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Posts Tagged ‘separation’


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

david repent[1]2 Samuel 11 and 12 and Psalm 51

Sin and Parable – Part IV

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 

The separation from society when murder is arranged and enacted is evident. Yet what we often fail to see is the damage which occurs to the murderer, the arranger. This man or woman who either commits the act, causes or arranges the act is in such a place of darkness and of self-importance that the light does not penetrate. And the fact that lust, adultery and murder are here so closely entwined is an important one. Lust which is acted upon is a kind of murder, both of self and of the other.

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

David serves as a wonderful model of how those who are blessed with amazing gifts are not immune from suffering.  David ennobles himself through his pain by admitting guilt and repenting.  David turns back to Yahweh. David and is forgiven and loved by Yahweh . . . eternally.

We might allow our pain to transform us into wounded healers. We might return to ask forgiveness. We might ennoble ourselves through the admission of guilt.  e might turn back and repent for we, like David, are always and forever loved by God.


Adapted from a reflection written on February 13, 2008.

For a blog posting on David’s faith, click on the image above or go to: http://dreamsalongtheway.blogspot.com/p/sermon-series-man-who-would-be-king.html

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Ezekiel 48:35: The Lord is Here – Part II

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tablets of Jewish Exiles

Tablets of Jewish Exiles

We know that when the prophet Ezekiel was deported, he was taken to a small village on a canal near the banks of the river Chebar. Scholars believe that around the year 597 B.C.E. he trekked with others from Israel to Syria, then south through modern Iraq. He may even have volunteered to accompany an early wave of deportees before the collapse of Israel in 593 B.C.E.  In any case, he was called by the Spirit to speak, and to write down the oracles sent to him.  And he obeyed.  An essay in the CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE tells us that despite the fact that he uses the pronoun “I” so frequently, he “showed little initiative and remained completely obedient to God, like clay in the hands of the potter.  He never questioned God’s complete control”.  (Senior RG 337-338)

Ezekiel was a strong influence in his community and kept before the exiled the central importance of the temple and the presence of the Lord – even though the temple had been defiled, and the faithful could no longer visit its sacred precincts. It is likely that through priests like Ezekiel, the Jewish community was able to cling to Yahweh through the excruciating trial of separation, and so we can look to him as an exemplar of how to best live when we are physically separated from something we hold dear.  We must allow the healing waters of the Spirit to flow through our temple – because the Lord is Here.  He is in the suffering, he is in the healing, and he is in the rejoicing.

When we are faced with deep disappointment or separation from all we love, how do we respond? Today we consider this question as we remember that God is especially with us when we suffer.

The River Chebar today

The River Chebar today

From the CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE (NAB) Readers’ Guide page 337: The last chapters of Ezekiel describe the new temple in the New Jerusalem and the description “offers a vision of fresh water, flowing from the altar, down the Kidron Valley, into the Dead Sea.  It is part of a biblical tradition, symbolically declaring that all life flows from God, enthroned at the Temple . . .  The long passage in Sirach 24 transforms this stream into the four rivers of paradise, awaiting the wise person and true worshipper.  The Temple accordingly becomes a symbol of the messianic era and mirrors God’s true and everlasting home in heaven. . .  The passage from Ezekiel, especially its opening words [in 47:1-12], has inspired the ancient paschal hymn, in Latin Vidi aquam, ‘I saw water.’  Water became an important feature in the Easter liturgy.  The Book of Ezekiel ends fittingly with the new name for Jerusalem, The Lord is here’.”

When we spend time with this prophecy today, we have the opportunity to feel the presence of God as we remember and reflect . . . we are Easter People . . . cleansed by Easter water . . . and the Lord is among us.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 337. Print.   

Adapted from a Favorite written on September 15, 2007.

For more on the Babylonian exile of the Israelites, visit the Encyclopedia Britannica at: http://www.britannica.com/event/Babylonian-Exile 

 

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Wisdom 1: The Key to Lifekey of life

March 10, 2015

Love justice . . . seek the Lord with integrity of heart . . .

Perverse counsels separate a man from God . . .

The holy spirit of discipline flees deceit and withdraws from senseless counsels . . .

When injustice occurs it is rebuked . . .

God is the witness of the inmost self and the sure observer of the heart . . .

The spirit of the Lord fills the world, is all-embracing, and knows what each one says.

No one who utters wicked things can go unnoticed . . .

A jealous ear hearkens to everything . . .

Discordant grumblings are no secret . . .

Guard against profitless grumbling, and from calumny withhold your tongues . . .

A stealthy utterance does not go unpunished . . .

A lying mouth slays the soul . . .

Justice is undying.

God says: These words of wisdom are sent to you through my servant who recorded these thoughts for you centuries ago. They are ancient words yet they hold modern meaning. In this season of Lent as you anticipate the miracle of Easter, open your arms, widen your horizon, unbend your stiff neck and renew your heart. Separation from me does not occur like a thunder clap or an explosion; rather, it begins by tiny steps away from me, away from the light that breaks through all darkness and calls forth all healing. If you wish to hold the keys to life, remain in me as I remain in you. I will give you rest and mercy and peace. 

Use the scripture link to explore different versions of these verses, and allow them to reveal the wisdom of God’s words.  

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0014 - tour negev night fire tree

Night Camp in the Negev Desert

Leviticus 13: Outside the Camp

February 21, 2015

In the Book of Leviticus we find hundreds of laws that are meant to regulate a faith-governed Jewish life. Ironically, these rules created by men to assure fidelity too often create a world that our divine creator did not intend. Just so is the admonition we read today.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “If someone has on his skin a scab or pustule or blotch which appears to be the sore of leprosy, he shall be brought to Aaron, the priest, or to one of the priests among his descendants. If the man is leprous and unclean, the priest shall declare him unclean by reason of the sore on his head. (13:1-2)

We might argue that this quarantine preserves the human race and that the separation is necessary. But what might we say about our obligation to tend to the needs of this isolated community?

The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare, and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean, since he is in fact unclean. He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp”. (44-46)

How might we see our own beliefs and actions in our daily lives when we encounter people, places and themes that we see as unclean?

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish you can make me clean”. Move with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean”. The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. (Mark 1:40-42)

As we continue our Lenten journey, we pause for a time today to reflect on these verses and to consider how we enact Christ’s actions in our lives. How do see those who are set apart? How do we deal with themes, places and persons segregated from our own careful societies? How do we interact with those outside our clearly delineated camp?

For further reflection, read about Fr. Damien and the U.S. National Historic Site on the Hawaiian island of Molokai and those who suffer from Hansen’s Disease at: http://visitmolokai.com/kala.html

For information on biking tours in the Negev Desert, click on the image above or visit: http://www.veredgo.com/dynamic/tours/about/Biking+through+the+Negev+Desert/ 

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Ignatius Loyola

Ignatius Loyola

Friday, December 26, 2014

Joy and Exile

Baruch 5

“The office of prophet was due to a direct call from God. It was not the result of heredity, just as it was not a permanent gift but a transient one, subject entirely to the divine will”. (Senior 877) Today joy comes upon us from the depths of fear experienced by a people lost and roaming . . . as we rejoice in the coming of the Messiah.

Baruch, the well-known secretary of the prophet Jeremiah, records beautiful verses in both poetry and prose that present a prayer for displaced people. Viewed in this way, the words help those who are lost or misplaced, those who suffer during this time of year when so many others celebrate. When contemplated in the silence of personal exile, these ancient words might set lost feet down on ground once thought unstable; they might give a new horizon and a clear path to those living abandoned or in pain. On this day following the arrival of God in our midst, we take time with these words and rhymes . . . as we listen for God’s message of hope, healing and joy.

Take off your robe of mourning and misery . . .

