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Posts Tagged ‘intimacy’


Sirach 45:1-5: The Old and the New

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Written on January 18 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Moses Pleading With Israel

“Moses manifested God’s power through miracles, God’s authority through the promulgation of the commandments and the law, and God’s mercy through the intimacy granted him by the Lord for his own faithfulness and meekness. The very personification of the old covenant, Moses was also a type of Christ, the Prophet and Legislator of the new.  God’s honor devolved upon him: Moses was actually God’s substitute in dealing with Pharaoh, hence God entrusted his own honor to Moses”. (Senior 867-868)

Power, authority, mercy, intimacy, faithfulness and meekness:

Here is a valuable lesson for us.

The sort of meekness that is the gracious humility shown by Christ is also the meekness that Moses demonstrated.  This meekness leads to faithfulness.

Jesus Teaching in the Temple

The sort of faithfulness that is constant and intentional is the fidelity shown by Christ to the father and to his flock.  This faithfulness leads to intimacy.

The sort of intimacy that shares and does not control is lived by Christ in every story we read about him.  This intimacy leads to mercy.

The sort of mercy that is compassion is personified by Christ.  This mercy leads to authority.

The sort of authority vested in Christ is the same authority we are granted when we follow Christ.  This authority leads to power.

This power is everlasting.  It comes from the father, is explained to us by the prophets, and is lived for us by Christ.

Moses is a personification of the Old Covenant, Jesus is the New.  God entrusts Christ’s honor to those who are meek, merciful and in intimate relationship with him.

Here is a valuable lesson for us.  Let us take it in today . . . and ponder it.


A re-post from November 1, 2011.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.867-868. Print.   

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Betrayal


Tuesday, January 29, 2013 – John 13:21-30 – Betrayal

Caravaggio: Taking of Christ in the Garden

Caravaggio: Taking of Christ in the Garden

Often during our Noontimes we have explored the theme of infidelity and the effects it has upon our intimate relationships and our collective experience as a people of God.  We have spent time thinking about how an act of betrayal never has a single secret effect.  We have prayed for those who deceive and harm us.  We have pondered how to handle an act of betrayal when it slices through our lives.  Today we see God himself allow each of us to make a choice for freedom and life or slavery and death.  Judas has become a slave to an idea which leaves his soul open to darkness.  Jesus allows him to proceed along the path he has chosen: What you are going to do, do quickly.  Yesterday we reflected on Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.  Today we explore John 13 more closely.

Today’s citation comes from the portion of John’s Gospel often called The Book of Glory; Chapters 13 to 20 tell the story of the passion, death and transformation of Jesus.  Here he has just delivered his discourse on the relationship he has with the Father – one of deepest intimacy.  And he has just told his followers – his followers of that evening and his followers today – that the same intimacy is open to each of us, that God yearns to hold us and to possess us more than anything we can imagine from our human experience.  Yet this citation begins with: Jesus was deeply troubled . . .

Able to read our inmost thoughts, Jesus understands that Judas is disappointed, disgruntled, and about to act on his envy and anger.  Judas Iscariot, despite so much time spent with the Master, is unable to enter into this intimacy offered.  And so he strikes at that which he cannot experience.

Jesus dipped a morsel and handed it to Judas . . . extending an ultimate invitation . . . knowing that it and he will be rejected; for after Judas took the morsel . . . Satan entered him. 

Who and what are Satan?  I believe that this force of negativity cleverly appeals to the narcissistic child in each of us; and I believe that it is present always.  Only through our fidelity to God and the light . . . do we evade that which relishes the night.  The risen Christ offers this invitation to unity constantly.  How do we respond?

Jesus shares a last meal with a man who believes that he operates in secret and who has likely convinced himself that his actions are for some greater good.  Judas’ actions will set a course of events into motion which cannot be recalled.  The calculus has been set much earlier than this through a series of moments of discontent, of wounded pride, of self-importance.  Judas resists the call to goodness and falls to the darkness.

So he took the morsel and left at once.  And it was night.

In an understatement of fact, the writer John tells us all we need to know about betrayal and the evil on which it feeds.  Envy, wilfulness, desire for control of self and others, attendance to our own needs at the expense of others . . . these are signs that lead only to darkness.  And it was night.  Goodness, mercy, kindness, gentleness, prudence, courage, openness, perseverance . . . these are the signs that lead to light and life.

Heavenly Father, keep us always open to Christ, your Word among us.  Count us among your faithful.  Create in us a spirit that will always recognize you and welcome you . . . even in the most surprising places and unexpected people. 

Today we receive you; we receive your word.  Keep us ever mindful of your love for us.  Call us always to the light that is you.  Amen.

Written on January 27, 2009.  Re-written and posted today as a Favorite. 

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Perceiving Evil


Friday, October 26, 2012 – Proverbs 27  – Perceiving Evil

Woven among the threads of practical advice in these proverbs are many other strands that alert us to the presence of evil in our lives.  The alarms are not strident and can be easily missed – just as evil itself can approach us disguised as goodness.  Evil is seen as being present everywhere: in nature as well as humans.

Friendship is feigned in order to gain some end, intimacies are betrayed, decency is imitated.  Only the crucible of life can test the value of the silver and gold we see before us; and only the passion of living life honestly will save us from the fire of life’s furnace.  Fools are portrayed as both perpetrators and receivers of evil. 

Where do we turn in a place where so much evil abounds?  What do we do about evil that knows no limits or boundaries?

Good stewardship is praised and seen as a worthy foil for evil’s assault on the faithful.  Striving for unity rather than putting up with division is another antidote.  Honesty is encouraged, as is the nurturing of relationships. 

But perhaps the most telling piece of advice that speaks to the power of evil is this: The shrewd man perceives evil and hides; simpletons continue on and suffer the penalty.  And we are reminded that: As one face differs from another, so does one human heart from another . . .Though you should pound the fool to bits [with the pestle, amid the grits in the mortar], his folly would not go out of him.

Fools and evil keep ready company.  So do the faithful and their God.  As we near the end of this Book of Common Sense, we might return to earlier chapters where Wisdom is praised for her instruction; power of God is seen as the only vaccination against evil – and these are tools which only work as well as we able to implement them.  This is why it is essential to spend time with God each day – because evil is everywhere.  It is why it is imperative that we seek God’s counsel in all we do – because only God can deal with the kind of evil that imitates goodness in order to take over the soul.

Evil is described as being omniscient – and even hiding in the most intimate and most cherished places: families, neighborhoods, the closest of relationships.  The only surety we have against being invaded by this silent intruder is the defense we are offered by our God.  We do well to remember this and to take the proffered gift gladly.

For more on this Book of  Common Sense, go to the Proverbs – Courage page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-old-testament/wisdom/proverbs-courage/

Written on October 18, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

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The Lover


Thursday, January 26, 2012 – Song of Songs 8 – The Lover

Written on January 31, 2009  and posted today as a Favorite . . .

“The Song of Songs, meaning the greatest of songs, contains in exquisite poetic form the sublime portrayal and praise of the mutual love of the Lord and his people.  The Lord is the Lover and his people are the beloved.  Describing this relationship in terms of human love, the author simply follows Israel’s tradition.  Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel all characterize the covenant between the Lord and Israel as a marriage.  Hosea the prophet sees the idolatry of Israel in the adultery of Gomer.  He also represents the Lord speaking to Israel’s heart and changing her into a new spiritual people, purified by the Babylonian captivity and betrothed anew to her divine Lover ‘in justice and uprightness, in love and mercy’.”  (Senior 791)

For stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames a blazing fire.  Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away.  Were one to offer all he owns to purchase love, he would be roundly mocked.  8:6-7

“In human experience, death and the nether world are inevitable, unrelenting; in the end they always triumph.  Love, which is just as certain of its victory, matches its strength against the natural enemies of life; waters cannot extinguish it nor floods carry it away.  It is more priceless than all riches”.  (Senior 798)

In Song of Songs 2:14, the lover asks for a word or a song: Oh my dove in the clefts of the rock . . . let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your song is sweet and you are lovely.  She replies in words similar to those found in 2:17: Until the day breathes cool and the shadows lengthen, roam, my lover, like a gazelle or a young stag upon the mountains.  (Senior 798)

When God the Lover calls us, will we recognize his voice?  Will we understand that the Lover cries out to us, asking us to join him in his work of conversion and transformation . . . wishing to give us the gifts of his richness?

O garden-dweller, my friends are listening for your voice, let me hear it!  Be swift, my lover, like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices!  8:13-14

When we hear the Lover’s voice, will we be prepared to follow?  To lose such a love is a loss from which we will not recover; therefore, do not arouse, do not stir up love, before its own time.  8:4 

We prepare best for this deeply intimate love by living a life in which we witness, watch and wait. 

Oh my dove in the clefts of the rock . . . let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your song is sweet and you are lovely.

By patience and by listening we enter into Wisdom.  By obedience and by witnessing we respond to the Lover with his own words. 

Until the day breathes cool and the shadows lengthen, roam, my lover, like a gazelle or a young stag upon the mountains . . . for we do not wish to stir up love before its own time . . . we wish to prepare as best we can . . . for in this Lover there is someone far more powerful yet tender than anyone we have ever known.

So as we act in justice and walk in humility, let us witness to the truths we know to be true.

As we give thanks for the bounty we have received, let us watch for the signs of the Bridegroom who comes leaping over the hills to us, his beloved.

Let us wait in joyful anticipation the love we are destined to live.

Let us join in the reaping of our Lover’s harvest . . . even as we walk through the fire of his love.  Amen. 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.79 & 798. Print.

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