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Posts Tagged ‘justice’


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Matthew 5:38-48

CNN News: Ukraine Protestors

CNN News: Ukraine Protestors

We re-post this reflection written in 2014 in union with those who stand up for personal and communal freedom justice on every continent. The human race seems determined to create chaos rather than unity. Let us come together with all those who seek the common good. And let us pray not only for the oppressed but also for those who commit acts of oppression. 

A Prayer to Nourish Us Here and Now

Matthew records the words Jesus speaks to those who gather round him when he describes the kingdom of God in the Beatitudes, the new Law of Love that supersedes the law of the Torah and Moses. We have spent much time this week reflecting on the Interior Law placed within each of us at our inception.  This law flourishes in faith, grows in hope and acts in love. And so we pray, we look for strength as we build God’s kingdom.

BBC News: South Sudan in Crisis

BBC News: South Sudan in Crisis

You have heard it said, an eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.

Around the planet the peoples of the world constantly look for answers to difficult questions; they consistently yearn for security and peace; they continually hunger for the words that Jesus speaks in his Sermon on the Mount. And so we pray, we look for courage as we build God’s kingdom.

When someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other one as well.

In Ukraine the people struggle to find leadership that is free of corruption.  And so we pray, we look for integrity as we build God’s kingdom.

If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well.

In South Sudan the people struggle to live a life without fear. And so we pray, we look for justice as we build God’s kingdom.

Reuters: Thai Protestors Target Ministries and Threaten Stock Exchange

Reuters: Thai Protestors Target Ministries and Threaten Stock Exchange

Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two.

In Thailand the people fight over who will bring them into the light.  And so we pray, we look for truth as we build God’s kingdom.

Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on the one who wants to borrow.

In Venezuela the people fight over how they will share the power of leadership.  And so we pray, we look for peace as we build God’s kingdom.

You have heard it said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Swiss Broadcasting: Activists Injured by Gunshots

Swiss Broadcasting: Activists Injured by Gunshots

In West Virginia, USA the people ask for answers to dark questions.  And so we pray, we look for compassion as we build God’s kingdom.

If you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?

In our own home town the people ask for honesty and justice.  And so we pray, we look for love as we build God’s kingdom.

We are not much different from those people who listened to Jesus two thousand years ago; we too, hunger for security, healing, truth, forgiveness and redemption.

Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. And so we pray, we look for endurance as we build God’s kingdom.

National Geographic News: West Virginia's Chemical Valley

National Geographic News: West Virginia’s Chemical Valley

The perfection God asks of us lies not in our living a life without mishap; rather, it lies in our persistence to return to the Law of Love no matter how far we stray. The kingdom Jesus describes is not in some distant future when all God’s children have suddenly seen and corrected the errors in their lives.  The kingdom of God is here and it is now.  God’s forgiveness and mercy are here and now.  God’s healing and presence are here and now. God’s compassion and love are here and now. Let us take strength from the one who created us, take heart from the one who accompanies us, and peace from the one who dwells within us. Amen.


To learn more about the stories shared in this prayer, click on the images above or go to: http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/17/world/europe/ukraine-protests/, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25677297, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/14/us-thailand-protest-idUSBREA0B03C20140114, http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/news/international/Activists_say_five_Venezuela_protesters_injured_by_gunshots.html?cid=37945644, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140116-chemical-valley-west-virginia-chemical-spill-coal/ 

For another Noontime reflection on these verses, enter the word Vengeance into the blog search bar and explore.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

ayinPsalm 119:121-128

Ayin

My eyes long to see you salvation and the justice of your promise.

In the sixteenth strophe of Psalm 119 we hear a cry to see God’s kingdom now, a plea to see God’s Law of Love as promised.

God says: You need not fuss and worry that others do not try to forge the kingdom with you. You may even lose sleep and become despondent at the evil you see daily either close to you or in more distant places on the globe. I tell you that you need not fear. You need not judge. You need not burden yourself with thinking that you are responsible for all the troubles throughout all of time or throughout all places on the planet. What I ask you to do is quite simply this: Listen for my voice to guide you in whatever way you perceive me; respond to the call that I place in your heart; and remember that I have promised you the kingdom for which you pine. You are presently in my kingdom . . . although you may struggle to see it. When you are able to put down your black-and-white glasses that give you a dual vision of the world where everything is either yes or no, you will begin to see the beauty of my kingdom in which everything is either/and.

