Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘shepherd’


Sirach 27:30-28:7: Limitless 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Jan Van Hemessen: The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Once we begin to enact our own shepherd parable, we will want to keep in constant touch with the healer, guide and protector who calls us. We will need to put aside our negative thoughts and emotions. And we will need to be open to the positive flow of goodness the Shepherd bestows on us.

From last Sunday’s readings (24th Sunday in Ordinary time) we find words of wisdom. Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight. The sins we commit are our many or few big and little separations from God more than a list of specific immoralities. Could anyone refuse mercy to another and expect healing from the LORD? Fortunately for us, the Shepherd forgives endlessly and so we too must practice giving the gift of forgiveness to those who harm us. Sirach describes how we must step away from our dual, black-and-white perspective to open ourselves to the broad, generous arms and heart of the Shepherd.

Claude Vignon: Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus tells his disciples – and he tells us today – that we must forgive endlessly, just as we are forgiven. “I say to you, not seven times seven but seventy-seven times”. Scholars tell us the number 7 is special in scriptural context. It’s special meaning implies a sense of completion or even perfection. Knowing this, we might ask, how much is seventy-seven times, and who among us counts each word of forgiveness as we dole it out to others? Far better, Jesus tells us, when we listen to the lesson of the unforgiving servant, that we forgive others endlessly from our hearts.

Today we reflect on these verses and gather strength to live out our shepherding parable with forgiveness that is more than seven times seven. With forgiveness that is an infinite seventy-seven times.

Read Full Post »


Philippians 2:6-8: Re-Creation

Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017

[Jesus] always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. (GNT)

In this Lententide, we have meditated on the humility we might learn on our Emmaus journey; we ponder the outrageous hope we have in the Spirit. We have considered the phoenix rising from ashes as we have pledged to remain in God. We have admitted that we are children of God who rest in Christ; and we have determined to remain in the world while not being of it. We have reflected on the act of allowing ourselves to be de-created so that we might become new in Christ. Today, as we celebrate the wondrous miracle of new life that conquers death, we come to terms with our human yet divine nature.

Jesus emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. (NRSV)

Richard Rohr tells us, “All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain . . . If we cannot find a way to make our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably become cynical, negative, or bitter . . . If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it – usually to those closest around us: our family, our neighbors, our work partners, and, invariably, the most vulnerable, our children”. (Rohr 119)

Jesus shows us how we might allow our suffering to save ourselves and others.

Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. (MSG)

On this great day we might celebrate the breaking of chains of death that none thought breakable. When we witness Christ in his interactions with those who were crucified with him, and later the women and men who discovered the empty tomb, we do not see Christ puffed up in glory. Rather, we find a humble and loving shepherd who leaves an entire flock in order to rescue a single sheep.

On this great day we celebrate the invitation to re-create ourselves in Christ. We give thanks for the invitation to redemption in Christ. And we rejoice in the promise of hope the Spirit offers us. Let us accept these caring gifts with humility, fidelity and love.

The feast of Easter is an eight-day celebration, so this week we will consider how and where we might show our gratitude to God for these gifts of eternal salvation.

Richard Rohr, OFM. The Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.  

To spend more time with these verses, use the scripture link to read varying translations of these words, and to open our hearts to these remarkable gifts of faith, hope and love.

 

Read Full Post »


Luke 1-2: Behold the Christ

Antonio Baletsra:

The Nativity – detail

Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, 2016

In this final week of Advent, let us decide to make our hopes tangible, our dreams a prayer for our reality, our faith unwavering and our love secure. Let us cleave to the Creator, follow the Redeemer and rest in the Spirit. This week let us give one another the gift of preparing for the very real promise of eternity.

The high priest Zechariah learns patience so that he might behold Emmanuel, God Among Us. While he awaits the birth of his only child who will become the announcer and baptizer of the Christ, he waits in patient hope until the day his speech returns.

And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” (Luke 1:20)

The girl Mary learns that God can do the impossible when the angel Gabriel visits her with the astounding news that she will bring the Light of the World to waiting humanity.

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. (Luke 1:31)

Mary learns the astounding news that her elderly cousin Elizabeth has conceived life. An affirmation that with God, all things are possible.

And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. (Luke 1:36)

Mary learns that her confidence in God is rewarded as she responds with her, “Yes,” to God’s invitation to enter into union with all of creation in a most special way.

And Mary said, “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)

Elizabeth learns that her young cousin Mary is the new ark of the new Word. These kinswomen greet one another just as each of us might if we understand God’s message of hope.

For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. (Luke 1:44)

The marginalized shepherds learn the redeeming news that the Messiah has come to live among them as a vulnerable child.

