Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘the poor’


Proverbs 13: Walk With the Wise

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Book of Proverbs is a compilation of refrains that come to us over the centuries. We avoid their advice at our own peril; we integrate their lessons for our own good, and for the good of all.

Intelligent children listen to their parents;
    foolish children do their own thing.

Whether we see ourselves as wise or foolish, there is always something to learn from our elders; wisdom is, after all, the patience to listen for, and to respond positively to God’s Word.

Careful words make for a careful life;
    careless talk may ruin everything.

A good person hates false talk;
    a bad person wallows in gibberish.

We know that words matter. Harsh words create anxiety and deepen rifts while positive words enrich our lives and open us to transformation.

A pretentious, showy life is an empty life;
    a plain and simple life is a full life.

The lives of good people are brightly lit streets;
    the lives of the wicked are dark alleys.

Societies based on profit have difficulty understanding God’s goodness. Cultures with structures that care for the marginalized will give preference to the poor when making decisions. Do we live in dark alleys or on brightly lit streets?

 Arrogant know-it-alls stir up discord,
    but wise men and women listen to each other’s counsel.

Easy come, easy go,
    but steady diligence pays off.

We know that humility is the best foundation for a fruitful life. Openness to Jesus as The Word of God brings us the persistence, fortitude, and hope we will need to serve as disciples of Christ.

Ignore the Word and suffer;
    honor God’s commands and grow rich.

Sound thinking makes for gracious living,
    but liars walk a rough road.

Honesty in all our ways may be difficult but trustworthiness comes with great efforts. While we may temporarily deceive those from whom we hide, we know that ultimately the truth will always come forward.

Become wise by walking with the wise;
    hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.

Scholars believe that the Book of Proverbs is a gathering of sayings brought together after the exile experience of the people of Israel. After huge loss and great difficulty, the faithful discover that both their actions and their words matter deeply. They also know that nothing and no one hides from the Creator. As New Testament people, we have as a model the actions of Jesus as he lives out The Word of God. As Easter people, we have the presence and consolation of the Spirit to buoy us up when we are lost or frightened. For all of these reasons, let us decide to walk with the wise rather than play with the foolish.

Today’s verses are taken from THE MESSAGE translation of the Bible. When we compare other translations of these words, we find that the difference between the wise and foolish is not that difficult to distinguish.

 

Read Full Post »


Luke 20: Cornerstone – Part V

First Sunday of Lent, March 5, 2017

James Tissot: Woe Unto You, Scibes and Pharisees

James Tissot: Woe Unto You, Scribes and Pharisees

As we close our reflections on Jesus’ teaching with the Parable of the Tenants, we look at Luke 20, a chapter that describes for us how the people who followed Jesus loved him, and how the leaders of his day despised him.

Luke places this parable in a context that calls us to action. When we spend time with Luke 20 today, we have the opportunity to reflect on this progression of stories: Jesus’ Authority Questioned, the Parable of the Wicked Tenants, The Question About Paying Taxes, The Question About Resurrection, the Question About David’s Son, Jesus Denounces the Scribes. We have the opportunity to explore the meaning of The Rejected Cornerstone. And we have the invitation to take part in the conversion of the world.

We read Luke’s verses and know that it is for us to discover why the Pharisees and Herodians despised Jesus, and it is for us to determine how we will act to change a world that calls for newness. If we take a moment to watch the brief “The Pope Video” on YouTube or at www.thepopevideo.org, we will hear the same challenge the people in Jesus’ time heard. And we will have the same opportunity to decide what we will do.

For more about Pope Francis’ Worldwide Network of Prayer, click on the image below.

popevideo

Read Full Post »


James 2:1-4: Segregation

Wednesday, October 7, 2015Web_handsopen

James describes us to ourselves today and asks this question . . . haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted?

