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Posts Tagged ‘hope’


Romans 5:1-8: Develop Patience

Friday, December 2, 2016patience-trust-faith

Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (NSRV)

Avoiding sorrow, we forfeit an opportunity to grow in God’s love.

Rejecting obstacles, we lose our intimacy with Christ.

Refusing to see that goodness overcomes harm, we reject the healing touch of the Spirit.

Surviving through faith, we receive hope.

Living in Christ, we experience peace and grace.

Handing ourselves over to God’s offer of love, we grow in endurance.

Resting in grief, we blossom in grace to develop patience that carries us home.

When we use the scripture link and the drop-down menus, we come to see that adversity trains us in the development of patience, a patience that will serve us in our journey home. For another reflection on Patienceclick on the image above or visit: https://www.worldslastchance.com/biblical-christian-beliefs/patience-of-the-saints.html 

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Romans 7:14-25: Loving Others – Part V

Saturday, November 26, 2016

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. (MSG)

christ-imagePaul describes something that happens to each of us. Our best intentions succumb to our desire to control our environment. Our most outrageous hopes falter when we face ominous obstacles alone. Our deepest faith falters when the reality of the world crowds our thinking. We cannot understand how loving those who hate us will bring an end to all that plagues society.

Who will rescue me from this body bound for death? (CJB)

Despite all that looks dark in the world, Christ brings us light. Despite all that threatens to pull us under, the Spirit raises us up.

This, then, is my condition: on my own I can serve God’s law only with my mind. (GNT)

When events loom, when life overwhelms, when hope abandons and faith cannot abide, we are left with the only law that matters. Christ’s unfailing, always-saving, eternal Law of Love.

For a reflection on these verses, click on the image above or visit: https://frted.wordpress.com/tag/luke-631-36/

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Luke 15:4-6: With Great Joy

James Tissot: The Good Shepherd

James Tissot: The Good Shepherd

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Jesus poses a question to us.

Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them—what do you do? 

Jesus shows the path to us.

You leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the pasture and go looking for the one that got lost until you find it.

Jesus recalls our humanity for us.

When you find it, you are so happy that you put it on your shoulders, and with great joy you carry it back home.

Jesus models a faith-filled life for us.

Then you call your friends and neighbors together and say to them, “I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate!”

Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne: The Good Shepherd

Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne: The Good Shepherd

When confronted with an enormous problem or a nagging worry, we consider the abiding faith Jesus shows us when he abandons the ninety-nine in search of the one. Might we be so courageous as to allow God to guide our actions? We also consider the hopeful persistence Jesus displays as he endures in his search for the one lost sheep. Might we persevere and allow God to bolster our work in the kingdom? And we consider the compassionate, joy-filled mercy with which Jesus celebrates. Might we be as exuberant in our love for even the darkest of our nights and the most difficult of our days . . . always knowing that these trials will ultimately bring us great joy?

When we use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to compare varying translations of these verses, we find that in our darkest circumstances, in our longest battles, and in the narrowest of places, Jesus shows us that with the Good Shepherd we might find the faith, hope and love to celebrate with great joy.

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Luke 11:47-54: A Prayer for This Generation

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Jacob Jordeans: Jesus Driving the Merchants from the Temple

Jacob Jordeans: Jesus Driving the Merchants from the Temple

How terrible for you! You make fine tombs for the prophets—the very prophets your ancestors murdered.

Knowing that all generations falter in their hope to follow Christ, we pray for ourselves and for all who are willing to ask for hope in hopeless situations.

You yourselves admit, then, that you approve of what your ancestors did; they murdered the prophets, and you build their tombs.

Knowing that all generation murder prophets and bury them in white-washed tombs, we pray for ourselves and for all who honor life that comes from God.

How terrible for you teachers of the Law! You have kept the key that opens the door to the house of knowledge; you yourselves will not go in, and you stop those who are trying to go in!

Knowing that all generations hold the key of knowledge and use it for good and for ill, we pray for ourselves and all who continue to prophesize in the face of corruption.

So the people of this time will be punished for the murder of all the prophets killed since the creation of the world.

Knowing that all generations both bless and condemn the Spirit, we pray for ourselves and all who are willing to unravel plots and reveal those who freely deceive others.

When Jesus left that place, the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees began trying to lay traps for him and catch him saying something wrong.

El Greco: The Purification of the Temple

El Greco: The Purification of the Temple

Knowing that all generations lay plots and lie in waiting to put an end to goodness, we pray for ourselves and all who dare to bring light to the world.

When Jesus left that place, the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees began to criticize him bitterly and ask him questions about many things.

Knowing that God’s enormous love is capable of healing all wounds, bridging all abysses, and restoring all peace, we pray for ourselves and for all who persist in carrying God’s love into the world.

Amen.

