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Posts Tagged ‘newness’


John 1:1-18: Divine Energy

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
    God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
    in readiness for God from day one.

Here is a bit of advice from Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell. “You can . . . reread the prologue to John’s gospel, and every time you see the term ‘Word’ or Logos, substitute Relationship or Blueprint, instead, and it will really help you get the message . . . This exact model of relationship is then intended to be passed on to us in what Jesus calls the ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’. The Holy Spirit is the relationship between Father and the Son. It is this relationship itself that is gratuitously given to us! Or better, we are included inside this love. Wow. This is salvation in one wonderful snapshot”. (Rohr and Morrell 186)

Everything was created through him;
    nothing—not one thing!—
    came into being without him.

If we might take this in, we realize that it is almost too wonderful to believe, and yet, it is the reality in and by that, we are called to live. We might have some fears about how we are to surrender to this divine energy. So Rohr and Morrell continue.

God was in the world,
    the world was there through him,
    and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
    but they didn’t want him.

“This same relationship shows itself in other myriad forms, such as endless animals and wildflowers, mountains and trees, every cultural attempt at art and science and medicine, all positive street theatre, and every movement of renewal. Every one of these manifestations expresses this endless desire to express new forms of life and externalized love. All things good, true, and beautiful are baptized in the one, same Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows herself as the central and healing power of absolute newness and healing in our relationship with everything else”. (Rohr and Morrell 186)

No one has ever seen God,
        not so much as a glimpse.
    This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
        who exists at the very heart of the Father,
        has made him plain as day.

This divine energy wants all that is good for us. This divine energy brings all that is holy together in us so that goodness might overcome the darkness. This divine energy will never give up, and will never give in. This divine energy is God’s enormous and all-encompassing love as seen in the creator, the redeemer and the healer. This divine energy lives and loves in us.

When we compare varying translation of John’s prologue, we open ourselves to the divine energy of the Trinity. Tomorrow, everything is holy now.

For photos of Arizona sunsets in the southwest USA that echo divine energy, click on the image above and reflect on the divine energy of creation, or visit: http://www.arizona-leisure.com/arizona-pictures.html 

Rohr, Richard with Mike Morrell. THE DIVINE DANCE: THE TRINITY AND YOUR TRANSFORMATION. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2016. Print. 

 

 

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Acts 11:4-18: Step By Step

Friday, May 5, 2017

Jan Styla: Saint Peter

Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step.

Step-by-step God works with Peter until the faithful servant hears and follows the call. Step-by-step God works with each of us until we do the same.

But a second time the voice answered from heaven.

Opportunity recycles and returns to us. The more we ignore God’s voice, the more often God returns to speak to us. The louder the voice, the more forceful the call. We have only to open our eyes, ears, minds and hearts.

The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us.

Step-by-step God works with us until we understand and act on the call to come together despite our differences.

“Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning”. 

New openings return to us, never leaving even one lost sheep behind. The more we resist, the stronger the pull. Peter steps beyond his wildest dreams to comfort and save an entire world. Peter steps into our lives to change us forever.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to explore this sermon, we allow ourselves to take in the Spirit. We allow change to enter into our hearts . . . and live there always.

Tomorrow, Peter walks out of prison.

 

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Luke 24:36-48: Fulfilled

Thursday, April 27, 2017

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James Tissot: The Communion of the Apostles

In this second week of Eastertide, we spend time with the Gospels of the Easter Octave, the eight days comprising the celebration of Easter. On day five, Easter Thursday, we hear Luke’s account of what takes place when the Emmaus disciples return to Jerusalem. Once again, when we reflect on a few details, the story becomes vital to our understanding the mystery and miracle of Easter.

First, we choose a translation that speaks to us most clearly. Then we reflect. If we want to hear an audio version of today’s verses, visit the USCCB site. We may find other versions by using the scripture link and drop-down menus.

In the MESSAGE translation, Cleopas and his companion went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized him when he broke the bread.

Can we imagine ourselves listening to our colleagues as they tell us that they have witnessed a miracle? Can we envision our conversation with family and friends as we hear about their incredible interaction with the risen Christ?

While they were saying all this, Jesus appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you.” They thought they were seeing a ghost and were scared half to death.

Can we predict our reaction to the appearance of Christ among us? What do we say when we share a meal with him? Is our overwhelming emotion fear? Do suspicion and doubt take over? Do anxiety and disbelief crowd our hearts? And then we hear Jesus’ words.

