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Posts Tagged ‘Peter’


John 13:21-38: Betrayal in Jerusalem

Holy Tuesday, March 22, 2016judas

One of you is going to betray me . . . [And] as soon as the bread was in Judas’ hand, Satan entered him.

We have become too familiar with the story of Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus the Christ. Today we focus on small details as we read various translations, watching Jesus as he firmly, boldly, patiently and even gently steps into the betrayal he knows awaits him.

What you must do, says Jesus, do. Do it and get it over with.

A crust of bread dipped in wine.

Judas, with the piece of bread, left. It was night.

Thirty pieces of silver. The Potter’s Field. Murder Meadow.

Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I’m telling you: ‘Where I go, you are not able to come.’

The prophet Jeremiah’s words fulfilled to the letter.

“Master,” says Peter, “why can’t I follow now? I’ll lay down my life for you!”

Gerard van Honthorst: The Denial of St. Peter

Gerard van Honthorst: The Denial of St. Peter

Denial in the courtyard.

“Really?” Jesus replies.  “You’ll lay down your life for me? The truth is that before the rooster crows, you’ll deny me three times”.

The faithful disciples scattering in terror, gathering in hope.

Today we reflect on heroes, heroines, fidelity and betrayal and how Jesus, Judas and Peter bring us the message of the Gospel. For a video message from musician Matt Maher that reflects on the role of Judas in God’s plan, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnibI0Vac0w

Matthew 26 & Matthew 27 tell the story of Peter’s denial and Judas’ end. If there is time today, we reflect on these verses using the scripture links.

For more reflections on betrayal, enter the word into the blog search bar and explore.

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Matthew 16:13-19: The Christ

Monday, February 22, 2016you_are_the_christ_son_of_the_living_god

We might well wonder who Jesus is. For centuries scholars and common folk alike have pondered this question. Religious wars are fought; synods and councils are called; church leaders write creeds that lay out who and what this man means to us. Old and New Testaments predict and describe him and while sacred scripture and secular writings alike attempt to define him, Jesus gives us his open arms and willing heart. Jesus both defies and invites definition. Who and what are Jesus?

Jesus asks his disciples: What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?

They reply saying: Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.

Jesus presses them: And how about you? Who do you say I am?

Simon Peter says: You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

Jesus then replies: God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are.

Testimonies record encounters with the risen Christ and we may also have recorded or passed on our own encounters to those who have open ears and minds and hearts.

Today we hear Jesus ask each of: And how about you? Who do you say I am?

Today we have the opportunity to add our own demonstration of faith in Christ to the countless stories that have been told and are yet to be told. Let us count ourselves among that number as we remember our Lenten practice and . . . Rather than thinking: “Let us make three tents to contain the joy of God’s wisdom,” let us think instead, “Let us share the joy of God’s great gift of love”.

Human Christ Charlotte AllenCharlotte Allen, a controversial journalist published in the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington, Post, the Washington Times, Insight, City Journal, Washington Monthly, the New Republic and the Atlantic, has written The Human Christ: The Search For The Historical Jesus (ISBN 0-684-82725-5). Her interesting blog can be found at: https://blogstupidgirl.wordpress.com/

For more on the divine Christ, visit the Bible Hub at: http://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/adeney/the_divine_christ.htm 

For a Noontime reflection on the connection between Jesus and Jonas, read the Jonah 3:1-3: Setting Out for Nineveh post at: https://thenoontimes.com/2015/03/05/jonah-31-3-setting-out-for-nineveh/

Today we think about the many perspectives on the identity of Jesus. Tomorrow, they preach but they do not practice. 

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Luke 9:8-36: Transfiguration

Second Sunday of Lent, February 21, 2016grymes violins

So many times we are called to Transfiguration.  So many times we are called to Exodus.  So many times we meet angels and prophets and yet do not respond.  We are so caught up in getting through the day, getting through the night, the week, the month, the year . . . the life.

So often we want to pause at a happy spot to set up a tent to house that moment and hold it.  So often we want to wrestle with time until it obeys us.  We live in the past . . . live in the future . . . live anywhere else but the present . . . re-living, un-living, projecting, transferring.

