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Posts Tagged ‘love not revenge’


Monday, October 11, 2021

Psalm 115

metal-texture-silver-gold-scratchedSilver and Gold

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.

From footnotes, This is “a response to the enemy taunt, ‘Where is your God?’ . . . [I]t ridicules the lifeless idols of the nations, expresses a litany of trust of the various classes of the people in God, invokes God’s blessing  on them as they invoke the divine name, and concludes as it began with praise of God”.  (Senior 726)  True silver and gold are trust in the work of the Lord’s hands. There is no need to exact revenge.

Yesterday’s first reading at Mass was another look at the character of silver and gold.  In Wisdom 7:7-11 they are seen as useless as the lust for power and control because all truly good things come from God, and God values our prudence and humility above supremacy.  I prayed and prudence was given me; I pleaded and the spirit of wisdom came to me.  I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches as nothing in comparison with her, nor did liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. 

When we feel ourselves struggling to gain an upper hand or to mercilessly wield authority that has been vested in us, we must give God thanks for the goodness we have seen; and we must turn to songs like this one that remind us of our proper place in the universe: The heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth is given to us . . . It is we who bless the Lord. Hallelujah! 

Amen. 


A reflection written on October 12, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite. 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.726. Print.   

Image from: http://www.goldingot.org.uk/gold-and-silver/

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Unidentified Flemish painter: Rich and Poor, or War and Peace

Unidentified Flemish painter: Rich and Poor, or War and Peace

Jeremiah 8

Incomprehensible Conduct

When someone falls, does he not rise again? If he goes astray, does he not turn back? Why do these people rebel with obstinate persistence?

Jeremiah sees the coming calamity: the stubborn Israelites refuse to cease worshiping idols. The prophet knows that these are a stubborn, persistent people . . . and the prophet sees their conduct as incomprehensible.

We frequently hear and use the word persistence to indicate our perseverance in following Christ. Here the prophet Jeremiah reminds the people of Judah – and us today – that God grieves for us when we are persistent in our lack of repentance and our shameless conduct. Yet we know it is equally true that God’s loving Spirit will heal and cure us when we decide to turn away from our idols. We understand that the persistent love Christ lives out for us will redeem our unbelievable behavior. We live in the hope that God’s compassion for us will abide . . . even when our conduct is beyond comprehension.

In his letter to the Romans (12:14-21), Paul reminds the faithful of the depth, the breadth and the intensity of God’s love for us – and the persistence of this love in the face of our inexplicable reluctance to return God’s love. Bless your persecutors; never curse them, bless them. Rejoice with others when they rejoice and be sad with those in sorrow. Give the same consideration to all others alike. Pay no regard to social standing, but meet humble people on their own terms. Do not congratulate yourself on your own wisdom. Never try to get revenge: leave that, my dear friends, to the Retribution. As scripture says: “Vengeance is mine – I will pay them back”, the Lord promises. And more: If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat, if thirsty, something to drink. By this you will be heaping red-hot coals on his head”. Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good.

When human conduct is incomprehensible in its darkness and evil, rather than attempting to convert these souls on our own, we must turn to God, the source of healing and redemption. We must intercede for these lost ones and ask that God call them into the light from their shadowy places. And we must ask that the Light of the world, the Christ, enter into them to cure and redeem them. In this way their conduct may become comprehensible. In this way we demonstrate our eagerness to seek the perfection of Christ in all we say and think and do.


Adapted from a reflection written on June 26, 2010.

For a reflection on Jeremiah 8, click on the image above or go to: https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1771

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psalm 55 verse 22Thursday, July 1, 2021

Psalm 55:13-14

A Lament Over Betrayal

My companion and my familiar friend; we who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng.

God says: You will see in this ancient song that the psalmist asks for destruction to fall on the enemy and that is a certain way of believing and acting; however, today I say to you, “do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also”. (Matthew 5:39) This is difficult for you to take in, I know, but take it in you must. For you own dear sake and for the good of the Kingdom.

Perhaps the most difficult lesson for all of humanity to learn is the turning away from vengeance. Enter the work revenge into the blog search bar and spend some time today with these thoughts. What do we gain from our attempts to destroy another but our own destruction?


Image from: http://www.buenavistachurchofc.com/blog/view/4/cast-your-burden-on-the-lord 

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Obadiah 1:10-14Gentleness

Friday, January 11, 2019

Written on January 10, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Growing up in a family of five with parents who came from families of more than 10 children each, and having lived and learned with siblings who tumbled over one another as puppies in a litter, I have always been fascinated by the stories in scripture of rivalry in families.  Indeed, just last evening I had dinner with a friend and we spent lots of time sharing and laughing about the “one-upping” that goes on in all families.  We so often forget that God is in charge.

Today’s reading is from Obadiah, a prophet who wrote about five centuries before Christ at a time when the Edomites were forced west out of their own territory near the gulf of Aqaba, and moved into Judah to take up Jewish land.  The Edomites and Israelites had been separated as a result of the division which occurred between brothers at the time of Jacob and Esau.  We can read about the beginning of this division in Genesis, but today we are looking at and reflecting on the long-standing feud which existed between these tribes.  Obadiah warns that we are to be gentle to our enemies, especially when they suffer.  This is an idea which fully blooms when Jesus arrives: intercession for those who do us harm is the first work of the disciple.  And it is difficult work.  Demanding, soul-searching, transforming and glorious work.  There is no other way to love.

Today’s first reading at Mass is 1 John 4:19-5:4.  It is well worth reading in light of Obadiah.  I am particularly struck by these verses:  Whoever does not love a brother whom he sees cannot love God whom he has not seen . . . His commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.  And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.

When we are up against someone or some group doing us damage, we are to “kill them with kindness” as my mother always instructed us.  We are to “let God worry about the other guy” as my Dad always told us.  When we release the anguish and anxiety about how to handle someone difficult, when we give the task over to God who converts harm to good, the pain eases, goes away, and even begins to convert to something glorious and joyful.  We begin to transform.  We may be called to rebuke our neighbor, but when we are . . . we must be gentle.  We may be called to reprove . . . and when we are we must be gentle.  We ourselves may be rebuked by a friend or an enemy . . . and when we are . . . we must listen.  For in these words may be the voice of God.  This is what Obadiah and John are both telling us.  Joy awaits those who seek healing for their brothers and sisters . . . all brothers and sisters . . . those we love . . . and those we find difficult to love.  In this way we heal not only others but ourselves.  This is the work of a disciple.

From Leviticus and Romans as cited in MAGNIFICAT in the Morning Prayer: You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart.  Though you may have to reprove your fellow-man, do not incur sin because of him.  Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen.  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  I am the Lord.  (Leviticus 19:17-18)  Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.  (Romans 13:10)

And so we pray . . .

Awesome yet Gentle God,

Teach us your Ways.

Teach us your Precepts.

Teach us your Mercy.

Teach us your Law.

Teach us your Gentleness.

Teach us your Justice.

Teach us your Love.

Amen.


A re-post from January 11, 2012.

Image from: http://developingyourspirit.blogspot.com/2010/05/gentleness.html

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 10.1 (2008). Print.  

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