“Don’t be upset, and don’t let all these doubting questions take over. Look at my hands; look at my feet—it’s really me. Touch me. Look me over from head to toe. A ghost doesn’t have muscle and bone like this.” 

How do we reply?

They still couldn’t believe what they were seeing. It was too much; it seemed too good to be true.

We are startled to hear the Teacher ask: “Do you have any food here?” They gave him a piece of leftover fish they had cooked. He took it and ate it right before their eyes.

Duccio di Buoninsegna: Christ Appears to the Disciples at the Table

If we persist in a thick-headed and slow-hearted reaction, we look for ways to unravel the fraud we suspect. If we are reluctant and discouraged, we listen and watch warily, looking for reasons to doubt. If we remain hopeful and determined, we open our minds and hearts as we prepare to love and be loved. We listen to Christ’s words. We accept the joyful newness that asks to change our thinking.

Jesus says,Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled. You’re the first to hear and see it. You’re the witnesses”.

We cannot do this, we are thinking. We do not have the courage or the tools. This newness is all too new, and too incredible for belief. Until Christ tells us . . . “What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you’re equipped with power from on high”.

Christ predicts the arrival and in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Christ offers a gift too amazing to believe. Christ proposes a life too wonderful, too mystifying, too marvelous to believe. And yet . . .

Christ stands in the midst of us, sharing our meals, attending to our fears and doubts. Christ has fulfilled the promise of redemption made by the Living God for millennia. The choice is ours to make. Do we turn inward in our doubt? Or do we open in newness to accept the fulfillment of the promise we are offered?

For other posts on the story of Emmaus, enter the word into the blog search bar and explore.

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Luke 24:13-35: Muscle and Bone

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Duccio di Buoninsegna: On the Road to Emmaus

In this second week of Eastertide, we spend time with the Gospels of the Easter Octave, the eight days comprising the celebration of Easter. On day four, Easter Wednesday, we again hear Luke’s story of the road to Emmaus. Today we look again at a few details that bring this story into the present. First, we choose a translation that speaks to us most clearly. Then we reflect. If we want to hear an audio version of today’s verses, visit the USCCB site. We may find other versions by using the scripture link and drop-down menus.

In the MESSAGE translation, the story of Cleopas and his companion, and their astounding encounter with the risen Christ, carries the subtitle A Ghost Doesn’t Have Muscle and Bone. We want to remember this today as we face a world that is eager to distract us for the message we need to hear.

They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened.

We can imagine ourselves moving through our day, walking side-by-side with friends and family, hashing out surprising events that have stunned our community. Too often we are so fully involved in our own story, we do not notice the stories of others.

They were not able to recognize who [Jesus] was.

We can see ourselves as lovers of Christ and believers in his promise; yet we are not always able to see the truth that stands before us.

Then he said to them, “So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?” 

We are thick-headed and slow-hearted, reluctant and discouraged; yet we remain hopeful and determined, prepared to be loved.

He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: “Stay and have supper with us. It’s nearly evening; the day is done.” 

Duccio: Emmaus Detail

We are ready for the newness despite the lateness of the hour. We invite the prophets among us to share their experience of God. We remain open to the Holy Spirit and the gift of new and intense joy.

And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him.

This is how we must go into the world each day, open-eyed and wide-eyed. We must be willing to be amazed. We must be open to the promise. We must be ready to meet the Christ when we are downcast and least expecting to believe that this fact is true . . . A Ghost Doesn’t Have Muscle and Bone.

For other posts on the story of Emmaus, enter the word into the blog search bar and explore.

 

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John 20:11-18: Turning Again

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

James Tissot: Mary Magdalene and the Holy Women at the Tomb

In this second week of Eastertide, we spend time with the Gospels of the Easter Octave, the eight days comprising the celebration of Easter. On day three, Easter Tuesday, we heard John’s account of the discovery of the empty tomb. Today we focus on a few details that bring this story alive. First, we chose a translation that speaks to us most clearly, and then we reflect. Today’s verses are from the USCCB site. (This link also contains an audio version.) We may find other versions by using the scripture link and drop-down menus.

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been.

