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Posts Tagged ‘healing’


Job 40:1-5: Arguing with the Almighty – Part III

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Fresco from the Cathedral of the Annunciation depicting Job and his friends.

Ought we to argue with God?  Absolutely.  Will we receive unusual and even vague answers?  Precisely.  Is this the path to wisdom and eventual serenity?  Without a doubt.  And this brings us to the point of this reading:  when we assume a proper relationship with God, all else falls into place.  When we turn to God only, when we believe in God only, when we act through God only, then we find the peace promised to us.

In the scope of the universe, we are quite small; but even in our smallness, each of us is important to God.  We never once hear the Maker say to Job, “I will get back to you in a minute after I finish dealing with a world war, genocide in a number of places, two hurricanes and an earthquake, along with an outbreak of a dread disease and thirteen governments gone bad with corruption”.  God does not put us aside or put us on hold.  God is attentive and present all through this story.  And what we see is God’s constancy, fidelity, and willingness to listen to Job’s complaint.  We can be assured that, like Job, we send our petitions upward. Like Job, we discover that God will hear us because God is always abiding.

When the whirlwind surrounds us, we remember that this is where God speaks most clearly. When the tempest envelops us, we summon the courage and openness to hear what God has to say. When terrors overpower us, we learn how to forbear, hope, and remain faithful to the promise that God and we hold together, the promise of rescue, healing and restoration.

Tomorrow, the end of Job’s story.

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Tobit 3: Seek Consolation – Death

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet: The Raising of Lazarus

We have sought consolation from paralysis, blindness and deafness. We have looked for peace when we are speechless or plagued by possession. Today we reflect on how we might seek comfort in the face of death or deep loss.

We know the stories of those Jesus raised from the dead while he walked among us as human: his friend Lazarus, the widow of Nain’s son, the synagogue leader Jairus’ daughter. We also know the story of how, through the intercession of the risen Christ, Peter brought Tabitha/Dorcas back from death, and Paul called back Eutychus. When we look at the Old Testament, we remember that Elijah restored life to the widow of Zarephath’s son, and Elisha to the Shunammite woman’s son. And perhaps most importantly, we know that Christ has the power to return each of us to eternal life once we leave this earthly one.

Henry Thomson: The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter

All of this reflection on restoration speaks to our desire to overcome death. It exemplifies our hope that deep loss is not permanent. And it resonates with our expectation that Christ’s love for each of us calls all of us to union with him . . . out of certain death and into certain life. In this holiest of seasons when we celebrate the coming of Jesus to the world, we return to one more story of restoration. The story of Tobit and Sarah.

I have always turned to this Book when I am in the middle of a hopeless situation, when the circumstances in which I find myself offer absolutely no anticipation of salvation for myself or for someone I hold dear.  Each time I spend time with these verses, I come away refreshed by the themes the story offers: healing, restoration, desperate prayers made, and desperate prayers answered.  There are soap-opera elements, cliff-hanging events. There are people focused on money, power and sex; yet, over all of these forces, love holds sway.  And it is the only place in the Bible where Raphael is featured.  He is, indeed, so important that the story cannot take place without him.

James Tissot: The Raising of the Son of the Widow of Nain

So why does this archangel visit these characters disguised as a traveler? How does he bring them hope, rebirth and transformation? What is the attitude of each character before God the Creator? And what might we take away from the lessons laid out here?

If we have to read the whole of Tobit today, let us do so. If not, let us focus on Chapter 3. Tomorrow a Prayer for Death . . . and Birth.

Adapted from a reflection written during Advent 2007.

For a quick re-cap of the Old and New Testament resurrection stories above, visit: https://www.gotquestions.org/raised-from-the-dead.html

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Mark 7:31-37: Seek Consolation – Deafness

Jesus Heals a Deaf Man

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How often do we listen without really hearing? How often do we pass along information we believe to be correct but which is, in fact, not true? In the enormous universe of God’s love, we find that we are given countless opportunities to be open to the voice of God.

Some people brought him a man who was deaf and could hardly speak, and they begged Jesus to place his hands on him.

How often do we believe that we cannot bear to hear the day’s news? How often do we turn away from information we cannot take in? In the infinite presence of Christ’s healing, we discover that we have endless access to understanding.

So Jesus took him off alone, away from the crowd, put his fingers in the man’s ears, spat, and touched the man’s tongue.

How often do we grope to comprehend the purpose of the conflict that surrounds us? How often do we open ourselves to healing and transformation? In the immeasurable gift that is the presence of the Spirit, we encounter consolation that changes us forever.

When we do not feel Christ’s presence in our lives, when we fear that we will not hear God’s voice, when we look for consolation we believe will never arrive, we might offer our deafness to the one who created us, in the Advent hope of the presence of God among us.

When we compare differing translations of these verses, we find that our deafness might be more gift than curse.

