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Posts Tagged ‘miracles’


Luke 24: Resurrection Narrative

Carracci: Women at the Tomb of Christ

Hannibale Carracci: Women at the Tomb of Christ

Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 27, 2022

The stories we read in the closing chapter of Luke are ones that bring us through dark nights and heavy days. They bolster our spirits and restore energy. They lend us strength and heal our wounded-ness.

Two men in dazzling garments are waiting in the empty tomb. Can we take ourselves to that moment and that space to imagine this Easter surprise that both heartened and frightened Jesus’ followers? Can we imagine God’s messengers comforting us and bringing good news as we stand in our own empty tombs? We must . . . for this is part of our own resurrection miracle.

Hendrick Terbruggen: Supper at Emmaus

Hendrick Terbruggen: Supper at Emmaus

Two followers of Jesus realize that their hearts were burning within while their dinner guest spoke to them to open scripture and ease their sorrow. Can we put ourselves in a moment when we have just been touched by the resurrected Christ but were too anxious or too angry to look fully in the face that wants to relieve our suffering? Can we relive the healing touch and grace-filled words that flooded the moment when a stranger or friend spoke just the right word at just the right moment? We must . . . for this part of our own resurrection promise.

Peace be with you. Can we recall an experience when we were startled and terrified and thought we were seeing a ghost only to succumb to incredulous joy and amazement at the recognition that God moves in our lives each moment of our existence? Can we recollect the understanding that all is well and that God is in charge? We must . . . for this is our own resurrection narrative.

Velázquez: Kitchen Scene with the Supper in Emmaus

Diego Velázquez: Kitchen Scene with the Supper in Emmaus

This week we remember that we are Theophilus, God’s own friend, and we have dedicated time with scripture to allow God’s Word to enter into our hearts and minds. We journey with the Gospel stories to find clues to our identity as sisters and brothers of Christ. And we open ourselves to a candid examination of what and why we want to change. Luke records Jesus’ resurrection narrative that we read again today. Let us begin to fully believe the miracle and promise of this story. And let us determine to make Jesus’ narrative our own.


Use the scripture link to compare differing versions of Luke 24 as we open our hearts and minds to the Living Word of God Among Us.

 Carracci image from: http://www.artbible.net/3JC/-Mat-28,01_Women_Resurrection_Femmes/2nd_16th_Siecle/slides/16%20CARRACCI%20WOMEN%20AT%20THE%20TOMB%20OF%20CHR.html

Terbruggen image from: http://www.wikiart.org/en/search/supper%20at%20emmaus/1

Veláquez image from: http://www.wikiart.org/en/search/supper%20at%20emmaus/1

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joyMonday, November 15, 2021

Job

Joy and the Storm

The Books of Wisdom call us to fidelity; they give us a reason to come together in outrageous hope; and they call us to love as God loves, with compassion, patience and understanding. This sapiential literature offers us the miracle and wonder of joy. If today’s exploration of the Book of Job calls you to search for more surprises, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today we find joy in times of turmoil, travail and turbulence.

If the story of Job is unfamiliar to us, we will want to spend time with notes and commentary. If the story is a familiar one, we will know where to look for the verses that bring hope to the hopeless and joy to the joyless. In either case, the verses offered below give us a door to the miracle of joy found in the tempest of life.

Verse 5:11: Yes, it is God who raises the humble and gives joy to all who mourn.

Ilya Yefimovich Repin: Job and His Friends

Ilya Yefimovich Repin: Job and His Friends

God says: My son Jesus tells you that I am always with the broken-hearted, the down-trodden, the oppressed and forsaken. He brings this promise to you daily. Jesus also shows you how humility and patience bring not woe but joy. Open the story of my servant Job and you will see how he persists in loving me even when he has nothing. Open your heart to the authority of Christ within you and you will experience joy in the stormy days of your life.

Verse 8:19: Yes, that’s all the joy evil people have; others now come and take their places.