As Christ moves and lives among the poor, he calls out to the influential and powerful to change the structures that force the innocent into cycles of lack and scarcity. We have an opportunity today to reflect on our own theology of poverty and when we listen to the words of Pope Francis on the 90 second audio clip from Vatican Radio, we have an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the Gospel. Listen at: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/06/16/pope_francis_the_theology_of_poverty/1151901

To read about options for the poor and vulnerable, click on the image above or visit: http://www.mncc.org/advocacy-areas/option-for-the-poor-and-vulnerable/

 

Read Full Post »


James 2:1-13Partiality

Tuesday, October 6, 2015Screen-Shot-2013-08-20-at-11.07.57-AM

The Letter of James is based on Old Testament prophetic and sapiential books along with the teachings of Jesus Christ.  His doctrinal message is strong: it is not enough to hear and to believe the message of the Christ . . . one must live it fully as well.  Today’s citation calls us to think about the times when we have been partial in our fervor, partial in our love for Christ Jesus.

One of the easiest ways to measure ourselves in terms of Gospel passion is to look at how we interact with the poor. Not only the fiscally poor can use our support but the poor in spirit, the poor in energy, the poor in cognitive ability, the poor who enter the world and appear to cope with it but who are beaten down by the demands of life. James explains that our lives are meant to be lived as an intentional devotion to Christ and his work.  In James’ times – and in our own relativistic society in which we are encouraged to feel good rather than do good – James gives us much to ponder.

Today’s citation asks us to reflect on the ways in which we cajole one another to abandon God with statements like:  Get a grip, It’s time to get real, When are you going to grow up,  Just cope, What’s the matter with you, Everybody does this so what are you upset about.  The world around us lures into living lives which lack a purity of purpose.

We can assuage our conscience by giving of self to the poor, by working to improve unjust systems . . . when all the while forgetting to tend to the everyday relationships of family, friends and colleagues.  James encourages us to be whole in our worship of Christ, to be as intentional in our actions as we are in our thoughts and prayers. James calls us to the greatest part of ourselves . . . the Christ which is in each of us. James calls us to union in and through and with Christ.

This alone ought to be our mission.

Adapted from a favorite written on October 21, 2008.

Click on the image above to explore quotes from Pope Francis about the poor, or visit: http://www.confrontglobalpoverty.org/our-faith-global-poverty/church-teachings/quotes-poverty-pope-francis/ 

 

Read Full Post »


2 Kings 4:42-44: Some Left Over – Part I

Pope Francis kisses a child as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 5, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pope Francis kisses a child as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 5, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Sunday, August 2, 2015

When I was a child and company arrived unexpectedly on a warm summer afternoon, my mother would whisper to my older sisters, “Go peel another pound of potatoes, and squeeze more lemons for another batch of lemonade”. The main course would stretch, she knew; the other side dishes and desserts were ample. It was the sustaining starch and the refreshing fruit drink that our surprise summer visitors would need for their journey onward.

Each time I read about the manna and quail in the dessert I think of my mother and the trust she placed in God as she and my dad raised their large family in unpredictable times. And when I hear the story of Elisha read out during liturgy as it was last week, I pledge to affirm the faith of my parents, knowing that they understood the power of good stewardship and the gift of conserving what was left over.

“Wasting food is like stealing from the poor,” Pope Francis has told us, and it was is this spirit that I was raised. It is this spirit I have tried to pass on to my children and grandchildren. Offering food and drink to the wayfarer, my parents showed us, extending hospitality to all is a way of life worth fostering; it is a tradition we find in both the Old and New Testaments. Honoring the sudden guest is our affirmation that God always gives us enough. Inviting the lost into a safe refuge is our demonstration of belief in the mercy of God. Husbanding all that is left over is our response to God’s call that we treasure all we are given by a generous and loving God.

Over the next few days we will look at stories from scripture, both old and new, to explore God’s message about sustenance, hospitality, and something left over. Today, we read Pope Francis’ words about food and we use a search engine to find an agency that provides a means for the poor to gain a permanent food supply, and we consider giving something of our wealth left over – even if it is only a few barley loaves and fish – to this cause.