For more images of Jesus driving the money-lenders from the Temple, click on the image above or visit: http://www.artble.com/artists/el_greco/paintings/the_purification_of_the_temple

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Luke 11:47-54: This Generation – Part III

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Expulsion of the Money-Changers from the Temple

We have heard Jesus’ call to our best selves. We have heard the voice describing the hope placed in humankind. We have felt the presence of the Spirit that longs to live in love in every heart.

How do the wise of Jesus’ day react to this startling good news?

As soon as Jesus left the table, the religion scholars and Pharisees went into a rage. They went over and over everything he said, plotting how they could trap him in something from his own mouth. (THE MESSAGE)

How do those Jesus challenges react?

Lying in wait for him, and seeking to catch something from his mouth, that they might accuse him. (DOUAY-RHEIMS AMERICAN)

How does our own generation respond to Jesus’ call?

When he went outside, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile toward him and to cross-examine him about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say. (NRSV)

How do we today return the enormous love that are given?

When Jesus left that place, the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees began to criticize him bitterly and ask him questions about many things, trying to lay traps for him and catch him saying something wrong. (GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION)

How do we open our ears and eyes, minds and hearts to God’s loving Word?

When we compare varying translations of these verses using the scripture link and drop-down menus, we find The Word speaks to our own generation just as he spoke to his own.

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John 12:44-50: Light

Sunday, October 16, 2016

the starry night

We are made in God’s image in a glorious diversity of structure and personality. Today we hear the words of Jesus describing himself as Light to the WorldIn God’s image, we are called into life both individually and collectively to be that light as well.  We have our instruction, it seems, and they are simple.  We are made to be planted beside one another, warts and all, to agree on the Gospel story, to allow God to hone the rough edges from our exterior, and to open our hearts to the possibility of being Light and Hope and Love.  There is no greater calling.

In our familiar creation story we are told of the gift of life itself. Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26

The prophet Isaiah reminds us that we are named, loved and called.  For the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel my chosen one, I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not.  I am the Lord and there is no other, there is no God besides me.  It is I who arm you, though you know me not, so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun men may know that there is none besides me.  I am the Lord, there is no other.  I form the light and create the darkness, I make well-being and create we; I, the Lord, do all these things.  Isaiah 45:4-7

Paul writes to the Colossians and he writes to us. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. Colossians 1:12-18 Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself. Colossians 3:9-10

Christ himself calls us to set the world ablaze with our fervor for our mission in him.  Jesus said to his disciples [to us], “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” Luke 12:49

And as we reflect, we pray.

lightinthedarkness_mediaplayerimageWe are created in light to bring light to the world. Let us never doubt the Creator’s strength and wisdom, and let us call on God for help when we feel the darkness too close around us.

We are made in God’s own image as sisters and brothers of Christ. Let us always rely on Jesus’ love and compassion when we are overcome by the worries of the world.

We are made in love to bring love to the world. Let us forever depend on the healing presence of the Spirit when we are wounded or betrayed.

May Jesus Christ be always our way, our truth, our life and our light.  Amen.  

When we use the scripture links to explore other translations of these verses, we encounter the wisdom and life, the truth and light we seek.

Adapted from a Favorite written on October 23, 2008. 

For another reflection on the meaning of Christ’s light in the world’s darkness, click on the image of the universe above or visit: http://cribandcross.org/the-light-in-the-darkness/

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Job 3Misery

Wednesday, October 12, 2016peace-in-christ

We continue our reflections on peace and we find that even in the depths of misery, there is peace. 

In the Biblia de América, the commentary refers to the technique used in this book as a dialog of the deaf.  This certainly explains how we so often feel misunderstood, misheard, misspoken, misunderstanding.  As humans, we are often poor at expressing ourselves clearly . . . and we are equally poor at hearing well.  Job’s three friends, in an effort to either console Job in his misfortune or to justify themselves in their good fortune, do not fully comprehend the depths of Job’s misery.  He is innocent.  He has followed God’s precepts well.  He has done nothing wrong.  He has done all things well . . . yet he suffers tremendously.  This does not fit the Old Testament thinking that if we do as we are asked to do, we will not suffer.  Goods and good times come to us as a reward.  Suffering and pain come to us as a punishment.  Job struggles to find the logic in what has happened to him, and here in the opening chapters he is clear about his grief; yet his friends will reply as if they have not heard the idea their friend struggles to communicate – he has done nothing wrong and still he suffers greatly.  Job, looking for justice and compassion, will find only preaching and separation from his friends.  It is not until the end of this travail that he will see the wisdom and awesome power of God.  And for his fidelity and his willingness to suffer . . . Job will receive compensation beyond his imaginings.

