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Posts Tagged ‘kingdom’


Philippians 3:7-11Righteousness in Christ

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Written on January 7, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

When the cup is empty it is full.  When it is dark it is light.  When we are weak we are strong.  Christ is inversion.

We must empty ourselves of self in order to make room for Christ.  If we do not let him in, how can we belong to him?  How can we act in and for him?  Christ is constantly calling us to the openness and the selflessness that he knows we can achieve.

The reflection before Mass in MAGNIFICAT this morning is important for us to hear: Once Jesus Christ is manifested in the world in the Epiphany, once the revelation is made that the “Kingdom of heaven is at hand”, everything changes.  And the sign of it is this: we can keep Christ’s commandments.  By doing so, we remain in him, and he in us.  There is One in us who is greater than the one who is the world.  In short, we belong to God.  That belonging changes everything.

The Kingdom of God is at hand.  It is not floating in some distant future time.  It is now.  And we have work to do in this kingdom.

We belong to God.  And as God’s loving and beloved creatures, we seek to both console and be consoled.  We search for this perfect intimacy with God . . . but it has already been given to us as gift.

That belonging changes everything.  And so we must change everything.  When the cup is empty it is full. When it is dark it is light.  When we are weak we are strong.  Christ is inversion.  We must live and act in him.


IA re-post from

Images from: http://rosemaryl.blogspot.com/2010/09/light-in-darkness-blog-carnival-round-2.html and http://www.okcure.org/links__resources

Cameron, Peter John.  MAGNIFICAT. 8.1 (2008): 102. Print.  

A re-post from January 12, 2012. 

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Matthew 2:13-15Flight

Monday, November 26, 2018

Each year my students and I study the topic of immigration and one of the questions I ask – in Spanish, of course, since theirs is a Spanish class – is what year their families immigrated to the U.S.  Each time I ask there is a student or two whose family has an ancestor from a North American indigenous tribe.  Each year there are first generation Americans, and sometimes there are even students whose families have recently arrived in the U.S.  We discuss who and what it means to be “American” and we open our horizon to understand that anyone born in the Americas is actually AmericanThis is always something the girls have to chew on for a bit.  We remind ourselves that in Spanish there is an adjective that describes someone from the U.S.  . . . estadounidenseThis causes some frowns along with knowing nods.

As we wrap up this annual discussion, I ask the girls to return the next day with the name of a famous refugee or immigrant without whom the course of human history would be less light and more dark.  They like this task.  When they return to class we hear the typical names and some students even go back to ancient narratives to name the Hebrews and their struggles in foreign lands; but they rarely name the Holy Family.  When I refer to the “angel’s warning to Joseph” that we read in today’s Noontime, students think I refer to the dream in which Gabriel appears to encourage Joseph to take Mary as a wife even though she is with child.  I always think it sad that we somehow stop the Christmas story before we arrive at a most important point . . . Jesus and his family flee persecution and move to another land where they speak another language, learn about new customs, and earn and spend different currency.  This is such a good lesson for a language classroom, particularly in today’s climate.

This discussion often engenders a good conversation about borders, frontiers, empire, colonization, passports and identity documents.  We talk about how St. Paul made his famous evangelization journeys without having to apply for visas or travel papers or check in at border crossings.  We also discuss the influence of families in the colony of Costa Rica and speculate about how the presence – or absence – of women and children in the formative stages of nation building shapes and forms a national psyche.   We discuss human conduct, human tribalism and the treatment of those within and outside of our own tribe.  These discussions are always rewarding for the students and for me.  I never fail to learn something new.

Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night . . .

I am reminded of my own family history of Europeans who rose to depart from familiar places to arrive at foreign shores in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.  My mother was a first-generation American while my dad’s family was here to fight in the Revolutionary War.  My mother’s family taught their offspring the value of personal freedom, they all registered and voted, and they remembered their roots in a South Philadelphia polyglot neighborhood where English was spoken with many heavy, foreign accents.  My father’s family was a mixture of old world lineage with newcomer spunk.  Both families raised feisty, independent, community building youngsters who cared about family, church and home.  They knew the heartache of uprooting and leavings.  They all left loved ones behind knowing that they would never embrace or kiss again.  They understood the importance of the cover of darkness and the promise of daylight at the end of an arduous journey.

Rise, take the child and his mother, flee . . .

We live in a world of 7 billion people who are on the move yet long for stability.  Many of us encounter hostility and violence even as we look for security and dependability.  We are all God’s people yet some of us want clear boundaries that close us into protective enclaves while others of us look to open up locked doors to let in fresh air.  But the commonality we hold – whether we want to admit this or not – is this . . . in God’s kingdom we are all refugees arriving at God’s open gate in various states of disarray and need.  In God’s kingdom we have all taken flight to jostle into a newness that we hope for yet dread.  In God’s kingdom we are sisters and brothers trailing along dragging the suitcases we will not be needing.  In God’s kingdom . . . we have all taken flight together . . . to arrive at the newness of God’s sure promise.