You might begin your search with these organizations, or you might conduct your own search of global or local agencies.

www.foodforthepoor.org, www.moveforhunger.org, www.feedthehungry.org, www.helpthechildren.org

If you still have no idea where to begin, consider food for the poor with the Forbes list of the 50 largest cities in the U.S.A. at http://www.forbes.com/companies/food-for-the-poor/ Or Feed the Future at www.feedthefuture.gov

Tomorrow, bread from heaven. 

Read Full Post »


isaiah-12-6-joy-christmas-550x320Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 21, 2014

Joy and the Prophets

Transient Gift

“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 surprises us from the depths of despair as a people lifts hope high . . . waiting for the coming of the Messiah.

Isaiah 14:7: The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth into shouts of joy.

The world into which Jesus was born was not much different from our own when we consider that corruption, violence, turmoil and shame are countered by truth, love, healing and peace. Certainly in the twenty-first century a portion of us has access to instant global communication, the wonders of modern science and medicine, and the power to make choices about our individual and collective lives. Yet . . . are we happier than the people of Jesus’ time? Are the poor less poor and the rich more compassionate? Do we care about and for one another more? Do we share the resources of God’s creation with one another?

Isaiah 14:7: The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth into shouts of joy.

If we have not already explored how each of us fits into a global picture, we might take time to do so today. We might choose a topic such as poverty, water, food, basic human rights, the status of refugees around the world. We can use a search engine to look for maps or charts; or we might find an organization whose data we trust and see this information as a prophetic call to heal the world. If God speaks to us in such a way that we want to set into motion a healing action, we can visit www.change.org and step into the call we have heard. God gives us the power to become modern-day prophets, the power to lend our own words to a universal call of love, the power to take up this universal invitation to shout for joy at the Messiah’s coming.

Isaiah 14:7: The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth into shouts of joy.

If God’s gift of prophecy is transient, its effects are infinite and everlasting. We step forward today in joyful joyacceptance and thanksgiving for this gift.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urge 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. 877. Print. 

 

Read Full Post »


jesus-lightTuesday, September 30, 2014

Psalms 25

God Shows the Way – Part I

The Lord is good and upright. He shows the path to those who stray, he guides the humble in the right path; he teaches his way to the poor.

The humble, the poor, and those who stray. God tends to those who stumble along The Way Christ shows us.

My eyes are always on the Lord; for he rescues my feet from the snare. Turn to me for I am poor and lonely.

These words touch a chord within us and it may be for this reason that Psalm 25 is frequently used at funerals. We are sending a loved one off on a journey that each of us will take . . . and we are not always certain of the way we ought to go.

Psalm 25 is an acrostic with the first letter of each verse being a successive letter of the alphabet.  As we sing this song, “the palmist mixes ardent pleas (1-2, 16-22) with expressions of confidence in God who forgives and guides”.  (Senior 661)

John 14:1-12 is also often read at a funeral Mass because it brings us comfort to know that there really is no mystery about how to live our lives or what we are to do when we die.

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”

When we are able to find a pocket of calm from which to assess our lives, we know that in subtle ways, and sometimes not so subtle ways, God provides us with a map for our lives. And when we can trust God enough to relax into the goodness that God is, we also realize we are sent suggestions for our lives much like the directions we receive when we plug in a GPS (Global Positioning System). God constantly warns, guides, prods, encourages and finally shows us The Way we are to go. We have only to relax and follow.

