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Isaiah 11: The Inverted Kingdom – Part XII

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Gregory Perillo: Peaceable Kingdom - Nations at Rest

Gregory Perillo: Peaceable Kingdom – Nations at Rest

Can we possibly imagine . . . ?

Wolves and lambs, leopards and kids, calves and lions . . . and a child shall lead them.

Cattle and bears, lions and oxen, the infant plays at the lair of the asp . . . and a child shall lay his hand on the adder.  

Pain and destruction shall fall away. The earth is full of knowledge. The faithful remnant recovers.

The outcasts are gathered. The dispersed come from the four corners of the earth.  

Jealousy departs, hostility is cut off. God’s Word has come to inhabit the world.

Edward Hicks: The Peaceable Kingdom

Edward Hicks: The Peaceable Kingdom

Do we expect an apocalyptic judging of those who are not “us” and “we”? Or do we await the gentle yet firm turning of all to the kingdom that Isaiah foretells and Jesus embodies? Our behavior each day is an indication to ourselves and to the world of our relationship with God, of our faith in the past, our hope for the future, and our love for the conversion of the present. Moving forward in reconciliation, we recognize Christ in the “other” who walks with us. And we invite the Spirit to remain with us always as we all come together in God’s peaceable kingdom of inversion.

Compare varying versions of these verses by using the scripture link for a view of God’s Kingdom.

For a reprise of The Noontimes reflection on Isaiah 11, visit the On that day . . . post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2015/12/10/isaiah-11-on-that-day/ 

Click on the Hicks image or visit http://poulwebb.blogspot.com/2013/08/edward-hicks-part-2.html for an interesting comparison of Hicks’ images of the kingdom. 

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Luke 1:46-55: The Inverted Kingdom – Part XI

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Raphael: Madonna della Sedia

Raphael: Madonna della Sedia

Today, when thousands of women converge on the U.S. capital, we explore Mary’s Prayer. A link for more information on the gathering follows this post. 

In days of political and civil turmoil, Mary the Mother of God reminds us how to pray

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

In times of family strife and confusion, Mary the Mother of God gives us words we might repeat.

For God has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

In the hour when friends become enemies and colleagues become strangers, Mary the Mother of God shows us the mind of God.

The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name.

Mary the Mother of God reminds us that God is more loving than we can imagine, more patient and compassionate than all of humanity gathered together.

The LORD has mercy on those who love God in every generation.

magnificatMary the Mother of God tells us that we have nothing to fear.

The LORD has shown the strength of God’s arm.

Mary the Mother of God asks us to put aside our pride to take up love.

God has scattered the proud in their conceit.

Mary the Mother of God shows us that power and might are as nothing.

The LORD has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.

Mary the Mother of God tells us that God alone sustains for an eternity.

The LORD has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich God has sent away empty.

Mary the Mother of God reminds us that God is persistent, God is faithful, and God is hope.

The LORD has come to the rescue of God’s servant, for God has remembered the promise of mercy, the promise made to Abraham and his children forever.

madona-morenaMary the Mother of God reminds us how to enter into and act in the world. Mary calls us to goodness, endurance, and love. In times, days, and hours when the world fails us, we might return to Mary’s MAGNIFICAT to amplify our love of God as we pray with her these words.

When we explore varying translations of these verses, we open ourselves to the healing power of Mary’s joy and thanksgiving.

In the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church’s great communal prayer, the MAGNIFICAT is part of Vespers, or Evensong. For more information on this prayer and how it parallel’s the prayer of Hannah, visit: http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/meditation-on-the-magnificat

For more on the Liturgy of the Hours and how each of us might join our voices with millions of others by pausing briefly a few times a day, visit The Liturgy of the Hours page on this blog.

