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Posts Tagged ‘God’s hope’


Wisdom 13:1-9: The Wisdom of God’s Creation

Monday, November 21, 2022Gods-creation

Anyone who does not know God is simply foolish.

When we look at the beauty of the planet, we see God’s goodness.

Such people look at the good things around them and still fail to see the living God.

When we share earth’s resources, we experience God’s generosity.

They have studied the things God made, but they have not recognized the one who made them.

When we bring together science, reason and spirituality, we experience God’s wisdom.

Instead, they suppose that the gods who rule the world are fire or wind or storm or the circling stars or rushing water or the heavenly bodies.

When we see the elements as God’s gifts to us, we see God’s trust in us.

tree in handsPeople were so delighted with the beauty of these things that they thought they must be gods, but they should have realized that these things have a master and that the master is much greater than all of them, for God is the creator of beauty, and God created them.

When we pause to reflect on the beauty of God’s creation, we see God’s hope for us.

Since people are amazed at the power of these things, and how they behave, they ought to learn from them that their maker is far more powerful.

When we witness to the resiliency in God’s creation, we begin to understand God’s strength.

When we realize how vast and beautiful the creation is, we are learning about the Creator at the same time.

creationWhen we witness to the complexity of God’s creation, we begin to understand God.

If the foolish had enough intelligence to speculate about the nature of the universe, why did they never find the Lord of all things?

Today we have the opportunity to discover if we are wise or foolish about God’s creation. We can read about the United Nations COP29 conference at: https://cop27.eg/#/ 


Images from: https://blog.greatnonprofits.org/save-the-planet-for-earth-day-with-nonprofits-that-care/ and https://newscenter.baruch.cuny.edu/news/baruchs-climate-scholars-program-expands-to-four-cuny-schools/ and https://www.nasa.gov/content/sunrise-from-the-international-space-station

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Psalm 146: The Abundant Helper

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Don’t put your life in the hands of experts who know nothing of life, salvation life.

God’s generosity cannot be outdone; God’s love cannot be overcome.

Mere humans don’t have what it takes; when they die, their projects die with them.

God’s hope is eternal; God’s fidelity is everlasting.

God always does what he says – he defends the wronged, he feeds the hungry.

Jesus heals the broken and comforts the abandoned.

God frees prisoners – he gives sight to the blind, he lifts up the fallen.

Jesus calls each of us to pardon as we are pardoned.

God loves good people, protects strangers, takes the side of orphans and widows, but makes short work of the wicked.

The Spirit dwells within each of us, making a place for God’s abundant help to rescue, reconcile and redeem . . . so that we too might take part in God’s great plan of salvation.

When we use the scripture link to explore other versions of Psalm 146, we discover God’s abundant help. We discover God’s great plan for salvation life.


Click on the image to discover more about “Accessing God’s Willing Generosity,” and other thoughts on God’s abundant help. Or visit: http://raynoah.com/2011/02/24/accessing-gods-willing-generosity/

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Romans 11:33-36: The Mystery of God

Guercino: padre eterno con un angioletto

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are God’s judgments and how unsearchable God’s ways!

It is impossible for humans to fully and completely know and understand God. The structures of the human brain are incapable of the capacity and agility of God’s mind; yet we are well loved and well-tended by God. And this is the mystery of God’s wisdom.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?”

It is impossible for humans to totally and absolutely take in God’s plan. The complexities of God’s intention are intense and multilayered; yet we have a precious and integral role to play in God’s design. And this is the mystery of God’s hope.

“Or who has given God anything that he may be repaid?”

It is impossible for humans to constantly and faithfully look at the world through God’s lens. The rigor and determination that is required are more than we humans can muster or maintain; yet God never abandons us . . . although we may abandon God. And this is the mystery of God’s love.

For from God and through God and for God are all things.

cosmos-wallpapers-8God’s mystery is not meant to separate or divide, categorize but rather to call, invite and unite. God’s mystery and presence can be found in any space in the universe and at any time in creation. God’s mystery is so enormous it cannot be unraveled . . . and so intimate that it cannot be ignored.

To God be glory forever.

We need not understand God. We need not – and cannot – be equal to God. But we can enter into God’s mystery and give ourselves over to God’s love. There is nothing more we need, and there is nothing more important than learning to lean in to the Mystery of God.

Amen.

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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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god-of-hopeFriday, October 1, 2021

Jeremiah 50 & 51

Against Babylon: A Reprise

Announce and publish it among the nations . . .

We must share the good news of the many times God has walked intimately in our midst . . .

Publish it, hide it not . . .

We must speak up when we see injustice in our world . . .

Lost sheep were my people, their shepherds mislead them . . .

We must witness to the false leaders and shepherds of our present day Babylons . . .

Flee from Babylon, leave the land of the Chaldeans . . .

We must declare our willingness to step away from the corruption and deceit of our new Babylons . . .

Israel and Judah are not widowed of their God . . .

We must remember that despite our exile in our own Babylon, we are never abandoned, never alone . . .

Raise a signal on the earth, blow the trumpet among the nations . . .

We must share the good news of the many ways God remains intimately in our midst . . .

Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time it is trodden; yet a little while, and the harvest will come for her . . .

We must share the good news of God’s hope for the children of God . . .

Be not discouraged for fear of rumors spread in the land . . . but behold the days are coming  . . .

When we will no longer doubt . . . that God is always with us . . . against all of our Babylons.

Amen.


Image from: http://pathwayofblessing.wordpress.com/

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Thursday, August 26, 2021

jeremiah 29-11Jeremiah 29

A Message to Exiles

Jeremiah is clear: the future prosperity of those going into exile depends upon settling in and making the most of a long captivity. Hananiah and his followers have miscalculated, and have lost their lives in the bargain; the exile will not be a short one. Jeremiah and his supporters have proved correct; Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire is not a passing force; it will hold a central position in the region for quite a long time. (Mays 567)

At first glance we find a bleak situation – there is no remedy, no rescuer, and no plan in place to put injustice right. And yet, Jeremiah offers hope with some of the most beautiful verses in all of sacred scripture. He brings hope to a desolate and despairing people; he brings us words from the Living God that will sustain us when nothing else will.

When nights are endless and days are wearying, we remember . . .

Thus says the Lord: I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare, not for woe!  plans to give you a future full of hope.

When human resources are gone and we know we are empty . . .

When you call me, when you go to pray for me, you will find me.

When we see nothing but obstacles before us . . .

Jeremiah 29.13Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, and I will change your lot.

When we believe we can no longer survive . . .

I will gather you together from all the nations.

When we yearn for a time past when we understood more and were confused less . . .

I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.

When we consider the periods of exile we experience even in the midst of our lives busy with families, neighbors and colleagues, we might turn to Jeremiah who harbingers the promise of God’s outrageous hope, the promise of Christ’s redemption, and the promise of the Spirit’s in-dwelling. This is his message to the exiles and to us: God has plans for you . . . plans for your joy . . . and not for woe . . . plans to bring you back . . . to the place you have been promised.


Images from: http://lauragoins.blogspot.com/2011/01/jeremiah-2911.html and http://creativeconfetti.blogspot.com/2012/07/jeremiah-2913.html

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Reubens: The Incredulity of Thomas

Peter Paul Reubens: The Incredulity of Thomas

Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 25, 2021

John 20:24-29

Incredulous

Our culture wants hard facts and raw numbers. It sees humans as targets for marketing rather than reflections of God’s hope in a troubled world. The science of polling and focus groups is our newest religion while belief in miracles, acting in faith, and loving in hope are qualities that are seldom valued.

Today the Apostle Thomas brings us the opportunity to measure what is truly important, and to explore our own beliefs in the Easter story and actions in our world. Today we are given a chance to determine how well we live out the message of the Gospel. We are asked to look at how well we have become God’s message of hope to the world.

