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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’


John 6:52-71: Some Left Over – Part Xbread-and-wine

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

In so many ways, and on most of our days, we ask God as Jesus’ disciples do in today’s Noontime: This [bread of life discussion] is hard; who can accept it?

Jesus says to his disciples as he says to us: Does this shock you? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

And we may question as Jesus’ followers always do: Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Jesus knows that we do not understand the full impact of his words and he also knows that he will be betrayed by us in some way great or small. And so Jesus says: Did I not choose you? Yet is not one of you a devil?

Jesus refers here to Judas and he might also be referring to one of us; yet so great is Christ’s heart, so magnanimous is the Creator and so transforming is the Spirit that God’s unbounded love can heal each of us when we return to Christ with our foibles and faults fully visible in our hands as offering to our loving God.

God says: No matter how egregious or small the error, no matter how heinous or petty the action, no matter how deceitful or damaging the word, my love is great enough to redeem you. My heart is full enough to heal you. My wish to have you with me in all space for all time is greater than any wrong you may have done. Turn to me, for in my eternal living there is always enough love left over.

Compare these verses in various versions of the Bible using the scripture, and listen for God’s words of eternal promise and everlasting life.


Image from: https://creativemarket.com/camaralenta/1227831-Grapes-wheat-bread-and-wine-featuring-wine-bread-and-communion

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2 Corinthians 13:11-13: Prayer for Openingholding-hands-peace-planet-earth-painted

Sunday, July 17, 2022

As we close our reflections on 2 Corinthians this week we determine to open ourselves to the message Paul delivers to his church in Corinth and to us wherever we find ourselves.

Finally, rejoice . . .

No matter our circumstance we can thank God for the gift of today.

Mend your ways . . .

No matter our situation we can find ways to improve.

Encourage one another . . .

No matter our state of mind we can say and do some act of kindness today.

Live in peace . . .

No matter our state of being we can forgive those who have harmed us.

Greet one another with a holy kiss . . .

No matter our condition we must find a way to meet all with the kiss of peace.

May the grace of the lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you . . .

No matter what, we care called. This is our opening to a new way of life. No matter what, we must respond in peace.

Amen.


Image from: http://www.thethoughtvox.com/?p=9446

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Matthew 7:1-5: The Splinter and the Beam

Pompeo Batoni: Matthew the Evangelist

Pompeo Batoni: Matthew the Evangelist

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?

This is perhaps one of the most often quoted verses in scripture . . . and the most ignored.

What is it we must do to remove our blinders, to open our ears, to unclutter our hearts?

God says: I know that you cannot help but see the shortcomings of those around you. I also know that you have great difficulty observing your own need to change; but you need not worry. Rather than punish yourself, imagine that you are the very people you accuse. Rather than punish others, treat them with kindness and acceptance. When you have been wronged, protect yourself as best you can and then rely on me. Allow me to judge. Allow me to operate. Allow me to abide. The injustices of the world are well within my view . . . and well within my capacity to manage. When you believe that I have abandoned you, it is you have abandoned me. So when splinters and beams clutter your lives, manage what you can and rely on me. Abide in me as I abide in you. Live in kindness and mercy rather that anger and vengeance. Live in hope and fidelity rather than worry and anxiety. Live in me rather than in the woes of the world.

pointing-fingersEnter the word judging into the blog search bar and explore the possibilities of trust in God, forgiveness of our enemies, and mercy toward all. Click on the image of Matthew above to access a series of reflections on Matthew’s Gospel.


Enter the words Stop Judging in the blog search bar and explore. 

Images from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pompeo_Batoni_(1708-1787)_-_Saint_Matthew_-_266907_-_National_Trust.jpg and http://www.patentpracticeliability.com/2012/03/26/the-perils-of-patent-prosecution-delegation-a-cautionary-tale/

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Sunday, February 6, 2022heart

Jeremiah 3:12-16

Prayer for Return

Return, rebel, and I will not remain angry with you . . .

Thus says the Lord, and so might we also say to our enemies.

For I am merciful, I will not continue my wrath forever . . .

So says the Lord, and so might we also say to those who bring us anger.

Only know your guilt; how you rebelled against the Lord, your God . . .

Thus acts the Lord, and so might we also act with ourselves and others.

How you ran hither and yon to strangers and would not listen to my voice . . .

Just so does the Lord call us to forgive and listen.

Return . . . I will take you, one from the city, two from a clan . . .

Just so does the Lord gather us up, as we might gather up those who are scattered.

I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart who will shepherd you wisely and prudently . . .

The Lord our God has made plans to guide and protect us, plans that bring us into God’s heart.

When you multiply and become fruitful . . .

The Lord our God has made plans for all that will bring us joy.


Kailash Satyarthi: One of two Nobel Peace Prize 2014 Winners

Kailash Satyarthi: One of two Nobel Peace Prize 2014 Winners

Explore the Nobel site at: http://www.nobelprize.org/

Read about last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners and consider how they have brought Jeremiah’s prayer to life. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/

Explore Kailash Satyarthi’s profile on the BBC News at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29568634  

For a reflection on Jeremiah 3, insert the words Sincere and Insincere Conversion in the blog search bar and explore.

 

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ancient_prison_by_p_h_o_t_o_n1Monday, October 4, 2021

Jeremiah 52:31-34

The End – Part III: Hope

In the last verses of this prophecy we read an addendum that at first glance we might toss away as another confusing story from scripture. We see before us the tale of the last two kings of Judah: Jehoiachin who surrendered himself and his family to Nebuchadnezzar to live in exile, and Zedekiah, who plotted against Nebuchadnezzar with the Egyptians, later fled during the Babylonian siege, was captured, blinded and was also sent to Babylon. Years later Evil-merodach brings Jehoiachin from his prison cell to give him a life-time stipend and a place of relative honor in the foreign court; Zedekiah does not appear again in this saga of violence and turmoil.  What is their end? We have few details. How could they have avoided capture and destruction? We have few answers. What might we learn from this dire account? That is our reflection for today.

Jeremiah’s prophecy is well spoken but ignored. Are we the prophet who speaks against the wind? Are we those who might be saved by the prophet’s warning? In either case, the fear of capture and destruction has already overwhelmed us. We have no other place to rest but in God’s hope and compassion.

Jeremiah’s life is a foreshadowing of the suffering and death of Jesus the Nazorean. Are we the people of Judah who hear his words and are transformed? Are we those who scoff and persecute him? In either scenario, the tumult of life has already entangled us. We have no other place to turn but to God’s strength and mercy.

Jeremiah’s words resonate in our world today. Are we those who hide from the reality of famine, civil strife, epidemics and enormous natural disaster because they do not touch us personally? Are we those who work against catastrophe and injustice wherever and however we can? In either event, we are already involved and connected. We may not recognize that a calamity’s one last flickering ember of hope lies in us. We have no other place to rest but in God’s presence and love.

Cataclysm is part of the human experience as is God’s hope. Catastrophe haunts our daily living while God’s providence serves as guide. Disaster can never be avoided, nor can God’s call to love.

Pergamom Museum, Berlin: Jehoiachin Ration Tablet

Pergamom Museum, Berlin: Jehoiachin Ration Tablet

Jehoiachin and Zedekiah share a place in the Babylonian court although from different vantage points. At any time in their life journey God grants them the opportunity to live in hope, in a manner worthy of God’s call. From the darkness of his blinded vision, Zedekiah has only to seek and accept God’s forgiveness. Perhaps he does. We shall never know. From the shame of surrender and captivity, Jehoiachin has only to ask for God’s hope and receive it. Perhaps he does. We shall never know. From the place where we stand in our life’s journey we have only to look for God’s presence and accept it. Perhaps we do. If so, then we will always know that God is with us from the beginning to the end. God abides through capture and dwells within during destruction. Whether our fate is in the hands of our own Nebuchadnezzar or his son Evil-merodach, there is never an end without hope, for there is never an end without God.

Tomorrow, Part IV . . . In a Manner Worthy


To read about the excavation of Jehoiachin’s ration tablets in Irag, click on images above or visit: http://forourlearning.wordpress.com/  OR http://www.livius.org/ne-nn/nebuchadnezzar/anet308.html 

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Friday, July 23, 2021

Jeremiah 4

ReconciledbannerSincere Repentance – A Reprise

Just when we believe that hope is lost, a door opens. Just when we think that we will not be forgiven, word arrives. Just when we feel the end is near, life begins again. Psalm 133 celebrates the goodness to be found when adversaries determine to reconcile differences.

Assurance

How very good and pleasant it is when we see God in one another despite narrow hearts and tightened minds.

These quick moments delight as surely as a loved one’s gaze renews  . . . as ever a child’s breath blesses her mother’s cheek.

The Lord’s happily granted gift of forgiveness heals all . . . despite our reluctance to respond to God’s love.

The Lord’s freely given gift of life affirms divinity in each . . . despite our reluctance to believe in God’s promise.


Visit the Spiritual Courage post on this blog by entering the words into the blog search bar, and consider the consequence of a severe repentance. What consequences await us when we gather courage to do what we know must be done?

Image from: http://www.everydaychurch.com/cpt_news/reconciled-amaris/

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flame RwandaWednesday, April 14, 2014

Romans 8:11

Genocide

When the country of Rwanda commemorates its anniversary of horrific genocide not with more invective speech but with forgiveness and reconciliation, the people remember with a passion for mercy.  As St. Paul reminds us, with God all impossibilities become possible. In Christ all hope becomes reality. In the Spirit all that was once dead comes to new life in Christ.

The one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.

And so we pray.

As we continue our journey through Eastertide, let us continue to change ourselves, to bring the light of change to the world, and to live always in the peace of the Living God who raises all death to new life.

As we continue to celebrate the Easter Passion, let us consider how one million dead in Rwanda now rise in the reconciliation of enemies, now live in the acts of forgiveness offered by victims, and in the repentance felt by murderers.

As we move beyond Holy Week, let us pray that we always hear the voice of God. Let us pray that we always see Christ’s light in the darkness. And let us pray that we allow the Spirit to move us as we put the woes and words of the prophet Amos to work for the Gospel of the Christ. Amen.

