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Posts Tagged ‘parables’


paths 12Easter Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Matthew 13:1-11

So Many Paths – Part II

How many ways are there to live a life? How many paths of wisdom lead to God? How many times are we called to modify, change or persevere in our chosen journey? Only a close and intimate conversation with God will bring us the answers we seek.

Some journeys look impossible. They are full of traps, and barren of sustenance. We become exhausted just thinking of how we might prepare to travel such a pathway. The heights are dizzying. The precipices terrifying. We begin our journey with downcast eyes and laden heart. We are too frightened to think about the future. When this happens, let us consider that the stony way may be more difficult but that Christ will be all the more present for God knows the treacheries that lurk along the way. The Spirit knows full well that we will tire, that we will seek refuge in a hostile land. And let us consider that when we journey with God, there are always tools available – although we may not see them.

Some seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil . . . it withered for lack of roots.

path 14Some of us travel with blessings abundant. We have few fears, light hearts, and a song in our soul. Yet there is a danger hiding here that we begin to think that we alone are responsible for our good fortune. When this happens, let us be certain to spend time with God each day. Let us give thanks for the abundance of God’s grace. And let us celebrate and share the blessings God has bestowed on us.

Some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.

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Sometimes our journey is a déjà vu of experiences. We know the subtle changes before they take place. We anticipate the loops and curls and we struggle to untangle a series of events that feel all too familiar. We fight to orient ourselves. We wonder how we might move forward rather than spend endless time moving back and forth. When this happens, let us remember to turn to Christ with our questions and fears. Let us consider that God always provides refuge in any storm. And let us celebrate the goodness and love of God.

The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to us in parables?”

 

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Some journeys are shrouded in mystery; we find it impossible to see ahead. Even when we plan well, when we spend time with God, when we do all that God asks of us . . . nothing seems to work until . . . we finally realize that trust is the only necessary commodity we need take on our journey. When this happens, we understand how and where to find peace. We begin to understand that serenity cannot be earned. We see the wisdom of allowing ourselves to fall into Christ’s arms rather than flail against our journey for a lifetime.

Jesus said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted”.

And so we pray: Good and gracious God, we trust you with all that we have and all that we are.

Kind and gentle Jesus, we follow you when we cannot see and cannot hear.

Abiding and faithful Spirit, we lean on you, we rely on you, we look to you for all that we need. Amen.


Tomorrow, So Many Paths – Part III

Images from: https://www.joe-ks.com/2012/amazing-paths

 

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Matthew 13:1-50: The Parable Discourse

Friday, September 27, 2019

Mustard Seed

If we can find the time this evening or this weekend, we will want to leaf through the first portions of the 13th chapter of Matthew and reflect.  The Gospel writer is careful to record Christ’s words; he preserves them for us so many centuries after they were first spoken.

An essay in THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE makes three points about this portion of Matthew’s Jesus Story.  First, we must seek meaning in these verses and when we do, we will be rewarded with the wisdom and grace of Spirit’s presence.  Second, we must always be confident in God’s promise and providence brought to us by Jesus.  And third, leaders of all kinds will have to struggle with the gray world of often opposing forces.  The past and present will be linked only when we seek and trust God.

“Parables are the trademark of Jesus . . . [T]hese pointed stories both reveal and veil the mystery of the Kingdom. Unless the listener is willing to probe beneath the surface of the parables, the true meaning of Jesus’ words will escape them . . . [T]rue followers of Jesus are to put aside everything and be fully committed to the compelling beauty of God’s reign.

“Many of the parables in Matthew’s Gospel have obvious moral messages . . . The parable of the weeds sown among the wheat explanation makes the point that the church, like the world itself, is a mix of good and evil.  The disciples should not be discouraged by this but be confident that God’s grace will triumph at the end of time and evil will be punished . . .

“The conclusion of the parable discourse seems almost to be a signature of the Gospel writer . . . Bridging past and present in an open and respectful manner is one the greatest challenges of religious leadership”.  (Senior RG 397)

And so we wait. We search.  We question.  We doubt.  We struggle.  We turn to and rely on God.  We enter willingly into both the mystery and the revelation . . . for the more we know the more we question.

The Parable Discourse is a lesson on how to meet difficulty.  It is a graced interchange and dialog with our God.  And it is an open door that invites us to enter the world of Jesus.  May we be confident enough and bold enough to accept this invitation.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 397. Print.  

A re-post from September 7, 2012.

Image from: http://notesfromthepastorsoffice.com/2011/07/23/sermon-fodder-why-is-the-parable-discourse-matthew-13-even-more-important-than-it-appears/

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Isaiah 55:10-11: Achieving God’s End

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Isaiah 55:10-11: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. 

God gives us great gifts . . . and asks that we use them well.

Jesus tells us parables of unfaithful and faithful stewards who abuse or use well the office with which the master entrusts them . . . and we see ourselves somewhere in these stories.

The Spirit moves us to act on the word we hear . . . and we are free to deny or respond to God’s call.

God creates us in his image . . . and asks that we go forth to represent him in the world.

