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Posts Tagged ‘rejoice’


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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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Matthew 26:6-13: The Anointing

An alabaster jar

An alabaster jar

A woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil, and poured it on his head while he was reclining at table.

I am noticing something for the first time about chapter 26 of Matthew as we read the story of the conspiracy against Jesus.  Amid the howling, the deceit, the betrayal and the preparation for the last meal followed by the passion . . . there are 7 brief verses . . . an eye in the storm of the hurricane.  Jesus is anointed . . . and even at this moment of respite, his apostles complain.  He tells us what we have heard so often: The poor are with us always, but now the King is among you.  Rejoice!  My death in this life and Resurrection into the next are upon us!  We know that where Jesus goes, we are invited to follow.

Amidst the jangle and turmoil of a terribly difficult passage in his journey, Jesus relies on God and trusts God’s providence.  He fully understands that we are all – including himself – a part of the whole.  He knows that God’s economy will provide redemption for all . . . and that this redemption rests in him.  His love for his sisters and brothers is so authentic and so intense that he sacrifices himself of his own volition. Why do we worry?  Why are we angry?  We have someone who is willing to do all that it takes to redeem us.  We must find and bring our own alabaster jar for the anointing.

From today’s reflection in MAGNIFICAT (Simon Tugwell, O.P.):  God’s providence does not mean that he has got it [life] all planned out in advance, so that our part is simply to follow.  That is the thought that might well drive us to despair: once we had left the right way, who would help us then?  We may think of God’s providence rather in terms of the way in which he integrates all our free choices, mistakes and sins and all, into his plan.  He is that expert dancer who can make dance even out of the stumblings of the most atrocious partner!  Our hatred, our fear, become the occasion of our redemption, as we see so clearly on Calvary.  (Cameron)

This is what Jesus tells his companions in today’s Noontime reading. Rejoice, salvation is at and, the God who made you in his image, the God who walks among you now, the God who watches over you is showing you a Way for you to come together in him.  And you may bring your mistakes with you!  For God is so good and so whole and so just and loving . . . that there is a seat for everyone at the table.

As we prepare for our own Passover and as we enter into the last weeks of Lent, we can rest in the knowledge and the peace that even our stumbling is made holy by God’s love.  God will integrate all of our free choices – be they sensible or insensible, just or unjust.  God will enter into our Easter dance – be it clumsy or elegant, hurried or slow-paced.  God will lead us into Easter rejoicing . . . if only we might follow.

We celebrate this un-named woman who saw salvation before her eyes . . . and honored it.

We trust that we, too, honor this amazing gift of life eternal.

We hope in the Christ, believe in the Creator, and love in the Holy Spirit.

Let us pause for a moment in the whirlwind of our days . . . give thanks . . . anoint one another . . . and follow Christ.  Let us rejoice!


Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 1.3 (2008). Print.  

First written on March 12, 2008. Revised and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://www.reddirtchronicles.com/2011/01/the-gospel-in-an-alabaster-jar/

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Isaiah 61-63: The Mission of the Afflicted . . . Prayer for the Return of God’s Favor

Sunday, May 28, 2017god's favor

The spirit of the Lord is upon me . . .  I am called an oak of justice, planted by the Lord to show God’s glory.

The people of Isaiah’s day yearned for the intimate presence of their God.  Today, faithful sufferers have this precious union in the protective armor of Christ that they put on each morning.  Today these loyal servants have the nurturing presence of the Holy Spirit to drink in each morning at their rising.  They live in the days of the Presence, the days between the arrival of the Christ and his second coming.  They are the faithful who walk The Way guided by the Maker, accompanied by the Word, dwelt in by the Spirit. And so we pray.

Fellow pilgrims,

When suffering arrives at our door, perches on our shoulders, tears down all that we have seen built up in Christ’s name, we remember this.  We are so blessed. We are so honored. We are so loved, for we walk in the footsteps of the Teacher who shows all God’s children The Way.  We do not shy away from some dreadful task that is done in Christ’s name; rather, we take it up gladly.  For it is in this pain that the kingdom comes.  It is in this suffering that dreams are birthed into reality.  It is in this dreadful passage from dark to light where miracles transport us to the super reality of our transformation and resurrection with Christ.  This is an arduous Way; but it is the way for all who follow Christ.  This is the mission of the afflicted. It is the life of the disciple, and it is the reward of the brokenhearted. 

When suffering arrives at our door remember this . . . it is a sign that we have all been set free.

When suffering arrives at our door remember this . . . it is a spark that will ignite the fire of our love.

When suffering arrives at our door remember this . . . it is a drink of clear water that quenches in the desert.

When suffering arrives at our door remember this . . . it is the arrival of the groom who comes in search of his bride.

When suffering arrives at our door remember all of this.

And when suffering arrives at our door . . . 

Let us rejoice and be glad!

Adapted from a reflection written on May 24, 2008.

 

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Friday, September 12, 2014

The Old Temple Housing the Old Covenant

The Old Temple Housing the Old Covenant

Jeremiah 31:21-40

Good News!

Watered gardens, priests with souls of abundance, shouts of joy, radiance at the generosity of the Lord, new wine and new oil, virgins dancing, old and young men rejoicing together, return from the land of the enemy. Surely all will rejoice with this good news!

Set up road marks, place guideposts, turn and return to God.

Days are coming when the Lord will write a new covenant on our hearts rather than on tablets of stone in the desert. I will be their God and they will be my people. There will be no need for instruction each to his neighbor for all will know the Lord.

Days are coming . . . and indeed they are already here. We have every reason to rejoice!

covenant_black+on+redThis is the Good News of the Return from Exile. It is the description of The Road we must travel. It is the reminder that there is An End to Our Mourning. It is The Summons Home.  It is the Certainty of God’s Promise. And it is the prediction of the Rebuilding of Jerusalem.

We are a people in exile who yearn for the running water which flows through Jerusalem.

We are a pilgrim people who travel The Way laid out for us by Jesus, the Savior.

We are a chastened people who wish to cease mourning.

We are a hopeful people who respond to the Call to turn and return.

We are a faithful people who remember our Covenant with the Creator.

hands in hands

The New Covenant: Our hands in God’s hands . . . our hearts in God’s heart.

We are a loving and love-filled people who tremble with the anticipation of the Holy Spirit.

We are a holy people who witness, work and wait.

For the days are coming and, indeed . . . they are already here!

Adapted from a reflection written on October 24, 2007

 

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Psalm 119:9-16

02bet[1]Beth

I will meditate on your precepts and regard your ways.

Seeking God.  Treasuring God’s word.  Rejoicing in God’s testimonies. Meditating on God’s precepts. Delighting in God’s statutes.

We are made to search, to listen, to think, to act, to celebrate.

God says: When you concentrate on my “laws” you founder and this is because you bring your focus and energy to a black and white world that is not mine.  When you listen to me you bloom.  When you drink in my Word you bear fruit.  When you rejoice in me you find your eternal self.   

We too often live life as a predictable checklist rather than a loving adventure with God.

Today we reflect on the second lesson in Psalm 119.  It is God’s simple request that we rely on God alone.  Tomorrow, Gimel.

I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds . . . (Psalm 77:12)

To learn more about the Hebrew letter Beth, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_One/Aleph-Bet/Bet/bet.html

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