Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Pentecost’


Sirach 11:29-34: Guests and Strangers – Care in Choosing Friends

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Biblia de América which I have been using as a resource lately, names this citation differently from our NAB as we can see from the title above.  In addition, it has references to Proverbs 1:10-16, 5:10 and 6:1 for this citation which, if you have time to look at them, will add some depth to today’s reading.  The footnotes in this same Biblia remind us that sowers of discord are to be avoided at all cost, as their deceits create structures of illusion – they are the people of the darkness, people of deception and lies . . . with a spark he sets many coals afire.

I am thinking of a counterpoint to this image.  I am remembering the description of the souls of the just from this past Sunday’s first reading.  These souls are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.  They seemed in the view of the foolish to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction.  But they are in peace.  For if before men they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.  As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.  In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge the nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their king forever.  Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect.  (Wisdom 3:1-9)  [My bold font.]

This is not a call to exclusivity; rather, it is a call to universality.  It is a universal invitation to openness, to mercy, to fidelity, to love.  We are each invited to lead lives worthy of the creator – honest and compassionate lives, faithful and constant lives, forgiving and loving lives.  Ardent lives which burn with the fire of Christ’s love.

It is also a call which carries with it a degree of heat – the fire of the gold smith’s forge – but we ought not fear this furnace.  It is the crucible of life with which God prunes and disciplines us . . . for when we are tried and tested, so then are we proved.  And when we are proved we are graced.  When we are graced we are holy.

There is a clear choice before us:  we may become like the sparks which set many tongues wagging and many hearts gossiping.  Or we may be the spark which sets souls ablaze with the fire and love of Christ.

We must take care in choosing our associates and friends for they are either strangers, sowers of discord who are to be avoided; or they are guests who are soul mates to be welcomed into our hearts.

St. Paul tells us (Romans 12:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:1, Galatians 6:4, 2 Corinthians 13:5) that we are to test the spirit for this is how we will find if travelers are either the tinder of deceit . . . or the kindling of the Pentecost.


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

Written on November 6, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Read Full Post »


Acts 1:1-3: The Promise

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Promise of Peace: Isaiah 40 – 48

It seems that a half-dozen times or so each year we look at the book of Acts to see how the formation of the church began in those very early days.  At first, the risen Jesus meets with his followers and holds them together with his physical presence.  After his ascension, Jesus holds his church together with the promise of the Father about which they had heard him speak in Luke 24:49, the gift of the Holy Spirit was to come to them on the Feast of the Pentecost.

In the Jewish tradition, Pentecost also called the Feast of Weeks and it is the second of three holy celebrations: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.  Passover, of course, celebrates the Hebrew exodus from slavery to a promised land with Moses as their leader and Yahweh providing providential care.  Tabernacles – also called the Feast of Booths – is a joyful celebration in the fall of the year for the harvest gifts of the threshing floor and the wine press at the end of the season.  Celebrants are required to “dwell in booths,” or tents as a commemoration of their desert pilgrimage and God’s protection during their years of wandering.  (Achetemeier 1088)  Pentecost was a celebration of early or first fruits, the yield from the first harvest of the season.  It is fitting, when we think of this, that the Holy Spirit arrives as a first yielding of many gifts to be received by the followers of Christ.  It is fitting that we reflect on all of this today, the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, two men whose lives were poured out for the formation of Christ’s church.

Paul writes to a disciple, Timothy:  I . . . am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.  (2 Timothy 4)  He writes to the Philippians:  Hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.  But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you.  In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.  (Philippians 2)

When Jesus asks Peter: Who do you say that I am?  Peter replies: You are the Christ, the son of the living God.  (Matthew 16)  Peter writes: Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  (1 Peter 2)

The early apostles were present for the first harvest of the church and the work of this reaping is not complete; we continue to labor in this same promise.  Any trials we endure today become tools of our own discipline when we turn our work over to God.  Evidence of fruits from our labor in this vineyard are little miracles that call us to keep faith, that urge us to become one of the living stones in the living temple of Christ.  When we feel ourselves poured out as libations on the altars of our lives, we also know that we are making our exodus to the Promised Land; we too, are precious and chosen children of God; we too, are held by the promise of the Father. 


Image from: http://kenmorealliance.com/617915.ihtml

Achetemeier, Paul J. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE DICTIONARY. 2nd edition. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1996. 1088. Print.

Written on June 29, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

For more on The Promise of Peace in Isaiah, click on the image above or go to: http://kenmorealliance.com/617915.ihtml

For more on the Feast of Booths go to: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14185-tabernacles-feast-ofor http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday5.htm

Read Full Post »


Pentecost

Micah 6:8: Loving, Just and Wise

Monday, June 10, 2019

A re-post of thoughts from Pentecost Sunday 2012.

You have been told what is good . . .

Yet we endlessly seek the opinion of others about what we are to do and say.

This is what the Lord requires of you . . .

There is no need to ever be in doubt about what we are to do or what we are to say if we can only place our head and heart into the hands of the Holy Spirit.

Do what is right . . .

When we look for excuses that pardon our actions and words, we know that we are moving in the wrong direction.

Love goodness . . .

When we find ourselves splitting hairs to win arguments, we know that we are loving the darkness.

Walk humbly with God . . .

When our feeling are hurt because we are not noticed enough for our accomplishments, we know that pride is ruling our words and actions.

As we celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit in our lives this Pentecost Sunday, let us remember these words from Isaiah 30:20-21The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst.  No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you will see your Teacher, while from behind a voice shall sound in your ears; “This is the way; walk in it,” when you turn to the right or to the left”. 

As we celebrate the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in our hearts this Pentecost Sunday, let us remember these words from Matthew 10:16-20When they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it.  At that time you will be given what to say for it will not be you speaking but the spirit of your Father speaking through you, Mark 13:11: When you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say.  Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking but the Holy Spirit.

If when we ponder what is loving, what is just and what is wise, we come up with no answers, we have only to turn ourselves over and to open ourselves up to the Spirit, for it is in this Spirit that we find our God.  It is in this Spirit that we find ourselves. It is in this Spirit that we will know what to say and what to do.

It is the same Spirit that comes to abide with us that we hear about today . . . on this day after Pentecost Sunday.


Written on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2012 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://orderofcenturions.org/documents/whitsunday.html

Read Full Post »

Easter Prayer


Rubens: Christ Risen

Easter Prayer

Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019

Wishing each of you, your family and friends a blessed Easter.

May each of us be renewed in Christ,

Blessed by the Father,

and

Graced by the Holy Spirit. 

May we keep in mind that we are Easter people.

May we acknowledge and share the gifts with which we have been blessed.

And may we hold the story of Christ’s coming ever in our minds and hearts.

Amen.

The celebration of Easter last s for eight days, from Easter Sunday through the Second Sunday of Easter. The Easter season lasts for 50 days, ending with the celebration of Pentecost.  For special reflections that take us on a deeper journey, click on the image or visit: http://www.dualravens.com/spirituality/stations/oftheresurrection/introduction/


A re-post from April 8, 2012. 

Read Full Post »


Psalm 111: Hallelujah

Monday, June 5, 2017

These verses remind us that the beauty surrounding us does not occur through coincidence.

I give thanks to God with everything I’ve got – wherever good people gather, and in the congregation. God’s works are so great, worth a lifetime of study – endless enjoyment! Splendor and beauty mark God’s craft; God’s generosity never gives out. God’s miracles are God’s memorial – this God of Grace, this God of Love.

These words remind us that God’s miracles are gifts from a loving creator.

God gave food to those who love the LORD, God remembered to keep God’s ancient promise. God proved to the people that God could do what God said. God manufactures truth and justice; all God’s products are guaranteed to last – never out-of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof. All that God makes and does is honest and true.

These verses remind us that God’s authority and works are authentic and sustaining, and last forever.

God is so personal and holy, worthy of our respect.

These verses remind us that God’s love is intimate and transforming, bringing with it the healing of our woes, the blessings for a lifetime.

The good life begins in the love of God – do that and you’ll know the blessing of God. God’s Hallelujah lasts forever!

These words remind us that we might join in with God’s great Hallelujah.

The ten Hallelujah Psalms are numbers 106, 111-113, 135, and 146-150. When we spend time with these songs and compare differing translations, we find renewal in the Spirit of Pentecost.

Read Full Post »


Acts 2: Raising His Voice

Monday, May 1, 2017

peter-preaching-masolino

Tommaso Masolino da Panicale: Peter Preaching

If we want to have more context around Peter’s first sermon, we will want to begin our Noontime reading at verse 1 of Chapter 2, Acts. With the opening words of this story, the miracle of Pentecost opens before us like the beginning scene of a film. A rushing, violent wind. Startled disciples speaking languages they cannot comprehend. We might at first doubt the truth of this scene but then while some bystanders marvel, others proclaim, “They are filled with new wine”.

We register our own viewpoint as we take this story in. Are these disciples of Jesus actually filled by the Spirit, or are we watching drunken men stagger into the street? We wonder how we would have viewed this scene had we been present so today we take the opportunity to reflect on Peter’s words and courage. And we imagine that we are truly there.

Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd.

We hear Peter’s crisp words describe the story of Jesus’ life, passion, and death. We hear the miracle of resurrection and the coming of the Messiah as predicted by David. How does the crowd respond?

Luke describes their response simply: They were cut to the heart . . . Those who welcomed Peter’s message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

As we reflect on this story, we also consider our own reaction to Peter’s first sermon, and we ask ourselves: Do we remain faithful to The Way that Christ teaches us? How do we witness to this story of hope and love? And do we raise our own voices with Peter so that a world waiting for salvation might hear this good news?

The verses cited above are from THE NRSV. To compare these words with those in other translations, use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to witness Peter’s courage as he raises his voice to deliver his message of a Living Hope.

Tomorrow, Peter’s second sermon following Pentecost.

 

Read Full Post »


Acts 15: Control

Friday, May 6, 2016Jerusalem-Council

In this book which describes the birth of a community, we see how the followers of Christ dissent and argue, come together and unify. They are much like members of any community we might see today. In this reading, church members gather in an effort to both communicate and to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  We witness the concern for what some believe to be a lack of control and what to others appears as micro-management.  We can find ourselves at the office lunch table or coffee pot, at a family or neighborhood gathering to say the same things about our own society.  Who has control over what and why?  Where do we leave room for the Holy Spirit to speak?  Are we falling back on old rules, customs, habits and traditions?  Are we seeking change because we are bored or because it is needed?  Today’s reading can give us a good deal to ponder.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Tower of Babel

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Tower of Babel

In many churches, authority comes not only from the bishops and the hierarchy, but also from the people in the pews; yet sometimes the little voice is overridden by the bigger, more powerful one.  In a family, each generation’s voice must be heard if the large unit is to flourish and give life; yet sometimes the children, the tired and those who are marginalized are ignored.  God’s diversity not only allows for a variety of voices; it requires an array of choice. We have only to look to the story of the Tower of Babel to see why.  (Genesis 11) Humankind survives the great flood yet still has the impression that they are in charge, and so God sends an assortment of languages upon them, causing them to separate and diversify.

Those of us who teach the acquisition of language know that we teach far more than verbs and nouns; we teach a way of thinking and various modes of expression. We teach a way to step out of ourselves and into the shoes of another.  In God’s plan, this rainbow of sound and form is brought back from its prism of variety at the feast of the Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit descends upon the apostles who go out to tell the story of Christ.  The amazing part of the story is that people from differing lands understand what the apostles say.  The people were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?  Then how does each of us hear them in his own native language?”  (Acts 2:7-8) This variety of people hears because the Holy Spirit speaks . . . and it is the presence of the Holy Spirit we must seek when we feel ourselves to be in a circumstance where control or passive aggression are being unjustly exercised – either by others or ourselves.

We might, when we find ourselves in these restricted places, intone the words of Psalm 133.

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!  It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes.  It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.  For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

It is good . . .

Even life for evermore . . .

Amen. 

Adapted from a favorite written on November 3, 2009.

Read Full Post »


Matthew 10:1-15: Our Commission 

Tissot: Exhortation to the Disciples

Tissot: Exhortation to the Disciples

May 23, 2015

Today is the eve of Pentecost Sunday and so we take time to review our Eastertide Noontimes to consider God’s wisdom in each of us as we look for the answer to these questions: What does Jesus have in mind for us this Pentecost? How does Jesus expect us to bring compassion to the world? And, where will we find the wisdom, courage and strength to do so?

A foundational theme in Jesus’ work and words is the importance of inclusion. We see him interact with women, tax collectors, Pharisees and lost souls. He walks among the clean and unclean alike; he ministers to the deaf and blind as well as the comfortable and well-off. Today and tomorrow we reflect on where and when we might step into the mission God extends to us. Do we move out and away from the community in which we are planted or do we remain and look for new windows of opportunity to enact our commission? As we prepare for our newest assignment in this important work, we do well to remember Jesus’ words.

Go to the lost sheep . . .

Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons . . .

Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give . . .

Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it and stay there . . .

As you enter a house, wish it peace . . .

If the house is worthy l let your peace come upon it . . .

If not, let your peace return to you . . .

Use the scripture link above to search other versions of these verses . . . and allow God to reveal to you the commission he has in mind for your work. Enter the word Pentecost into the blog search bar and explore.

Tomorrow, the fire of God’s Pentecost.

Read Full Post »


Malachi 3: Refiningmalachi_3-10

March 7, 2015

Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek.

In several weeks we will witness again Christ’s passion and death. Let us prepare the temple of our hearts with God’s written Word. Today we choose a chapter and book in the Bible that we have never explored before. As we read, we allow the Spirit to open our ears to God’s words.

My messenger is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. My messenger will sit refining and purifying.

In several weeks we will experience again the Easter miracle. Let us prepare our hearts and minds with the refining fire of Christ’s presence, the Living Word.  Today we compose a prayer of thanksgiving to the Living God for all that heals and sustains us each day. As we write, we allow the Spirit to open our hearts to God’s living presence.

Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek.

In several weeks we will experience again the phenomenon of Pentecost. Let us prepare ourselves to receive the Spirit in this special way. Today we spend time with someone who is suffering to allow the refining fire of God’s love to transform all mourning into joy.

For more on Malachi’s imagery of a smelter’s fire of a fuller’s lye, enter the word refiner into the blog search bar and explore.  

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: