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Posts Tagged ‘God’s plan’


Tissot: The Pharisees Question Jesus

James Tissot: The Pharisees Question Jesus

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Mark 12:18-27

Resurrection – Part II: Waiting 

Have you not read . . .?

Yesterday we explored the clash of movements into which Jesus steps and we can see why certain sectors of ancient society might oppose the teachings of Jesus. He strikes at the root of power and influence. If we all have access to the temple through our personal relationship with God in the person of Jesus, we have no need of hierarchy. If we all have access to God through our deeds rather than through temple sacrifice, we have no need of priests. If we all have access to forgiveness and justice through God as sisters and brothers of Christ, then we have no need of a power structure’s intercession on our behalf. As siblings in one family, we are all called to intercede for one another. As children of the living God, we all have access to new life and new beginnings. This is, indeed, good news for us . . . but not for these Sadducees who challenge Jesus because they see in him an end of their hold on power, an end to their income, an end to life as they know it. We can understand their fear, and we might dig deep within ourselves to see our clinging to authority and structure. How much of the Sadducee hides within our own heart? How willing are we to wait on God’s plan? How eager are we to live in the Spirit of discipleship that holds little comfort and even less prestige? How prepared are we to step into the vineyard to gather the fruit of God’s harvest rather than the fruit of our own plan?

God says: I understand that the plans you make in my name are good and honest and that you see your ideas as an outflowing of my heart. I love the energy you spend on my work. I am enchanted by the care you take in the precision of your labor. I am in love with your goodness and mercy in my name. I also see much more than you can see. I understand far more than you can understand and this is as it should be. I created you. You do not create me. I love you and call you to goodness. This is all that I require: that you act in prudence, watch in hope, remain in faith and witness in love. You can give me no greater gift than the full and complete surrender of yourself to the work of my Kingdom.

Are we prepared to watch for the resurrection that in promised to each of us? Do we have waiting hearts and minds open ready to receive the gift of new life that comes to us without our asking?

Tomorrow, working . . . 


Adapted from a reflection written on November 22, 2008.

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Pharisees_Question_Jesus_(Les_pharisiens_questionnent_J%C3%A9sus)_-_James_Tissot.jpg

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little and big handsTrinity Sunday, May 30, 2021

1 John 3:19-24

Confidence Before God

Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth . . .

Now this is how we shall know that we walk in Christ’s footsteps . . . when we show confidence as we do God’s work.

God is greater than our hearts and knows everything . . .

This is how we know that God guides us . . . when we show confidence in God’s plan.

We have confidence in God . . . and we do what pleases God . . .

This is how we know that we live in God’s plan . . . when we find serenity.

We will believe in the name of God’s son, Jesus Christ . . .

This is how we bring serenity to others . . . when we give all to God.

We will love one another as Jesus asked us . . .

This is how we are able to love our enemies . . . when we rest in God’s Spirit.

Those who keep this commandment of love remain in Christ . . . and Christ in them . . .

This is how we find peace in turmoil . . . when we allow Jesus to make a way for us.

The way we know that Christ remains in us is from the Spirit that he gave us . . .

This is how we know we have confidence before God . . . when we fully and totally and faithfully trust God.


Read Luke 17:5-10 and consider Jesus’ words to us as he describes faith and the attitude of a servant.  For a reflection on this citation, click on the image above or go to: http://frvlad.blogspot.com/2013/10/trust-and-confidence-in-god.html

Using the scripture link above, study several versions of these verses and reflect on how or if or when we have confidence before God.

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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Mark 13:24-27

Jan Wildens: Landscape with Christ and his Disciples on the Road to Emmaus

Jan Wildens: Landscape with Christ and his Disciples on the Road to Emmaus

The Coming

Today we look at more verses that cause fundamentalists to calculate the exact date of the ending of life as we know it for all. Today we have an opportunity to grow in our knowledge of God. Today scripture is opened for us just as Jesus opened scripture for the disciples who journey to Emmaus. As we continue in our Easter pilgrimage, let us pause for a moment to consider Mark’s record of Jesus’ words.

Jesus says: If you know me then you will know my Father. Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me? (John 14:7, 9)

God says: If you know me than you know that I do not wreak havoc upon the earth. If you know me you understand that I am both patient and persistent.  If you know me you know that I am with you always and that I am willing to wait an eternity for you to turn to me, but turn you must. Do not be afraid to come to me. Be open to my invitation to be one in me. Do not fret about the details of your life but be open to my plan for you. It is a plan of wonder not of woe; it is a plan of love and this love has already come upon you. Do you wait and watch for a distant coming? I am already among you. You only need open your eyes and ears and hearts, and you will know.

