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Posts Tagged ‘offerings’


Ezekiel 45The Sacred

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Israel

I am wondering how our days and nights might change if we were to set aside a portion of land as a sacred tract When we read about the size of this apportionment we realize that it is not meant to be small; rather, the territory is to have significant dimensions.  The prince is to have a portion alongside as are the people – the whole house of Israel.  We can imagine that in this vision of Ezekiel’s we see how the plan provides enough land for all . . . so that the princes of Israel will no longer oppress my people, says the Lord God, but will leave the land to the house of Israel according to their tribes.  In this vision of the New Jerusalem there is equal access to resources.  Can we imagine how that might look?

I am wondering how our weeks and years might change if we were to use honest weights and measures in our interactions with one another.  When we read about the Lord God’s opinion on this subject we can see that, of course, he is quite aware of the human tendency to hoard and store up . . . even at the expense of others.  Enough you princes of Israel!  Put away violence and oppression, and do what is right and just!  Stop evicting my people! Says the Lord God.  You shall have honest scales, an honest ephah and an honest liquid measure.  In this description of the New Jerusalem there is honesty.  Can we imagine how that might feel?

I am wondering how our future might change if we all agreed to remember God’s covenant and providence by celebrating memories of the good God has brought to our lives.  Thus says the Lord God: On the first day of the first month . . . you shall remember and celebrate the Passover . . . you shall make offerings to remember my goodness and patience.  When we worship God well we indicate that we understand our proper relationship with him and all of creation.  We demonstrate our appreciation for our place in God’s story; we express our desire to fulfill our role as God’s adopted children.  In this description of the New Temple there is reverence and balance.  Can we imagine how that might soften hearts and un-bend stiff necks?

Ezekiel tells us what the Lord God says as he describes the vibrant details of a life he wishes for all of us.  There is no mistaking the qualities of sacred living.  In this and in the following chapters we are told what to expect so that there will be no surprises.  When we live with God we live in a sacred space.  When we act in God we act with integrity.   When we worship God we give our problems and anxieties over to him, and we fully trust that the Lord God has the common good in mind.

A Booth or Sekkakh

The Feast of Booths is to be celebrated on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, making offerings and holocausts to the Lord God.  This feast of remembering asks us to keep in mind that . . .

In the immensity of God’s heart there is a home for each of us.  Let us take the time to provide a sacred tract within our own hearts for the Lord God to inhabit and make his own

In the infinity of God’s mind there is a plan for each of us.  Let us make ourselves as honest and constant as possible so that the Lord God will recognize us as his own. 

In the eternity of God’s love there is deliverance for each of us.  Let us make the offering of ourselves to the Lord God and prepare to recognize him as the redeemer of our souls. 

Let us prepare to live a life that is dedicated to the sacred. 


A re-post from January 10, 2012.

Images from: http://bible-truth.org/Feasts-Tabernacles.html and https://thenoontimes.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/55408-nof1.jpg and https://thenoontimes.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/z_page-8-weights-011.jpg

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Sirach 33:16-19: Gleaning

Monday, September 17, 2018

Written on March 3 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Francois Millet: The Gleaners

We keep our sorrows to ourselves, thinking that no one wants to hear what has gone wrong for us.  This is a mistake.  We are called to share sorrow and to accompany one another in this journey of discerning how to best word in God’s vineyard.  It does not matter how or when we come to this realization.  It only matters that we eventually arrive there.

Now I was last to keep vigil; I was like a gleaner following the grape-pickers; by the blessing of the Lord I arrived first, and like grape-pickers I filled my wine press.

By dwelling on our sorrows or by thinking that our lives are more pain-filled than anyone else’s we rob ourselves – and our companions in life’s journey – of the opportunity to experience Christ’s healing presence.  It does not matter if we feel we have little to offer, it only matters that we offer who we are to others in need.

Consider that I have not labored for myself alone, but for all who seek instruction. Hear me, you who are great among the people, and you leaders of the congregation, pay heed!

Patience, fidelity, generosity, trust in God . . . when I think of those who have taught me to climb out of sorrow and into joy, these are the qualities that make these teachers greater than any titled leader with power.  If we turn to the beginning of Sirach (2:1-6), we find more instruction.

My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing.  Set your heart right and be steadfast, and do not be impetuous in time of calamity.  Cling to him and do not depart, so that your last days may be prosperous.  Accept what befalls you, and in times of humiliations be patient.  For gold is tested in fire, and those found acceptable in the furnace of humiliation.  Trust in him, and he will help you; make your ways straight and hope in him. 

We have frequently reflected in our Noontimes that the silversmith’s fire is essential to smelt out the detritus that makes us less bright and pure.  The prophet Malachi (3:1-3) reminds us that the refiner must remain constantly by the fire in order that it burn just hot enough to do its work without destroying the ore.  The life of those who choose to respond to God’s call is laden with many burdens . . . but these burdens convert to sweet justice when we lay all our complaints and pains before God.   We who come to God’s fields to glean what is left after the harvester passes by, engage in holy work for we lift up lost souls to God.  When we enter fully into this work to place the world’s sorrows in God’s capable hands, we – like the sadness we bear to God – are transformed by the smelter’s fire into bright, lovely and holy offerings . . .  and we become the delight we imagine.  So as we glean, let us imagine God’s joy well.


A re-post from August 17, 2011.

Image from: http://www.smithinet.com/Louvre/Louvre_art.html#gleaners 

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solomon altarSaturday, July 12, 2014

2 Chronicles 4

The Altar of Our Lives – Part II

In John’s Gospel yesterday, we saw Jesus constructing the altar of his life, laying the foundation, bringing the supports and lintel from the workshop, designing and carving the decorations, taking care to follow the guidelines laid out by the father. From a Noontime several years ago we contemplated the construction of our New Altar in the New Jerusalem in Ezekiel 43.

We are the temple. We carry this altar about with us everywhere we go. Christ arrives. Christ brings with him the New Law of The Beatitudes – which fulfills and supersedes the Old Mosaic law – and Christ offers a sacrifice of himself on this altar which we have prepared.

Summer brings us to our familiar schedule in a new way and we do well to take time to examine the construction of our altar. How many cubits does it measure? Is it tiny and mean, big and overwhelming, appropriate and exact to the measurements God has suggested for us? What about the threshold, the hearth, the ledge and the rim? Have we prepared the decorations? Have we brought along the salt? Have we tried to follow God’s prescription for us? Have we invented an altar of our own? Have we decided what we want to offer or do we bring what God asks of us?

Summer is a time to consider the altar we have made for our God. What is it like? Whom does it please? What is it for? Do we construct it and then stand back and wait? Or do we eagerly step forward with the gift of self . . . to offer our failures and successes back to the one who sent us forth?

Summer is a time to consider . . .

When we read about the Temple altar which we see recreated digitally, what will we say about the work we bring forward to God? What will our construction look like? And will this be a place upon which we wish to burn the holocaust of our lives?

Summer is a time to consider . . .

Adapted from a reflection written on March 27, 2009.

For more on Solomon’s Temple, click on the image above or go to: https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2011/06/page/2/

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

1 Chronicles 16

The Ark Comes to Jerusalem

Anonymous: King David Dances Before the Ark

Anonymous: King David Dances Before the Ark

Here – and also in 2 Samuel 6 – we see David bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem amid celebration and festivity. The presence of God brings a response of joy and thanksgiving from the people. The priest blesses both the occasion and the faithful; David cavorts with elation; a meal is served. The people worship God because the Ark containing sacred text, sacred food and the sacred blooming staff has taken up residence. These people feel invulnerable, joyful and grateful.

Within each of us is the place where God dwells and where scripture flourishes like Aaron’s staff. We are sustained by the new desert manna: the body and blood of Christ. We take this dwelling with us on our desert journey. We too might leap for joy and bow down in reverence and happiness. We too might bring the Ark to Jerusalem. There is no obstacle to knowing God’s presence except the obstacles we ourselves set up.

Give thanks to the Lord, invoke his name.

God is the originator of all that is good and holy.

Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord!

We can offer up all that sorrows us when we come into the presence of the Lord.

Look to the Lord in his strength; seek to serve him constantly.

We honor God when we perform his works rather than our own.

Give to the Lord . . . bring gifts and enter into his presence.

The best offering to God is that of ourselves. We carry to him the burdens of our day, our attempts to do his bidding.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his kindness endures forever.

We do not need to build an ark to house our sacred reminders of God’s presence for we already possess it. It is our hearts that hold all sacredness holy.

We do not need to build a temple to God for it is already built. It is the temple of our bodies.

We do not need to offer burnt sacrifices to God for they are already present in any sorrow we experience.

So let us bring the burnt remnants of our losses, let us give thanks for God’s providence and care, and let us rejoice in the knowing that we are created for love by love.

David brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem to place it in the tent set aside for Yahweh.

Let us lay our burdens on the altar of our lives . . . and like David, let us leap and dance for joy.

Adapted from a reflection written on February 21, 2009.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

High_Priest_Offering_Incense_on_the_Altar[1]Psalm 69:32

Our Song

My song will please the Lord more than oxen, more than bullocks with horns and hooves; see, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek the Lord, take heart!

More than any sacrifice, God awaits an open heart.  More than any burnt offering, God awaits a heart eager and ready to receive the marvelous gift of God’s love.

Hebrews 10:5-6: Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased”.

“For sacrifice to become a value, you must discover something for which life is worth living . . . Sacrifice is born of the heart-thawing yearning of the love of Christ . . . The truest sacrifice is to recognize a presence.  What does it mean to recognize a presence?  The I, instead of affirming itself, affirms you.  This is the greatest devotion: ‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’; it is the same as giving one’s life . . . To affirm the other implies the forgetting of ourselves, which is the opposite of being attached to ourselves; we sacrifice to the other . . . The truest sacrifice is to recognize a presence, which means the truest sacrifice is to love”. (Cameron: L. Giussani)

Our song is one of thanksgiving to God who created us.

Our song in one of gratitude for a God who saves us.

Our song is one of joy for a God who transforms us.

Our song in one of serenity for a God who forgives, and guides, protects and abides with us.

Our song is one of a life offered in sacrifice to a God who is limitless and profound, to a God who loves us without end.

Cameron, Peter John. Fr. Julián Carrón. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 30.11(2013): 399-400. Print.   

Luigi Giovanni Giussani (October 15, 1922 – February 22, 2005) was an Italian Catholic priest, educator, public intellectual and founder of the international Comunione e Liberazione (Catholic movement Communion and Liberation).  (Wikipedia)

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