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Posts Tagged ‘prophets’


Daniel 9:1-12Ultimate Fulfillment

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Written on January 9 and posted today as a favorite . . .

Tilda Swinton as Gabriel in “Constantine”

What we see today is Daniel’s interaction with God’s messenger Gabriel who is mentioned here for the first time in scripture.  We know that scripture is not history – it is not an accurate telling of events in a sequential manner in order to set facts in place; rather, it is an inspired record of our interactions with God over thousands of years.  This is the gift of the Torah, prophets, and wisdom literature.  It is the gift of the accounts of Jesus, the Apostles and the Holy Spirit as a manifestation of God among us.

In today’s Noontime, footnotes tell us that the Darius the Mede whom we see in this prophecy is “unknown in profane history.  The Median kingdom had already been conquered by Cyrus the Persian, and it was Cyrus who captured Babylon.  Evidently the author of Daniel has deliberately adopted an apocalyptic view of history, derived from prophecy . . . according to which the Medes form the second of four world kingdoms preceding the messianic times . . . The character of Darius the Mede has probably been modeled on that of the Persian King Darius the Great (522-486 B.C.), the second successor of Cyrus”.   (Senior 1096)

Further commentary tells us that “the prophet Jeremiah (25,11; 29,10) prophesied a Babylonian captivity of seventy years, a round number signifying the complete passing away of the existing generation, Jeremiah’s prophesy was fulfilled in the capture of Babylon by Cyrus and the subsequent return of the Jews to Palestine.  However, the author of Daniel, living during the persecution of Antiochus, sees the conditions of the exile still existing; therefore in his mediation he extends Jeremiah’s number to seventy weeks of years (v 24), i.e., seven times seventy years, to characterize the Jewish victory over the Seleucids as the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy”.  (Senior 1100-1101)

What we see today is not a story about people or places we know in history.  Nor is it a story about a particular time in our human record that has little to do with us in 2011.  What we have before us is the story of how we – like Daniel – might interact with God’s messenger and with God himself.  It is the story about the ultimate fulfillment of prophecy.  It is the story of how God visits us constantly, how God interacts with us, and how God always keeps his promises.

When we flag or lose faith, when we are exhausted from the effort of our journey, when we are at the point of feeling that our exile will never end, we might – like Daniel – turn to God, acknowledge our humanity, and enter into a dialog with the divine.  For it is through our trials, when we drop our defenses against God’s presence in our lives, that we are most intimate with God.  And it is through our anguish and suffering that we encounter our divinity within.  This is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises to us – to live freely and wholly in the Spirit.


A re-post from August 9, 2011.

Image from: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2005/02/06/arts/06devr_CA0ready.html 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1096,1100-1101. Print.   

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Isaiah: Do Not Fear – Part IIIchrist-born-high-res-abstract-background-your-project-35831176

Christmas Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The prophet Isaiah tells us a number of times that we need not fear the circumstances of our lives.

God says, “O My people who dwell in Zion, do not fear the Assyrian who strikes you with the rod and lifts up his staff against you, the way Egypt did”. (Isaiah 10:24)

“Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and song, and he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)

Isaiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me’.” (Isaiah 37:6)

God says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. (Isaiah 41:10)

God says, “Do not tremble and do not be afraid; have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none”. (Isaiah 44:8)

dec-26Millennia later God continues to be our rock and our refuge, our strength and our song. God sends us prophets whom we may heed or ignore. And God continues to breath and live among us.

Today we might ask, “Whom do we follow and why?” When we listen to the voice of Isaiah, we have a new opportunity to listen to God. We have a new opportunity to give thanks that the Messiah Isaiah foretold is here. The Lord is born. And this Lord is one with us.

Throughout Christmastide, we continue to explore the number of ways God says to us, “Do not fear. I am with you always”.

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Psalm 105:15: God’s Anointed

Monday, October 31, 2016prophets

Yesterday we spent time with this psalm.  Today we take a deeper look.

Do not touch my anointed ones.  Do my prophets no harm.

How do we define faithfulness?  Do we admire our ability to hang on no matter what?  Are we stubborn to a fault in our persistence to see something through?  Do we waver and zigzag in order to gain ground?  Or do we model ourselves after Yahweh who is eternally faithful to his sheep?

