Posts Tagged ‘enemies’

Isaiah 65:16b-25: Renewal

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

For the hardships of the past shall be forgotten . . . none shall hurt or destroy . . .

We have been following a constant theme lately of rebirth, renovation, second chances and renewal.  Perhaps there are former enemies standing outside our hearts . . . waiting for the perfect moment to re-enter.

We never know how our words, gestures and actions will affect others or even ourselves.  It is always difficult to weigh out prudence, generosity, forgiveness, and compassion without moving into the unhealthy territories of inconsistency, leniency and abuse.  We want to build bridges to our former enemies, not give in to any damaging demands.  We want to empower our former foes and call them to conversion rather than enable them. In all of this we must remember, as we have so recently seen in the Noontimes, that God is in charge.  Our job is to make the petitions, to pray intercessory prayers, and to study The Word as we find him in scripture so that we will know what to say when former enemies come calling.

Sometimes we are the betrayer; sometimes we are the betrayed.  In both cases it is the Holy Spirit who brings us the gifts to discern Christ’s movement in our lives.  Working in and through our minds and bodies, Jesus tells us the words to say when we must go to someone we have wronged to make amends.  Jesus also tells us the words with which to reply when one who at one time betrayed us now sits at beside us asking for mercy.

Through daily prayer, scripture study, and active witnessing we receive in abundance the wisdom we will need when former enemies show up on our doorstep.  When we pray in Christ, meditate on The Word, and witness with Christ, we form solidarity with him and with the rest of the faithful members of his Mystical Body that is stronger than any deceit or evil.  These holy ones unite in legions to buoy one another up, to carry one another over, to bring one another through.

When it is time for the New Creation, we will need to know how to act and what to say to those with whom we find ourselves seated at Christ’s table.  Today is a good time to begin our rehearsal in healthy fence mending through, with and in Christ.

Written on November 10, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite. 

Image from: http://www.rubiconbridge.co.uk/bitc.htm

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Isaiah 24 – 27Elusive Antagonists

Monday, October 8, 2018

Written on February 25 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Scripture persistently warns us about how to live, whom to follow, and what traps lie ahead to ensnare us.  All we have to do is to pay a bit of attention.

Each of us has our personal impediments to the progress of the soul.  All of us must come face to face with ourselves and the lives we have lived.  Our antagonists are sometimes in our faces, but more frequently they slip in among our friends and loved ones to betray us in our inmost heart.  Those who oppose us openly are easily identifiable; the more dangerous enemies, Isaiah warns, are those who come in the guise of goodness – and for this reason the Lord turns the world upside down . . . to see who shakes out, and who has learned the skills needed by the faithful.

If we have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, given shelter to the homeless and taken in the lost, we have been putting ourselves through our lessons well.

If we have mourned the dead, tended to the sick, ministered to the imprisoned and entered into the vineyard to do God’s work, we have becomes accustomed to living in mercy and compassion.

If we have witnessed to evil, rebuked our companions, atoned for our sins and made changes in our lives, we know how to live in God’s vineyard . . . and we will put our heads down, go indoors, and await the passing of the dreadful singing of the harvesting sword.

We ought not fear the obstacles we constantly stumble against for they are lesson plans that refine us.  If we have answered God’s call and accepted our work as remnant toiling in God’s vineyard, then we need not fear the coming of the day as we see it here . . . for with God all things are possible.  God will turn all that is evil to an end that is goodness, and we will know peace out of chaos, justice out of ruin, humility out of pride, love out of envy, and joy out of sorrow.  Our elusive antagonists who have hounded our heels and sent chills of fear through our bones will have honed our skills at kingdom building and as remnant . . . and we will find to our amazement, that we will have readied ourselves for the work of God’s eternal city.

A re-post from September 5, 2011. 

Images from: http://www.annerobertson.com/2009/04/naboths-vineyard.html

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Ezekiel 38The Land of Gog

Friday, June 22, 2018

Scholars tell us that the land of Gog was located in Asia Minor, and Ezekiel predicts that these tribes will attack once Israel returns to her land.  The Israelites are not to worry, however, for God will be with his faithful remnant as he has promised.  God will not abandon those who remain in him.  This enemy will not realize that the Israelites who appear weak will in fact be strong because of Yahweh’s presence; and Gog’s defeat in a cosmic battle will serve God’s purpose: “When the nations see God’s victory, then they will recognize the divine power at work on Israel’s behalf”.  (Mays, 621)  This is a familiar theme for us.  God will save his people and in so doing he will prove himself far more powerful and far more loving than any pagan god.

Today’s Mass readings also speak to God’s fidelity to the covenant promise he makes with us (Genesis 15:1-18, Psalm 105, and Matthew 7:15-20).  Created in God’s love, we are to beware of false prophets and remain true to who and what we are: creatures brought into existence to bear the fruit of love.  This is our nature whether we believe it or not for, as Jesus reminds us . . . a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. 

So we are reminded today that the Land of Gog, or Magog, and the people of Meschech, Tubal, Gomer, or Beth-togarmah are always just over the horizon.  These alien tribes who do not know the promise of the Living God will think themselves superior and they will invade . . . and they will be surprised by the strength of the God who abides with us and protects us.  They will be overcome by the breadth and depth of our God’s presence and power.  There will be a great shaking upon the land . . . but God’s faithful will be saved.  This happens, God tells us, so that the nations may know of me, when in their sight I prove my holiness through you, O Gog.

No matter the number of the enemy, no matter the strength of the invading horde, no matter the skill or persistence of those who would invade and conquer . . . God’s faithful will remain while others will disappear . . . for this is how much our God loves us . . . that he delivers us out of the hands of the people of Gog.

Mays, James L., ed. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 1203. Print.

We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on June 22, 2011.

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Psalm 83: A Hostile Nation

Wednesday, August 31, 2016psalm 83

A Favorite from August 28, 2010.

They conspire against your people . . .

It is likely that each of us has known a time when we felt – either correctly or incorrectly – that the world is conspiring against us.  The only exit from this kind of thinking is the giving over of our own agenda to God.

They scheme with one mind . . .

It is likely that each of us has felt the disappointment of exclusion – either rightly or wrongly – that comes when humans come together in groups.  The only comfort and healing to be found is in our relationship with God.

Deal with them . . .

When we realize that there is a hostile nation against us, the only hope is in asking God to deal with the enemy.

Let them be dismayed . . .

Even we New Testament people will want God to intercede against our foes, but as Christians we will ask for their conversion rather than their destruction.

Show them you are alone are the Lord . . .

We might be amazed that even after God has shown himself to our adversaries that they persist in their deceitful ways.  Sooner or later they will see which way they are to go but only God can bring them to seeing.

You alone are the Most High over all the earth.

The outcome of the battle pitched between God and those who plot against the faithful is assured.  God will always win.  For God alone is the Most High over all the earth.

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