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Posts Tagged ‘miracles’


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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Friday, February 28, 2020

Hosea 2: Expectation

loaves[1]What does God expect of us?

Where is God?

How can God expect so much from us?

Why does God allow us to feel so alone/exasperated/angry/sad?

If we hear ourselves asking these questions endlessly with no hope of understanding, we may need to turn these questions on their heads and think of them in their inverted state.

What do we expect of God?

Where have we put God in our lives?

Why do we expect so little from God?

Why do we turn away from God when we are alone/exasperated/angry/sad?

We spend time today in our Lenten journey with Chapter 2 of Hosea’s prophecy in which the prophet’s unfaithful wife, Gomer, is described.  Metaphorically, this wife is each one of us when we reject the conditions in which we find ourselves.  As difficult as our problems may be, they are our lesson plans in life, our stepping stones to self-discovery and to serenity.  Once we learn to turn everything over to God, the sorrow and anger slip away.  And we suddenly find that we are more at peace with the circumstances that surround us.

In John’s Gospel story of the feeding of thousands (6:1-15) we see that Jesus asks the disciples how they want to feed so many – John writes: He said this to test them.  This does not mean that Jesus wants to throw his friends into turmoil; it means that Jesus wants to see how they hope to solve the problem before them.  Do they resort to themselves, or do they rely on God in any way?

We must remember to ask for miracles, because God wants to grant them.

We must remember to take our woes to God, because God welcomes them and erases them.

We must remember to leave our sadness in God’s hands, because he heals all mourning with his deep and abiding love.

Hosea laments his unfaithful wife.  God misses us when we leave him behind.  Why do we try to solve everything on our own?  And why do we expect so little from God?


Image from: http://ymiblogging.org/2011/06/the-little-boy-and-the-feeding-of-the-five-thousand/

Tomorrow: Our Search for Happiness.

Written on May 6, 2011. Revised and posted today as a Favorite.

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Saturday, January 25, 2013

2 Kings 5: The Cure of Naaman

Pieter de Grebber: Elisha Refusing the Gifts of Naaman

Pieter de Grebber: Elisha Refusing the Gifts of Naaman

Naaman is cured of leprosy not by his faith alone but through the faith and encouragement of a small child who believes in Yahweh and the power of his prophets.  It is worth our while to read this story and examine commentary and footnotes because once we do – and this may seem unbelievable – we will find that we have a greater understanding of the modern world we live in today.

Through the child in this story we see that prophets are not the only ones among us who are called to heal, cure and serve as instruments for miracles. We see that we are also called to heal one another either with the direct laying on of hands, or by our intercessory prayers.

Jesus tells us in a very clear way that we must pray for our enemies: You have heard it said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy”.  But I tell you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you . . . If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  (Matthew 5: 43-47)

Christ constantly presents us with a world of inversion. We die in order to be born; we give in order to receive; we sit at the lowest seat in order to be called higher; we humble ourselves so that we might be exalted.  The examples Jesus gives us are endless.   Today we hear God’s urging to heal others, even those who harm us, so that we in turn are healed.

I believe that we are called to be healers, even when wounded ourselves, because the prayers of a victim rise ever so quickly to God’s altar. God, in all of his compassion and mercy and desire to love, will reward the prayer of one who is wounded who – like God – forgives and then petitions healing for the abuser.

We must be present in spirit to our fellow pilgrims, and when we wade into the river of forgiveness, just as Naaman enters the river Jordan, we will find that the our willingness to intercede for our enemies will wash away the things of this world.  Suddenly we find ourselves present to the Spirit. And just as suddenly we will know that we, like Naaman, will “know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”  This one God, this Yahweh, sent his son to heal us and ransom us from our dark place.   It is this God who calls us to heal one another . . . so that we in turn may be healed.


First written on May 31, 2007.  Re-written and posted today as a Favorite. 

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Acts 12:18-25: Herod’s End

King Herod

King Herod

“Miracles granted and yet not believed.  We are so quick to explain away the simple answer that God is always accompanying us”.  This is the closing line of our Noontime reflection Expect MiraclesToday we see what becomes of Herod when he attempted to make himself a god.  It is not a pretty end. 