But the angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; (Luke 2:10)

The wise man Simeon learns that his outrageous hope has been rewarded. He has met the Savior of the World, just as God has promised.

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— (Luke 2:34)

The woman Mary learns that this child she must share with world for the redemption of all is fully human and fully divine.

When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” (Luke 2:48)

Each of us is given the opportunity on this Good Night to become apostles of Christ. Each of us might carry Christ within and share him with the world. Each of us truly human and truly divine as our brother Jesus tells us. Each of us is given the gift of this Nochebuena, this wonderful Good Night. Let us rejoice with the shepherds. Let us give our confident “yes” to God’s plan. And let us behold the marvelous gift we hold in our hands.

In the Hispanic culture Christmas Eve bears the title of Nochebuena. Read more about this custom at: http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/spain.shtml

These verses are taken from the NASB translation of Luke. Other versions open this story so that our ears might hear, our eyes might see, and our hearts might open wide to welcome Christ into our lives in a very real, very human, very divine way.

adoratio

Read Full Post »


Isaiah 13:11-22The Desolation of Babylon

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ruins of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Ruins of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

These are dreadful words and even more dreadful images yet the message is an important one.  We might do well to remember that the dreaded Babylonians who swept down from the north were later swept away by the Assyrians, who were taken over by the Persians, who were displaced by the Romans.  This is the message of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the story of Daniel.  A series of invaders will take political control over the land of the faithful . . . and the faithful must persevere despite the outward appearance that God is not among them.

We must remind ourselves as Resurrection people that God walks among us, lives among us, suffers with us and loves with us.  The outward appearance of loss and destruction cannot matter.  What appears to be desolation is in truth a path to restoration.

If we are truly a resurrection people, we must remember this.

We will want to read other versions of these verses as we consider this Old Testament God who appears to send destruction and ruin to those who have wandered too far from the shepherd’s loving care. As resurrection people . . .  How do we reconcile these verses with words from the prophet Hosea? Do these words reflect the kingdom Jesus describes and enacts? And what kind of response do these reflections engender in us? 

A Favorite from April 6, 2008. Click on the image above to learn more about the ruins of Babylon, or visit: http://www.biblebasics.co.uk/arch/arch12.htm

Read Full Post »


Matthew 9:35-38: The Compassion of Jesusharvest

May 22, 2015

We have spent time with Jesus as he heals leprosy, paralysis and blindness, stills an intense and dangerous storm and enables the mute to speak. We have followed him as he casts out demons, admonishes corrupt leaders and heals an older woman’s hemorrhaging on his way to raise a young woman from the dead. We listen to Jesus when he reminds us to use shrunken cloth to mend our old cloaks and to put our new wine into new skins. Jesus is well aware of the suffering that surrounds him yet he does not shrink from the painful challenge; rather, he brings joy and healing and transformation.

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.

Let us imagine a world in which we all proclaim the good news, in which we all teach with our example of witness, in which we touch our enemies and friends alike with compassion.

At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.

Let us imagine a world in which we shepherd one another when our hearts are low and our spirits falter, in which we act in mercy rather than revenge, in which we look for union rather than separateness.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send the laborers for his harvest.

Let us imagine a world in which masters and laborers work together to bring compassion to work places across the globe, in which parents and children act in love and peace in their homes, in which leaders and followers find common ground for the common good.

As we prepare for the Feast of Pentecost and the close of Eastertide, let us imagine a world such as this . . . and let us step into the role that Jesus has in mind for us as we bring Christ’s compassion to the world.

Visit the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Movement site at www.catholicworker.org or another site of your choice, and be open to the harvesting work to which God may be calling you. Share your experience in a blog comment and invite others to join in Jesus call of compassion for the world.

Read Full Post »


Sunday, January 6, 2013 – Matthew 9:35-38 – The Compassion of Jesus

sheep-with-shepherd[1]A year ago we looked at these verses and today they pop up again. When familiar scripture returns we have the opportunity to look a bit deeper – and today is no exception.  A year ago we looked at the meaning of Epiphany, the state of being surprised by something we already know but have not yet acknowledged.  Today we fast forward to watch Jesus at work among the crowds who throng to him now that the word has spread about his healing goodness.  When we look more closely at these few short verses, where is the epiphany for us?  Where is the surprise?

What is it that moves Jesus to grow into one who heals the blind, deaf, mute and diseased? At the sight of the crowds . . .

When is it that we see Jesus in our own lives?  When is he beside us on the bus or train? When does he ride in the back seat of the car?  When does he work in the cubicle down the row?  When does he stand in the grocery line with us?   At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them . . .

