Posts Tagged ‘do not fear’

2 Maccabees 12:38-46: Battle – Part V

Click on this image for a video commentary.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Today’s Favorite returns once more to 2 Maccabees, the first Book cited in the first Noontime Scripture reflection. The message is as simple, constant, and powerful today as it was more than a decade ago. Be steadfast. Trust in God. Remain faithful to God. Life is a struggle, but God is with us. We need not be afraid. 

Today’s citation reminds us of a strong underpinning of those themes: there is life after our apparent death, and we must pray not only for ourselves but for those who have strayed from the covenant as well.  1 Maccabees 5:6 gives a different reason for the fall of the Israelite troops – the priests had wanted to distinguish themselves in battle – but the message is the same: if we succeed in remaining faithful to our covenant with God, we must pray for those who fallen.

We will not want to miss the true life that follows this one, and we will want to share this full and generous life with our families and friends.  And lest we fear that our loved ones will not accompany us, we remember that it is possible to bring straying sheep into the fold through petition to the Creator. We remember that with God all things are possible.

Christ is the one who offers himself in expiation for the downfall of the world and thus becomes the Redeemer of all.  We participate in this redemption by offering our own sufferings in expiation for others.  The dead will live again, and this we can believe.

Over time, we have spent several Noontimes reflecting on the lessons brought to us by the Maccabeus family.  Their stamina, their perseverance, their refusal to be extinguished, and their refusal to allow God’s law of forgiveness, mercy and justice to be extinguished is seen again in all of Christ’s followers.  Jesus’ disciples are constant searchers of God’s essence and truth.  They will always hunger and thirst for an essence they feel but cannot see, a Spirit they know but cannot always touch. The Maccabeus family tells us this story. Jesus the Redeemer invites all of us to be these followers.

It is the endurance of the Maccabees we seek through our intense hope in the promises of God.  It is the fidelity of the Maccabees we seek through our deep faith in the goodness of God.  It is the devotion of the Maccabees we seek through our passionate love for the ways of God. 

Tomorrow, a prayer for trials and obstacles.

Adapted from a Favorite written on April 25, 2009.

To learn why the Books of the Maccabees are not included in the Jewish Bible, visit: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/omitting-the-maccabees/ 

Watch a video commentary at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdHjJFQAoZk 

Images from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leaders-mind-3-steadfastness-barry-walsh/ and https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/omitting-the-maccabees/

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Nehemiah 9:12-13: Wonders and Miracle-Signs

Monday, September 11, 2017

Nehemiah reminds us that God accompanies us in the deserts of our lives when we experience anguish and fear. Jesus also tells us that we need not be afraid.

Nehemiah repeats the well-known story.

By day you led them with a Pillar of Cloud,
    and by night with a Pillar of Fire
To show them the way
    they were to travel.

More than any other demand or request, Jesus reminds, “Do not be afraid”. In one Gospel alone, Jesus repeats this soothing entreaty.

“So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows”. (Matthew 10:13)

At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid”. (Matthew 14:27)

Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid”. (Matthew 17:7)

Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me”.  (Matthew 28:10)

Nehemiah reminds us of the ancient link we have with the Living God.

You came down onto Mount Sinai,
    you spoke to them out of heaven;
You gave them instructions on how to live well,
    true teaching, sound rules and commands.

Nehemiah tells us again that the Living God will sustain us.

You gave bread from heaven for their hunger,
    you sent water from the rock for their thirst.
You told them to enter and take the land,
    which you promised to give them.

Nehemiah and Jesus, if we are able to listen carefully, describe the Living God’s fidelity. We might consider how we will respond today.

When we consider multiple translations of these verses, we begin to remember the many wonders and signs God has worked in and for us. 

For a reflection on Nehemiah 9, visit: https://thenoontimes.com/2011/12/30/confession/


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Isaiah 41:1-10The Liberator 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Keep silence before me, O coastlands; you peoples, wait for my words!

This is good news indeed.  The Liberator is arriving to free us from all that entangles and ensnares us, from all that does not allow our spirit to flourish.

Who has stirred up from the East the champion of justice?

God sends this Liberator, this Son of Man, this Messiah to call us back from this world to follow him into the kingdom he is building for and with us.

Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed: I am your God.

The journey away from this world and on to the next will be frightening because we will have to drop along the wayside all of the comfortable old habits.  The traveling will feel unfamiliar, even alarming at times; yet we cannot hesitate to respond to the Voice that Calls.

I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice.

We must rely on God to fortify us for the journey and to sustain us as we travel.  For there is no one else who knows the way.  There is nothing else that can possibly nourish us for so long and so rigorous a trip.

Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed: I am your God.

 A Favorite from September 2, 2008.

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