Longevity.  Perseverance.  Constancy. 

Do not touch my anointed ones.  Do my prophets no harm.

Do we duplicate as much as possible God’s fidelity in our own relationships?  Are we dedicated to truth and openness?  Are we predictable?  Do our relationships create a safe harbor?

Dedication.  Predictability.  Safety.

Do not touch my anointed ones.  Do my prophets no harm.

What is it that stands in stark contrast with God’s fidelity?  The pursuit of petty agendas?  Egocentrism?  Meanness of spirit?

Do not touch my anointed ones.  Do my prophets no harm.

What do we need to jettison in our lives in order to create serenity and peace in our relationships?

Do not touch my anointed ones.  Do my prophets no harm.

How do we imitate God’s bringing forth of unity out of schism?

Do not touch my anointed ones.  Do my prophets no harm.

Can we see ourselves as prophets and anointed ones? If not, what do we want to change?  How do we become one with such a one who loves so well?

Longevity.  Perseverance.  Constancy. 

Dedication.  Predictability.  Safety.

For God all things are possible.  In Christ all wounds are healed.  Together with the Holy Spirit we are become one.  We are invited to enter into holy communion with one another.  We are invited to prophesy the Word of God.  We are anointed in God.  We are one in God.  We are blessed in God.  We are saved in God.

Do not touch my anointed ones.  Do my prophets no harm.

Adapted from a reflection written on October 9, 2009.

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Luke 11:47-54: A Prayer for This Generation

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Jacob Jordeans: Jesus Driving the Merchants from the Temple

Jacob Jordeans: Jesus Driving the Merchants from the Temple

How terrible for you! You make fine tombs for the prophets—the very prophets your ancestors murdered.

Knowing that all generations falter in their hope to follow Christ, we pray for ourselves and for all who are willing to ask for hope in hopeless situations.

You yourselves admit, then, that you approve of what your ancestors did; they murdered the prophets, and you build their tombs.

Knowing that all generation murder prophets and bury them in white-washed tombs, we pray for ourselves and for all who honor life that comes from God.

How terrible for you teachers of the Law! You have kept the key that opens the door to the house of knowledge; you yourselves will not go in, and you stop those who are trying to go in!

Knowing that all generations hold the key of knowledge and use it for good and for ill, we pray for ourselves and all who continue to prophesize in the face of corruption.

So the people of this time will be punished for the murder of all the prophets killed since the creation of the world.

Knowing that all generations both bless and condemn the Spirit, we pray for ourselves and all who are willing to unravel plots and reveal those who freely deceive others.

When Jesus left that place, the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees began trying to lay traps for him and catch him saying something wrong.

El Greco: The Purification of the Temple

El Greco: The Purification of the Temple

Knowing that all generations lay plots and lie in waiting to put an end to goodness, we pray for ourselves and all who dare to bring light to the world.

When Jesus left that place, the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees began to criticize him bitterly and ask him questions about many things.

Knowing that God’s enormous love is capable of healing all wounds, bridging all abysses, and restoring all peace, we pray for ourselves and for all who persist in carrying God’s love into the world.

Amen.

For more images of Jesus driving the money-lenders from the Temple, click on the image above or visit: http://www.artble.com/artists/el_greco/paintings/the_purification_of_the_temple

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Luke 11:47-54: This Generation – Part II

Friday, October 21, 2016key-of-knowledge

We are spending time with Jesus’ words, reflecting on his audience to determine if we are the hopeless scholars or the marginalized flock.

Jesus says: Every drop of righteous blood ever spilled from the time earth began until now, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was struck down between altar and sanctuary, is on your heads. Yes, it’s on the bill of this generation and this generation will pay.

What is the bill Jesus tells us is coming due? Who are the prophets whose blood we willingly shed? What is the price we told we will pay?

God says: This bill my son speaks of rises from the lack of action when my sheep are lost and hungry, naked and without shelter. These sheep are the gentle prophets whose presence and truth are too often ignored. The price to be paid is a heavy one. This is why I awake you each morning with a gentle touch to ask you to follow my son. This is why I rock you to sleep each night wrapped in the arms of my Spirit.

Jesus says: You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You took the key of knowledge, but instead of unlocking doors, you locked them. You won’t go in yourself, and won’t let anyone else in either.

What is the key of knowledge that Jesus points out to us here? What door have we shut and why have we shut it? Who are the others whose entry we refuse?

God says: The key of knowledge is my invitation to enter the Kingdom I create for you. The key is my loving presence that longs to love more than you can imagine. I am saddened when you cast off my presence as coincidence or karma. When you discourage others from believing in me you shut the door to t his kingdom. When you call others as I call you, you open windows and doors.  

Today we consider the bill. Tomorrow, the bill comes due.

For more on the key of knowledge, visit: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/11-52.htm

 

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2 Kings 9: Deception – Part V

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Willy Pogani: Ahab and Jezebel (detail)

Willy Pogani: Ahab and Jezebel (detail)

Death

“Here the death of Ahab is not grounded only in the Naboth’s vineyard incident (1 Kings 21:21-24) but is related to retribution against Jezebel for killing God’s prophets (1 Kings 18:4; 19:10, 14).  (Meeks 573-574)

These are very scary stories indeed.  Scarier still because this violence is a result of people’s individual and collective actions.  Ahab and Jezebel took God’s people in an ugly direction, and today we see their ugly end at the hands of God’s warrior, Jehu.  We do not like to have these images before us because they remind us of the darkest part of ourselves, and they demand that we make an accounting of our own actions before God.  Many of us use the strategy of denial when we are asked to look in the mirror. We put away what we wish did not exist. But this does not result in anything good.  Many of us wish to re-write reality without making any change in ourselves, but of course this only delays the inevitable.  And this is what we see today . . . the inevitable finally takes place.  In the earlier parts of this story, the wicked Ahab and Jezebel have things all their way.  Today that ends, and they are fully rewarded for their actions.

Williy Pogany - ''Ahab and Jezebel'' (300)

Willy Pogani: Ahab and Jezebel

We have come through Lent to rejoice in Easter light and the gift of eternal life as God’s promise against the clutches of eternal death. Today we have an invitation to avoid a fate like the one we read here.  Rather than hiding and hoping to have our own way, we will want to open ourselves to the healing light of Christ and ask for change. A change in our hearts. A change in our way of being. A change from death to life.

During the time of the prophets, Christ walked among his people through the hands and feet of his prophets as they carried out Yahweh’s promises. The sweet promise of eternal life in Christ is announced even during the dark days when Ahab and Jezebel hunted down those who spoke and healed in God’s name.  Through the prophets, Christ dwelt among us even before his birth in the stable, and Christ will continue to dwell among us.  When those who worship our modern Baals beset us, let us turn to Christ. Let us ask for God’s guidance and rescue in any darkness or sadness of the present time when the prophets among us are being murdered.  Let us turn to Christ who is the only hope of the world, the only antidote to death, the only life that is eternal. And let us make good on our Lenten promise to open ourselves to transformation. Let us receive the healing light that is the Easter promise. Let us receive the healing indwelling of the Spirit.

Meeks, Wayne A., Gen. Ed. HARPERCOLLINS STUDY BIBLE (NRSV). New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1989. Print.  (Meeks)

Adapted from a reflection written on April 5, 2011.

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paths 15Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Matthew 13:17-23

So Many Paths – Part IV

Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.

The Parable of the Sower is a familiar one and yet . . . we resist changing so that our journey might be a little lighter. We refuse adjustment from our present position even though modification in our living might offer and opportunity for conversion. When we find ourselves traveling a road that seems immutable and absolute we need not fear, for we are graced with the Word that combats all Woe. How do we tune our ears so that we might honestly listen to God’s word? How do we un-muddy our eyes so that might rightly see God’s presence in our lives?

Life gives us surprising obstacles and we lose heart. We lament and complain. We recoil and mourn. Life treats us well and we take credit for all that we have and are. We act with hubris. We become pompous and self-righteous. Once we have set out on a path, do we have any recourse to change? Once we are well on our way, are we doomed to a single outcome?

paths 16The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart.

When we hear the Torah, the Prophets and the Gospel we are as free to heed God’s Word as we are to ignore it.

The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away.

When we hear Jesus’ parables we are as free to search for meaning as we are to treat these stories as children’s tales that hold no meaning for adult lives.

The seed sown among thorns in the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit.

paths 18When we witness injustice we also witness the presence of the Spirit in a hostile and frightening world. We are as free to respond to that Spirit to unit ourselves in God’s grace with Christ’s mystical body as we are to squelch it.

But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.

When we find ourselves on a difficult path fraught with danger and friction . . . we are as free to ask for, to receive and to respond to God’s grace as we are to remain implacably set in our own rigid way. As we near the end of the Lenten season and prepare to open ourselves to Christ’s Easter joy, let us determine to receive Christ with gratitude, to celebrate God’s presence with delight, and to rest in the serenity of the Spirit.

Tomorrow, a prayer for the journey.

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Christmas Day

earth-from-space-day-night[1]

December 25, 2013

James 5:7-10

Behold!

Behold, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord.  See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.  You too must be patient.  Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.  Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged.  Behold, the judge is standing before the gates.  Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Modern humankind has established an outpost in space, giving us a perspective of our world that the ancients could only imagine.  Perhaps in our century we have strayed too far from the simple tasks of reaping God’s gift of bounty.  Perhaps we have taken too much for granted the miracle that is our world.  Perhaps we have learned to ignore the miracle of the Nativity.

God says: In your rush to understand me you may lose me. Abide with me for you are Christmas people who bring the Good News to the world.  In your eagerness to explore my universe you may forget me.  Remember me for you are Christmas people who bring authenticity and honesty to the world.  In your haste to acquire and store up you may overlook me.  See me in those who have little for you are Christmas people who bring Christ himself to the world.  Behold and celebrate the importance of the Nativity.  Behold and share my generosity with others who have nearly nothing to sustain them. Behold and love those who suffer.  Behold . . . and be Christ in the world.

When we remember the miracle of Christ’s Nativity we also remember the patience of the prophets who foretold this arrival.  We retell the stories of apostles and disciples who endured through hardship and we also tell our own stories of endurance and fortitude.  When we behold the precious fruit of this Messiah who is delivered of a woman in a lowly place in a small town we also behold our own smallness and celebrate God’s gift of Christmas . . . for we are Christmas people.

What does it mean to be Christmas people?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1KsGtMZ9HI Click on this link to listen to I Will be Here by Steven Curtis Chapman, reread this post and consider . . .

During Christmas week . . . what did the prophets foretell?

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Flavitsky: Brothers Sell Joseph into Slavery

Flavitsky: Brothers Sell Joseph into Slavery

Psalm 105:18-19

A Prayer for Those Sent Ahead

They shackled his feet with chains; collared his neck in iron, until his prediction came to pass, and the word of God proved him true.

There are times when we foresee events and predict outcomes well beyond the horizon of our friends and colleagues.  At those times we are tagged with various labels: over-reacting, anxious, conspiratorial, hysterical, and fantastical.  When we find this branding difficult to manage we might turn to the story of Joseph and consider that we also have been sent ahead, and that we too must wait endlessly and patiently . . . until you prove us true.

God says: You have special eyes that see me in the marginalized and down-trodden.  You have a heart that finds me in all creatures and in all parts of my creation.  You have a mind that understands cause and effect, action – or lack of action – and consequence.  Be patient with those who fail to see you as one of my prophets.  Show mercy to those whose fear overcomes their sense of my presence within.  Come to me with your worries and remember that I see and know all.  And pray with me as you travel beyond the narrow minds of those who do not see as well as you do.

There is nothing more difficult than being maligned unjustly and wrongly yet this is often the work of those who are sent ahead.  It is essential for us to remain in constant contact with God.  And it is essential that we pray . . .

Dear God, I see the work before me and still I falter.  I see the slender path that leads me safely to you and still I feel blind.  I see the light of your truth and still I doubt.  Support me when I am weak.  Call me when I lose my way.  Keep me always in your loving heart as I struggle with being sent ahead for you.  Amen.

For a reflection about Joseph and his willingness to serve God, see the Noontimes posting for February 14, 2012 at: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/02/14/willingness/

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