For another reflection on the theology of the Apostle Thomas, enter the words My Lord and My God into the blog search bar and explore.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_The_Incredulity_of_St_Thomas_-_WGA20193.jpg 

An adapted re-post from Easter Thursday 2014.

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Friday, March 26, 2021

Museum of Biblical Art, NY: The Return of the Prodigal Son - Artist unknown

Museum of Biblical Art, NY: The Return of the Prodigal Son – Artist unknown

Amos 9:8-15

Messianic Perspective

Amos brings us God’s Words; he shows us the world’s Woes; he paints for us his intense Visions. If we give in to despair we miss God’s message. If we walk away in pride we miss God’s promise. If we become impatient or irritable we miss God’s grace. If we practice greed we miss feeling God’s love. Today we have the opportunity to count ourselves among the pebbles God sifts from the debris of our selfishness. We are given another chance to rise up out of the ashes of our willfulness.  We are given another season to mend breaches and to rebuild foundations on the days of old.

Jesus tells us this story of the lost son who returns home to his father after having squandered all his father had given to him. So [the son] got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son”. But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again, he lost and now is found”.  So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:20-24)

Let us also return to the creator who is running toward us with open arms, who is waiting for our word to begin the celebration.


For an interesting article from the National Catholic Reporter in June 2011, on how theologians re-visit the famous parable of the forgiving father,, and how we may be called to forgive church structures, click on the image above or go to: http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/theologians-revisit-prodigal-son 

For more on the image of God’s Sieve, go to the Mini-Noontime posted on September 26, 2013 at: https://thenoontimes.com/2020/09/23/the-sieve/ 

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Luke 16:1-8: Prudent Stewardship

Thursday, October 24, 2019

I stumble with this parable each time I hear it because I must remember the context of this story.  From the NAB footnotes: The parable . . . has to be understood in the light of the Palestinian custom of agents acting on behalf of their masters and the usurious practices common to such agents.  The dishonesty of the steward consisted in the squandering of his master’s property and not in any subsequent graft.  The master commends the steward who has forgone his own usurious commission . . . by having the debtors write new notes that reflected the real amount owed the master . . . The . . . steward acts in this way in order to ingratiate himself with the debtors because he knows he will be dismissed from the position . . . The parable, then, teaches the prudent use of one’s material goods in light of the imminent crisis. 

I am reflecting on if and how I have been a good steward of all I have been given.  Have I used my brains well?  Have I abused my physical, psychological or spiritual self in any way?  Do I struggle away from addiction rather than fall into it?  Have I done well with the fiscal gifts I have been given by God?  Have I shared my spiritual journey with others in a manner reflecting good stewardship?  Do I run my own tank too close to empty and then become upset or angry when tired?  Am I afraid to be countercultural?  Do I encourage myself and others to rise to the high bar set by the Gospel Values Jesus brings us through his Story?  Do I care for the poor, the marginalized, those without resources?  Do I conserve the gifts of nature?  Do I encourage others to do so as well?  Do I practice a good work ethic and do I advocate for myself and others in the work place?  Do I open my heart and my home to those needing physical and spiritual shelter?

This is a great deal to ponder and can be overwhelming.  So I take it in chunks so as not to discourage myself and further ill spend what I have been given.  For in the end, we all yearn to be good and faithful stewards.  Taking stock from time to time is a good thing.  Amending breaks where we can is commendable.  Turning away from an easy life of living from others’ work is the call we here today.  Owning up to our own deficits, making changes as we can, these are the mark of one who strives to live a life of prudent stewardship.

We might all ask ourselves these two questions . . . Am I living off of the fruits of someone else’s fiscal, emotional, psychological or spiritual work?  . . . Or do I stretch and strive and reach for the best self that God intended at my creation?

We can only know this if we take stock . . . make amends . . . and grow in God’s grace to be God’s hope to the world.


Written on October 8, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://saintraymond.net/stewardship/

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