God says: Your days of loss and suffering have come to an end.

Bear on your head the mitre that displays the glory of the eternal name . . .

God says: Decide to stand in the joy I shower on you . . .

God will show all the earth your splendor . . .

God says: I know that you believe I have abandoned you . . .

You will be named for God forever . . .

God says: Yet I have never left your side, I have never left your heart . . .

Look to the east and the west and see your children gathered at the word of the Holy One . . .

God says: Do not despair that all of your energy and work have been lost for in this you are incorrect . . .

Led away on foot by their enemies they left you . . .

God says: You have been apart and separate for a time but you have not been alone . . .

God will bring them back to you . . .

God says: All of your lost hopes are not, in fact, lost. They live on in all those whom you have touched as you have traveled your road of exile and sadness. Do you not see how many ripples you have sent out upon the waters?

For God has commanded that every lofty mountain be made low, and that the age old depths and gorges be filled to level ground . . .

God says: Have I not just done the impossible . . . arrived as God yet as a human babe?

joyFor God is leading you in joy, by the light of holy glory, with mercy and justice for company.

God says: Remember that I have done all of this and more. I continue to hold you in my own heart and plans. You continue to be more important to me than you imagine. Each time you show mercy despite your painful circumstances you tell the world about my love for you. Each time you stand for justice despite your littleness you show the world the great love I have placed in you. Each time you live in me, my heart bursts with happiness in you. Remember all of this and know that I love you . . . and know that I always will.

Today we give thanks for God’s constant attendance on us . . . even in those times when we have felt alone. If the holiday season is a time of trial, spend time with Baruch today.

Listen to an interview with Fr. James Martin, S.J., conducted by Krista Tippett and posted at www.onbeing.org Allow all feeling of separation and abandonment to become joy in “Finding God in All Things”. Listen at: http://onbeing.org/program/james-martin-finding-god-in-all-things/7121/audio?embed=1

For more about the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, click on the image above, or visit: http://sacred-texts.com/chr/seil/

Also visit: https://thejesuitpost.org/2012/03/the-exercises-the-ignatian-adventure/?gclid=CjwKEAiA_NmkBRCe3ubC1aWAtEcSJACxkkbq2_vDdXCBma8StGvC_eeJP2AQRzAgPHbsU0oHgiQDExoCPrXw_wcB

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/

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. RG 323. Print.

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parent-worthyMonday, October 20, 2014

1 Thessalonians 2:11-13

God’s Eternal Call

As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you conduct yourselves as worthy of the God who calls you . . .

We linger with the thoughts that Jeremiah’s words bring to us in the 21st Century. This prophecy continues to move us millennia after it was first spoken. Each of us has experienced exile from a loved one or a loved place. Each of us has known the devastation of corrupt leadership and betrayal. Each of us has received God’s call to live in a manner worthy. Before we allow the words of the prophet to cease their resonating power, let us reflect on the power of God’s persistent, endless love.

God’s Eternal Call

This stillness of separation nurtures sweet embers of hope . . . for God is near.

The darkness of rejection gives way to a rising spark of confidence . . . for God is at hand.

Vertigo of displacement, sting of betrayal, agony of deception . . . consumed by God’s burning desire to live within.

Overcome not by darkness but by the piercing light of God’s love.

Fire of courage sweeps through dry tinder of exile.

Flames of resolution rise up to greet the call.

Anger, revenge, corruption . . . disappearing in the conflagration of God’s indwelling.

Hope, fidelity, love . . . living in a manner worthy of God’s eternal call. 

St. Paul reminds the Thessalonians – and he reminds us – that despite trials and suffering, God’s word is at work in us. This word will not be extinguished. This words breaks forth in the darkest of times. This word is the unceasing presence of God’s fervent call. Let us live in thanksgiving of this worthy indwelling.

And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly, that, in receiving not a human word but, as it truly is, the word of God, which is now at work in you . . .

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