Still, we are struck by the phrase: a dialog of the deaf.  Is this the way we listen to one another?  Are we bent on finding answers?  On ending pain?  On bending circumstances to our own will?  Why do we not hear?  Perhaps the other’s experience is beyond anything we can imagine.  Perhaps others frighten us and we fear contagion.  Perhaps we do not want to admit that discipline from God is necessary and that our role is to abide by those who suffer.  Perhaps we are not willing to become co-redeemers with Christ and enter into the salvific pain which redeems us as well as our enemies when we pray for their conversion.

Job speaks of wishing he had never been born.  This is true misery for this admits that we would rather be without God and free of pain than with God and suffering with God.  Yet we only become truly free when we give over our self-control to the guiding hands of God.  We can only become truly happy when we agree to live a life which depends on God’s plan for our happiness rather than our own.

True freedom and true joy can wipe out the kind of misery Job expresses here.  Authentic faith, enduring hope, genuine love . . . these are the antidote for deep and inconsolable misery . . . and these come from God alone.  As sufferers here in this life we can listen more to one another, we can abide more with one another, and rather than recriminations, accusations or platitudes . . . we might offer God’s peace to one another.

This is the power, the mystery and the comfort that comes from saying to one another . . . may Christ’s peace be with you.  For it is the only peace that knows the depth of pain that cries out . . . if only I had not been born.  It is the eternal peace of God with which God graces all life.  If only we might find a way to listen . . .

Adapted from a reflection written on February 17, 2009.

LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.

 

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Matthew 27:55: A Prayer for Ministering Women

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mikołaj Haberschrack: The Three Marys, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of Clopas, Mary mother of James

Mikołaj Haberschrack: The Three Marys, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of Clopas, Mary mother of James

There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee and helped him. (Matthew 27:55 GNT)

For all the women who work in the margins of society to bring goodness out of darkness, we pray.

And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him. (Matthew 27:55 KJV)

For all the women who work for justice to bring change to corrupt systems, we pray.

Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. (Matthew 27:55 NRSV)

For all the women who keep quiet counsel as they nurture others through bright days and long nights, we pray.

And there were there many women afar off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him. (Matthew 27:55 DRA)

For all the women who step forward to lead in spite of blatant barriers and the quiet whispering campaigns, we pray.

There were also quite a few women watching from a distance, women who had followed Jesus from Galilee in order to serve him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the Zebedee brothers. (Matthew 27:55 MSG)

For all the women in the world who follow Christ in deep fidelity, who hold hope against outrageous odds, and who love in the face of anger and abuse, we pray.

For all the women in the world, we pray. Amen.

To compare other translations of this verse, use the scripture link and the drop down menus, and give thanks for the sacred hands of many ministering women.

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Luke 8:1-3: Ministering Women – Part II

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bernardino Luini:The Conversion of the Magdalene

Bernardino Luini:The Conversion of the Magdalene

A Favorite from September 6, 2008.

As the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, my home is by your altars, Lord of hosts, my king and my God.  Psalm 84:4

From a MAGNIFICAT Meditation (September 22, 2007) by Father Maurice Zundel, a Swiss mystic, poet, philosopher, liturgist and author who writes about the present Messianic age, the age of Mary: The new vision of woman, that Mary inspires by her presence in our history, constitutes a vital opportunity to establish a truly free world . . . Woman, fashioned after this model, transcending the species and attracting man by the light of her inner life, might suggest a real answer to the condition of contemporary humanity.  She can reveal to man the highest spheres of her own being by embodying the perpetual need to surpass himself.

Does the world of men feel this surpassing and so strive to control it?  Does the world of women feel overwhelmed by this challenge and seek to become like men rather than bloom into full femininity?

Father Zundel continues: We cannot hope to find a human solution to all the problems facing us as long as we fail to recognize our capacity for the infinite, a capacity that unhinges us when it cannot be actualized in a field of expansion as vast as its potential.

We cannot expect to find unity among us if we step back from the challenge given us – this challenge of being infinite – of unifying in the divine corpus of Christ.  If we fail to recognize the pitfall of concentrating on all that divides us, of focusing on our lack rather than on our potential, we cannot live up to this potential.  If we believe that this expansion of which Father Zundel writes is impossible, we fail God.  We lack faith in God’s ability to make all things happen.  We fall into the darkness of doubt, of leaving-well-enough-alone, of despair, of anxiety.

We cannot become frightened of the challenges God gives us.  Rather we must be encouraged by the confidence he places in us.  We must rise to the hope and the potential placed in us.  For in this hope lies the rescue of the world.  In this hope lies our true union with God – our infiniteness.

The potential that God places in each of us is what Jesus saw in the women and men who accompanied him to Jerusalem.  The Hope of God was placed in us – men and women – at birth.  The Spirit of God is nurtured in each of us as God’s children – female and male.

Tomorrow, Jerusalem, the cross and the grave.

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