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John 14:26: Seek Trust – The Advocate

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Jesus tells us that the Creator remains with us in the form of the Spirit.

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you. (GNT)

Jesus tells us that the Spirit abides in us through all our suffering and all our joy.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. (NRSV)

Jesus tells us that although he is no longer visible to us in his original form, he is still with us through the hands and feet, words and healing of others.

But the Counselor, the Ruach HaKodesh, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything; that is, he will remind you of everything I have said to you. (CJB)

Jesus tells us that the Creator’s wisdom resides in us in the form of God’s Spirit.

I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. (MSG)

Jesus tells us that we have an advocate who brings healing and restoration, we have an advocate who promises justice and mercy, we have an advocate we can trust. Let us share this good news today in the way we live and love.

When we compare varying translations of these verses, we find that we have an advocate we can trust, the healing, transformative presence of God.

For a prayer based on this verse, see the Prayer for Understanding post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2014/03/15/prayer-for-understanding/

 

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1 Thessalonians 5:23-24: Seek Wholeness – Freedom

Monday, December 4, 2017

May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being—spirit, soul, and body free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.

God says: You do not need to look for the pieces you believe are missing from your life. All that you believe you lack, you have. You have only to relax into me and you will slowly perceive these missing bits of your persona. You have only to rely on Christ and you will feel the presence of the courage you believe you lack. You have only to rest in the Holy Spirit and you will sense healing and consolation. Reality is not what you see with your eyes, touch with your hands, or hear with your ears. Reality is my full and transforming presence in you that dwells in you since before your conception, and will continue in you long after your temporal death. You can trust my promise. You can trust my action in your life. You can trust my love.

When we compare varying versions of these verses, we discover a new freedom in our wholeness and oneness with God.

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Judges 3: Leading in Christ

James Tissot: Othniel

Monday, June 26, 2017

Adapted from a March 23, 2010 Favorite.

The judges in this book “were not magistrates, but military leaders sent by God to aid and to relieve his people in time of external danger.  They exercised their activities in the interval of time between the death of Joshua and the institution of the monarchy in Israel . . . The purpose of this book is to show that the fortunes of Israel depended upon the obedience or disobedience of the people to God’s law.  Whenever they rebelled against him, they were oppressed by pagan nations; when they repented, he raised up judges to deliver them”.  (NEW AMERICAN BIBLE, 217) today we look at the first three judges, Othniel, Ehud and Shamgar.

He raised up for them a savior . . . who rescued them.

James Tissot: Eglon Slain by Ehud

In today’s Gospel we read of an encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees.  Their savior stands before them, willing to sacrifice all in order that they believe, in order that they turn back to God to enter willingly into the sheepfold.  Jesus describes the relationship he has with the creator: The one who sent me is with me.  He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him”.  (John 8:29The Pharisees are envious and plot against him; yet many others . . . Because he spoke this way . . . came to believe in him.  (John 8:30

In the time of Judges, the faithful believed that when they went astray they would be punished by God.  In the Gospel of John, we see that when we stray we suffer the consequences that we measure out to other people.  When we isolate or judge wrongly, we suffer the consequence we had meant for another.  When we forgive and seek reunion, we experience the unity Christ offers.

The Pharisees think themselves above the Law because they adhere strictly to the code Moses handed to them; they do not comprehend the New Law of Freedom and Love that Jesus presents to them and which he lives out before them.  It is for this reason that Christ says to them: You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above.  You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world.  That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.  For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.  (John 8:23-24

James Tissot: Shamgar Son of Anath

As we assess where we stand and whether our actions portray our belief in a forgiving, loving creator, we take a moment to re-read stories of long ago heroes: three men who answered God’s call to deliver a nation.  We too, are called in every day ways to lead others to freedom – for in so doing, we free ourselves from the bonds of this world.

Like the judges we read about today, we are called in Christ to become leaders.  We are called to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, and to proclaim liberty to captives.   Like those bystanders who witnessed Jesus’ interchange with the Pharisees, let us come to believe in him, and let us act as if we do.

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John 1:1-18: Divine Energy

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
    God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
    in readiness for God from day one.

Here is a bit of advice from Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell. “You can . . . reread the prologue to John’s gospel, and every time you see the term ‘Word’ or Logos, substitute Relationship or Blueprint, instead, and it will really help you get the message . . . This exact model of relationship is then intended to be passed on to us in what Jesus calls the ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’. The Holy Spirit is the relationship between Father and the Son. It is this relationship itself that is gratuitously given to us! Or better, we are included inside this love. Wow. This is salvation in one wonderful snapshot”. (Rohr and Morrell 186)

Everything was created through him;
    nothing—not one thing!—
    came into being without him.

If we might take this in, we realize that it is almost too wonderful to believe, and yet, it is the reality in and by that, we are called to live. We might have some fears about how we are to surrender to this divine energy. So Rohr and Morrell continue.

God was in the world,
    the world was there through him,
    and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
    but they didn’t want him.

“This same relationship shows itself in other myriad forms, such as endless animals and wildflowers, mountains and trees, every cultural attempt at art and science and medicine, all positive street theatre, and every movement of renewal. Every one of these manifestations expresses this endless desire to express new forms of life and externalized love. All things good, true, and beautiful are baptized in the one, same Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows herself as the central and healing power of absolute newness and healing in our relationship with everything else”. (Rohr and Morrell 186)

No one has ever seen God,
        not so much as a glimpse.
    This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
        who exists at the very heart of the Father,
        has made him plain as day.

This divine energy wants all that is good for us. This divine energy brings all that is holy together in us so that goodness might overcome the darkness. This divine energy will never give up, and will never give in. This divine energy is God’s enormous and all-encompassing love as seen in the creator, the redeemer and the healer. This divine energy lives and loves in us.

When we compare varying translation of John’s prologue, we open ourselves to the divine energy of the Trinity. Tomorrow, everything is holy now.

For photos of Arizona sunsets in the southwest USA that echo divine energy, click on the image above and reflect on the divine energy of creation, or visit: http://www.arizona-leisure.com/arizona-pictures.html 

Rohr, Richard with Mike Morrell. THE DIVINE DANCE: THE TRINITY AND YOUR TRANSFORMATION. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2016. Print. 

 

 

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1 Peter 3:8-22: Salvific Suffering – Part II

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Antonio de Bellis: The Liberation of Saint Peter

How can we celebrate our mourning?

When we spend time opening Acts 5, and when we watch and listen to Peter, we discover how we might apply The Word to our lives.

We watch the apostles slip unseen from their prison, moving through locked gates and past watchful guards.

Do we ask Christ to open doors and safeguard us? Do we trust the Spirit who calls us?

The apostles go immediately to the Temple to proclaim the wonderful news that they were able to heal in Jesus’ name, the name of the man whom they taunted a few short weeks before as he hung on the cross.

Do we share with others the Good News of Christ’s movement in our lives? Do we celebrate our small victories and rejoice in the Spirit’s healing?

We follow the apostles as they brilliantly and boldly – and in every way like Christ – reply to the Sadducees that they cannot still their tongues or cease healing.  We hear them defy this wealthy group of men who collaborate with the Romans and supervise the rebuilding of the stone Temple.

Do we react with courage when others accuse us unjustly? Do we trust the Spirit to send us her wisdom and grace?

We hear the apostles as they witness to Christ when they say – as we all are called to say: Whether it is right in the sight of God, you be the judges.  It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard. 

Do we speak as these apostles speak? Do we listen as these apostles listen? Do we act as these apostles act?

Today we spend time with The Word as we learn how to celebrate our mourning.

Tomorrow, what do we fear . . . and why?

Adapted from a Favorite written in November 10, 2007.

 

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1 Peter 3:8-22: Salvific Suffering – Part I

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

220px-San_Pedro_en_lágrimas_-_Murillo

Esteban Murillo: San Pedro en lágrimas

Why must we suffer?

This is a beautiful idea that reminds us that we are called to be living stones in the living temple of Christ.  The letters of Peter are full of wonderfully good advice about how to build a Christian community and this is no surprise. Peter is The Rock on whom Christ builds his church. Peter denied Christ three times during the Passion, as Christ himself predicted, but he bridges any gap he had created by following Christ so ardently. Today we examine Peter’s suffering to learn how we might also learn to suffer well.

Studying The Acts of the Apostles slowly is refreshing if we can give ourselves the space and time to reflect deliberately and carefully on the story of the passion with which the first Christians feel Christ’s presence after his death.  When we believe ourselves to be in dire straits, we really only need turn to this story.  It reveals so much about the hope we called to live joyfully.

In Chapter 5, Ananais and Sapphira are struck dead by the Lord for withholding the gifts given to them. We hear about the second trial and imprisonment of the apostles, their mystical release by the angel of God, and rabbi Gamaliel’s wise argument to let the apostles go with a flogging – rather than execution – because if their work comes from God, you will be able to destroy them; you may even find yourself fighting against God. 

At the end of this chapter we see the apostles return to their community and we find them rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.  And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Messiah, Jesus . . . even though the authorities warn them to cease healing in Jesus’ name.

Today we reflect on our opportunities to suffer as early church members did. We examine the zeal with which we carry out our own story of Christ’s hope and resurrection. We explore the choices we see in Acts 5 as we consider the words of Peter. And we begin to understand that we are each free to choose if and how we will suffer well.

Tomorrow, celebrating as we mourn.

Adapted from a Favorite written in November 10, 2007.

 

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