A re-post from October 24, 2011.

Image from: http://www.joyfulheart.com/christmas/christmas_artwork.htm

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Matthew 19:13-14: People Like These

Carl Bloch: Christ with Children

Carl Bloch: Christ with Children

Thursday, December 8, 2016

This week we explore how to put our love on the line just as the Creator does by abiding with us, just as Jesus does as he shows us The Way, and just as the Spirit does as she comforts and remains in us.

One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” After laying hands on them, he left. (MSG)

Can we imagine a world that is full of people who are as innocent as the children we read about today? If not, we might ask the Creator to unharden our hearts so that we might be people like these.

Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and to pray for them, but the disciples scolded the people. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (GNT)

Can we imagine a world that is full of people who are as trusting as the children we read about today? If not, we might ask Jesus to inspire us with his own example of trust in the Creator so that we might be people like these.

Then children were brought to him so that he might lay his hands on them and pray for them, but the talmidim rebuked the people bringing them. However, Yeshua said, “Let the children come to me, don’t stop them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” (CJB)

Can we imagine a world that is full of people who are as loving as the children we read about today? If not, we might ask the Spirit to fill us with the hope and love of Advent so that we might be people like these.

When we explore various translations of these verses, we discover God’s that in God’s plan there is an absolute necessity for each of us to rely on the Creator, Christ and Spirit just as these children we see today.

 

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

Friday, October 21, 2016key-of-knowledge

We are spending time with Jesus’ words, reflecting on his audience to determine if we are the hopeless scholars or the marginalized flock.

Jesus says: Every drop of righteous blood ever spilled from the time earth began until now, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was struck down between altar and sanctuary, is on your heads. Yes, it’s on the bill of this generation and this generation will pay.

What is the bill Jesus tells us is coming due? Who are the prophets whose blood we willingly shed? What is the price we told we will pay?

God says: This bill my son speaks of rises from the lack of action when my sheep are lost and hungry, naked and without shelter. These sheep are the gentle prophets whose presence and truth are too often ignored. The price to be paid is a heavy one. This is why I awake you each morning with a gentle touch to ask you to follow my son. This is why I rock you to sleep each night wrapped in the arms of my Spirit.

Jesus says: You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You took the key of knowledge, but instead of unlocking doors, you locked them. You won’t go in yourself, and won’t let anyone else in either.

What is the key of knowledge that Jesus points out to us here? What door have we shut and why have we shut it? Who are the others whose entry we refuse?

God says: The key of knowledge is my invitation to enter the Kingdom I create for you. The key is my loving presence that longs to love more than you can imagine. I am saddened when you cast off my presence as coincidence or karma. When you discourage others from believing in me you shut the door to t his kingdom. When you call others as I call you, you open windows and doors.  

Today we consider the bill. Tomorrow, the bill comes due.

For more on the key of knowledge, visit: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/11-52.htm

 

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1 & 2 Chronicles: Our Sacred History – Part II

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Cornelis de Vos: KIng David handing the Scepter to Solomon

Cornelis de Vos: King David handing the Scepter to Solomon

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done . . . 

As we move from childhood to maturity, we take on commitments and we either fulfill or turn away from promises. As we seize control of as many facets of our lives as possible, we also strive for success as the world around us identifies it. And somewhere in the blur of activity and struggle, they is always the chance that we might move away from the core of who and what we are.

In the story of David and Solomon we find two men, and the women who surround them, scrabble to come out on top and in front, surrounded by security, relaxing into comfort. The details of David’s anointing and rise, his battles with both his enemies and King Saul he has pledged to serve, are all benchmarks in David’s life. So are his interactions with Michal and Bathsheba, and the prophet Nathan. David’s son Solomon must also struggle against heavy odds to survive into adulthood and to assume his father’s seat of power; but later he succumbs to the wishes of others and the lure of success and fame. Details of a temple are laid out and even include specifics about music, vessels and decorations. Life at court attracts both those who support and those who tear down what once was full of hope.

How do we arrive at the peak of power in our lives? What do we store up for the journey ahead and what do we jettison? What do we tend to and what do we ignore? Does our relationship with God grow or diminish? Have we found wisdom that nourishes and serenity that heals . . . and do these gifts from God even matter to us?

Today we take time to examine our lives to see how or if we have followed God’s lead in the living of our hours on earth, and to examine the kind of kingdom we have been building. We consider what we have set aside as having great value and what we have cast off as holding us down. And we discover, in the many relationships and encounters we have experienced, that both our storehouse and the debris we leave behind reveal a great deal about who and what we have become.

The two books of Chronicles have four major portions: a genealogy of our leaders beginning with Abraham (1 Chronicles 1-9), a description of the monarchy under David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 9 – 2 Chronicles 9), the divided kingdom (2 Chronicles 10-18), and the period from Hezekiah to the Babylonian exile (2 Chronicles 19-36). This story of divine promise interwoven with human commitment and infidelity tell a story that we might see reflected in our own personal sacred history. This story is worthy of our time over the next few days.

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Revelation 6: Cosmic Conflict

Monday, April 4, 2016

EdwardVon Steinle: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

EdwardVon Steinle: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

We might well believe that we live in a world that is in cosmic conflict. Terrorist attacks, extreme politics, fanatic social movements might give us good reason to believe that “the end times” are near. We must exercise caution before reading the last book of the Bible without commentary lest we slip into a dualistic world of fundamentalism. This narrow view emphasizes the vision of universal struggle, and forgets the message of hope, trust, prudence, mercy and love that Jesus delivers. These verses must be read through the filter of unity and solidarity, hope and determination that Jesus brings to the world. Rather than relying on an apocalyptic eschatology in which God rescues the world and sets all wrongs right while we watch and observe, we are urged to delve into the ethical eschatology of joining with Christ to bring his message of love to all.

Commentary cautions us appropriately; it encourages us to take up the challenge of these remarkable verses. “It is useless to tease such poetry into a train schedule. The vision here is not one of history unfolding like clockwork; it is a religious vision of God’s ultimate conquest despite current appearances. Once the reader lets go of the obsessive ‘need to know’ that twists beauty into biorhythm charts, it is possible to wonder at the powerful poetic and religious imagination at work in these glorious images”. (Senior RG 575)

When we spend time with various versions of these verses today, we allow the gift of Christ’s wisdom and love to settle over us. We allow ourselves to become of God’s remarkable kingdom. And we allow the consolation of the Spirit to work through us to heal a waiting world.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 575. Print. 

To explore the imagery of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, read the commentary at: http://www.usccb.org/bible/revelation/6 

Today we remember as we reflect . . . we are Easter People.

 

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Matthew 5:17-19: Teaching on the Law, A Reprise

Wednesday, March 2, 2016Kingdom-of-God-570x379

Do we fully understand the depth of Jesus’ words? Do we fully open ourselves to Jesus’ transformation?

Jesus says: Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.

Do we fully understand that when we mock creation we mock ourselves? Do we fully open ourselves to the wonders of God’s universe?

Jesus says: Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.

God says: You work inordinate hours. You fret over the past and worry about the future. You wriggle through plans that you lay for yourselves. You create rules and parameters that you hope will keep you safe. The Law I speak about is simple indeed – it is the only law the actually keeps you safe. It is the Law of Love. The Law of forgiveness. The Law of generosity and kindness. The Law of healing and comfort. The Law of mercy. Rest in me. Bring your worries to me. Allow my Law of Love to reconcile, restore and rebuild. Allow yourself to step into my kingdom of love.

We continue our Lenten practice as we consider how we might bring others to God’s kingdom of love. 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 another post on these verses, go to:  https://thenoontimes.com/2012/04/06/teaching-on-the-law/

Tomorrow, Beelzebub.

 

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Matthew 5:20-25: Murder


Matthew 5:20-25: Murder

Thursday, February 18, 2016ANGER

Murder is more than a snuffing out of life, it is the destruction of a hope for potential. Today Jesus tells us that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Jesus cautions us to take care with our words: Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.

Our actions, words and thoughts have the power to bring death or life, so what is the advice that Jesus sends us along with his caution? This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. We cannot make peace with God if we do not make peace with our fellow human beings. We cannot become a full and positive member of the kingdom as long as we abuse our mother planet. We cannot hope to find the peace we claim to seek . . . when we hurl words that murder.

Today we reflect on the power of our words and we place hope in the power of our Lenten practice to transform us as we pray: Rather than thinking: “I am misunderstood,” let us think instead, “God is so understanding”.

Tomorrow, knocking on the door. 

 

 

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Sirach 15:14-17: The Mystery of Free WillFree-Will-10

Monday, June 22, 2015

God in the beginning created human beings and made them subject to their own free choice. If you choose, you can keep the commandments; loyalty is doing the will of God. Set before you are fire and water; to whatever you choose, stretch out your hand. Before everyone are life and death, whichever they choose will be given them.

The concept of free well is one with which we struggle and frequently we hear ourselves asking God the familiar question. Dear God – if all things are possible for you, why don’t you fix all that is wrong with the world?

God says: I love you so much that I do not want to force you to love me in return. I have infinite patience and limitless persistence so I am willing to give you free rein as you decide how you want to live. Our goal is not to have you do precisely as I say; rather, our goal is to come into union in celebration of our mutual understanding and love. Our goal is not to have a perfect world; rather, our goal is to come together in the kingdom I have described for you in which we are motivated by love rather than anger, envy or self-interest. I want to love you into loving me. I want you to love me as much as I love you. I created you in the hope that you and I will have an eternal relationship. And this is entirely possible for us because yes, for me . . . all things are possible.

The mystery of free will is one we might easily misunderstand. When we spend time today with this wisdom from Sirach, we begin to trust in the potential God has planted in each of us.

Use the scripture link to compare these words from Jesus Ben Sirach and consider how we might show God that we understand this gift of free will.

 

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