God says: My Spirit cannot be contained or owned; yet she inhabits all there is and was and will be. The Spirit abides, consoles, heals and mends. The Spirit engenders joy even in the midst of the storm and the swirl of deceit. The Spirit fashions joy out of cruelty and dishonesty. The Spirit creates joy in the face of pride and haughtiness. Open your heart to the power of the Spirit within you and will find joy in the dark nights of your journey.

Verse 22:26: Then you will always trust in God and find that he is the source of your joy.

job (1)God says: I am the Alpha and the Omega. I am the beginning and the end. I am the source and summit. I am the impetus and the goal. I am. And I am within you. Open your heart to the power of my love within you and unleash the joy that conquers all evil. Open your heart to the miracles I create for you and discover the full power of my presence. Like my servant Job, you will experience joy in the most dire of circumstances and the most horrific of situations. Examine his story today and look for the dawn that always follows the deep darkness of overpowering storms. 

Verse 38:7: In the dawn of the day of creation the stars sang together, and the heavenly beings shouted for joy.

Blake: Job's Tormentors

William Blake: Job’s Tormentors

Job suffers every kind of humiliation and pain at the hands of Satan; yet he survives and is fully restored as God’s wondrous creation. We too, are God’s creation and so today we ask for the gift of fidelity to God’s call, for the grace of God’s hope that brings us patience, and the presence of God’s love that is the miracle of joy we seek.


Images from:https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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joySaturday, October 30, 2021

2 Chronicles

Joy in Return

We move forward in our journey as we visit with scripture looking for stories about joy that will amaze us in a number of ways. To explore other stories in which joy surprises us, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today our stories are from 2 Chronicles.

Hezekiah is a name long connected with the people’s return to the covenant promises. Scholars tell us that he repairs and cleanses the Temple erected by Solomon to house the Ark; he destroys the bronze serpent reported to have been created by Moses for miraculous healing because it had become an object of idol worship; and he invites the people to a new celebration of a special Passover in which the faithful renewed their promises to God.

Hezekiahs tunnelOnce his house is in order, Hezekiah leads the people in campaigns to push back the Philistines and Assyrians. He pleads with God for a longer life in order to complete his work of the people’s return and God grants this request (2 Chronicles 32).  He directs the building of a tunnel to bring water into Jerusalem so that they might survive the Assyrian siege that blockades the city. And he is rewarded when God sends an angel of death to wipe out hundreds of thousands of Sennacherib’s enemy troops in an astounding miracle.

It is no wonder that we read today: There was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel. (2 Chronicles 30:26) It is no wonder that there is great joy in this homecoming. It is no wonder that there is great joy in this return to promises made, forgotten, and finally remembered.

Might we also find joy in our own returning to celebrate the many small and big miracles in our lives? Might we also find joy in recognizing the amazing, loving presence of the Living God?


To see pictures taken inside Hezekiah’s Tunnel, click on the tunnel image above or go to: http://www.livingbylysa.com/2012/05/hezekiahs-tunnel.html

For a video tour of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boC7lOV-1PU

For more information on the miracle against Sennacherib, go to: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112337/jewish/The-End-of-Sennacherib.htm

 

For more about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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empty easter tombEaster is an eight day celebration beginning on Easter Sunday, running through the Easter Octave and ending on the Second Sunday of Easter. This tradition reflects the joy the early apostles felt as they experienced the new presence of the Risen Christ. Jesus offers us this same experience today. The Eastertide, or Easter Season, is the forty days from Easter Sunday until the feast of the Ascension. Today we rest in the message of the tomb that appears to be empty.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Empty

John 20:11-13

We give thanks for the miracle of the Easter resurrection. We remember that we rise with Christ in newness. We feel the presence of the Spirit within us. We have made our Lenten journey as we traveled up to Jerusalem, and we have experienced the joy of Easter resurrection. Now we move into our lives in a different way . . .

God gives each of us a talent that brings hope to the world. We are to use it.

God gifts each of us with attributes and a pathway. We are to follow them.

