesson we might learn as we watch this tiny child grow into a man who offers both his humanity and divinity so that we might be free from fear, so that we might be saved.  And let us bask in the wonder of this gift so freely given.  Let us grant forgiveness, as we are forgiven.  Let us bless with mercy, as we are blessed.  Let us cradle and heal those who are broken . . . just as we are cradled and healed by God in his immense love.

When we suffer at the hands of others – – – either intentionally or unintentionally – – – let us gather up our wounded-ness, and our broken-ness.  Let us make of ourselves wounded healers in God’s great plan, in God’s great love, in the paradox of God’s great wisdom.


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

Image from: http://stirringthedeep.com/2011/04/15/sister-wisdom-part-ii/

First written on April 20, 2009. Re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

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Psalm 150:6: All Things

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Psalm 150:6 – Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Sometimes, when all things fall into place just the right way, we feel our connection with all of creation . . . and we understand that it is God, and it is good.

God says: I know that you think that you are apart and separate from everyone and everything else.  That is the illusion which the human covering creates.  I know that it is difficult to remember that you are nearly entirely water, a chemical soup held together by your skin; but if you can remember this, you will understand better why it is so important that you come to terms with the people and things that alienate you. I am the universe.  You are created in my image, and I yearn to be in union with you.  Because you are already one with my universe, and because the universe praises me, you feel best when you can be a part of that praise.  Come out of hiding . . . and sing.  Come to me.  I will wait for you . . . always.  Let all of your breath praise me.  I hold you and protect you always. 

Let us remember that we are in union with all creation . . . that this communion is God’s intent . . . and that this union is good.


Image from: http://epitemnein-epitomic.blogspot.com/2012/03/unity-of-fellowship-in-holy-spirit.html

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Psalm 36:5: Faithfulness

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Psalm 36:5Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the clouds.

When we look at intense moonlight, at an amazing formation of clouds, at a flock of birds on wing, at people healing and helping one another, we know that God has created all, and we know that God remains present to his creation at all times and in all ways.  Even though we may feel lost, alone, hurt, frightened or confused, we can be certain that we are an important part of this creation.

God says:  I do not forget about you ever; you are always on my mind.  You will never have to be without me; I remember you and hold you as special always.  This love will never fail.  This love will never weaken.  This love will never go away.  It strengthens each day as we talk.  It becomes immutable as we seal our agreement with one another in our many conversations.  My love for you is so immense that you cannot understand it . . . yet still it is there . . . with you . . . always.

Wishing you the warmth and assurance of God’s ever-abiding love and peace.

Take a few minutes today to click a word on the tag cloud to the right and follow the link . . .


A re-post from June 20, 2012. 

Image from: https://mrayton.wordpress.com/tag/creation/

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2 Maccabees 1 and 2: The Ark Hidden During Captivity

Second Sunday of Easter, April 28, 2019

The Ark of the Covenant

Written on July 19, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

The HARPERCOLLINS COMMENTARY gives a wonderful exegesis of all four books of the Maccabees, but today we look at just these first 2 chapters of 2 Maccabees which the Douay Version refers to as the incident of the hidden temple fire or as “The Hidden Ark during the Captivity”.  All of this sets me to thinking about the wonder of our creation, about the mystery of our personal and collective evolution, and about how and when we go into captivity . . . how and when we return from exile.

We all experience captivity.  Some say that life here on earth is nothing more than that – an exile, a place of suffering and pain.  Optimists see life as a series of experiences, gifts, blessings and celebrations.  Still others see life as a combination of many opposites, dichotomies, bifurcations and amalgamations.  From any of these perspectives, when we look honestly and carefully, we see that each life has its own Captivity with its own Ark in which reposes the Fire of the Spirit.  This fire is the very breath of God at our creation, the mission for which we are destined, the karma for which we are to live, the potential gift God offers to the world as an act of love.  And when we are led away into captivity, all of this is held hidden for a time to be called forth at a precise moment.

Recently I have come to understand that Captivity is not all bad.  It can be a time of suffering and separateness, and it can also be a time of forced retreat, a time of letting go and giving over to God, a time of healing and restoration.  Taken this way, we understand that exile is a time to be hidden, to be held confined for a time away from something we have thought we desired, to be held safely just long enough that we reach the precise point in our pilgrimage where we see something clearly for the first time.  Captivity of the Spirit endures long enough for us to cease thrashing against the world and against ourselves.  It lasts to the precise tipping point at which we jettison all that has pained us . . . because there is nothing else to do.

And all the while that we have been apart and away, the spark of our creation has burned as brightly as ever even though it appears – as we read today in Maccabees – to be mud and water.  Nothing has diminished; rather, all has been clarified, magnified.  All that was captive and hidden now glorifies God more than before.  Imagine our surprise when we, like the Jews who rededicated their temple, lay the tinder to offer holocausts to our God and we realize that we have ignited the offering with the mud from the hidden place of our exile.  Suddenly we see our captivity as gift rather than punishment.

There is a need from time to time to go into exile, to find the place that is to remain unknown and to hide away in this secret place the tent and tabernacle, the altar of incense and fire, and the ark.  We are meant to block this place off and to seal it up so that the hidden spirit and temple fire might be rediscovered when God calls it forth.  And this tabernacle, with its sacred fire appearing as mud, is meant to be reopened and rededicated.

We have learned to fear captivity and the restriction it symbolizes.  How much better we will be when we come to see it as a quiet time in which the living fire of our soul learns to rekindle in God.  Like the people in today’s reading, once we begin to look for resurrection in loss, we will be amazed that the fire of our spirit comes forth from the mud and we will see as gift what we thought to be punishment.  We will marvel that God again resides in the Ark of our lives and we will finally come to understand . . . that he was never truly gone.


A re-post from Easter Week 2012.

Image from: http://www.mishkanministries.org/theark.php

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

Tomorrow we will reflect on Captivity Ended

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Proverbs 8: Armloads of Life

Friday, July 28, 2017

Wisdom and Creation, A Reprise

Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling?
    Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice?
She’s taken her stand at First and Main,
    at the busiest intersection.
Right in the city square
    where the traffic is thickest, she shouts,
“You—I’m talking to all of you,
    everyone out here on the streets!
Listen, you idiots—learn good sense!
    You blockheads—shape up!
Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well,
    I’m telling you how to live at your best.

We have visited this chapter of Proverbs before, and today we look at it again with fresh eyes as we consider . . . the gift of creation in each of us, and in the micro and macro-universe we inhabit. Today we reprise our reflection on the wisdom of God’s creation (https://thenoontimes.com/2013/09/07/wisdom-and-creation/) as we consider again the mystery of God’s love for us.

 I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out.

These words are an invitation we will want to accept.

My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary;
    the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus.
You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—
    at the intersection of Justice Avenue,
Handing out life to those who love me,
    filling their arms with life—armloads of life!

The verses cited in this post are from the MESSAGE translation of Proverbs. To compare other translations, use the scripture link and the drop-down menus.

To watch life on a reef off the Maldives, click on the sealife image or visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1oGyZL0qjM

For an interesting take on the multiverse, click on the image of planets above, or visit: http://www.chattanoogapulse.com/columns/just-a-theory/living-your-life-in-a-multiverse/ 

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