For more on Raphael’s image of the Madonna and Child, click on the image above, or visit: http://www.everypainterpaintshimself.com/article/raphaels_madonna_della_sedia_1513-14 

Women gather in Washington, D.C. in solidarity for the protection of their rights, safety, health, and families, they recognize that vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of their country. https://www.womensmarch.com/ and https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-march-on-washington-official-tickets-29428287801 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/21/us/womens-march.html?_r=0

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1 Samuel 25: The Inverted Kingdom – Part VII

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jacob Willemsz de Wet the Elder: The Meeting of David and Abigail

Jacob Willemsz de Wet the Elder: The Meeting of David and Abigail

Yesterday we spent time with David, Saul, Nabal and Abigail. Today we examine the life of Jesus and how or if it influences our own inverted lives.

Jesus comes to tell us that when we lose, we win, and when we win, we lose.  St. Paul reminds us that when we are weak, we are strong and when we are strong, we are weak.  Intellectually we might come to understand that when we die we live and we live we die, but it takes spiritual fortitude to live a life of inversion.  If we can stand back, let God operate, listen for God’s voice, we are able to cooperate with God.  As we pray, wait and communicate with God . . . we achieve God’s purpose in us.

Julius Kronberg: David and Saul

Julius Kronberg: David and Saul

We can take a lesson from Nabal, Abigail, David and Saul.  We see different courses of action open to us in the lives of these four people.  And if we are honest, we can see that we have the same options. We can choose to reject God for the sake of self, or to abandon self in order to do God’s will.  As we see today, each of us is free to opt in or out of God’s plan.

So this is all that God asks of us: to act only in God’s interest rather than our own, to do only God’s justice rather than take revenge or hold grudges, to bring hope to the hopeless rather than succumb to despair, and to love as God loves . . . with compassion in place of leniency, with mercy and understanding instead of possessive control and manipulation.

So what does God’s inverted kingdom offer and how do these stories show us God’s hope in us? God wants only our best, our purest, our humblest selves. God wants only to share hope with us. And God wants us to be completely free to choose this marvelous plan of inversion and love.

 

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Ephesians 3:2-6: Do Not Fear – Part XIV

Monday, January 9, 2017

file-saint_paul_writing_his_epistles-_by_valentin_de_boulogne

Valentin de Boulogne: Saint Paul Writing his Epistles

Although we have closed Christmastide we pause to spend a few moments with some of Paul’s words to the Ephesians about the secret plan of God, the mystery of Christ, the Word who arrives to live among us. These words remind us why we have nothing to fear.

The following verses are from THE MESSAGE translation. When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to compare other versions, God’s plan begins to clarify for us.

Paul tells the Ephesians – and us – that he is imprisoned because of his belief in Christ; yet he appears to have no fear of his impending punishment.

This is why I, Paul, am in jail for Christ, having taken up the cause of you outsiders, so-called. I take it that you’re familiar with the part I was given in God’s plan for including everybody. I got the inside story on this from God himself, as I just wrote you in brief.

Paul tells the Ephesians – and us – that he is confined because of his belief in Christ; yet he appears to have no fear of his approaching trial.

As you read over what I have written to you, you’ll be able to see for yourselves into the mystery of Christ. None of our ancestors understood this. Only in our time has it been made clear by God’s Spirit through his holy apostles and prophets of this new order.

Paul tells the Ephesians – and us – because of his belief in Christ, that he has nothing to fear in this world.

The mystery is that people who have never heard of God and those who have heard of him all their lives (what I’ve been calling outsiders and insiders) stand on the same ground before God. They get the same offer, same help, same promises in Christ Jesus. The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board.

Paul tells the Ephesians – and he tells us – that because of our belief in Christ, we have nothing to fear in this world. Paul tells us that we need only step into the Christmas gift of grace, peace, joy and hope. And he tells us that when we witness to this gift, we begin to act with and in Christ in our world.

Wishing each of you in the Noontime circle a New Year filled with Christ’s grace and peace, joy and hope.

Tomorrow, recognizing Christ.