From the time that we are tiny we are given rules that plainly state consequences and our parents invoke these rules to keep us safe.  There are ways to cross the street, ways to mingle with strangers, ways to handle fire and ice and all of these rules are meant to preserve us and keep us safe.  As we mature we must continue to grow so that we might begin to see the world as God sees it, so that we might begin to experience time as God lives it. As we mature we must allow God to soften our hearts, unbend our stiff necks, and open our minds that are closed to possibility.

Jesus stands on the shore of the sea and sees his apostles in a small boat tossed on the storm swept waters. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them. “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were [completely] astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:48-52)

For a deeper awareness of how we might miss the message of the loaves, read Mark 6:34-44 and reflect on the times we also misunderstand . . . and insist that Christ enter our foundering boat.

Tomorrow, Pe.


For more on the Hebrew alphabet, visit: http://www.biblicalhebrew.com/alphabet.htm 

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Wednesday, December 30, 2013

The Sixth Day of Christmas

Malachi 3:19-20 (4:1-2)

The Day is Here

Matthais Stom (Stomer): The Adoration of the Shepherds

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble . . . But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.

A child born in quiet dignity.  A world waiting to be saved. God humbles the proud with the smallness of this child. God heals the wounded with the power of this child. God rescues all with the compassion of this child. The long-awaited day of wonder and promise is here. All of this we know, for we are Christmas people.

Enter the word justice in the blog search bar, or visit the pages about the prophet Malachi, and consider what we know and believe as Christmas people.


Differing translations of Scripture have differing numbering systems for this prophecy.  

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Adoration_of_the_Shepherds_-_Matthias_Stom_(Stomer)_-_Google_Cultural_Institute.jpg

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Monday, December 28, 2020

The Fourth Day of Christmas

shoots from a stumpJeremiah 23:5

A Righteous Shoot

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.  

We have the justice that we long for. We have the wisdom we seek. The long-awaited day is here, for we are Christmas people.

Read Isaiah 11:1-10 and Revelation 22:16 .  Reflect on God’s promises kept.  Think about the times when disappointment and loss have resulted in transformation and celebration.

Enter the word justice into the blog search bar and consider how we are Christmas people.


Image from: http://pastorjonmarxy.wordpress.com/

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Thursday, September 3, 2020

Planets_wallpapers_117[1]

Proverbs 8

Wisdom and Creation

We have ample opportunity to listen to wise words; yet we seem to go our own way – thinking that we know better. Wisdom has been with us since creation; yet we ignore her when we need her most.

Wisdom has much to offer: Straight words, prudence, knowledge and discretion, instruction that is more valuable than gold, silver, or jewels. Wisdom loves those who seek her. Wisdom is strength, righteousness and justice. Wisdom calls out to those who have ears to hear . . .

And now my children, listen to me: happy are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Happy is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord; but those who miss me injure themselves; and all who hate me love death. 

In today’s Gospel (John 6:30-35) the people ask Jesus to give them a sign so that they may believe. I am astounded . . . and yet, do I not do they same? The people in today’s reading walk with Jesus, they shake the same dust from their clothes that also powders Jesus’ feet and face, they experience miracles at Jesus’ hands . . . and yet they ask for a sign that they might believe.

Wisdom offers her ample generosity . . . yet we ask for more. Or worse still, we decide that we know better.

Wisdom has been with God since the creation. She has dwelt with God from the beginning and she will be with God through the infinity of God’s time and through the enormity of God’s space. Why do we ask for a sign . . . when the sign lives within us? Why do we ask for wisdom . . . when wisdom has dwelt with us from our inception?


Adapted from a reflection written on May 10, 2011.

Image from: http://wakpaper.com/id164616/earth-from-space-wallpaper-1600×1200-pixel.html 

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

pathways[1]Proverbs 2:9-11

Wisdom’s Companions

Then you will understand rectitude and justice, honesty, every good path; for wisdom will enter your heart, knowledge will please your soul, discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you . . .

