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Posts Tagged ‘God’s hope’


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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1 John 4:12: God’s Enormous Love

Easter Wednesday, April 4, 2018

We continue the celebration of Easter throughout this holiest of liturgical times, focusing on one verse a day, comparing varying translations, remembering God’s immense love, anticipating the joy of God’s hope, and resting in the transformation of God’s wisdom.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. (NRSV)

We look for physical signs of God’s presence . . . yet we see God in the acts of mercy we offer to one another.

No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in union with us, and his love is made perfect in us. (GNT)

We look for spiritual signs of God’s presence . . . yet we see God’s hope in the acts of rescue we offer to one another.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God remains united with us, and our love for him has been brought to its goal in us. (CJB)

We look for emotional signs of God’s presence . . . yet we see God in the wisdom we offer to one another.

No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! (MSG)

We look for God in so many ways . . . yet God is among us without our thinking, without our asking, without our believing.

How might we bring the Easter joy of God’s love to one who seeks wisdom, hope and compassion?


When we compare translations of these verses, we come to understand that the perfection of love is its steadfast power and hope in our lives.

Image from: https://williamsonsource.com/pennells-ponderings-on-god-being-in-control/ 

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Esther F: The River is Esther

Edward Armitage: The Feast of Esther

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It has been a week since Ash Wednesday when we began our Lenten journey of discovery, renewal, and transformation. We have had seven days to contemplate the state of our world and our personal circumstances. We have reflected on the violence in Esther’s world and in our own. Today, amidst bloodshed and reversals, and despite our fears, we find a way to give thanks.

In the apocryphal verses of this story, we hear Mordecai declare his praise for God’s providence. We too, might announce our acclaim.

Then Mordecai said: “This is the work of God. I recall the dream I had about these very things, and not a single detail has been left unfulfilled – the tiny spring that grew into a river, and there was light, and sun, and many waters”.

In the apocryphal verses of this story, we hear Mordecai describe God’s river of compassion, and the river is Esther. We too, might affirm God’s love.

“The river is Esther, whom the king married and made queen”.

In the apocryphal verses of this story, we hear Mordecai announce his gratitude for God’s power. We too, might proclaim our appreciation.

“The Lord saved his people and delivered us from all these evils. God worked signs and great wonders, such as have not occurred among the nations”.

In the apocryphal verses of this story, we hear Mordecai assert his joy for God’s presence. We too, might broadcast to anyone who will listen our confidence that God also abides.

“Gathering together with joy and happiness before God, they shall celebrate these days on the fourteenth and fifteenth of the month Adar throughout all future generations of his people Israel”.

With these apocryphal verses, we experience the river that is God’s power, fidelity, hope and mercy. And this river is Esther.

 Tomorrow,, Esther on the fringes of society.  

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Isaiah 55:8-9: God’s Ways

Sunday, October 1, 2017

There is little wonder that we become confused in our contemporary society; and God is aware of this.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. (NRSV)

God’s generosity is far too deep and far too wide for us to understand; and God is aware of this.

“My thoughts,” says the Lord, “are not like yours,
    and my ways are different from yours.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so high are my ways and thoughts above yours. (GNT)

God’s call to us to follow in the ways we cannot understand are a struggle. And God is aware of this.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not my ways,” says Adonai.
“As high as the sky is above the earth
are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (CJB)

God’s hope for us is greater than we can imagine. And God is aware of this.

“I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
    so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
    and the way I think is beyond the way you think. (MSG)

God’s love for us is greater than we can take in. And God is aware of this.

Although God’s ways are not our ways, God abides with us still. For God is aware of who we are. And so God loves us still.

When we compare varying versions of these verses, we understand the enormity of God’s faith, hope and love in and of us.

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

Sunday, November 22, 2015Gods-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 2015 World Climate Summit at: http://www.wclimate.com/world-climate-summit-2015/

 

 

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Psalm 146: The Abundant Helper

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

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.

generosity_of_god_smallWhen 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 images to discover more about “Accessing God’s Willing Generosity,” and other thoughts on God’s abundant help. 

 

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Romans 11:33-36: The Mystery of God

Guercino: Padre Eterno

Guercino: Padre Eterno

Monday, June 8, 2015

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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