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Posts Tagged ‘Luke 12:49’


Matthew 21:1-11: Shaking the World

Monday, July 16, 2018

Footnotes and commentary will explain much to us in today’s Noontime. The poetic parallelism we find with the words ass and colt in the citation from Zechariah 9:9 may justify the thinking that Matthew was a Gentile; a man practicing the Jewish faith would be accustomed to hearing these double allusions from their rabbi and not confuse the prophecy with reality. We might also learn more about the custom of strewing palm branches during the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:39-40 and 2 Maccabees 10:5-8) when rededicating a Temple. And finally, scholars will be able to tell us that Matthew uses the participle shaken in verse 11 that was commonly used in the apocalyptic literature of Jesus’ time. In Matthew 8:24 the storm is described with this same verb and the noun in that verse literally means earthquake. Matthew wants to tell us that Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem literally and figuratively shakes the world out of its complacency. (Senior 20, 44-45) This prophet from Nazareth in Galilee who heals the sick, feeds the multitudes, and forgives sins has come to set the world afire . . . and the world is clearly shaken by this message: The Temple is about to fall.

I have friends and family who insist that Jesus came to live with us only so that we might learn how to “get along” with everyone. This thinking conveniently reinforces the idea that living in a loving community means that we turn blind eyes to dishonesty and greed. This view will also have us thinking that in Luke 12:49 and Matthew 10:34-36 Jesus cannot possibly mean that even family members will be pitted against one another when they understand the true meaning of Jesus’ message. For some it is difficult to believe that Jesus is telling his followers – and us – that the habits of a lifetime will have to change: complacency about corruption must end, we cannot condone the oppression of the marginalized, or affirm lies and gossip. We must cease living in excess and we must become humble, patient, and persevering in order to enter the kingdom. We can see why Jesus’ message shook the world in his own time . . . and why his message continues to shake the world today.

When we read these verses and we feel compelled to place the palm branches of our lives on the roadway to welcome this amazing healer who will always put himself last, we must also be willing to follow him into the Temple when he cleanses it.  When we raise our voices in thanksgiving to say Hosanna in the highest, we must also be willing to weep with the women and John the Beloved Apostle to mourn the emptiness of the world without Jesus.  When we shout out to the doubters: This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee; we must ready ourselves for the cataclysmic shaking that will turn us in a new and life-giving direction we had not thought possible for ourselves or others.  We must ready ourselves for the shaking of the world and the rebuilding of the Temple.  And so we pray . . .

When the earth yawns open to swallow us whole, let us stand firm on the lessons Jesus has taught us. 

When the coming storm gathers dust into lethal clouds, let us hunker down to shelter in the arms of our loving God.

When Jesus shakes the world into God’s new reality, let us not cry out against it. 

Let us welcome this shuddering new birth . . . knowing that with the passing of the storm the Spirit who has abided with us . . . will nourish us anew. 


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.20, 44-45. Print. 

We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on July 25, 2011.

Images from: http://www.simonedwards.me/?p=76 

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Deuteronomy 5-8: The Covenant – Part II

Saturday, June 2, 2018

We explore a few Favorites as we consider that Christ is The Life we hope to live. 

Exploring these chapters of Deuteronomy, we return to the Readers’ Guide, page RG 112: “One of the themes that sets Deuteronomy apart from earlier thinking in Israel is that God’s promises either to Moses or to David are not simply guarantees that God will stand by this people with protection and help, no matter what they do.  Earlier theologies of God as divine warrior that always fights for his people is now transformed into a new view of God who will uphold the covenant and all of its terms, including blessings and curses, according to how Israel keeps its part of the treaty.  The stress falls on both faithful worship and social justice as ideals for Israel.  Repentance and change of heart are often required if Israel is to return to covenant loyalty”. And so we see that God’s love is merciful and ever present, yet requires us to forgive because God will forgive all who repent.  God, being God, must forgive us because God is good.  God longs and aches for us to answer the call to love, just as the prophet Hosea longs for his harlot wife Gomer. God is always waiting with outstretched arms, asking us to own our faults and ask forgiveness. Perhaps the difficulty of this kind of living is reinforced by Jesus when he says that he has come to “set the world afire”.  (Luke 12:49)

The writer of Deuteronomy tells us in Chapter 8: “Be careful to observe all the commandments I enjoin on you today, that you may live and increase, and may enter in and possess the land which the Lord promised on oath to your fathers”.  In this way, we know that our promised land awaits us. All our impossible dreams wait to be fulfilled In accord with our covenant, we only must turn, repent, repair and ask forgiveness.  Then will God’s all encompassing, ever-abiding, deeply trusting love restore us to our best potential.

God in heaven, God of all, we know that you are constant, just and compassionate.  Be patient with us as we search here in the desert for the narrow path that leads to you.  Save us daily through Jesus Christ.  Send your Holy Spirit to abide in our small little temples that we maintain in constant waiting for you.  Stay with us, comfort us, restore us.  Amen.

From a reflection written on August 25, 2007.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. RG 112. Print.   

Tomorrow, our life in the New Covenant. 


Image from: https://christianitymalaysia.com/wp/easter-covenant/

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John 12:44-50: Light

Sunday, October 16, 2016

the starry night

We are made in God’s image in a glorious diversity of structure and personality. Today we hear the words of Jesus describing himself as Light to the WorldIn God’s image, we are called into life both individually and collectively to be that light as well.  We have our instruction, it seems, and they are simple.  We are made to be planted beside one another, warts and all, to agree on the Gospel story, to allow God to hone the rough edges from our exterior, and to open our hearts to the possibility of being Light and Hope and Love.  There is no greater calling.

In our familiar creation story we are told of the gift of life itself. Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26

The prophet Isaiah reminds us that we are named, loved and called.  For the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel my chosen one, I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not.  I am the Lord and there is no other, there is no God besides me.  It is I who arm you, though you know me not, so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun men may know that there is none besides me.  I am the Lord, there is no other.  I form the light and create the darkness, I make well-being and create we; I, the Lord, do all these things.  Isaiah 45:4-7

Paul writes to the Colossians and he writes to us. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. Colossians 1:12-18 Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself. Colossians 3:9-10

Christ himself calls us to set the world ablaze with our fervor for our mission in him.  Jesus said to his disciples [to us], “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” Luke 12:49

And as we reflect, we pray.

lightinthedarkness_mediaplayerimageWe are created in light to bring light to the world. Let us never doubt the Creator’s strength and wisdom, and let us call on God for help when we feel the darkness too close around us.

We are made in God’s own image as sisters and brothers of Christ. Let us always rely on Jesus’ love and compassion when we are overcome by the worries of the world.

We are made in love to bring love to the world. Let us forever depend on the healing presence of the Spirit when we are wounded or betrayed.

May Jesus Christ be always our way, our truth, our life and our light.  Amen.  

When we use the scripture links to explore other translations of these verses, we encounter the wisdom and life, the truth and light we seek.

Adapted from a Favorite written on October 23, 2008. 

For another reflection on the meaning of Christ’s light in the world’s darkness, click on the image of the universe above or visit: http://cribandcross.org/the-light-in-the-darkness/

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