Jesus models God among us . . . and calls us to follow him.

The Spirit lives within each of us . . . and manifests God’s word to the world.

We receive great gifts . . . and are asked to do much with them.

We are great gifts . . . and we are asked to share.

What nourishment do we bring to others?  What sustenance do we provide to others?  What action do we take as we achieve the end for which we are sent?


A re-post from July 31, 2012.

Image from: http://www.spiritofthehills.org/members/susanstatham.html

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Proverbs 1:1-7: God’s Instruction

Monday, July 17, 2017

A riddle of the wise: The path of wisdom begins with awe of the LORD. 

To instruct the young, and to encourage the wise. These are the goals of the Book of Proverbs. Over the next days, we will explore this didactic poetry whose primary our purpose is to teach wisdom. We notice specific words and phrases.

Wisdom and disciplineDo we notice that those who are wise live a disciplined life. They pray regularly and consult God before drawing conclusions or making decisions.

Words of intelligenceDo we see that those who are intelligent willingly consult God as a primary resource?

What is right, just and honest – Can we define these qualities or are we willing to allow God to unfold these talents in us?

Resourcefulness – Do we think of wisdom as a source of our own creativity?

Knowledge and discretion – How well do we handle the emotions and feelings of others? What do we do with the information that comes our way?

Sound guidanceGod gives us constant direction, even when we do not hear or see it. Are we open to the presence of the Spirit in all ways and on all days?

Proverb and parableWe open ourselves to the great wealth the proverbs bring to us; and we realize that our lives are living parables to others. Do we live each day as if we believe this?

Riddles of the wiseThe mystery of God’s wisdom rests in the words of sacred scripture and in the healing presence of Jesus among us. Are we willing to trust the riddle of wisdom that lives in our hearts?

Awe of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; wisdom and instruction fools despise . . . Are these words we can believe? Can we allow our actions each day to rise from the wisdom God has planted in us? Do we hope to be numbered among the wise, or are we content to find company with fools?

When we compare different versions of these verses, we find wisdom awaiting us with open arms. 

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Luke 15:11-32: Departure and Return

Saturday, July 2, 2016

James Tissot: The Prodigal Son in Modern Life: The Departure

James Tissot: The Prodigal Son in Modern Life: The Departure

Jesus taught those who followed him with parables so that they might better understand his actions and words. Jesus continues to teach us each day with his loving actions and consoling words. Today we re-read the story of the prodigal son, the forgiving father and the envious brother. Today we find ourselves in these verses, and we give thanks to the Creator for allowing us to both leave and return.

For other reflections on this parable, enter The Prodigal Son in to the blog search bar and explore.

To learn more about this painting, click on the image. To suggest other images we might enjoy seeing, enter the painter and the name of the work as a the comment to this post.

James Tissot: The Prodigal Son in Modern Life: The Return

James Tissot: The Prodigal Son in Modern Life: The Return

Over the next few weeks we will be away from easy internet access but we will be pausing to read scripture and to pray and reflect at noon, keeping those in The Noontime Circle in mid-day prayer. You may want to click on the Connecting at Noon page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/connecting-at-noon/ Or you may want to follow a series of brief posts that begins today, inspired by paintings of the life of Jesus Christ  that can be found at: http://www.jesus-story.net/painting_family.htm In these posts, we will have the opportunity to reflect on a scripture verse and an artist’s rendition of that event. Wishing you grace and love and peace in Christ Jesus.

 

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Luke 21: The Mystery of Wisdom – Part IVwisdom1

Thursday, July 2, 2015

We have examined the concept of wisdom not as a body of knowledge but as a way of living. We have explored the idea that wisdom blossoms from strong relationships both with God and with others. And we have reflected on the knowledge that wisdom can be found in God’s promises and grace. Today we spend time with words from Jesus himself so that we might discover how God’s wisdom might be manifested in us.

For I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.

In this portion of Luke’s story, Jesus has been sharing parables with his followers, describing the kingdom of God and the confusion we experience when we begin to understand its inverted nature. The mighty will be weak while the weak will be strong. The poor in spirit will rejoice and the humble will inherit the earth. The small offering of the widow is worth more than the wealth of kings and emperors. Jesus’ followers ask for clarity and Jesus assures them that the wisdom they will need to enter into and to participate in this kingdom, this wisdom that is eternal and all-encompassing, comes only from God.

When we spend time with this chapter of Luke’s story today and compare varying versions of these verses, we ourselves will grow in this mysterious wisdom that eludes definition – but which saves, redeems and transforms.

If we want to explore more of Jesus’ wisdom, we might read the parables he tells, consider the questions he asks, watch the actions he takes as he moves through adoring crowds and confronts scheming enemies. We may need a good commentary to help us unravel these words and these actions. We may need quiet time to meditate on this amazing life. We may need to read a different version of these verses. Or we may need a mentor or guide to help us in our own wisdom journey. No matter the tools we use, we must take up the invitation to move forward in our understanding of this mystery . . . for this mystery is the essence of life itself, Jesus the Christ. 

Tomorrow, the wisdom of the cross.

 

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