God calls each of us to union in the Spirit. We are to respond immediately and with passion.

God calls each of us from our emptiness to fill us with mercy and joy.

A re-post from Easter Monday 2014.


Today we visit the empty tomb Where the Body Had BeenEnter these words into the blog search bar and explore. 

Image from: https://www.dreamstime.com/photos-images/empty-tomb.html

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Friday, November 12, 2020

hyssop48-l[1]2 Samuel 11 and 12 and Psalm 51

Sin and Parable – Part VI

Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

I always wonder about Bathsheba.  e might see her as one dimensional, a figure standing for beauty and grace, a woman-object, a child-bearer. Yet she endures in David’s court. And while she shares in David’s act, no mention is made of her grief or guilt, most likely because she is a female, chattel in these ancient times. We can imagine how much she may have suffered. She continues to appear in Kings and in Chronicles and is revered as Solomon’s mother, yet she is a quiet back-figure in this long-running story of sin and parable.

Let me hear joy and gladness, let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

It is appropriate that this story come to us as we near the end of the Liturgical year and prepare for Advent.  The beautiful psalm of repentance, Psalm 51, was written when Nathan came to David after having committed adultery.

Oh Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise. 

When we sing this song of repentance we are repeating the words of one who has lusted, one who has slept with another’s beloved, one who has arranged murder. This is fitting, for in some way we all transgress on those around us when we covet, take or tear down something or someone. And there are many small ways in which we end a life beyond the physical act of murder. We might destroy someone emotionally, professionally, psychologically or spiritually.  et, there is always mercy to be sought . . . and granted.

giant_hyssop_large[1]Then I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will turn back to you.

There is much to be heard in this story. There is much to be lived, much to be sung. David takes something he wants. David destroys. Nathan speaks. Nathan restores.  Relationships cannot be put back as they had been, time cannot be reversed, and although Uriah cannot return, some quality, some relationship reappears. Bridges can be built. Pride can be put aside. Transgressions can be brought to light. Forgiveness can be sought and given. Restoration can happen.

Miracles can take place . . . souls can be saved.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 

What do we do when Nathan stands before us? How do we react? When confronted by big sin, we need a big spirit. We need constant relationships which help us to develop rather than comfortable friends who discourage us from growth or who encourage us to wallow. We need a steadfast spirit, a renewed heart, an eager soul. We need God. And these we have all been given. We need only take them up and commit ourselves to them.

Create in me a pure heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Create in me an open willingness to listen. Renew in me a faithful heart that takes in the world. 

Amen.


To discover the medicinal uses of hyssop and how it was used in ancient times, click on the  botanical image above or go to: http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hyssop48.html

Second image from: http://mydaybook.wikidot.com/giant-hyssop

Adapted from a reflection written on February 13, 2008.

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Friday, July 17, 2020

The-least-of-things-with-a-meaning-is-worth-more-in-life-than-the-greatest-of-things-without-it.[1]Job 8:21

At First Glance

Once more God will fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with rejoicing.

In a world that yearns for the best, the most, the highest, the tallest, the greatest in all things, we lose sight of the tiny and what appears to be unimportant.  God’s plan always works through inversion; God transforms our suffering and brings forth joy; God calls the smallest of us for the greatest of tasks.  We have the choice to choose the false life of bigness or the eternal life of the seemingly insignificant.

God says: Do you not see the many little miracles in which you take part with me each day?  I know. The same blindness overcame the first apostles until I sent them out in twos to heal and cure.  They, like you, are still surprised when I invite them to join me in my Way of Love.  But you see that I must send you into the world so that you will fully experience my presence in the healing you do each day.  My loyal servant Job was seen as a sinner by his friends. They erred in their thinking. Job’s loyalty and unwavering fidelity kept him bound to me. His family, friends and foes saw only pain where Job saw possibility.  Job remained in the world and allowed me to bring him to his fullness. My goodness calls forth laughter from your tears.  Your constancy calls forth rejoicing from your sorrow.  You must go out as I have asked. And you must trust me.

This is a difficult lesson to learn and it requires much trust.  When we have the time to read Job’s entire story we see that God does indeed abide with the little and the small.  We will see that God cares for the marginalized and the dispossessed.  God brings laughter and rejoicing to those who experience anxiety and pain.  What appears at first glance to be insignificant is – in the scope of eternity – the greatest of all.

For more reflections, enter the word inversion in the blog search bar and explore.


For more Carl Jung quotes, click on the image above or go to: http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Carl_Jung

Information on the life and work of the Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung, go to: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Carl-Jung 

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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Biliverti: The Archangel Raphael Refusing Tobias' Gift

Giovanni Biliverti: The Archangel Raphael Refusing Tobias’ Gift

Tobit 12

Raphael Makes Himself Known

This beautiful story comes to us today to remind us that we need to make known the many small miracles we receive from God.  Each time God inverts a plot, we must share the story.  Each time God saves us from our own fears we must tell the good news.  Each time God heals a wounded heart we must make God’s goodness known.

We have read this story before but today we find something new.

Verse 6: Raphael called the two men aside privately and said to them: “Thank God! Give him the praise and glory.  Before all the living, acknowledge the many good things he has done for you, by blessing and extolling his name in song.  Honor and praise God’s deeds and do not be slack in praising him”.

The healing hand of God manifests itself frequently in our lives through strangers.  When Tobit and Tobias wish to give a monetary reward to Tobias’ traveling companion for all the healing he has done in their lives, the Archangel Raphael reveals himself . . . and rather than take payment, asks them to praise God who has answered their cry for help and has rescued them.

Verse 10: But those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies.

We are reminded that when we sin, we are separating ourselves from God and hurting ourselves.  The first step toward healing is recognizing that we are human and imperfect . . . and acknowledging that God is all and that God alone is enough.

Verse 14: . . . and now the Lord has sent me to heal you.

We can heal one another and in so doing also heal ourselves . . . and act as co-redeemers of the human race with Christ.  For we are adopted daughters and sons of God.

Verses 17 and 18: And Raphael said to them: “No need to fear.  You are safe.  Thank God now and forever.  As for me, when I came to you it was not out of any favor on my part, but because it was God’s will.  So continue to thank him every day; praise him with song”. 

Fear not . . . these are the same healing words which Jesus speaks.

Verse 22: They kept thanking God and singing his praises; and they continued to acknowledge these marvelous deeds which he had done when the angel of God appeared to them.

Let us proclaim all God’s wonderful works for God has sent angels to minister to us even though we might not see them.  Let us tell everyone we know the stories of our own healing for these are miracles performed for us by a loving God.  And let us remember to thank God for all that God does to heal us of all that limits us.


For more about Raphael, Tobit or Tobias, enter their names in the blog search bar and reflect on the gift of this story.

Adapted from a reflection written on January 2, 2008.

Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Biliverti

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

universe[1]Galatians 5:7-12

Be Not Mislead

This Pauline citation is perfect for us to read when we come up against an obstacle that looks unmovable. It reminds us that with God, all things are possible. Paul is writing in reference to the split which nearly happens in the early church between two factions: those who want to require circumcision of men before entrance into the church and those who do not. A lively conversation takes place but the miracle of unification occurs and the church as Christ begins it remains intact and flourishes. We can read the details in ACTS.

I once heard miracles defined as the possibilities we dream that already exist but that cannot be seen with human eyes, cannot be heard with human ears, cannot be touched with human hands. In the documentary/fictional story What the Bleep Do We Know?, we are reminded to hope for our impossible petitions in a daily litany.  The creators of this film examine how we might adjust our perspective just slightly so that we might see as God sees because – as we know – with God all things are possible.

It is worth our while to sit with a good study Bible and a concordance to examine the many times we are told in scripture . . . With God, all things are possible.  The effects of these five simple words are healing.  The reality of this short sentence is more real than the world we imagine we live in.