At the beginning of this chapter we find Herod persecuting the Christians; he has James killed and had Peter arrested.  In the central portion of this chapter, we read about the miracle that God brings about to free Peter, and then we have the closing that describes the end of the man who would set himself up as a god . . . he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.  Notes tell us that Josephus describes this same accounting of events and that the people of the time saw it as divine punishment.  We can only speculate about the effects of his death on the people but still, we are given something to chew over here.  We are reminded once again that . . . God is in charge.  We cannot make something happen that is not part of God’s plan.  Nor can we prevent something from happening that is a part of God’s plan.

We are also reminded that miracles happen under our noses every day that we are so quick to explain away the simple answer that God is always accompanying us. 

Herod missed his opportunity to know new life.  He believed that he might force his vision of the world on others, and we see how wrong he was.  He believed that he understood how the world really works, and we see how wrong he was.  He believed that he could bring to bear every resource available to end this movement that had plagued the region since the appearance of the magi who followed a bright star to Bethlehem, and we see how wrong he was.

Miracles are granted to us every day yet we are so quick to explain away the simple answer that God is always accompanying us.

The miracle of the gift of Jesus is something that Herod would not acknowledge.  The miracle of the hope of Jesus is a possibility that Herod wanted to erase because it was beyond his control.  The miracle of the resurrection of Jesus and the promise of our own resurrection is something we do not want to miss, for we have read and understood Herod’s end.  So let us not forget that . . . Miracles are granted to us every day yet we are so quick to explain away the simple answer that God is always accompanying us.


For more on the miracle of Peter’s deliverance from Herod’s prison, see the Expect Miracles page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/miracles/expect-miracles/

Written on August 23, 2010 and re-written today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://pleasantstreetumc.blogspot.com/2011/12/advent-devotion-for-december-10.html

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Matthew 15:29-31: Healing

Monday, July 15, 2019

The people healed by Christ respond with worship, they recognize that God moves among them in the person of Jesus . . . and they give thanks.

I am wondering how many times I have been healed by the Christ who comes to me through friends, colleagues, students, family . . . or even strangers.  I am certain that it has been frequent.  When these miracles happen, do I pause long enough, ardently thanking the God who created me?  Do I ask for next miracle as soon as this one has passed?  Do I pause to allow the mystery of my encounter with God to sink into and through me?

Am I waiting actively, patiently, openly, honestly?

And for what am I waiting?  An end, a beginning, a renovation?

This I know, I know that love endures . . . and that patience brings wisdom . . . and that I need not know every turn of the road that lies ahead of me.  This I know, that I am well-loved, well watched over.  Every small problem is noted.  Each tiny sigh is heard.  All sorrows and tears are seen and tended to.

We need not worry about what is to come.  We only need worry about our reaction to the healing we receive each day n so many small ways.   It is always the small things that matter.

Today’s Gospel is from Mark (5:21-43) in which we hear again the stories of the raising of Jairus’ daughter and the healing of the  woman who suffered from endless hemorrhages.  They were healed quickly and fully by Christ’s hand and life’s inversion showed itself to them completely.  Christ walks among us today . . . beckoning, calling, touching and healing.  What is it we wait for?  What is it we look for?  What is it we long for?  Is it possible that in Christ’s inversion the miracle we seek has already touched us . . . and we have allowed this healing to pass by . . . or entirely un-noticed . . . or noticed and fully praised?


A re-post from July 2, 2012.

For more on the stories in today’s Gospel, see The Tassles on Our Cloaks post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2011/09/10/the-tassels-on-our-cloaks/

For more reflections on healing go to the Miracles page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/miracles/

Image from: http://psbible.blogspot.com/2011/06/healing-of-man-born-blind.html

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Ezra 10:16-44: The Guilty

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Tower of David Ruins: Jerusalem

At the time that the Jews were returning from their exile, Ezra condemns certain priests who intermarried with the Gentiles strayed from Yahweh.  Their solution?  To sever relationships with wives and children and make a guilt offering.  This is a course of action appropriate for their time but it is not the action that New Testament people will take.  If we are People of the Restoration, People of Resurrection and healing, we will build bridges where there is dissent and conflict.  We will look for compassionate yet just ways to maintain contact and to heal breaches in relationships.

Let us welcome the guilty . . . for we are among them.

Let us forgive . . . for we are forgiven

From the MAGNIFICAT morning intercessions.

You made all human beings in your image: fill us with reverence for one another.  Hear your children’s plea!

You restored us in your image through the work of the cross: teach us to work to restore the dignity of all those degraded by the works of evil.  Hear your children’s plea!

You raise us to newness of life in Jesus Christ: fill us always with Easter joy.  Hear your children’s plea!


Written on April 16, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://www.moderatotours.com/easter_abroad.html

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 4.16 (2008). Print.

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Matthew 15:21-28: Moving Mountains

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Juan de Flandes: Christ and the Canaanite Woman

“When Jesus goes to the region of Tyre and Sidon – two cities with evil reputations (Ezekiel 28) – he meets a Canaanite woman.  ‘Canaanite’ adds to the negative connotation of ‘Tyre and Sidon’ . . . The evangelist speaks against the woman, that he may show forth her marvelous act, and celebrate her praise the more . . . The woman addressed Jesus as Lord and Son of David and asks for mercy for her daughter, who suffers from a demon.  Jesus’ response is silence – he is ether turning her down or testing her faith.  The disciples then want her dismissed.  Jesus . . . declares her commitment to Israel [and] . . . he thus promotes a biblical doctrine of election . . . salvation comes to those outside Israel in response to their faith in Jesus”.  (Barton and Muddiman 864)

God redeems those who seek him. 

In today’s Noontime, we watch Jesus go to non-Jewish territory to interact with a woman who is not a believer in the Mosaic Law.  She is a Canaanite and does not believe that Yahweh is the one true God; yet she understands that God is present in Jesus in a singular way.  She believes in miracles.

With God all things are possible.

“A distinctive feature of Matthew’s Gospel is that it frequently portrays Jesus as a recipient of worship . . . For Matthew, this motif is connected to the belief that God is present in Jesus and present in others through him.  Matthew does not think it appropriate to worship anyone other than the Lord God (4:10), but God is present in Jesus to such an extent that worshiping Jesus counts as worshiping God”.  (Mays 872) 

God sent God’s Word to live among God’s people.

In this episode, as with the story of Jesus’ healing the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8, we see Jesus heal from a distance because of faith enacted by one outside of Yahweh’s covenant.  What are we to think about this, and in Jesus’ first reply to the woman?  It is not right to take the food of children and throw it to the dogs.  The woman in today’s reading believes that Jesus can make her daughter whole.  She believes that Jesus is God and so says boldly:  Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters. Her persistence pays off and her distant daughter is healed.

Not a hair of your head shall fall that God does not mark it.

This episode is followed by stories of Jesus healing and feeding the many lost sheep who follow him seeking wholeness.  We are these sheep.  We are the centurion and the Canaanite woman.  We have the power to ask and to have our requests fulfilled . . . when we persist . . . when we worship . . . when we acknowledge that God is God.

Ask and you will receive.  Knock and the door will be opened.  By faith you will move mountains.


A re-post from June 4, 2012.

Image from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Juan_de_Flandes_-_Christ_and_the_Canaanite_Woman_-_WGA12050.jpg

Enter the word Rejection into the blog search bar to further reflect. 

Barton, John, and John Muddiman. THE OXFORD BIBLE COMMENTARY. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2001. 864. Print.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 872. Print.

Written on June 3, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

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Acts 7:54-60: Martyrdom

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Andre de Giusto (Manzini): Stoning of Saint Stephen

It is difficult to connect the idea with God as a Good Shepherd to accounts like today’s NoontimeIn this famous scene of Stephen’s martyring, we have much to observe, much to absorb.   On this Sunday when we celebrate good shepherding, let us pause to examine the story and ourselves; and let us reflect.

When the crowd heard Stephen name them as stiff-necked and in opposition to the holy Spirit, they were infuriated and they ground their teeth at him.

How often do we gnash our own teeth and plot our arguments when we hear others make statements we do not believe?

But Stephen, filled with the holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

How often are we able to put aside our rising anger and look for God and Jesus in the ugliness we see before us?

The crowd covered their ears, cried out against Stephen and rushed toward him.

How often do we rush against witnessing when we hear words that call us to something greater than we are willing to be?

They threw him out of the city and, and began to stone him.

How often are we more intent on silencing someone than listening to their inspiring and heart-felt words?

The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the foot of a young man named Saul.

How often do we gloat in silence while others suffer?

As Stephen fell beneath the stones he cried out, “Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit”.

How often do we stand by and watch as injustice takes place?

Stephen said with his last breath, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”.

How often are we able to forgive those who transgress against us?  How often do we intercede for our enemies before our forgiving and loving God?

When we are in turmoil and pain and we look for the Good Shepherd to lead us to safety, where do we look?  We find good shepherds amidst the mayhem of life, in the fury of human battles, and in the chaos of darkness that seeks to overtake the light.  We find good shepherds tending to the shunned and the belittled, living with the marginalized and forgotten, healing the lonely and broken-hearted.  And once we find our Good Shepherd, this best of all shepherds, we must follow where he leads.  This following may take us along dangerous paths and through storm-tossed seas.  We may want to cover our ears and gnash our teeth as do the witnesses we hear about today.  We may, like Stephen, feel ourselves falling beneath the weight of too many stones thrown in rage against us; and we may see too late the martyrdom that overtakes us.

When we find ourselves backed up against a howling, angry pack . . . we, like Stephen, must also look to God and to Jesus.  And we must give ourselves over to the Spirit.  We will likely be surprised by the miracle in store for us.

This week we will read more stories about the man Saul at whose feet Stephen’s attacked tossed their cloaks.  We will see the miracle of this man’s conversion as he witnessed the martyring of Stephen.  And we will remember that God always pulls goodness out of evil acts; God always calls forth miracles from martyrdom.  For this reason alone . . . we must not be afraid.


A re-post from April 29, 2012.

Image from: http://all-art.org/DICTIONARY_of_Art/a/Andrea_Giusto1.htm

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Tobit 11Homeward Journey

Friday, November 16, 2018

I love this story and I can never read it enough for it is the tale of healing, fidelity, and joy.  It is a story with an ending we all wish for ourselves and our loved ones.  It is even a story we might wish for our enemies.

Commentary tells us that this story harbingers the miracles of the New Testament and even prepares us for miracles in our own lives.  In this homeward journey, everyone is happy with their new in-laws, cataracts are removed, a family rejoices.  The reader senses that all the characters will live happily ever after, and so pushes on toward the end of the tale in delicious anticipation of the revelation of the angel Raphael’s identity.  This is the ideal ending to a perfect bed-time story.  The loyal but harried young couple meets, overcomes odds, weds and returns home.  Goodness comes out of evil and illness – even in exile.  Our journey home has its reward.

Today’s first reading at Mass is from Hebrews 13:1-8 and it reminds us that we never know when the stranger beside us may be an angel: Let brotherly love continue.  Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.  Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you are also in the body.  Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled . . . Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never forsake or abandon you’.  Thus we may say with confidence: ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid.  What can anyone do to me?’  Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

When we feel as though the journey behind us has been too arduous, or the journey before us will be too difficult . . . let us remember how Tobias and Sarah overcame fear to journey home.

When it seems that the present leg of our journey offers no hope and little comfort . . . let us remember that healing angels accompany us in the guise of fellow travelers.

When we find ourselves distracted in our journey by the many tempting way stations . . . let us remember that Holy Spirit accompanies us, the Father calls us, and Jesus Christ heals us.

Let us remember . . . and let us rejoice as we join one another in the journey homeward.


A re-post from October 14, 2011.

Image from: http://namakparay.blogspot.com/2010_06_01_archive.html

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