We somehow believe that Wisdom travels alone or that she resides in some remote, ivory tower when in fact she journeys with friends and lives with her companions. The names of those in her cohort will not surprise us: Rectitude . . . Honesty . . . Justice . . . Knowledge of the Lord . . . Discretion . . . and Understanding. Can we say that we have the came companions?

pathways-report_img_9[1]God says: There are many good paths you might follow that will bring you to me and while they vary, they all have something in common.These paths are best found when you first put on honesty, discretion, understanding, rectitude, justice, and knowledge of your God. The path that nurtures these qualities will also nourish Wisdom for she eats and drinks of these values. And where you find Wisdom, there also will you find me.

We somehow believe that there is one true path to God’s Wisdom or that there is only one way to know God and yet our experiences tell us that this is not so.  There are many varied passages we humans make as we journey with and to God.  Spend a bit of time today reflecting on the nature of your own journey.  Think about how and where and when you find these companions of Wisdom.  And if this image of your journey and the names of these Wisdom Companions elude you, consider how and where and when you might best encounter them.


The images above from: http://craigspoems.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/pathways/

For a variety of beautiful journey images, click on the image below or go to: http://blog.zeemp.com/wonders-of-nature-enchanted-pathways/  Also see the Journeys of Transformation tab on this blog.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Normand: Esther Denouncing Haman

Ernest Normand: Esther Denouncing Haman

Esther 9 – Reversal

Yesterday we reflected on how God foils perfect plots . . . today we examine the turning point in the story of Esther and look for clues about how we might expect the same reversal of evil when we place ourselves fully in God’s hands.

As humans we too often see or experience the hunting down and destroying of either an innocent or someone we believe “deserves what she gets”.  Regardless of guilt or blamelessness, the brutal pack mentality of an attack on another human being is something to be avoided and we must work at turning others away from this ugly thinking.  We may have been a peripheral or integral part of a plot to bring someone down and if this is the case then we must go to that victim to ask forgiveness.  Association with those whose goal it is to establish an us against them mentality is dangerous for it sets us on a path that descends into darkness.  Escape from these associations can be difficult and is always permeated with its own special fear; yet it is imperative that we escape because – as we see repeatedly in scripture and in life – God will always, later or sooner, reverse the plots that schemers have conjured in dark corners on their well-worn couches.

When the day arrived on which the order decreed by the king was to be carried out . . . on which the enemies of the Jews had expected to become masters of them, the situation was reversed: the Jews became masters of their enemies.

King Ahasuerus allows a great violence to erupt against Haman and his family and this is not the sort of outcome that the New Testament faithful will want to see.  What Christ-followers will ask for is that light penetrate the darkness, that hard hearts be softened, and that stiff necks begin to bend.  And so we pray . . .

Just yet merciful God, you give us the opportunity to ask for our enemies’ conversion, grant us also the charity to intercede on their behalf.

Gentle and beautiful God, you make each one of us in your loving image, make also in each of us the patience to wait for reversal at your hand. 

Strong yet gentle God, you bless us with the capacity to forgive, bless us always with your constant guidance and care for without you we are too easily led into the darkness.

Wonderful and awesome God, you surprise us constantly with your merciful justice, help us to see that in each of our calamities we might anticipate your sweet reversal.

We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Spend some time with these characters and the scripture citations and study the characters in this story.  What more do we see in this story that we might apply to our own lives?

Tomorrow, what ditches are we digging?


A re-post from June 10, 2013. 

To learn more about the feast of Purim, visit: https://www.jhi.pl/en/blog/2019-03-18-purim-the-festival-of-lots

For another reflection on this story, go to the Esther – From Calamity to Rejoicing page on this blog at:  https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-old-testament/the-historical-books/esther-from-calamity-to-rejoicing/

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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Psalm 64

The Perfect Plot

“The psalmist shows that the righteous are often defenseless before the cynicism of the machinations and calumnies to which they are prey.  Those who weave their intrigues act in shadows and believe they are hidden from view.  However, God sees everything, even secret human actions and designs.  His judgment overtakes those who evade justice . . . God will turn their evil against the wicked while publicly acquitting the righteous.  Each life will be brought before the judgment of God; the righteous will find their joy in the Lord”.  (The Psalms 161)

I suspect that every one of us has been the victim of a perfect plot at one time or another in our lives.  Perhaps it was an adolescent bullying that set us apart and taught us a lesson.  Maybe there is jealousy in our workplace and we have become the object of someone’s campaign to see that we find the office too ugly a place to stay.  Or it is possible that within the sanctity of our family or prayer circle – the very refuge where we take shelter from the storms of life – we have been the object of a perfect plot.  If this is so, we feel the angst and sorrow in this psalm.

We have visited this theme before. If we type the word couches or Susana, or plot into the blog search bar we will find other reflections in which we have struggled with the apparent immunity of those who lie on their dark couches and willfully plot to inflict harm on the faithful.  The psalmist today rails against this seeming imperviousness to consequences but he also reminds us that God is in charge . . . that this kind of suffering is part of our human condition . . . and that although we may not see the consequence exacted from these evil ones, still God holds them to an accounting.  It is best to let the matter lie there and avoid thoughts of revenge or payback of any kind.  It is best to allow God to tend to these perfect, secret plots as only God can . . . with deep wisdom, with unblemished justice, with transparent grace, and with a full and burgeoning love of humanity.

I was taught as a child to pray for my enemies and today, as I read this psalm, I come to understand that only God can handle real evil. Only God can create a plan that saves all. And only God has the wisdom, beauty, and power to convert into goodness our dark and devious conspiracies.

If only we might remember that Jesus died as a result of an evil intent that took hold of those who laid out their perfect plot against him.  If only we might follow Jesus’ example as he prays for his killers.  If only we too might intervene on behalf of those who construct perfect plots against us . . . and if only we might ask our compassionate and patient God for forgiveness and renewal for all.

Tomorrow, the mystery of God’s reversal . . .  


A re-post from June 9, 2013.

THE PSALMS, NEW CATHOLIC VERSION. Saint Joseph Edition. New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 2004. 161. Print.

Image from: https://theencouragingword.co/2016/03/03/sheep-in-wolfs-clothing/

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Sirach 5: Presumption


Thursday, February 29, 2020

Sirach 5: Presumption

reality-check-road-sign[1]Rely not on your wealth; say not “I have the power”.  Rely not on your strength in following the desires of your heart . . . Delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day.

I am always moved by the simplicity yet gravity of the words of Ben Sirach and their ability to reach across the millennia to us.  The use of the delayed negative is effective here.  Ben Sirach gets our attention by reversing the word order in these negative commands, luring us in with the concepts we use to filter our thoughts and actions: self-reliance, belief in might making right, the power of fortune and fame.

As humans – and particularly as citizens of the free world – we are tempted to think that all we have and all we do are ours by our own merit.  Our soul must put aside this presumption.  This is the conversion to which we are called.  What are the results of our humility before God?

Sincerity in speech . . .  our words can both destroy and heal . . . ourselves and others.

Winnow not in every wind, and start off not in every direction.  Be consistent in your thoughts; steadfast to your words.  Be swift to hear, but slow to answer . . . Honor and dishonor through talking!  

In all problems, at all times, for all reasons, in all relationships . . . our presumption is the stumbling block to true and total conversion.  Humility in all things, with all people, in all times . . . humility before God . . . this is the way to finding the answers we seek.  Be swift to hear, but slow to answer . . . lest we presume much and know little.

Just last week I was listening to NPR when I heard about a recent study showing that today’s children in the elementary grades are suffering from an over large amount of self-esteem which leads to a sense of entitlement.  Jesus Ben Sirach speaks to those families in which this kind of narcissism is nurtured.  He tells us today that when we put presumption aside we are better able to see ourselves as God sees us. He also tells us that a life lived without presumption is fertile ground in which sincerity may grow and flourish.  And this sincerity brings forth justice . . . for ourselves . . . and for God’s kingdom.  Let us delay not our conversion to the Lord . . . let us put it not off even one day.

Once we submit to God’s love for us and agree to do away with all that presumes we are our own creation . . . then will we know the peace and serenity we seek.

Delay not your conversion to God. 


Image from: http://spiritualhealingsource.com/?p=2669

Written on January 8, 2009; revised and posted today as a Favorite.

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