Rwanda hopes to rise from the ashes of their brutal history to be the light of remembrance, the light of life for Africa and for the world. Now the cleanest and least corrupt country in Africa, Rwanda is hoping to become the Silicone Valley of their continent. Listen here at NPR: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/06/299708652/20-years-later-rwanda-hopes-to-be-a-light-for-the-world

rwanda victim


For more on finding grace and relying on faith after genocide, listen to an interview with the Reverend Celestin Musekura from National Public Radio. Let at: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/04/299054435/finding-peace-after-genocide

For a story from AP News describing Rwanda’s reconciliation villages, go to: https://apnews.com/article/719ac8f0c4da4d2b80976057d869562a 

Or click on the image above to read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Daniel Flitton, and The Malay Mail Online.

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Good Friday, April 2, 2021

Amos 8

Lucas Cranach: Christ and the Adulterous Woman

Lucas Cranach: Christ and the Adulterous Woman

Unlimited Mercy

In a March 2009 reflection, Robert Morneau ponders the forgiveness, mercy and compassion shown to the family of the killer Charles Carl Roberts, the man who murdered five girls and wounded others in a Pennsylvania schoolhouse in 2006. Morneau cites Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI.

“In a world and a culture that is full of wounds, anger, injustice, inequality, historical privilege, jealousy, resentment, bitterness, murder, and war, we must speak always and everywhere about forgiveness, reconciliation, and God’s healing. Forgiveness lies at the center of Jesus’ moral message. The litmus test for being a Christian is not whether one can say the creed and mean it, but whether one can forgive and love an enemy”. (Morneau 46-47)

These words are so true – and yet so difficult.

In a MAGNIFICAT Mini-Reflection on Matthew 18:21-35 we read: After a master forgives his servant a huge debt, that servant refuses similar clemency to a fellow indebted servant. The other servants become “deeply disturbed,” for to receive “great mercy” is in a certain sense to become great mercy. Mercy is our identity, for we are created out of the very mercy of God. (Cameron 29 March 2009)

In today’s Noontime we read about people who not only lack mercy or forgiveness, they buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals. They not only lack compassion, they sell the sweepings of the wheat. They would not likely have forgiven the adulterous woman as Jesus does. (Luke 8:1-11) All we need do is tune into the daily news to see or hear events we can identify as equivalent to the events referenced by Amos. It seems that the human race insists on corruption. Yet it seems that Jesus has not abandoned us. He accompanies us still as we struggle with our instinct to survive at all costs.

What we read in Amos is gloomy and sad – yet this prophet offers us a way out of the darkness by calling us to conversion of our mourning with acts of mercy as we move through our days. We need not frustrate ourselves in trying to change our enemies, we need only act with compassion as did the people in the Amish community when they immediately offered forgiveness to the man who had killed their children and himself. And when they visited with the killer’s family to extend their condolences.

This story is true – and yet so difficult.

This Amish community calls us to ask questions of ourselves, and so on this day of holy sacrifice, let us consider. Can we live up to the standard Amos poses? Do we pass the litmus test the prophet suggests? Do we extend the same limitless mercy to others that God extends to us?


Find the story about Charles Carl Roberts at: https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/mother-amish-killer-cares-survivor-son-massacre-article-1.1542337

Morneau, David. “The Litmus Test”. DAILY REFLECTIONS FOR LENT: Not by Bread Alone. Collegeville, Minnesota. 2011.46-47. Print.

Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Mini-Reflection.” MAGNIFICAT. 29 March 2009. Print.

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Follower_of_Lucas_Cranach_(II)_-_Jesus_Christ_and_the_woman_taken_in_adultery.jpg

Today’s Noontime is adapted from a reflection written on March 29, 2011.

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Third Sunday of Lent, March 7, 2021

forgivenessAmos 2

Oracles

Moab, Judah, Israel. Oracles of condemnation not only of enemies . . . but of Israel herself. Atrocities during wartime, horrible scenes of brutality beyond understanding, humanitarian abuses, corruption in places that are meant to be havens. All of these images are difficult to read and even more difficult to comprehend.

God says: You are far too eager to look for scapegoats and for places to place blame for the woes of the world. What I really ask is that you put violence aside and deal with one another lovingly, even as enemies. What good comes from harboring anger? What fruit is born from bitter seed sown in despair? What peace to do you find by dragging your worries along with you each day. It is no wonder that the night brings you no rest. Spend time with me. Speak to me frankly, openly and honestly. Tell me what is bothering you.  Tell me what stirs you. Tell me when you are ready to surrender to me. I wait – for an eternity – with forgiving, open, strong and loving arms.

Even the smallest gesture of goodness is a light in the darkness. God pulls good out of all harm. We must be patient enough to see it, humble enough to feel it, and bold enough to share our stories of conversion with those who still live in the shadows. As we move through our Lenten journey, let us decide to move away from condemnation and toward mercy and kindness.

Tomorrow, First Word.


Image from: http://doctorjenn.com/wordpress/tag/forgiveness/

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