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1 John 4:17-18: Do Not Fear – Part X

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre: The Adoration of the Shepherds

Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre: The Adoration of the Shepherds

John reminds us that the one sure antidote against fear is love.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. (NASB)

John tells us that the power of love overcomes the power of evil, always.

There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment. (GNT)

John reminds us that all love that emanates from God has the power to heal and transform.

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. (MSG)

John tells us that as we grow in love and in Christ, we no longer are a harbor of fear.

Today, as we reflect on our fears, we might ask ourselves, “In this new year, how might we make ourselves ready to grow in love?”

Throughout Christmastide, we continue to reflect on the confidence God’s words bring to us, “There is no room in love for fear”.

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Acts 18:9: Do Not Fear – Part VII

Sunday, New Year’s Day, January 1, 2017

Gerard de Laresse: Adoration of the Kings

Gerard de Laresse: Adoration of the Kings

We enter a new year, a time of replenishment and restoration. We look for a new message of transformed hope. A new sign of renovating freedom. We await a new pronouncement of the words we need to hear: Do not be afraid.

And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; (NASB)

Saul, the persecutor of early Christ-followers, encounters the risen Christ and learned that his fears have no meaning in this kingdom of Jesus. He now believes the words: Do not be afraid.

One night Paul had a vision in which the Lord said to him, “Do not be afraid, but keep on speaking and do not give up. (GNT)

Saul the persecutor, blind for a time, trusts God’s plan as he shares the Good News that Christ’s new coming brings new hope and new meaning.

One night the Master spoke to Paul in a dream: “Keep it up, and don’t let anyone intimidate or silence you. No matter what happens, I’m with you and no one is going to be able to hurt you. You have no idea how many people I have on my side in this city.” That was all he needed to stick it out. He stayed another year and a half, faithfully teaching the Word of God to the Corinthians. (MSG)

Saul the persecutor becomes Paul the Apostle, sharing the Good News that hope is alive, rebirth and transformation are possible, and fear is only for those who refuse to believe.

Centuries after Paul shares his news with anyone who will listen, he tells each of us that there is no reason for fear or division.

Today, as we reflect on the journey the magi make to worship the new king, we might ask ourselves, “What journey we are willing to make? And what are we willing to put aside in this new year as a sign that we refuse to surrender to fear?”

Throughout Christmastide, we continue to reflect on the transformative power of God’s words to us, “Do not be afraid”.

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1622gerard_van_honthorst-dec-31

Gerard Van Honthurst: Adoration of the Shepherds

Matthew: Do Not Fear – Part VI

Christmas Saturday, New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2016

Jesus prepares his followers for his own exodus from the mortal life to the eternal. After taking Peter, James and John up the mountain to witness his own transfiguration, he tells them words that engender hope, the words he always tells us: Do not be afraid.

And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.” (Matthew 17:7)

Jesus feels compassion for the women who tend to him so faithfully. Knowing that their fidelity is an exemplar to all of us, Jesus says the words he says to all of us: Do not be afraid.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. (Matthew 28:5)

Jesus feels deep love for those who want to follow him, knowing that their journey will be difficult. To them and to us Jesus lovingly says: Do not be afraid.

Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to my brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:10)

Years after Jesus tells those closest to him that he wants to bring unity out of division, he tells each of us that he wants to erase all fear and division. Jesus tells all of creation that fidelity helps us to see how love converts all harm to good, hope sustains all life through turmoil, and love brings all light from darkness.

Today we might ask, “How can we bring faith, hope and love into our lives every day as we are poised to begin a new year?”

Throughout Christmastide, we continue to reflect on the many ways God says to us, “Do not be afraid. I live within you always”.

 

 

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angels-announcing-the-birth-of-christ-to-the-shepherds-flinck-govert-teunisz-1024x792-dec-30

Linck Govert Teunisz: Angels Announcing the Birth of Christ to the Shepherds

Luke: Do Not Fear – Part V

Christmas Friday, December 30, 2016

Do not be afraid. We need to hear these words. We need to share these words. We need to use these words every day.