Why is it that Jesus continually forgives, consistently shows mercy and always delivers justice?  Why do we shrink from his offer of relationship when we are rejected by others?  Why do we turn away from the source of all goodness when we are distressed? At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned . . .

How is it that God walks among us healing constantly, consoling always and touching our lives with many small miracles and we do not see?  At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. 

Jesus comes to us to mend and console.  This is not surprising when we read his story.  This is no Epiphany.

God gives us the choice to follow or reject Christ.  This is not surprising when we consider how much God loves us.  Neither is this is an Epiphany.

The Spirit accompanies and protects us at all times.  This is not surprising when we remember the promise of the cross.  Not even this is an Epiphany when we know the Gospel story.

At the sight of the crowds . . . We are only one in a crowd of billions and yet God knows our smallest needs and greatest hopes.  Perhaps this is our Epiphany.  God so loves us that he sends his only child into the world to retrieve and shepherd us.  Christ so loves us that he is willing to redeem us.  Christ’s compassion knows no bounds . . . so let us then respond to God’s call with our own Epiphany.  Let us surprise ourselves . . . and follow willingly.

To read an interesting blog post on what it means to be Sheep, click on the image above or go to: http://tndickersondiaries.blogspot.com/2011/02/and-we-think-were-so-smart.html

Read Full Post »

Restoration


Wednesday, October 31, 2012 – Amos 9:11-15 – Restoration

Worker’s tools used in the restoration of the wall at the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem

We have reflected on surprise.  We have reflected on The New Order of the Word who is Alpha and Omega – beginning and end.  Today we read about Restoration. . . the return from exile . . . the state we all seek.

I love reading this book by the prophet who left his work as a shepherd in Judah to denounce the empty wealth of the northern tribes.  His words rankled the power structure and so he was expelled from Bethel . . . to return to his pastoral work.  He brought a message of destruction . . . but a destruction which carries within the promise of restoration for the faithful.  This may be a surprise to many.  It is certainly the message of The Word.  It is The New Order of things.  It is Restoration of the Remnant.  Do we have the fortitude, the perseverance, the hope, the love . . . to be remnant?

When our own fallen hut is raised up . . .  do we recognize the voice of the shepherd enough to follow it? 

When the breaches have been healed . . . do we allow our wounds to cure so that we might hear the new words of the shepherd?

When the plowman and the vintager overtake the reaper and the sower . . . will we know the way to the celebration with the shepherd?

When the ruined cities are rebuilt . . . will we recognize our new homes?

When we arrive to drink the new wine and eat the new fruits . . . will we possess the white garment to wear at the marriage feast?  Will we recognize Christ as the groom . . . and ourselves as the Bride?

Written on October 31, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

To learn more about the restoration of Jerusalem’s walls, click on the image above or go to: http://www.allartnews.com/jerusalems-five-century-old-walls-restored-at-cost-of-5-million-idiosyncracies-and-all/

To learn more about Bethel, go to: http://bibleatlas.org/bethel.htm

Read Full Post »


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Psalm 121:3: God will not let your foot slip and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.

Málaga, Spain: The World’s Most Dangerous Footpath

We panic too quickly.  We lack trust. We believe in our own futile powers more than God’s.  We forget that God has and is all. 

God says: I do not mind that you are afraid to trust me.  I do not worry that you believe in yourself more than you believe in me.  I will always be waiting for you.  I will always be guarding you.  I will always be guiding and calling you.  There is nothing you can do or say that will cause me to turn away. I am with you always.  If you are exhausted, put down your head and sleep awhile.  If you are hungry, dine with me this evening.  If you are lonely, spend some time with me.  If you are sad or fearful, come to me. 

Let us be mindful that God does not break the promises he makes . . . and let us aim to keep our own promises.

Let us remember that God abides by the covenants into which he enters . . . and let us endeavor to remain faithful to our own vows.

Let us consider that God is the eternal shepherd and sentinel . . . and let us aspire to the same constancy and abiding love in our own relationships.

As we travel along today’s portion of our journey, let us consider that even the most treacherous path becomes an easy passage . . .  when we walk with God.

To learn more about the Caminito del Rey, or the world’s most dangerous footpath, click on the image above or go to: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6055150/The-worlds-most-dangerous-footpath.html 

To reflect on becoming a good shepherd, click on the image of the forest path or go to: http://skyranchskymoms.blogspot.com/2011/12/teach-intentionallygod-is-good-shepherd.html 

Enter the word fidelity into the search box on this blog and spend some time reflecting today.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: