Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 23’

Ezekiel 34: Parable of the Shepherds – Part II

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

In Psalms 23, 28, 78 and 80 the Holy Spirit brings us beautiful words of the comforting, guiding, protecting shepherd.  In the wisdom book of Ecclesiastes chapter 12 we also hear and see the image of “shepherd”.  If we choose one of these Books or Chapters today, and reflect on the sacred words, we open our hearts and minds to the Parable of the Shepherds, and we give ourselves an opportunity to enact our own parable.

Tomorrow, the prophets and shepherds. 

Adapted from a Favorite written on January 20, 2008.

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Isaiah 33: A Prophecy of Deliverance

Thursday, May 18, 2017

There is good news to celebrate . . . we are delivered from bondage.  We live in the Messianic age; the promised deliverer has arrived to live among us.   We are no longer chained.  We are not abandoned. We are not alone.

Yesterday’s Mass readings called us to reflect on the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep well . . . and whose sheep know him.  I know mine and mine know me.  Today we continue that theme.  The readings from Acts (Chapters 2 and 11) tell us the story of Peter who witnesses to the presence of the Resurrected Christ.  Psalms 23, 42 and 43 describe how God takes care of us and how we thirst after this Living God.  We learn how to shepherd well.   A Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  We hear about false shepherds.  A hired man runs away and leaves his sheep because they are not his own . . . the sheep scatter and run . . . the wolf catches them. 

In today’s Noontime reading, Isaiah describes for us what happens when the true shepherd arrives to call his sheep back to the fold.  Those who attacked and scattered the innocent sheep are now themselves assaulted.  The spoils of the conflict disappear in the jaws of the locusts; they are gathered up like the crops taken up by caterpillars.  Just when the land is deserted and hushed, just when treaties are broken and fire devours the land . . . this is when deliverance happens.  The counters of treasures, the insolent, the corrupt, all of these will be gone while those faithful who have been scattered will now live on the heights.  Their refuge will be the fortresses of rocks; their food will be supplied, their water assured.  And Christ’s Rock, Peter, witnesses today, telling those gathered to listen to his story of how a vision came to him with an assignment as God’s Shepherd.  I was at prayer when in a trance I had a vision . . . The Spirit told me to accompany three men without discriminating against them.  Peter goes on to explain how God has called him to Shepherd the gentiles along with the Jewish people who have come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

And so today we pray.

Good and faithful God,

You have promised that you will not abandon us . . . teach us how to not abandon others.

You have brought us the gift of hope and renewal . . . teach us to be open to the restoration you have in mind for us.

You have promised us peace and prosperity . . . teach us how to live in peace despite the turmoil we cause.

You have been the Good Shepherd . . . never abandoning us . . . never betraying us . . . teach us to live in fidelity to you.

We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

A Favorite from May 16, 2011.

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Titus 3:8-10Sparks Among the Stubble

Friday, February 10, 2017sparks-586065_960_720

This reflection is adapted from a Favorite written on All Souls’ Day, November 2, 2009 and is posted today for those who feel lost in the present climate of fear and anger.  

The letter to Titus is brief but contains powerful words; we read some of them today.  They have a great deal to teach us and when we reflect on them in light of today’s celebration – the celebration of All Souls – and they tell us that we have some place deeper to go . . . the body of Christ.

The Mass readings today are the 23rd Psalm along with Wisdom 3:1-9, Romans 5:5-11 and John 6:37-40.  In the Old Testament reading we have the beautiful image of souls flying like sparks rising from a burning stubble.  In the Psalm we receive great comfort in all trials.  In Paul’s letter and in John’s Gospel we have the message that Christ has returned to take each of us into him . . . to return each of us to the Creator where we rightly belong.

As we reune and commune with our loved ones today who have gone before us, let us think of how we suffer for one another that we might be together.  And then let us take on the bigger challenge offered by Christ – that we might suffer as gladly for those who are our enemies.

In his letter to Titus, Paul cautions that once we make an overture to those who have left God’s side we must allow Christ himself to step in so that he might do what is necessary to turn all back to the saving power of God.  As we sing with the souls of the departed that shine and dart about as sparks through stubble, as we receive the love of God poured out into our hearts . . . and know that this doctrine is sure . . . we must allow ourselves to be raised in and with Christ so that we might dart and fly among the stubble of the world to bring God’s transformative message of the promise of eternal life in Christ.

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