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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 26’


magdalene at the tomb

Rembrandt van Rijn: Christ and Saint Mary Magdalene at the Tomb

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Presence

John records how Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body but us startled to find an empty tomb. Believing that the body has been stolen, she leaves quickly to alert Peter and John. When the apostles arrive, they find the funeral cloths that had wrapped Jesus’ body the previous evening but still they do not believe in the resurrection. They return home puzzled but Mary remains, weeping.

We are equally surprised by life and its turnings, just as Mary is surprised. We also grapple with the reality before us and struggle to understand the mystery that surrounds us. We also give in to our grief and miss the gift of God’s constant presence.

Two angels ask Mary why she cries, and she answers, describing her grief. Christ then appears and Mary mistakes him for the gardener until he speaks her name. He reminds her that he is going to the Father and he asks that she deliver this good news to the disciples. (John 20)

We are equally overcome by grief and frustration, just as Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb. We also mistake the open door and the emptiness for nothingness. We overlook the risen Christ and instead we see an ordinary figure in our ordinary lives.

If we spend time today with this and the other three resurrection stories (Matthew 26, Mark 16 and Luke 24) we can compare our own Easter experience to the one recorded for us. Let us consider the gift of our own resurrection. Let us give thanks for our extraordinary lives that we live in our ordinary way. And let us give thanks for the gift of God’s eternal presence.


Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_20:14

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Ezekiel 34: Jesus, the Authentic Shepherd – A Reprise

Monday, January 15, 2018

George Vicat Cole: Watching the Flock

Adapted from a reflection written on January 20, 2008, and explored last September. Today we remind ourselves that Jesus is the one, true, timeless and reliable shepherd.

In the New Testament, the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and John describe the Good Shepherd.  We have heard these lines so often that we might be able to recite them from memory.

In Matthew 9 and Mark 6 we read that Jesus sees the people as a shepherd-less flock.

In Matthew 25 and Mark 14, Jesus tells us that the Son of Man will divide his flock as a shepherd does, who knows each sheep well.

In Matthew 26 when Jesus predicts Peter’s denial of him, he uses the metaphor of a shepherd being struck down and the flock scattering.

John in Chapter 10 develops the beautiful imagery of the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep . . . I know my sheep and my sheep know me The sheep gate, Jesus, admits only the rightful shepherd.  The hired hand runs away in fear to abandon the sheep to the attack of the wolf.  The Good Shepherd also has sheep in other pens which he must bring into the one fold.

God as shepherd brings us back in peace in the letter to the Hebrews (13:20)

Peter tells us that the Good Shepherd leads the flock to safety, and brings us joy. (2:25 and 5:4).

Finally, in Revelation 7:17 we see Jesus the Lamb as the ultimate shepherd.

All of this is not a coincidence.  The continual reminder of God’s presence in our lives as shepherd through Christ and the holy Spirit are meant to be signs to us.  In today’s reading from Ezekiel we are reminded that false shepherds abound.  They are subtle yet abusive.  Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves!  They prey on the weak and lord it over the flock.  They eat the very sheep they are called to protect.  There is also the one, true and constant shepherd who will gather the scattered, who will rid the countryside of ravenous beasts, who will send rain in due season so that the trees might bear fruit.

God asks us these questions through Ezekiel in verse 18: Was it not enough for you to graze on the best pasture, that you had to trample the rest of the pastures with your feet?  Was it not enough for you to drink the clearest water, that you had to fowl the remainder with your feet? 

We know the answers to these questions once we explore scripture. God will judge the lean and the fat.  God, the Ultimate Shepherd, knows each sheep by name.  God, the Good Shepherd, carries the ewes and the lambs in God’s arms.  God, the Protecting Shepherd, defends the sheep from the wolf.  God, the Healing Shepherd, will seek out the lost and the weary.  God, the Abiding Shepherd, will gather us home with all of the faithful flock.

When we compare versions of these verses, we find the shepherd we seek. 

Tomorrow, a prayer to the shepherd.

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Ezekiel 34: Parable of the Shepherds – Part IV

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Himalayan Shepherd

The New Testament Gospels of Mark, Matthew and John describe the Good Shepherd, and because we have heard these lines often, we may be able to recite them from memory. If this is the case, we will want to spend time with varying translations to allow these images to sink into our sinew and bone. For we can only act as Jesus asks when we fully own his words. We can only enact our own Good Shepherd Parable when his words move through us into our ears and lips, hands and feet.

In Matthew 9 and Mark 6 we read that Jesus sees the people as a shepherd-less flock.  In Matthew 25 and Mark 14, Jesus tells us that the Son of Man will divide his flock as a shepherd does, knowing each sheep well.  In Matthew 26 when Jesus predicts Peter’s denial, he uses the metaphor of a shepherd being struck down and the flock scattering.  St. John in Chapter 10 develops the beautiful imagery of the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep. The hired hand runs away in fear and abandons the sheep to the attack of the wolf while Jesus, the sheep gate, admits only those he knows . . . I know my sheep and my sheep know me

It is difficult to distinguish between false shepherds and the Good Shepherd and so it is important to look for the one who mercifully brings other sheep into the one fold, the one who forgives and heals, the one who calls, leads and protects, the one who watches through the night, the one inviting us to begin our own parable of shepherding.

Tomorrow, shepherds in The Letters and Revelation.

Adapted from a Favorite written on January 20, 2008.

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