The angel of the Lord speaks to the high priest Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, assuring his that the Living God was making the impossible possible in their lives.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. (Luke 1:13)

The angel of the Lord speaks to the girl Mary, the mother of Jesus, assuring her that the Living God was entering her life in a special way.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. (Luke 1:30)

The angel of the Lord speaks to shepherds who guard their flocks on the night of Jesus’ birth, assuring them that a newness has just entered into a weary world.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. (Luke 2:10)

Jesus speaks to Jairus, a synagogue leader, assuring him that his daughter is alive and has not died.

But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.” (Luke 8:50)

Jesus speaks to the people, assuring them that the darkness of the world can be dissipated by the light of truth and peace.

“I say to you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. (Luke 12:4)

Jesus speaks to his followers, assuring them that the evil of the world is transformed by love.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

Anton Raphael Mengs: Dream of Saint Joseph

Anton Raphael Mengs: Dream of Saint Joseph

Lifetimes after these verses are recorded, we remind ourselves that the impossible is possible with God. All harm becomes goodness through God. Darkness becomes light. Despair becomes home. Doubt becomes faith. Evil becomes love. And for all of these reasons, we need not fear.

Today we might ask, “How do we live in order to remember that we need not be afraid? How do we live in such a way that we demonstrate our understanding that God is everywhere and lives in us? And how do we share this Good News in our thoughts words and deeds?

In Matthew 1:19An angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. To learn why, visit: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/why-did-joseph-plan-to-divorce-mary 

Throughout Christmastide, we continue to remember God’s words, “Do not be afraid”.

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Luke 1-2: Behold the Christ

Antonio Baletsra:

The Nativity – detail

Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, 2016

In this final week of Advent, let us decide to make our hopes tangible, our dreams a prayer for our reality, our faith unwavering and our love secure. Let us cleave to the Creator, follow the Redeemer and rest in the Spirit. This week let us give one another the gift of preparing for the very real promise of eternity.

The high priest Zechariah learns patience so that he might behold Emmanuel, God Among Us. While he awaits the birth of his only child who will become the announcer and baptizer of the Christ, he waits in patient hope until the day his speech returns.

And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” (Luke 1:20)

The girl Mary learns that God can do the impossible when the angel Gabriel visits her with the astounding news that she will bring the Light of the World to waiting humanity.

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. (Luke 1:31)

Mary learns the astounding news that her elderly cousin Elizabeth has conceived life. An affirmation that with God, all things are possible.

And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. (Luke 1:36)

Mary learns that her confidence in God is rewarded as she responds with her, “Yes,” to God’s invitation to enter into union with all of creation in a most special way.

And Mary said, “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)

Elizabeth learns that her young cousin Mary is the new ark of the new Word. These kinswomen greet one another just as each of us might if we understand God’s message of hope.

For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. (Luke 1:44)

The marginalized shepherds learn the redeeming news that the Messiah has come to live among them as a vulnerable child.

But the angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; (Luke 2:10)

The wise man Simeon learns that his outrageous hope has been rewarded. He has met the Savior of the World, just as God has promised.

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— (Luke 2:34)

The woman Mary learns that this child she must share with world for the redemption of all is fully human and fully divine.

When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” (Luke 2:48)

Each of us is given the opportunity on this Good Night to become apostles of Christ. Each of us might carry Christ within and share him with the world. Each of us truly human and truly divine as our brother Jesus tells us. Each of us is given the gift of this Nochebuena, this wonderful Good Night. Let us rejoice with the shepherds. Let us give our confident “yes” to God’s plan. And let us behold the marvelous gift we hold in our hands.

In the Hispanic culture Christmas Eve bears the title of Nochebuena. Read more about this custom at: http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/spain.shtml

These verses are taken from the NASB translation of Luke. Other versions open this story so that our ears might hear, our eyes might see, and our hearts might open wide to welcome Christ into our lives in a very real, very human, very divine way.

adoratio

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