When we find that we begin to fuss over the detail of who numbers in the elect and who will be left behind we can be certain that we have focused our energies incorrectly. When we make room for others at the table, when we forgive those who harm us, when we ask intercession for our enemies, then we know that we understand that the coming is already upon us.


Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walk_to_Emmaus

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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Mark 13:14-23

joy-with-white-300x214A Prayer for Times of Tribulation

When you see the desolating abomination standing where he should not [let the reader understand], then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, [and] a person on a housetop must not go down or enter to get anything out of his house, and a person in a field must not return to get his cloak . . . Be watchful!

These are words that are often construed by fundamentalists to predict the idea of rapture, of the faithful being taken into God’s presence suddenly while the unfaithful are left behind. Here Jesus speaks words of warning, but what do they really mean?

God says: You worry and fuss, you compare yourselves with others, and you focus on the minutiae of your day while you neglect The Word. When fear begins to overtake you, remember that I want to bring each of you to me, even those of you who have much to account for.  Keep in mind that you are joy to me . . . and I want to be joy to you. Remember that I find joy in you . . . and I want you to find joy in me.

And so we pray with the words of the psalmist.

Great things are they that you have done, O LORD my God!

Remind us, God – when we are stressed – that your hope heals many wounds.

How great your wonders and your plans for us!

Remind us, God – when we are tired – that you care us for each moment of the day and night.

There is none who can be compared with you.

Remind us, God – when we are sad – that you are our greatest champion.

O, that I could make them known and tell them!

Remind us, God – when we are worried – that you suffer with us through all misfortune.

But they are more than I can count!

Remind us, God – when we finally come to rest in you – that your love counters all tribulation.

Psalm 40:4-5


For interesting insight into the English expression, “head for the hills!” go to: http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/80681/does-make-for-the-hills-still-hold-currency-as-an-idiom

For further information on the idea of the Rapture, visit: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Rapture-the 

Image from: http://www.christiansciencechicago.org/self-sustaining-joy/

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Matthais Stom: Supper at Emmaus

Matthais Stom: Supper at Emmaus

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Luke 24:33-49

If we want to acknowledge the gift of God’s presence in our lives, let us first give thanks.

If we want to fully participate in the resurrection journey, let us first give thanks.

If we want the full impact of our own Emmaus experience, let us first give thanks.

If we want to share in God’s Easter hope, let us first give thanks.

If we want to share in God’s Easter joy, let us first give thanks.

And as we give thanks . . . let each of us become witnesses to the story we know to be true.  The story of God’s great love for all of creation, the story of  God’s plan for the salvation of the world.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Le_repas_d%27Emma%C3%BCs_by_Matthias_Stom.jpg

Enter the words You Are Witnesses into the blog search bar for an Easter prayer and reflection.

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

vineyardAmos 9:12-15

A Prayer for Perspective

All the nations shall bear my name . . .

So let me begin to praise God now . . .

I, the Lord, will do this . . .

For all that God has done for me . . .

The ploughman shall overtake the reaper . . .

Just as the seasons turn so does God turn to us, all of us the children of God . . .

I will bring about the restoration of my people . . .

Once we understand the importance of humility . . .

They shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities . . .

Once we understand the depth of God’s wisdom . . .

They shall plant vineyards and drink the wine . . .

Once we understand the breadth of God’s reach . . .

057peachesThey shall set out gardens and eat the fruits . . .

Once we understand the height of God’s hope . . .

I will plant them upon their own ground . . .

Once we act in accordance with God’s plan . . .

Never again shall they be plucked . . .

Once we love as God loves . . .

Say I, the Lord, your God . . .

Say I, this child of God . . .

Amen.


Images from: http://www.meadorchards.com/ and http://www.ventanawines.com/sustainability

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

circumcision-of-the-heart[1]Romans 2:25-29

Our Interior Law

Part III

True circumcision is not outward, in the flesh. Rather, one is a Jew inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit, not the letter; his praise is not from human beings but from God.

In the early church argument erupted over whether or not the first non-Jewish Christians must first be circumcised in order to join the movement. Luke records much of this turmoil in Acts and we see a success convening of the first Church Council to sort out the problem the fledgling group faced. Peter puts an end to the petty bickering when he says: Who was I to be able to hinder God? God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too. (Acts 11:17-18)

Some of Jesus’ early followers wrap themselves in the safety of rules and regulations that are created to keep themselves and others in line. How do we turn away those who long to hear the Good News that kingdom-builders are meant to deliver?

Some of Jesus’ first adherents see the Mystical Body as a club or community organization to be tightly controlled. How do we allow the Spirit to move in and through us so that we might bring the freedom and joy of the kingdom to others?

Some of Jesus’ initial disciples worried over the details of God’s plan, believing themselves responsible for correcting all they believe is wrong with the world. How do we stifle the Spirit, misrepresent Jesus, and ignore God as we seek to be builders with Christ?

Who am I to be able to hinder God? 

As we reflect on our interior and outer laws, how and why we follow them, and how or if they match the Law of Love established by God through Jesus . . . let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit as we honestly answer the question Peter poses . . . Who are we to be able to hinder God?


For a deeper understanding of Circumcision of the Heart, click on the image above or go to: http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/v01-n06/circumcision

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Thursday, February 18, 2014

desert in bloomJoel 2:18-27

Blessings for God’s People

I will repay you for the years which the locust has eaten . . . you shall praise the name of the Lord because God has dealt wondrously with you . . .

When we experience loss we believe that our work has been in vain; yet God says: There is nothing lost that cannot be found. Nothing spent that cannot be restored. Nothing ruined that cannot be rebuilt. I am the great restorer. It is not true that the work you have given to me as a kingdom-builder can really be destroyed. Nothing done by you in my name is ever erased, and I can call it to life in an instant so do not panic. Do not be afraid. I see a vast and complicated plan which you cannot perceive or understand. When you are troubled about how this plan appears to be ineffective or ridiculous, remember to bring those fears and anxieties to me. And when you find yourself feeling as though you are alone with nothing and no one to sustain you . . . remember that I am with you always.  Even in the most brutal and hostile of deserts.

After his baptism, the Spirit drove [Jesus] out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.  (Mark 1:12-13)

When we experience our own desert times we too feel surrounded by evil beasts; yet we are accompanied by angels who minister to us. When we ask God to bring us patience, humility and serenity these gifts will arrive on angels’ wing.  hen will the desert begin to bloom in an extraordinary way; and then will we find that for long, dry days and dark, cold nights we have been sustained by the mystery and miracle of God’s love.

Tomorrow, Blessings In the Desert.


Image from: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/writing/2005/05/desert_flowers_.html

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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Luke 18:31-34

Comprehension

“Luke understands the events of Jesus’ last days in Jerusalem to be the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, but, as is usually the case in Luke-Acts, the author does not specify which Old Testament prophets he has in mind”.   (Senior 133 cf.)

Many of us live much of our lives in this way: we do as God asks with the understanding that that we are fulfilling some needed action . . . without fully comprehending how our small part fits in with God’s great plan. Discipleship is characteristically vague in this way, asking us to rely in faith on God, asking us to rest in hope with God, asking us to act in love for God.

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem . . .

Each time we feel God’s desire move through us we know that we are going up to Jerusalem.

The Son of Man will be handed over . . .

Each time we follow Christ we understand that we run the risk of being handed over to the scoffers, the naysayers, the plotters and the complacent.

He will be mocked and insulted and spat upon . . .

Each time we lament that disciple work is difficult we put aside the memory of Jesus’s last days.

After they have scourged him they will kill him . . .

Each time we die another small death we believe we have no more energy to move forward.

But on the third day he will rise . . .

Each time we think we are extinguished forever we rise in restoration and healing.

But they understood nothing of this . . .

Each time we try to explain the reasons for our outrageous hope we meet expressionless faces.

And the word remained hidden from them . . .

Each time we come up against the wall of incomprehension we must remember that even those who followed Jesus day to day did not fully understand . . . until Christ returned to them following the events of his Passion and death.

And they failed to comprehend what he said . . .

Each time we believe that we are lost we must remember that God always acts through inversion and so the lost will be found.

Each time we fall Christ is there – even though we do not comprehend.

Each time we suffer Christ is there – even though we do not understand.

Each time we die one of those many small deaths that mark our passing, Christ is there – even though we do not fully see.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.133. Print.   

Enter the words Going Up to Jerusalem – A Prayer into the blog search bar and explore another reflection. To better understand the expression, enter the words Going Up to Jerusalem and visit the three-part post.

To read about Jerusalem Day and the crowds who pray at the southern wall of the Temple, click on the image above or go to: http://blog.friendlyplanet.com/2013/03/the-top-10-places-and-sites-to-visit-in-israel.html

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