From today’s MAGNIFICAT (315) Day by Day reflection by Heather King, a spiritual writer and a convert to Catholicism: This was a God who was with us in our darkest human moments, who had suffered every insult, humiliation, confusion, loneliness that we have.  I’d think, he knew what it is to yearn, to feel like a loser, a failure, and a misfit . . . I began to see that this God – who had the power to do anything; who commanded the sun and stars – had instead consented to empty himself and become the hardest thing in the universe it is possible to be: a mortal being.  He’s become human in order to enter into our daily lives, to be with us every waking and sleeping moment, to fulfill the deepest desire of the human heart: to not be so eternally, everlastingly alone.  In a way I was becoming a believer just because Christ did fulfill the deepest desire of the heart: isn’t it our greatest wish that God not be some faraway abstract entity, but somehow like us?  That God walks among us is so simple we refuse to believe it; it so fulfills our deepest yearning we’re blind to the fact that it actually has been fulfilled . . . Christ is [not] a fairy tale, or wishful thinking, or an illusion.  We can bring things into being only by believing them with the purest of hearts. We can bring into being only the true and the real – “I am the way the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) – what already exists in a sense.

 

Jeremiah tells us that God has a plan in mind for us, a plan for our joy and not our woe.  As we search for The Way, we humble ourselves . . . as God faithfully shows us The Way.

Tomorrow, how can we not follow? God shows the way, part two.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 22.5 (2011): 315. Print.  

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.661. Print.   

Adapted from a reflection written on May 22, 2011.

 

Read Full Post »


Monday, March 12, 2012 – Job 12 – The Undisturbed

The undisturbed esteem my downfall a disgrace . . . yet the tents of robbers are prosperous, and those who provoke God are secure.  I imagine that each of us has wondered at one or another how it is that the sleek and flourishing experience success while the downtrodden suffer endlessly. 

Job tells us that the beasts of the earth and sea and sky understand that God is in charge.  They do not credit themselves with victory in life but rather understand that the world is ordered from a point outside their control.  In his journey of sorrow and pain Job will learn that the trust he has placed in God is warranted; and he suggests that we take a lesson from these creatures: But now ask the beasts to teach you, and the birds of the air to tell you; or the reptiles on earth to instruct you, and the fish of the sea to inform you.  Which of these does not know that the hand of God has done this?  In his hand is the soul of every living thing, and the life breath of all mankind.  Job continues to delineate God’s power in clear terms.  There is no power greater than God’s; there is no understanding more deep, no prudence more sensible.  As followers of Christ we especially know that there is no love more forgiving and more enduring than God’s. 

In his reply to Zophar, Job attempts to describe the enormity and omnipotence of God.  And in speaking to his friend Job assure himself – and us – that even though he suffers innocently he is not forgotten by his all-knowing and all-powerful creator.  Job knows that with patience and an open heart, he will gain the insight of a life lived well: So with old age comes wisdom, and with length of days understanding.  These are gifts from God that we receive through suffering . . . and this is something that those who live undisturbed lives will never learn.

Job is not the only one in scripture to warn us about the opposing worlds of the troubled and the undisturbed.  Paul writes to Timothy: Tell the rich in the present age not to be proud and not to rely on so uncertain a thing as wealth but rather on God, who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment.  (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

The prophet Jeremiah also understands the irony of justice in the world. He recounts the Lord’s words: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord.  He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season . .  . [The wicked] grow powerful and rich, fat and sleek.  They go their wicked way; justice they do not defend by advancing the claim of the fatherless or judging the cause of the poor.  (Jeremiah 17:5-6 and 5:27)

In the book of Wisdom it is the wicked who say: Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training.  He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the Lord.  To us he is a censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us.  (Wisdom 2:12-14)

Scripture is full of advice about how to behave and how to align our lives; but the story of Job is one we will want to hold close, especially when we undergo trials while the successful and cozened lead seemingly charmed lives.  Job’s story – and in particular this response to Zophar – tell us that the dichotomy between the just and the unjust is real.  It is a trial to be borne.  It is a misery to be endured.  Yet through this suffering we receive a gift that the undisturbed will never have.  It is the gift of fully knowing and experiencing God’s great and abiding love.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: