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Posts Tagged ‘jealousy’


1 Kings 10 and 11The Wealth and Sins of Solomon

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Johann Freidrich August Tishbein: The Queen of Sheba Kneeling before King Solomon

Written on February 5, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Solomon had such a good beginning.  When he first became king, Yahweh asked him what it was he wished for.  He wisely answered that he sought wisdom rather than fame, wealth or land.  Yahweh was so pleased with this response that he granted the young king wisdom  . . . and also all that he had not sought.  What happened to such potential?  It may have been the visit of the Queen of Sheba.

When we have time to meander through the story of Solomon, we can see the promise he embodied.  And we can see that he was designated by Yahweh as the one who would build the beautiful temple on the mount in Jerusalem . . . a fitting priestly, noble house for Yahweh.  This kingdom of Twelve Tribes which was guided and guarded by Yahweh had become renowned for its fidelity to their God, its strength in battle, its design and construction of the most beautiful temple ever built to a god . . . their God . . . the One True God.  Solomon, as the head of this kingdom, was visited by many diplomats, married many wives to form alliances . . . and eventually succumbed to the siren song of too much success.  He becomes fuddled by the voices of a world which would bring him down rather than raise him up.

My young son-in-law said to me several years ago: Why is it . . . what is it . . . that causes successful people to shoot themselves in the foot?  And he answered his own question:  There is too much success.  They lose sight of what was important in the first place.  Several years later he came to me with a personal dilemma . . .and the answer I gave to him was the one he had already given me.  To his credit, he has stopped listening to those siren voices and he has put his eye back on the proper horizon: living a life well-lived, living in awe of the Lord, living as if nothing else mattered but God . . . because this is the only way to live.  God is the only thing that matters.

Solomon succumbed to the songs sung by his jealous competitors, spouses, courtiers and servants.  As our eyes move over the verses, we can see the end of this tale coming at lightning speed.  Before he knows it . . . Solomon has lost all . . . kingdom, fame, wealth and wisdom.  And perhaps this is the greatest lesson which we can learn from this man.  When we allow ourselves to be called astray by a relativistic, self-satisfying world where pleasure reigns and joy is lost . . . when we begin to stop our daily chats with God because we have no time or no desire . . . we will know that we have taken a wrong turning.

So we may want to think on this . . . if the Queen of Sheba comes to call . . . it is time to focus on the true horizon . . . and resist being swayed by those who do not have Yahweh as the focus of their lives.


A re-post from February 10, 2012. 

Image from: http://www.artexpertswebsite.com/pages/artists/tischbein_fa.php 

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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 15:1-32: All That was Lost

7_lost-sheep-jesus

The Lost Sheep

Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 6, 2016

Sceptics wonder where the faithful see God in the world that surrounds us. Non-believers take credit for all that they store up; they blame themselves and others for a lack of success. The faithful move forward with their eyes on the prize . . . the knowing that all that was lost will in the end be found, all who were scorned will in the end be justified, and all who were last will certainly be first.

In today’s Gospel we again hear the familiar stories of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son. We hear Jesus’ clear assertion after each of these stories that God rejoices more over the gratitude of the lost who are found than the steady love of those who never leave him. This certainly gives us something to consider.

We may see ourselves as sheep who never leave the shepherd’s side . . . but when we are honest we know that we have each been lost at one time or another. We might welcome the joy the creator showers on us.

Parable-of-Lost-Coin-Feti

The Lost Coin

There’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.

We may see our tiny turnings toward God as insignificant moments in a turbulent day . . . but God sees them as a wonderful occasion to rejoice. We might join in the rejoicing of others.

Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.

We may see a lack of fairness in our lives when those who are newly arrived to faith in God are celebrated as much or more than those who have been faithful . . . but God invites all of us to join in the celebration of the return of those who have been found. We might tell others this good news of God’s goodness.

You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!

1-1-1-1-1-A-A-lost-coin-found-We may each remember times when we have envied the good fortune showered on others when we work long and hard to remain close to God. We may each have experienced times in our lives when all that has been lost far overshadows what appears to be found. In all of these occasions, when we look carefully and honestly, we will see that what once was empty has been made full. What once was dark now has been made light. And what once was lost has
most beautifully been found. When we give thanks to God for this marvelous gift of redemption, we become part of the celebration and great joy in the kingdom that erupts when the lost are found.

prodigal son

The Lost Son

When we believe that we do not see God’s presence often in our lives, let us look at these times when weariness, anger, jealousy or envy may have unfocused our vision. And let us ask God for clarity as we begin this week’s Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “God’s generosity is sometimes not fair,” let us think instead, “When we put away the past and follow God’s example of enormous generosity, we are better able to welcome the lost back home into the kingdom . . . and to give thanks for our own part in God’s great rejoicing”. 

For other reflections on, The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin and The Prodigal Son, use the blog search bar to explore. 

To learn about The Innocence Project that assists prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing, visit: http://www.innocenceproject.org/free-innocent. Find out about how more than 300 people in the United States have been exonerated, including 20 who served time on death row. For a story Anthony Ray Hinton, one of those freed after nearly 30 years in Alabama, forgives those who incarcerated him, visit: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/04/09/30-years-on-death-row-a-conversation-with-anthony-ray-hinton#.VmpdpHOMQ 

Tomorrow, coming to believe.

 

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Luke 4:24-30: The Brow of the Hill, A Reprise

Monday, February 29, 2016Jesus-Icon1

How do we rise again once we have failed? How do we handle jealousy and envy, our own and that of others? Where do we find our escape route on the brow of the hill and how do we get to it when the world crowds around us? Today’s Gospel calls us to re-visit the December 2011 post on how Jesus reacts to the rejection he experiences in his own home town. When we realize that those closest to us seem like strangers, we read these verses and consider how Jesus is rejected in his own hometown. We reflect on how he escapes the anger of those he wants to save. And we continue our Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “The dream of peace is an unreal and distant illusion,” let us think instead, “The dream of peace we hold is present in God’s kingdom. And God’s kingdom is now”.

For the original post, go to: https://thenoontimes.com/2011/12/13/the-brow-of-the-hill/ 

Tomorrow, seventy-seven times.

 

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Matthew 23Denunciation

Friday, November 20, 2015 tassels

How many of us like to widen our phylacteries and lengthen our tassels?  The footnotes for this chapter are extensive in the NAB and they are worth reading.  This is the list of Christ’s woes as recorded by Matthew and these words have the feel of prophecy.  Hypocrisy, lack of integrity when our words and actions do not match. This is what Jesus warns us about.

What do we do when the ugly green monster rears its head?  When jealousy strikes, as it always does, what is our reflex?  Do we allow ourselves to succumb to the temptation of taking credit even when it is due?  Do we put the emotion which overtakes us in its proper place and convert it to humility?

Verses 37 to 39 are Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem, the city which ought to serve as a beacon to all, now drags her skirts in the mire as the prophets foretold.  Jesus himself cannot sway these leaders.  God’s own word cannot get their attention.  The final woe defines Jesus’ audience as murderers of prophets, of the holy ones.  This is scary stuff.  Chapter 24 follows with the foretelling of the destruction of the temple which actually occurred in 70 C.E.  This event was on the horizon and yet they did not listen.  Do we? How far do we have to go until God finally gets our attention?  Are we this dense?  We pray not.

And so we go to Jesus, hoping to learn how to avoid our own denunciation.

phylacteriesGenerous and faithful Jesus, may we narrow our phylacteries and shorten the tassels on our shawls. May we learn humility from your stories, and mercy from your actions. We ask this in your name. Amen.

 A favorite from January 28, 2008.

 

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joy-quote-nouwenThursday

January 8, 2015

Joy and Ezekiel

Contempt

We have traveled through the Old and New Testaments discovering the many ways that joy visits not only on the days of celebration when we expect her arrival but also on days without light and nights without end. We have journeyed from the stories of Genesis to the extravagant images of Revelation to find that no matter the circumstance God’s joy rescues us from sure destruction, Christ’s joy redeems us from our recklessness, and the Spirit’s joy heals us despite the gravity of our wounds.  For the next several days we re-visit the prophets for a final experience of joy in darkness. And we remind ourselves that we have the power to bring God’s infinite, sustaining, persistent joy to others.

It is difficult to find any reference to joy in Ezekiel’s prophecy that does not refer to a contempt-filled celebration, a rejoicing at the destruction or fall of God’s faithful. We might consider what we celebrate to our own delight but to the grief and sadness of others. We might reflect on our own sense of satisfaction at the expense of others. And we might take heed of this prophet’s warming that what appears to be joy . . . may instead be our own malicious, contempt and derision.

Ezekiel 25:6: This is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: You clapped your hands and jumped for joy. You despised the land of Israel.

Ezekiel describes for us a New Jerusalem with a new Temple that heals, sustains and brings joy to the faithful. And he warns us against supposing that we have the power to determine the parameters of this New Covenant. “The new heart and the new spirit which must exist under the new covenant cannot be the work of man; they too, must be the work of God. By such teachings, [Ezekiel] helped prepare for the New Testament doctrine of salvation through grace”. (Senior 1034)

Ezekiel 36:5: Therefore thus says the Lord God: Surely in the fire of my hot jealousy have I spoken against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who have given to themselves my land with wholehearted joy and with uttermost contempt, that they might empty it out and possess it for a prey and a spoil.

valley-of-dry-bonesEzekiel foreshadows Christ’s coming when a new order fulfills the old promise; dry bones rise from the valley floor (Ezekiel 34:1-14) to take on tendons and flesh and skin. Hopeless, dry bones that are cut off from life are promised new breath, new vitality, and a new ruler. In this new kingdom intercession for enemies replaces desire for revenge, and the Messiah’s inclusive love supplants anger, and jealousy. (Ezekiel 34:15-28) Let us keep these images in mind as we enter 2015 with its fresh opportunities for newness, let us remember Ezekiel’s warning about replacing joy with derision. Let us recall his promise that dry bones come together again with the breath of new life. And let us resolve to move away from the darkness of contempt toward the salvation of Christ’s joy.

For another reflection on Ezekiel’s prophecy, click on the Valley of Dry Bones image above , or visit: http://playfulnessandpurpose.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/dry-bones-ezekiel-341-14/ 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 1034. Print.

joyIf this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the Old or New Testaments, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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joySunday, November 9, 2014

1 Samuel 18

Joy and Suspicion

Today we continue to visit with scripture to look for stories about joy that will surprise us in a variety of ways. If you want to explore other stories in which joy astounds us, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today our story is from the Book of Samuel.

Too often the high points in our lives are followed by turmoil and darkness brought on by jealousy. My dad always warned us that as we move up the ladder of life to become more proficient in the workplace we may also become targets for office gossip and suspicion. But, he added, we cannot allow this to affect either our work or our relationships. Rather than frighten us, Dad meant to arm us with the knowledge that joy is accompanied by suspicion, and we see truth play out with David today when he returns from slaying the giant Goliath to be greeted with both great joy . . . and deep suspicion. If we spend time with these verses, we see that success may breed its own kind of darkness. It is up to us to decide how we will react. It is in our power to look for joy hidden in the dark recesses of suspicion.

Verses 6-9: It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.

Steen: David's Triumphant Return

Steen: David’s Triumphant Return

Suspicion, gossip, jealousy, envy. These are the slippery steps that David navigates with God’s help. Later in his story, David succumbs to temptation that ruins the lives of many, but his actions bring us hope when we understand that even God’s anointed will err.

Fidelity, trust, hope, love. These are the footholds we look for in the face of the mountain we climb. We find joy even in the darkest of places when we rely on God’s providence, God’s wisdom and God’s love.

Visit 1 and 2 Samuel if you have time over the next few hours to put today’s Noontime into context.

Enter the words, Saul, David, envy or jealousy into the blog search bar and explore. Discover ways in which God’s quiet joy is always with us . . . even when we lest expect to feel its presence.  

Click on the Steen image above for more information about this story of triumph, suspicion and ultimately . . . joy. 

For more about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/ 

 

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Thursday, November 15, 2012 – James 3:13-18 – Authentic Wisdom

I love this letter.  We do not visit it often enough.  Today’s reading is particularly interesting to me as I notice that in my Spanish Biblia verse 16 the Spanish is envidia (envy) rather than celos (jealousy).  Thus in the Spanish version of James, we are called to put aside our envy – our wanting others to suffer loss – rather than mere jealousy – our wanting what others have.  James is the patron saint of Spain – I wonder if they know him better than we English speakers do.

The reason I enjoy reading James is that he is so plain.  There is no wondering about his words.  He goes to the root causes of division and he makes strong suggestions for a positive change.  He sees our obstacles as: pride, presumption, loose tongues, ambition, material goods.  He recommends patience, forbearance, firmness of heart, perseverance, humility, confession, union with God.

From yesterday’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation by Jean Vanier: Many of us live in delusion about ourselves, unable to see ourselves as we really are.  The veil [that prevents our encounter with Jesus] has to be broken somewhere in our deep inner being . . . Jesus is the healer, the One who comes to bring me life and liberate me from myself.  He comes to heal me from my egoism, from aggressiveness.  He comes to heal me from my anguish . . . It is a beautiful thing to meet people in deep anguish, who are able to say . . . that they are beginning to find peace . . . They know what it is to find pass from death to life.  They know the quiet experience of the healing power of the Spirit. 

James brings us the opportunity to take a long, hard look at ourselves.  James lays out the parameters for living of life of Christ rather than a life outside of  Christ.  It is not difficult to discern our path once we take off our blinders.

It is the removal of the blinders that is difficult. 

It is the taking down of the illusion that we resist. 

It is the deconstructing all the ramparts of our fear that we have built up so earnestly that we reject.  It is the disassembling of our false god that we have woven so meticulously that we fear. 

What brings us healing?  What brings us peace? 

It is the coming to Christ with nothing but our actions. 

It is the rising to the true challenge and purpose of our lives.

It is the revelation of ourselves unashamedly to our God. 

It is the humbling of ourselves. 

It is the asking of God for the strength to do his will. 

This is what brings healing.  This is what brings peace. 

This baring of naked self leads to authenticity . . . This authenticity invites wisdom. 

This wisdom engenders a life into which Christ easily steps. 

For more on Authenticity, click on the image above or go to: http://elementsofyourlife.blogspot.com/2012/05/live-your-life-with-authenticity.html

Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Meditation for the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 4 November 2008. Print.

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

Written on November 4, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

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Friday, September 21, 2012 – Genesis 45:1-8 – Making Ourselves Known

Konstantin Flavitsky: Brothers Sell Joseph into Slavery

The story of Joseph and his many-colored coat, his journey into slavery, his rise to power and his rescue of the Jewish nation are all familiar to us.  One of the most poignant moments in this long saga is when he reveals himself to his brothers . . . the very brothers who plotted his death and then – after the intercession of Reuben – decided to sell the younger favored brother into slavery. 

As I grew up the fourth of five children, it became clear to me that a position of favor usually brought more danger than safety.  Envy begins as a tiny seed when one of a group is seen as exceptional, beyond or above the rest.  In my quiet observation of older and younger siblings vying for attention in the family and in the world, it became clear to me that disfavor often follows hard on the heels of distinction – the presence of natural gifts and good works so often causes jealousy in others.  Tribal law too often wants to weed out dissimilarity, seeks to bring all denominators to a common lowness. 

Joseph is sold out by his brothers and arrives in Egypt as a slave.  Once there, his good looks and honest behavior bring him to the notice of a woman in search of an illicit, sexual relationship – which he rejects.  She falsely accuses him and he is imprisoned.  We see the pattern in Joseph’s life that he arrives in dark places as a result of his grace and blessings, and perhaps that is a pattern we find in our own lives.  If so, we might easily identify with this kind of life.  Do we find ourselves in places we do not seek through no fault of our own, even as we follow the voice of God? 

We might read with interest today’s citation and reflect on its meaning for us.  Joseph survives the treachery of his brothers, rises to a position of prestige and power, and when these brothers come to Egypt in search of food, Joseph does not react to their presence with anger or despair.  On the contrary, rather than mete out revenge on those who sent him into slavery, he recognizes that it was through this evil that he was sent ahead to prepare a place of refuge for his family and the entire Jewish nation.  A man coveting old wounds does not hear this wisdom, cannot see this good, does not meet evil with mercy.  Joseph, moving through and beyond his pain, welcomes his brothers to a new home.  This is the miracle of the story of Joseph: In the very moment when he has the power to retaliate with an eye for an eye, he chooses to respond with joy and compassion.

To read more about Joseph and his brothers, click on the image above or go to: http://freechristimages.org/biblestories/josephs_dreams.htm

First written on September 20, 2008. Re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

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