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Posts Tagged ‘prophets’


paths 15Easter Friday, April 9, 2021

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.


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

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

Friday, December 25, 2020

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.A bide 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.

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


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 . . .

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Sunday, July 19, 2020

Flavitsky: Brothers Sell Joseph into Slavery

Konstatin 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 God proves 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.


A re-post from July 19, 2013.

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Konstantin_Flavitsky_001.jpg

For a reflection about Joseph and his service to God, enter word the word willingness in to the blog search bar and explore. 

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Wednesday, May 19, 2020

In this time of pandemic, we welcome the Holy Spirit into our midst as we gather in families who shelter in place. In this time of pandemic, we remember that when we follow The Way Christ shows us, every day is Pentecost.

Jean Restout: Pentecost

Matthew 10:41-42

A Prayer in Celebration

Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes an upright person because he is upright will have the reward of an upright person.  If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then in all truth I tell you, he will most certainly not go without his reward.

We think of prophets as people who hear God’s word easily and who are dedicated to speaking God’s word no matter how it threatens their lives or livelihood.  We see prophets as living in ancient times to lead God’s faithful through troubling times.  If this is our thinking we miss Matthew’s message to us today . . . for prophets dwell and work and play among us today, sharing God’s word with us, urging us to stay close to God.  Yet how many prophets speak to us each day and we ignore them?  How many of us are prophets and fear speaking out the words God asks us to speak?

We think of upright people as those who have a strong moral compass, as those ethical, decent few who remain in God’s Way despite all the temptations and lures that might draw them away from following God closely.  We see upright people as that small percentage of somber and serious faithful who eschew fun because it threatens their serenity.  If this is our thinking we miss Matthew’s message to us today . . . for the upright live and labor and enjoy human company as much as the divine.  Yet how many upright people do we avoid as too pious or too starry-eyed?  How many of us avoid showing our uprightness and fear sharing our thoughts about God because we do not want to be perceived as odd or strangely different?

We think of disciples as people who follow God so closely that they rely on God for every decision they make despite the tug of social, political or religious influences.  We see disciples as those marked with a special sign or those given special courage or graced with exceptional perseverance.  We somehow believe that they are scarce in any given group of people and that they were born with unique perception and power.  If this is our thinking we miss Matthew’s message to us today . . . for disciples walk and talk and co-mingle with us each day all day.  How many of us avoid God’s disciples because they seem a bit off and are not influenced by sports figures, by politicians or church leaders?  How many of us are clearly disciples but are leery of identifying ourselves as one who follows Christ?

Today Matthew tells us that the miracle of Pentecost is timeless, that its power is endless, and that its space is unlimited.  Today Matthew invites us to be those upright, prophetic disciples whom Christ has called.  Today Matthew urges us to be our best selves.  Today Matthew calls us to be one with Christ . . . to be divine.  And so we pray . . .

Dear God: We hear your voice and yet for some reason we falter; give us the courage and strength to look nowhere but at you. 

Dear Jesus: We know your command to put our feet in your footsteps and yet somehow we stumble; give us the fortitude and fidelity to never give up to any threat and never give in to any voice that calls us away from you. 

Dear Spirit: We gather ourselves to step forward in acceptance of your gift of discipleship. In this Eastertide, as we rejoice in your in-dwelling, remind us of the holy privilege we share with your upright prophets and disciples as we follow Christ, and shelter in your presence. 

Bless and keep us always as we celebrate with you and all your holy ones.  Amen.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jean_II_Restout_-_Pentecost_-_WGA19318.jpg

A re-post from May 19, 2013.

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Saturday, January 25, 2013

2 Kings 5: The Cure of Naaman

Pieter de Grebber: Elisha Refusing the Gifts of Naaman

Pieter de Grebber: Elisha Refusing the Gifts of Naaman

Naaman is cured of leprosy not by his faith alone but through the faith and encouragement of a small child who believes in Yahweh and the power of his prophets.  It is worth our while to read this story and examine commentary and footnotes because once we do – and this may seem unbelievable – we will find that we have a greater understanding of the modern world we live in today.

Through the child in this story we see that prophets are not the only ones among us who are called to heal, cure and serve as instruments for miracles. We see that we are also called to heal one another either with the direct laying on of hands, or by our intercessory prayers.

Jesus tells us in a very clear way that we must pray for our enemies: You have heard it said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy”.  But I tell you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you . . . If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  (Matthew 5: 43-47)

Christ constantly presents us with a world of inversion. We die in order to be born; we give in order to receive; we sit at the lowest seat in order to be called higher; we humble ourselves so that we might be exalted.  The examples Jesus gives us are endless.   Today we hear God’s urging to heal others, even those who harm us, so that we in turn are healed.

I believe that we are called to be healers, even when wounded ourselves, because the prayers of a victim rise ever so quickly to God’s altar. God, in all of his compassion and mercy and desire to love, will reward the prayer of one who is wounded who – like God – forgives and then petitions healing for the abuser.

We must be present in spirit to our fellow pilgrims, and when we wade into the river of forgiveness, just as Naaman enters the river Jordan, we will find that the our willingness to intercede for our enemies will wash away the things of this world.  Suddenly we find ourselves present to the Spirit. And just as suddenly we will know that we, like Naaman, will “know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”  This one God, this Yahweh, sent his son to heal us and ransom us from our dark place.   It is this God who calls us to heal one another . . . so that we in turn may be healed.


First written on May 31, 2007.  Re-written and posted today as a Favorite. 

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1 Maccabees 4:1-35: Living and Dying Nobly

Holy Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Do not fear their numbers or be afraid . . .

Judas Maccabeus and his Jewish followers were steeped in the scripture and so the idea of placing one’s fear in God’s hands in order to live and die nobly was a familiar message to them.

God speaks to Abram in Genesis 15:1 saying: Do not be afraid. I am your shield, your very great reward. 

In Joel 2:21 the prophet exhorts all of creation to take heart.

Nearly a dozen times the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel we are told that we need not be afraid because God is with us.

Zechariah tells us: Do not be afraid but let your hands be strong. (8:13)

In Psalm 21 the psalmist asks why we fear when we have the Lord as our rock and protector.

In Psalms 56 and 118 the writer reminds all of us to trust in God when we become fearful.

In Proverbs 3:24 we are encouraged to rest in God alone so that we do not fear.

When we allow assurance in our relationship with God to become part of our fiber, fear oozes away in the warmth of God’s light.  The soldiers in today’s reading do this and their enemy is amazed when they see their courage.

Lysias saw how ready they were to either live or die nobly . . .

Judas Maccabeus

We too, might be ready to live or die nobly if we only allow the Spirit to saturate us.  Perhaps we can make this a Lenten pledge: When fear threatens to overtake us, we will turn to Christ who will remind us . . . Do not fear their numbers or be afraid . . . I am with you. 


A re-post from March 2, 2012.

Images from: http://apoloblogology.blogspot.com/2008_11_01_archive.html and http://phillchida.blogspot.com/2011/06/love-letter-to-my-heavenly-father.html and 

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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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