Posts Tagged ‘stubbornness’

Sirach 3:17-29: An Attentive Ear

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Woman whispering and woman listening on a white background

These words are so simple. These words ask so little. These words bring us so much.

Be humble in everything you do, and people will appreciate it more than gifts.

God says: Listen to the words of my servant Sirach. Watch the actions of my incarnate self. Ease into the hands of my always-present Spirit. Be humble, as I am humble. You will receive more than you can imagine.

Don’t try to understand things that are too hard for you, or investigate matters that are beyond your power to know. Concentrate on the Law, which has been given to you. You do not need to know about things which the Lord has not revealed, so don’t concern yourself with them. 

God says: When I ask you to focus on the Law, I am speaking of the Law of Love that I show you in the life of Christ. Love your enemies. Gather those on the margins and tend to them. Your reward in this life and in the next is waiting for you.

Many people have been misled by their own opinions; their wrong ideas have warped their judgment.

God says: It is tempting to listen to yourself alone. While it is true that you need to test the teachers, prophets and spirits to see if they come from me, remember that listening to yourself alone is dangerous for it narrows your world. Open your ears to my voice and attend my wisdom.

Stubbornness will get you into trouble at the end. If you live dangerously, it will kill you. A stubborn person will be burdened down with troubles. 

God says: The attentive ear is always open and discerning because it spends more time listening to me than any other voice that clamors for your attention. When you listen to me, your hear good news that overwhelms the chaos of the world.

There is no cure for the troubles that arrogant people have; wickedness has taken deep root in them. Intelligent people will learn from proverbs and parables. They listen well because they want to learn.

God says: When you think more of yourself than you do of others, you cannot hear my voice. Your ear cannot attend. Your eye no longer sees the beauty that surrounds you. Put your pride behind you and follow me. Open your eyes. Open your ears. Open your heart. The peace and joy I have already planted in you will begin to grow and flourish. Hope and fidelity and love will mark you as my own.


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John 9Against the Light

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Siloam Pool

Siloam Pool

Adapted from a May 14, 2010 favorite.

In the opening verses of this Chapter, Jesus begins to explain that misfortune or disability is not a sign of our sin; it is only misfortune or disability.  Jesus cures a man of blindness as if to make a point.  A miracle occurs yet in verses 8 through 12 we see how the people doubt that the cure has taken place: No, he just looks like him. In verse 13 the Pharisees become involved.  The healing happened on a Sabbath; work has occurred.  This is a transgression for which the temple leaders must have an accounting. This man is not from God.  The healed man is called a second time and asked what has happened, to which he replies  in verse 24.  I told you already and you did not listen.  Why do you want to hear it again?  The Pharisees continue to question and he replies: This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes . . . If this man were not from God he would not be able to do anything. This is a challenge to them.  They cannot comprehend – or accept – the miracle before them and so . . . Then they threw him out.

In the final verses of this chapter Jesus speaks to the healed man to assure him that they have not broken God’s true law – the Law of Love.  Explaining that he is the light that has come into this world of darkness, Jesus gives his listeners something to think about: I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.  This tweaks the Pharisees – who have refused to see and accept this cure as coming from God.  Jesus says to them: If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, “We see”, so your sin remains.  Jesus points out to these men that they have seen the truth and reject it . . . so that they might believe themselves to be in control.  They irony is this:  They were never in control as they have imagined themselves to be.

Christ Healing the Blind Man at Bethsaida: Gioacchino Assereto

Christ Healing the Blind Man at Bethsaida: Gioacchino Assereto

In this story we are again in the world of inversion where up is down and down is up, poor is good, disability is a plus.  Jesus is the light and the Pharisees set themselves against this healing force.  We have the opportunity to examine our reaction to miracles.  Do we accept the gift of life which each of us is offered?  Or do we put aside our petty haranguing with one another in order to unite in Christ?  Are we stubborn Pharisees or are we blind people cured?

Do we flail against the light and insist that what we see is not really happening?  Can we accept in confidence the gift of healing and give back to God our total trust?

If this man were not from God he would not be able to do anything . . . so when the light enters our lives as it so often does let us not thrash against the goodness and the warmth. 

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Psalm 67: Harvest Thanksgiving

Monday, November 23, 2015harvest-thanks-giving_260429

This prayer is an appropriate psalm for this time of year . . . but we might sing it often for all the good God has brought to us . . . for the good God has wrought from harm.

We are givers and receivers of hurt.  Initially, apologies and reparations are difficult to make and they are sometimes difficult to receive.  Yet give and receive them we must for we all err, we may all seek forgiveness, and we are all forgiven.  We may or may not be forgiven by those we injure, even when the injury is unintentional.

From this morning’s MAGNIFICAT intercessions:

Forgive us our pride.

Forgive us our stubbornness of heart.

Forgive us our anger against one another.

Forgive us our greed in all forms.

Forgive us our mercilessness.

Forgive us the harm we have done.

God always waits patiently for our return and while he waits he continues to sustain us, to offer us his garden where we might bring in his harvest.

At this time of harvest, we might gather ourselves as well to offer our acts and our words back to our creator.  We might join in this psalm of thanksgiving and remember that . . .

God is gracious always.

God blesses us constantly.

God saves us faithfully.

And God’s face shines upon us all days.

In the darkest of nights and the brightest of days, let us remember this . . . and be thankful.

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 3.10 (2008). Print.  

A favorite from October 3, 2008.



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