Jesus goes up to the mountain with two of his beloved apostles to speak with Elijah, Moses and his Father about the work that lies before him.  Of course he knows what was expected of him – down to the smallest detail – yet he listens to those who have gone before him. He listens to the wisdom of the ages. And he shares the experience with his friends.

violins of hopeJesus shares this wisdom and love with us as well.  He give to us the opportunity of transfiguration of self.  We are not held away from the gift of salvation; rather, we are invited to join Christ’s joy and glory.  So when the cloud descends upon us, and we hear the voice from the mist say: This is my Son, listen to him . . . may we have the courage, the wisdom, the light and the joy to do as we are bidden.  Because through this experience comes a true knowing of God, a true knowing of self.  With this comes an openness to the Word and the Truth and the Light.

In this Lenten journey, it is good to pause to reflect upon the possibilities offered to us through Transfiguration.

Adapted from a Favorite from December 11, 2007.

Looking for transfiguration, we begin a new Lenten practice this week. Rather than thinking: “Let us make three tents to contain the joy of God’s wisdom,” let us think instead, “Let us share the joy of God’s great gift of love”.

grymes bookTo learn more about how the Violins of Hope provide an opportunity for learning and reflection through restored instruments that survived the Holocaust, and to see how Cleveland’s MALTZ MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE offers opportunities of transfiguration, click on the images above or visit: http://www.violinsofhopecle.org/

To hear these violins in concert, go to a CBS video at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/violins-of-hope/  

Learn about the book Violins of Hope by James A. Grymes at: http://www.jamesagrymes.com/

Tomorrow, the Christ.

 

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Mark 6:45-52: Stepping Into Surprise

Po_vodam

Ivan Aivazovsky: Jesus Walks on Water

Tuesday, December 2, 2015

Yesterday we reflected with Matthew on our willingness to step out of the little boat of our lives when Jesus approaches us across the water. Today we visit Mark, who tells his story in clipped, precise sentences, but curiously includes this verse: He meant to pass them by.  What might Mark be asking us to consider with these simple words?

When we find ourselves in turmoil we may feel as though Jesus has us passed by. When we cannot find our way out of darkness, we might believe that God has chosen to ignore us. When we look for healing that never comes, we may wonder where the Spirit has chosen to settle. In all of these feelings of abandonment we will be mistaken for God is always with us.

Seeing the apostles’ distress, Jesus climbs into the boat with them and says: Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!  Then Mark reminds us that even though they had witnessed his division of the loaves and fish for thousands of people: They had not understood the incident of the loaves.  On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.  Jesus does not condemn his closet friends and apostles when he sees they do not understand; but rather he steps into the boat to calm their fears.

Matthew (14:22-33) begins his recollection of this event by borrowing from Mark and then adds one of his special stories about Peter, the man who becomes the cornerstone of the church.  Matthew affords us the opportunity to – like Peter – step out of the boat to walk toward the shimmering vision.  He offers us the chance to step out of safety into the turbulent sea of life.  He reminds us that when the waters begin to swamp the vessel, we may want to do the surprising . . . step into the uproar rather than hide quaking in the gunwales of the ship.

Advent is a time of praying, reflecting, preparing to step out into the turmoil.  It is a time to put aside fears to tend to the truly eternal: time spent in pondering The Word in the form of scripture, thanksgiving shown for miracles already received and yet to be received; fidelity and constancy as the foundation of our lives . . . courage and fidelity leading us to serenity and trust in God.  When we feel our boat rocking, rather than allowing our fear to take us over, we are heartened when we truly hear today’s story.

So let us pray:  Advent is a time of wonder.  Advent is a time of surprises.  Advent is a time of being open to newness and outrageous possibilities.  Advent is a time to step out of the boat in faith to walk – unbelievably and impossibly – on a surface which ought not support us.  Let us walk away from fear . . . toward the one who does not let us fall. 

During the storms, Jesus is really quite near, moved with compassion when he sees our suffering.  Rather than cry out anxiously from our hiding place, let us step out of our little craft and out of our old habits.  Let us step into something new . . . a freedom of complete trust in the hand of our maker . . . the hand that is always extended to meet us.  Let us step into the surprise.

Adapted from a Favorite written on December 6, 2008.

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Ezekiel 37: From Dry Bones to Restoration – Part VIfoundation-277x156

Sunday, September 20, 2015

How do we begin to build a strong foundation that will withstand the storms of life and be our constant restoration? Paul’s letter to the people of Corinth show us the way.

Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)

What do we do once the foundation is laid? Can we expect the difficult part of our work to be complete? Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us.

1 cor 3-1As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4)

How do we make certain we are doing the correct work? Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us that we must look to God for our assignments.

We each carried out our servant assignment. I [Paul] planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working. (1 Corinthians 3:5-9)

What is the great reward we expect to have? Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us that we are each living stones in God’s living temple.

1cor3-16-17-temple-of-god-holy-building-1024x575You are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. (1 Corinthians 3:9-15)

Can we expect to find peace if we hide from the potential God has placed in us? Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us that the reward may seem like a punishment, but then God’s world is always about inversions.

 Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. (1 Corinthians 3:18-20)

lord is spiritWhat will our reward look like after our travail? Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us that our reward will be greater than any other we will know. Our reward is our life in Christ.

I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift—Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, the future—all of it is yours, and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)

Spend time with these verses today and compare varying versions. When we spend time with God in this way, God’s wisdom seeps into our bones. Christ’s peace settles into our hearts. And the Spirit binds us to God forever, bringing us restoration.

Tomorrow, words from the master builder, Jesus.

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Acts 4:32-37: One Heart and Mindheart

April 25, 2015

In Easter gratitude we remember that Jesus has a vision and message for each of us. In Easter beatitude we offer back to the risen Christ our witness, our actions, our hearts and our minds.

The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.

This is the community that lives the vision Jesus brings to us when he appears to the Apostles after his resurrection: He opened their minds to understand Scriptures. (Luke 24:45) Jesus calls us today to bring this kingdom into fullness through him.

With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.

This is the living message Jesus brings to us that Peter brings to the people who long for healing and peace. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. (Acts 3:14-15) Jesus asks us today to pass on the good news that the Spirit lives in us eternally.

There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the Apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.

This is the community Jesus describes and asks us to build, one in which we find a way to be of one heart and one mind in Christ. My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin . . . Those who say, “I know him”. But do not keep his commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. (1 John 2:1-5) Jesus speaks to us today, calling us to testify to his presence in all space and all time. Let us witness to the Easter miracle by imitating the Apostles as best we can. Let us look for the paths that bring us together in one heart and one mind in Christ.

Click on the image above for another reflection on acting of one heart and mind.

Tomorrow, listening for the voice that calls . . . 

 

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Guido Ren: St. Peter Penitent

Guido Reni: St. Peter Penitent

Sunday

January 4, 2015

Joy and Persecution

1 Peter 1:8-9

The New Testament Letters bring us the good news that the risen Christ still walks with us each day. Paul, Peter, James, John and Jude remind the faithful that although much has been asked of Christ’s followers, much is also given.

With them, we remember that there is always hope when we sink into doubt, always light when we walk in darkness, and always joy, even when we suffer sorrow. Today Peter encourages us to move beyond the pain of our suffering to rely on the Risen Christ who constantly surprises us with joy.

Peter’s words “both inspire and admonish these ‘chosen sojourners’ who, in seeking to live as God’s people, feel an alienation from their previous religious roots and the society around them. Appeal is made to Christ’s resurrection and the future hope it provides and to the experience of baptism as new birth. The suffering and death of Christ serve as both a source of salvation and example. What Christians are in Christ, as a people who have received mercy and are to proclaim and live according to God’s call, is repeatedly spelled out for all sorts of situations in society, work, the home, and general conduct. But over all hangs the possibility of suffering as a Christian”. (Senior 375) Peter is acutely aware of the joy that surprises us in anguish as he describes how we might find God’s comfort when we suffer great pain. He reminds us that our salvation always arrives in the person of Jesus . . . whom he knows so well. Peter gives us the opportunity to find Christ’s friendship through the subtle and overt persecutions that plague our lives.

1 Peter 1:8-9: Although you have not seen [Jesus Christ] you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of [your] faith, the salvation of your souls.

joySpend time with the letters of Peter today and decide for yourselves how and why they speak to you.

Whether this first Petrine letter is written by Peter himself, penned by the secretary Silvanus or by a later follower, Peter’s encouragement to await the risen Christ through suffering is both read and felt. And if we doubt Peter’s witness, we have only to look to the accounts of his life by his contemporaries and later scholars to understand the authenticity – and importance – of today’s message. After reflecting on Peter’s promise of salvation through Christ, let us determine how and when we see Christ. And let us decide how and why we might witness to Christ’s presence in our own lives.

Read the “Market Assumptions” article published on November 3, 2014 in AMERICA magazine and consider  if or how or when we might witness to this call with the joy of the risen Christ. Go to: http://www.americamagazine.org/issue/market-assumptions

For more on the origin of this letter, visit: http://www.catholic.com/blog/jimmy-akin/who-wrote-1-peter For more about the life and death of Peter, go to: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11744a.htm

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.375. Print.   

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

 

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Monday, October 7, 2013

SCR038-G-02[1]2 Peter 1:2

Grace and Peace

May grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

This is so very simple.  God makes a gift of grace and peace.  Rather than strive to add cash to our accounts, square footage to our homes and friends to our social media, we will do well to focus on gaining knowledge of God.  We increase this knowledge through the study of God’s word, through prayer and worship, and through conversations with others who are like seekers.

This is when Peter’s words become so complicated.  We do not want to leave behind our old agendas, our old goals and our old norms.  We are comfortable with the world as we have arranged it and we do not want to shift perspective or viewpoint.  We are content . . . for a time.  And when life presents its catastrophes as it always will . . . then we will yearn for peace and grace.

We understand the peace is an uplifting serenity that calms and focuses our shattered thoughts.  Peace is a state of tranquility and harmony with self and with our surrounding world.  This is something to yearn for.  It is a quality worth struggling for.  And what is grace?

bible-image[1]Grace is a freely offered gift from God that brings us full participation in the life of God.  It is through Grace that we are pulled into intimacy with the Creator.  Grace is intended for the common good and so it frees us to collaborate with others as we grow in the Body of Christ.  Grace is brought to us by the Spirit so that we might be healed and sanctified.  And so, because Grace is a gift given freely by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, we understand that it surpasses the power of human intellect and will.  We can see that it perfects the soul itself to live with God and to act by God’s love.  It is this Grace in which we hope to be rooted.  It is this Grace from which we hope to draw strength.  It is through this Grace that we reach our full potential both individually and collectively.  It is this Grace that shows itself in the many small miracles that mark our days.  It is the gift of grace that brings us peace.  It is this gift of grace that is God’s love for us.

This is complicated.  This is simple.  Let us add to our knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord so that the gift of grace and peace may be ours in abundance.

For a commentary on grace and peace as described by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians 1:2, click on the Bible image above or go to: http://vicsmediaroom.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/bible-commentary-grace-and-peace/

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

headline14[1]Matthew 5:38-48

Vengeance

We hear this message often; yet it cannot be overstated.  True love is one which exacts no payment or punishment.  True love – this Law of Love which Jesus brings to us – does not sink to the depths of the abuser.  My mother was fond of telling us: Do not sink to your opponent’s level.  Be a lady/gentleman.  Do not fight fire with fire.  Kill you enemy with kindness.  My mother was a good shepherd.

Today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation is entitled “Do you Love Me?” and it is written by Fr. Julián Carrón, a professor of theology at the University of Milan.  He writes: Our astonishment at Christ’s love for each of us dominates our life.  Carrón proposes that there is a nothingness that constantly looms over every man, and that often makes him doubt that there is an answer that corresponds to the need for truth, for beauty, for justice, and for happiness in his heart, because nothing is able to totally fascinate him for long.  Carrón writes that once God becomes overwhelming attractive to us, we begin to understand and even feel the depth of this kind of love born of suffering, resurrection and restoration.  This is a love which cannot be turned away, nor can it be extinguished.  God’s holiness reveals itself as a passionate love for his people [and] . . . all man’s frailty, his betrayal, all the dreadful possibilities of history are traversed by that question put to Peter on the lake that morning [after his resurrection], “Do you love me?”

How much do we love God?  Enough to give up our petty fascination with payback and vengeance?  Enough to feed his sheep?  Enough to petition for our abusers?

Peter replies to Christ’s question:  Yes, Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you.  Carrón writes: In this free “yes” of the creature, in every circumstance of life, the glory of God echoes and is at work.

Imagine if we all might put aside our personal hurts – knowing that God knows all – and allow Christ to mediate our disagreements and our battles.  Imagine what a world it might be.  Imagine what happiness we might find.

When we say yes to putting aside our desire to retaliate, we give God our own Yes.  The nothingness that constantly looms over every one of us is dispelled.  And we begin to know the depths of a true love which does not tolerate or even recognize the desire to take revenge.

As we ponder what to do about those who scheme against us at work or even at home . . . as we contemplate how God stands plots on their heads to bring goodness out of harm . . . as we consider that every lesson the Spirit teaches is about inversion . . . we might want to take Jesus’ advice to us and pray for those who seek our end rather than ask for revenge.  And as my mother so often reminded us when we struggled with praying for those dark people who came into our own lives . . . we might want to begin by killing them with our kindness.

Adapted from a reflection written on May 29, 2009.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 29.5 (2012). Print.

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