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Posts Tagged ‘joy’


Monday, June 21, 2021

1 Chronicles 16

The Ark Comes to Jerusalem

david dances before the ark

Robert Leinweber: David Dancing Before the Ark

Here – and also in 2 Samuel 6 – we see David bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem amid celebration and festivity. The presence of God brings a response of joy and thanksgiving from the people. The priest blesses both the occasion and the faithful; David cavorts with elation; a meal is served. The people worship God because the Ark containing sacred text, sacred food and the sacred blooming staff has taken up residence. These people feel invulnerable, joyful and grateful.

Within each of us is the place where God dwells and where scripture flourishes like Aaron’s staff. We are sustained by the new desert manna: the body and blood of Christ. We take this dwelling with us on our desert journey. We too might leap for joy and bow down in reverence and happiness. We too might bring the Ark to Jerusalem. There is no obstacle to knowing God’s presence except the obstacles we ourselves set up.

Give thanks to the Lord, invoke his name.

God is the originator of all that is good and holy.

Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord!

We can offer up all that sorrows us when we come into the presence of the Lord.

Look to the Lord in his strength; seek to serve him constantly.

We honor God when we perform his works rather than our own.

Give to the Lord . . . bring gifts and enter into his presence.

The best offering to God is that of ourselves. We carry to him the burdens of our day, our attempts to do his bidding.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his kindness endures forever.

We do not need to build an ark to house our sacred reminders of God’s presence for we already possess it. It is our hearts that hold all sacredness holy.

We do not need to build a temple to God for it is already built. It is the temple of our bodies.

We do not need to offer burnt sacrifices to God for they are already present in any sorrow we experience.

So let us bring the burnt remnants of our losses, let us give thanks for God’s providence and care, and let us rejoice in the knowing that we are created for love by love.

David brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem to place it in the tent set aside for Yahweh.

Let us lay our burdens on the altar of our lives . . . and like David, let us leap and dance for joy.


Adapted from a reflection written on February 21, 2009.

Image from: https://www.hippostcard.com/listing/as-david-dancing-before-the-ark-robert-leinweber-00-10s/17276478

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Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2021

1 John 2

holy spirit doveIdeal and Real – Part III: Hostile Camps

The early Christian community struggled to survive the various arguments declaring Jesus more human than divine or more divine than human. “They were the community of true prophecy. But now, the community itself is divided into two hostile camps. And the cause of the division is precisely what should have been the centerpiece of this unity: the proper understanding of the nature and role of Jesus”. (Senior RG 563)

Rather than reprimand us or remind us that we are not in control, John repeats what he has written so often that from the beginning Christ has been and that through eternity Christ will be. Knowing that we struggle with the double mystery of eternity and infinity, Christ remains with us so that we might not panic when trials arrive at our door. Knowing that we struggle with the dichotomy between the visible and invisible, the real and ideal, Christ brings himself to us in the Scripture we hold in our hands, the Word that we can open as frequently as we need in order that we remain connected to this divine-human mystery. Knowing that we are terrified at the thought of being left alone, Christ invites us constantly to come to him joyfully. Today we might read the words of one who lived and still lives beside him.

My children . . . we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world . . . Do not love the things of the world . . . for the world and its enticements are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever . . . Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you . . . And now, children, remain in him . . .

And so we pray . . . Creator Father, Rescuer Christ, Abider Spirit . . . save us from the hostility of the world . . . help us as we struggle with the opposing camps of our lives . . . bring our reality into focus with the ideal which you have dreamt for us . . . and keep us ever close to you in joy. Amen.

Tomorrow – Part IV: The New Commandment


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 563. Print.  

Adapted from a reflection written on Sunday, January 10, 2010.

Image from: https://www.biblword.net/why-is-pentecost-important/

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john3Wednesday, May 19, 2021

1 John 1:1-4

A Prayer to Love

The Apostle John tells us today . . .

What we have seen from the beginning . . .

What we have heard . . .

What we have seen with our eyes . . .

What we looked upon . . .

What we touched with our hands . . .

Was visible . . .

Is still visible . . .

And we proclaim to you now . . .

We are writing this so that your joy may be complete . . .

This is our anthem of love . . .

Sing it often . . .

Proclaim it aloud . . .

So that others may know this joy. Amen.

Spend some time today with the opening of John’s first letter of love to us by clicking on the scripture link above or here in this paragraph. Explore the four versions of these verses that have been selected. Choose another version by using the drop-down menus and examine the meaning of love in your life and where it is present in an unusual way. Say the prayer above or write your own prayer. Consider sending your Prayer to Love to another . . .


For an interesting prayer to St. John from The Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951, click on the image above or go to: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=965

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Ascension Sunday, May 16, 2021birds-watercolor-painting-giclee-poster-gift-idea-two-sparrows-home-decor-joanna-szmerdt

Matthew 10:29-31

Every Hair

Jesus taught us, saying: Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than two sparrows”.

In this short citation of Jesus’ words, we learn all that we need to know about living life and about being watchful.

ONE: Nothing can be concealed from God. The Creator knows all that we think and do. The Creator understands our most secret motivations. Why do we try to hide anything we do or anything we think? Secrecy is futile in the kingdom.

Christ walks always with us, calling us forth in the name of the Creator. The Spirit remains in us, filling us with life eternal.

TWO: Nothing we do goes unnoted by God. The Creator marks both our pain and sorrow, our happiness and joy. Why do we persist in relying on our own small forces when we have the omnipotence and omniscience of the Creator buoying us up?  Reliance on self is meaningless in the kingdom.

Christ walks before and behind us, guiding and protecting in the name of the Creator. The Spirit hovers, abiding and consoling with love everlasting.

If God notes even the falling of a sparrow’s feather, how much can our anxiety and willfulness accomplish? How far will our stubbornness carry us in comparison with the power and strength of the Spirit?

If God numbers every hair on our heads, how much do we think we can hide what we do not like about ourselves?

How much will our separateness gain for us in comparison with the unity we have in God’s love? Secrecy and too much reliance on self will always be trumped by humility, generosity and love in the kingdom. Let us live as if we believe that God has numbered our every hair.


Image from: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/birds-watercolor-painting-giclee-poster-gift-idea-two-sparrows-home-decor-joanna-szmerdt.html?product=greeting-card

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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Mark 13:14-23

joy-with-white-300x214A Prayer for Times of Tribulation

When you see the desolating abomination standing where he should not [let the reader understand], then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, [and] a person on a housetop must not go down or enter to get anything out of his house, and a person in a field must not return to get his cloak . . . Be watchful!

These are words that are often construed by fundamentalists to predict the idea of rapture, of the faithful being taken into God’s presence suddenly while the unfaithful are left behind. Here Jesus speaks words of warning, but what do they really mean?

God says: You worry and fuss, you compare yourselves with others, and you focus on the minutiae of your day while you neglect The Word. When fear begins to overtake you, remember that I want to bring each of you to me, even those of you who have much to account for.  Keep in mind that you are joy to me . . . and I want to be joy to you. Remember that I find joy in you . . . and I want you to find joy in me.

And so we pray with the words of the psalmist.

Great things are they that you have done, O LORD my God!

Remind us, God – when we are stressed – that your hope heals many wounds.

How great your wonders and your plans for us!

Remind us, God – when we are tired – that you care us for each moment of the day and night.

There is none who can be compared with you.

Remind us, God – when we are sad – that you are our greatest champion.

O, that I could make them known and tell them!

Remind us, God – when we are worried – that you suffer with us through all misfortune.

But they are more than I can count!

Remind us, God – when we finally come to rest in you – that your love counters all tribulation.

Psalm 40:4-5


For interesting insight into the English expression, “head for the hills!” go to: http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/80681/does-make-for-the-hills-still-hold-currency-as-an-idiom

For further information on the idea of the Rapture, visit: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Rapture-the 

Image from: http://www.christiansciencechicago.org/self-sustaining-joy/

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Saturday, April 24, 2021

John 20:19-23

upper room

Rado Jovar: The Upper Room

There are many times in our lives when we feel complete and whole, when we want to celebrate life’s goodness, when we want to share the good news we have heard and seen and touched for ourselves. An event causes us to fully understand that we are a small part of an enormous whole. Deep in our innermost core we believe that we bring a unique and necessary hope to the world. We look for a loved one, friend or colleague with whom we might share the story of our Easter newness. We throw ourselves into play or work, fully willing to follow the gentle leader who stands waiting before us, saying . . .

 Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

In our newly-found Easter selves, we step forward to participate in God’s plan.

The disciples work and play and pray with Christ; they see his story unfold before them and still they are startled to see that they have an integral part in God’s plan of salvation. Let us reflect on the Christ’s call, and let us determine to be true Easter people who go where we are sent.


A re-post from Easter Wednesday 2014.

For another reflection, enter the words I send you on this blog and explore. 

Image from: http://radojavor.deviantart.com/art/the-upper-room-294522793

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Saturday, March 13, 2021

Amos 5:18-27

mourning_into_dancing_wide_t[1]Second Woe

Sakkuth and Kaiwan are ancient names for the planet Saturn and scholars believe that this pagan worship was a custom taken from the Assyrians. Israel turns away from the God who created her and turns toward little gods who have no power to save. Israel enters into cultic practices and leaves God’s love behind. Israel forfeits all that makes her special and chooses immediate and fleeting gratification.

God says: Even when you forget me for long years I will never forget who or where you are. Even when you put obstacles in my way I still accompany you. I continue to call you, I persist in waiting for you. You speak of disappointment and woe but I will turn these into dancing. You believe that you are alone and abandoned but I will never leave you. Despite of, or even because of, all that plagues and gnaws at you, turn and return to me.

The prophet Amos warns us today of the subtle ways in which we begin our journey away from all that converts our sorrow into joy.

O LORD, you brought me up from the grave you spared me from going down into the pit . . . weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sack cloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever. (Psalm 30)

Tomorrow, the third woe of Amos.


For more on Sakkuth and Kaiwan, go to: http://www.bombaxo.com/blog/?p=15 or https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/sakkuth-and-kaiwan

See TURN MY MOURNING INTO DANCING by Henri Nouwen as an excellent resource. Published in Nashville, TN by Thomas Nelson, Inc. in 2001.

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Monday, February 1, 2021

NunPsalm 119:105-112

Nun

Your word is a lamp for me feet, a light for my path . . . I make a solemn vow to keep your just edicts.

When we live superficially we give lip service to God’s call. When we live authentically we think, say and act in accordance with God’s Law of Love.

God says: My joy is endless when you finally decide to act in my love with the same or even greater intensity as you think and speak about my love. Allow the happiness of knowing your own divinity to serve as a beacon to others. Call out to others as I call out to you and tell the world of your delight in becoming one with me. Then . . .  come to me so that we might celebrate this union of your gift with my eternal goodness.

The simplest way to demonstrate your love for the Law of Love Jesus brings to us is to allow our joy to serve as a lamp to others, our delight in knowing God to serve as a light on the path of life.

Jesus says: You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then out it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand where it gives light to all in the house. Just so your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.  (Matthew 5:14-16)

Tomorrow, Samekh.


To learn more about the letter Nun as a symbol of the Messiah, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/nun.htm or http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/3_nun.html

 

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Saturday, January 2, 2021

The Ninth Day of Christmas

imagesCATHI3OG1 John 2:21-25

Because We Know the Truth

I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do . . . Let what you have heard from the beginning remain in you . . . then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.   

What we have heard we know to be true. What we have seen we know to be authentic. What we have witnessed we know to be God’s gift of light and hope and peace and joy to the world.

On this ninth day of Christmas, enter the word truth into the blog search bar and consider how the truth John writes about is essential to us as Christmas people.


Image from: http://www.idemandthetruth.com/about-the-movement/

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