Each time we repeat these words and believe them a layer of anxiety slips away.  Each time we witness to God’s impossible possibilities a new strength and boldness lifts our spirit.  Each time we admit to the quiet miracles that pepper our lives, a new patience and serenity infuse our bones.

We must give ourselves the gift of allowing the Easter reality of impossible possibilities to be our reality.  We must petition God each day with our list of impossible requests and ask that God consider them as our realityAnd we must not allow ourselves to be misled by the pessimism of the world for as we so well know from our daily Noontime with scripture . . . with God, all things are possible.

May all of our miracles that we ask of God come to fullness in our new impossible reality.


If you have two hours, click on this link and watch: What the Bleep Do We Know? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6G3-Zc9mtM  Critics comment that it misrepresents science and makes awkward connections between quantum physics and spirituality.  Others say that is an invitation to think in a new way.  In either case, this thinking is worth our reflection. 

To read about the surprising links scientists are finding in the universe, click on the image or visit: https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1203420/space-universe-discovery-news-galaxy-astronomy-physics-lightyears 

Adapted from a Noontime written on May 2, 2007.

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Third Sunday of Lent, March 15, 2020

Luke 23:6-16: Herod

Andrea Schiavone: Christ with Herod

Andrea Schiavone: Christ with Herod

Herod was very glad to see Jesus . . .

He had been waiting to see him for a long time . . .

He had heard about him . . .

He had been hoping to see him perform some sign . . .

We are so eager to know Christ; we bring our small and big worries to his feet.  We have heard so much about him.  We are hoping that he will cure our woes and still our anxiety.  We have some specific tasks for him to complete for us; we hold a short but good list of wrongs for him to right.

Herod questioned Jesus at length . . .

But Jesus gave him no answer . . .

Herod treated Jesus contemptuously and mocked him . . .

Herod and the guards clothed Jesus in resplendent garb and sent him back to Pilate . . .

We have a lot of questions for Jesus and we present our daily list of petitions faithfully; but – strangely – it seems that Jesus is not listening.  There are no answered requests for us to tick off our list.  We feel disappointed and even let down.  We wonder if the naysayers are correct . . . perhaps there is no resurrection.  Perhaps we believe in folly.

Herod decides to have Jesus flogged and released.  Pilate washes his hands of the man. 

We have passed the half-way mark in our Lenten journey and so we take an accounting.  We have given alms.  We have fasted.  We have attended morning and evening prayer.  We have participated in the sacrament of reconciliation.  We have checked off our chores like small children pleasing our parents and still our little lists of favors, pleas and signs appear to be left unanswered.  We wonder if Jesus is listening and we continue to look for a sign.

Herod was very glad to see Jesus . . .

He had been waiting to see him for a long time . . .

He had heard about him . . .

He had been hoping to see him perform some sign . . .

We arise each morning to fresh water, food and clothing for the day, transportation, information, friendships.  We travel through the day experiencing little miracles all along the way, little signs of God’s love.  And we somehow miss them.

Evening falls and we count our accomplishments and disappointments.  We enter them into a mental balance sheet and come up with a balance.  We take credit for all that goes well and we assign blame to ourselves or others for all that seems to fail.  And we again miss the miracle that we have wandered through another day in the company of a God who loves us so much that we are never left alone for an instant.

Herod sits and speaks with Jesus and does not understand the miracle of the gift of God’s love.  We too might speak with Jesus each day and open ourselves to the wonder of God’s care.

Herod looks for a momentous sign so that he might have full confidence in Jesus’ power to save and while he is scanning his surroundings he looks past the obvious sign that sits before him . . . the embodiment of God’s protection and promise in the person of Jesus.  We too might look past the obvious today . . . or we might choose to believe.

Herod wants a sign that he already has.  Let us take each small miracle as it comes to us.  And let us remember that the sign of God’s love is always with us.  Jesus never leaves our side.


Image from: http://www.kunst-fuer-alle.de/english/fine-art/artist/image/andrea-schiavone/8293/4/111915/christ-before-herod/index.htm

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