When harsh realities challenge our beliefs and foundation, we mourn our loss, question all that we thought certain, and doubt the facts before us. Do we also look for the angels who move with us through our days? Do we offer our suffering as a sign of our trust in God? Do we fall back on the familiar or move forward in hope?

[Mary] turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus.

Anger and fear, confidence and mercy. In times of deep stress, the primal parts of our brain take over and we instinctively collapse into familiar patterns of flight and denial, aggression and accusation. Might we practice the art of relying on the positive influences in our lives? When we feel panic and worry taking over, might we remind ourselves to look for Jesus who stands before us . . . even when we do not recognize him?

She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.

James Tissot: The Women at Jesus’ Tomb

Our pastor last week, in his morning homily, asked a question we may have been asking ourselves when we look at the detail John provides us. If Mary has already turned away from the empty tomb to look at the man she thinks is the gardener, why does she turn again? And how? When we reflect on these verses, we begin to understand that the second turning is toward a newness in perspective. Mary allows herself to see that the gardener is, in fact, Jesus. Might we follow her example to open our eyes and ears in a new way? Might we have full confidence in the promise of the Christ?

Today we spend time with John’s story of the conversion of Mary at the tomb, and all that followed in the baffling commotion of distrust touched with intense conviction and enduring love. As we read this account today, let us see if we are able to move beyond our anxieties for the world, with the joyful turning of Mary Magdalene.

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Matthew 28:8-15: Fearful Yet Overjoyed

Monday, April 24, 2017

William-Adolphe Bouguereau: Holy Women at the Tomb

In this second week of Eastertide, we spend time with the Gospels of the Easter Octave, the eight days comprising the celebration of Easter. On day two, Easter Monday, we heard Matthew’s account of the discovery of the empty tomb. Today we focus on a few details that bring this story alive. First, we choose a translation that speaks to us most clearly, and then we reflect. Today’s verses are from the USCCB site. (This link also contains an audio version.) We may find other versions by using the scripture link and drop-down menus.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed . . .

Who among us has not felt this clash of emotions at cataclysmic times in our lives? We are full of joyful anticipation, and at the same time a sense of foreboding. Newness and change confront us, offering both hope and anxiety. Jesus has died, is lying in the tomb and yet his body is not there. Matthew records other details that we do well to spend time with today.

Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Who among us does not need these reassuring words when we find ourselves in dark days? Everyone we have trusted in the past has fallen away in this new present. Every sturdy stone we use to cross the river of the unknown has disappeared. Jesus seems to be present to us, yet is he? Why does he ask us to meet him in Galilee? Why does he not repair all that wounds us here and now? Can we continue to believe all of his promises if we are not physically with him? Matthew gives us another detail to ponder as we reflect on the future that lies ahead.

“And if this [bribe] gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”

Mikołaj Haberschrack: The Three Marys at the Tomb

Who among us has not come up against deceit among families, friends and colleagues? Trust seems a rare quality. Truth is warping into alternative realities. Honesty is now self-serving and the common good suffers. Generosity gives way to narcissism. Fidelity is fleeting. Hope is inane. Love insincere. And yet . . .

As we consider the accounting that Matthew gives us of Easter morning at the tomb, we now have another newness we had not anticipated, a newness born out of joyful apprehension, a newness rising from the ashes of old fears and doubts, a newness promised by the one who keeps all promises.

Today we spend time with Matthew’s story of the women at the tomb, and all that followed in the confusing chaos of suspicion threaded through with deep trust and abiding love. As we read this account today, let us see if we are able to move beyond our fears for the world, with the joyful hope of these women.

For an interesting look at the identity of the women at the tomb, visit: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/how-many-women-visited-the-tomb-of-jesus/

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The New Testament: Simplicity

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Adapted from a reflection written on March 5, 2009.

If your Bible has an introduction to the New Testament, now is a perfect time to read it.  The season of Lent is calling us to forgiveness, newness and rescue; this is also the message of the New Testament.

From La Biblia de América.  Together, these writings animate, illustrate and consolidate a new faith.  They came to life through an oppressed people longing to be free from the constant need to worry about their everyday subsistence.  Wealthy landholders held most of the power and control.  There was no social safety net.  The little people were left to fend for themselves.  These are the people to whom Jesus ministered.  They are still his dearest ones.  We love Jesus best when we love the marginalized.  This is a theology of simplicity.

The thinking and theology presented by Christ brought not only a newness and a simpleness to old ways, but a challenge that required answers.  The people who heard the message and embraced it even in the face of death served as the tinder that ignited a movement that has not – and will not – be overcome by darkness.  This is what the followers of Jesus know: that we are created out of and for love, and that the creator desires nothing more than our love in return. There is no greater news than this.  The story of Jesus and his actions is unparalleled.  It has no equal; nothing can be more simple.

How do we communicate our love to God, our understanding of the simplicity to which Christ calls us?  Through prayer.  Catherine de Hueck Doherty, the foundress of Madonna House, is quoted in today’s Meditation in MAGNIFICAT:  Prayer is conversation with God.  It does not require a thousand books.  It requires a simple and tremendous love of God and a total simplicity.  I am beloved by God.  He created me.  This is the first idea.  And he wants to be loved by me.  We have to get that into our heads.  Then we proceed to tell him we love him. 

A simple and tremendous love of God and a total simplicity.  This what the people of the Palestine had and knew.  It is what we can come to know.  For this we pray . . . Amen.

For more reflections on the books of the New Testament, visit the New Testament link on “The Book of Your Life” page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 5.3 (2009). Print.  

LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.

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Philippians 2:5-8: The Inverted Kingdom – Part V

Sunday, January 15, 2017inverted-kingdom

Jesus proposes that we set aside the accolades of life as we know it on earth; and this will be difficult to do because our desire for honor and fame, pleasure, power and wealth too often outweighs our willingness to surrender to God’s plan, to forego the hunger for control and celebrity. Today we remember a message from Paul that we have contemplated a number of times during our Noontime journey. We might wonder how we are to invert our lives. We might question how we are to give up all the world offers to take on the qualities of steadfastness, fidelity, meekness, willingness to mourn and to undergo hardship while we follow Christ Jesus on his Way.

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross. (NSRV)

This picture of the world is the inversion of the one we usually hold dear.

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. This vision of the world sees persecution for Jesus’ sake as a sign of our fidelity. (MSG)

This view of the world is one we will want to explore.

In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus. Christ himself was like God in everything. He was equal with God. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be held on to. He gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born as a man and became like a servant. And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God. He obeyed even when that caused his death—death on a cross. (ICB)

This view of the world shows us a leader who serves with humility and care.

The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death – his death on the cross. (GNT)

This picture of the world invites us to newness through service and love.

When we compare varying versions of these verses, we better understand the call to live an inverted life.

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angels-announcing-the-birth-of-christ-to-the-shepherds-flinck-govert-teunisz-1024x792-dec-30

Linck Govert Teunisz: Angels Announcing the Birth of Christ to the Shepherds

Luke: Do Not Fear – Part V

Christmas Friday, December 30, 2016

Do not be afraid. We need to hear these words. We need to share these words. We need to use these words every day.

The angel of the Lord speaks to the high priest Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, assuring his that the Living God was making the impossible possible in their lives.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. (Luke 1:13)

The angel of the Lord speaks to the girl Mary, the mother of Jesus, assuring her that the Living God was entering her life in a special way.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. (Luke 1:30)

The angel of the Lord speaks to shepherds who guard their flocks on the night of Jesus’ birth, assuring them that a newness has just entered into a weary world.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. (Luke 2:10)

Jesus speaks to Jairus, a synagogue leader, assuring him that his daughter is alive and has not died.

But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.” (Luke 8:50)

Jesus speaks to the people, assuring them that the darkness of the world can be dissipated by the light of truth and peace.

“I say to you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. (Luke 12:4)

Jesus speaks to his followers, assuring them that the evil of the world is transformed by love.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

Anton Raphael Mengs: Dream of Saint Joseph

Anton Raphael Mengs: Dream of Saint Joseph

Lifetimes after these verses are recorded, we remind ourselves that the impossible is possible with God. All harm becomes goodness through God. Darkness becomes light. Despair becomes home. Doubt becomes faith. Evil becomes love. And for all of these reasons, we need not fear.

Today we might ask, “How do we live in order to remember that we need not be afraid? How do we live in such a way that we demonstrate our understanding that God is everywhere and lives in us? And how do we share this Good News in our thoughts words and deeds?

In Matthew 1:19An angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. To learn why, visit: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/why-did-joseph-plan-to-divorce-mary 

Throughout Christmastide, we continue to remember God’s words, “Do not be afraid”.

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