Posts Tagged ‘the voice’

1 Corinthians 2:1-3: Polished Speeches

Tuesday, February 14, 2017isaiah-30-21

I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.

In our present world we might well hesitate to speak or act for fear of abandonment or retribution. Paul and Isaiah give us words we need to hear.

God says: If you do not speak up for my little ones because you worry about finding the words for a polished speech, you go astray. When you live in me, my Holy Spirit will give you the words you will need. If you do not act in defense of the marginalized because you fear you do not have enough courage, you wander far from The Way. When you live in Christ, my Son will give you the strength and persistence to act as you know you must act. Rest in my Spirit and you are never without resource. Abide in Christ and you are never alone. Remain in me and you will never be without all that you need to see you through this day.

Isaiah says: If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying, “Here is the road. Follow it.” (30:21)

When we compare various translations of these verses, we find the strength to persevere in the face of obstacles, and graceful words for our simple but polished speeches.

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Micah: The Promise of the Shepherd

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A shepherd at his sheep gate near Nazareth

A shepherd at his sheep gate near Nazareth

We have examined the construct of deception and how envy and hope show us divergent journeys through life. We have spent time with the prophet Micah who speaks to both fraudulent leaders and God’s vulnerable, faithful followers. With Micah, we have examined the true path to perfection and celebrated the promise of restoration offered us each day by the Creator.

“With burning eloquence [Micah] attacked the rich exploiters of the poor, fraudulent merchants, venal judges, corrupt priests and prophets”. (Senior 1140) The prophet’s testimony foreshadows Jesus’ words. Do we believe that God comes to live among us? And what does God’s presence look like? And how will we recognize this consoling presence?

Through Micah, God says: Woe to those who plan iniquity, and work our evil on their couches.” (2:1)

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says: Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:24)

Through Micah, God says: I will assemble all the remnant of Israel; I will group them like a flock in the fold, like a herd in the midst of the corral; they shall not be thrown I to a panic by men. With a leader to break the path they will burst open the gate and go out through it; their king shall go through before them, and the Lord at their head”. (2:12-13)

In the Gospel of John, Jesus says: Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good – a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it. (John 10:1-6)

Those who were listening to Jesus’ voice: had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good – sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for – will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. ( John 10:7-10)

The Creator speaks to us through the prophet Micah. The Creator visits us in the person of Jesus. The Creator lives in us as the healing presence of the Holy Spirit. Let us listen to the promise given us this day; let us share this gift of hope and redemption with others; and let us persist in listening for and following the voice of the genuine shepherd.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1140. Print.   

Enter the word promise into the blog search bar and explore.


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Haggai 2: Promise of Immediate Blessing

Tuesday, June 7, 2016rainbow3

Perhaps we believe that we ought to postpone grace and blessings, that we ought to wait for the reward of our hard work for the day we move from this world to the next; but this thinking forgets that the kingdom is here, the kingdom is now. And it forgets that we are called to witness to the kingdom each day, to experience its joy and to spread its good news.  Our problem is that it is so difficult to see the kingdom through the smoke screen of life. The confusion of un-kept vows and broken people obscures our view of God’s plan for the world; but God’s promise is with us just as are the stars that scatter across the sky. We cannot see these heavenly bodies in the fierce light of the sun but still they are there, guiding us when night is the darkest.

One moment yet, a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.  I will shake the nations, and all the treasures of all the nations will come in, and I will fill this house with glory.

What will happen when the shaking begins?  Where will we be?  Where will we and our loved ones tumble?  Will we still able to hear the voice of God?

Haggai and Zechariah speak to the tired remnant, calling them to rebuild the fallen city of hope.  They look upon ruin and dream of what might be.  When we listen to these prophets, we have the choice to follow the admonition to build or to lapse into a self-serving life.  Our action – or our inaction – determines our ability to hear The Word when spoken.

And I will set you as a signet ring; for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts.

Life is tumultuous and the only words of clarity that come to us come from the Creator.  All else is illusion and obfuscation.

I will shake the heavens and the earth; I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms, destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations. 

God overthrows power and comforts the powerless.  God rebukes those who take what they want and saves the broken-hearted.  God chooses the damaged and wounded, the betrayed and the abandoned and he heals them . . . for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts.

God pledges to fulfill promises, and this kingdom of hope and promise is now.  Amid the cacophony and the haze, we must keep our ear tuned to the Voice which can be trusted. We must keep our eye on the One sent to lead us from the confusion. We must rely on the Spirit that dwells within . . .  for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts.

From a reflection written on May 28, 2008.

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1 & 2 Chronicles: Our Sacred History – Part III

Sunday, May 22, 2016Woman-Listening-Touching-Arm-Small


When we achieve success we must recognize that complacency and comfort bring more sorrow than joy. True, meaningful and lasting happiness are born of sorrow more often than laughter.

What do we do when the world begins to splinter around us as a prelude to falling apart? How do we gather ourselves when our interior self begins to fracture and break? How do we handle our own deep grief or intense sorrow of loved ones? Why is listening – fully listening – to our individual and shared stories so important to the human experience? Today we invite the Spirit into our lives and we open our hearts to an honest examination of our attempts to follow in Christ’s Way. We see the beauty of God’s great love that bridges all chasms, masters all obstacles, and heals all wounds. And we discover the gift of listening . . . God’s patient listening to us, our earnest listening to God, and the shared listening of family, friends and colleagues.

When division separates us from God or others, we must follow in The Way and learn to listen with the heart, the mind and the soul. And so it is that we discover the importance of the human and divine voice in ourselves and others, and how these shared voices bring to fullness the beauty of God’s merciful, healing kingdom.

The two books of Chronicles have four major portions: a genealogy of our leaders beginning with Abraham (1 Chronicles 1-9), a description of the monarchy under David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 9 – 2 Chronicles 9), the divided kingdom (2 Chronicles 10-18), and the period from Hezekiah to the Babylonian exile (2 Chronicles 19-36). This story of divine promise interwoven with human commitment and infidelity tell a story that we might see reflected in our own personal sacred history. This story is worthy of our time.

storypage3Listen to Krista Tippett’s conversation with David Isay, on Listening as an Act of Love, and consider the importance of our individual and collected sacred history. Isay is the creator and President of StoryCorps, an ongoing oral history project. Learn more at: http://www.onbeing.org/program/david-isay-listening-as-an-act-of-love/6268/audio?embed=1 or https://www.ted.com/talks/dave_isay_everyone_around_you_has_a_story_the_world_needs_to_hear?language=en 

To learn more about StoryCorps, click on the image above or visit: https://storycorps.org/ 

To hear David Isay’s TedTalk, visit: https://www.ted.com/talks/dave_isay_everyone_around_you_has_a_story_the_world_needs_to_hear 

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Judges 17: As We Are – Part II

Saturday, December 19, 2015intimacy-with-god1

In this time of Advent, as we expect the coming of light and truth, we reflect on our relationship with Gad and the intimacy we give and receive.  

As a community, the ancient Hebrews in their relationship with Yahweh were continually looking for something to excite or interest them while at the same time walking away from a profound intimacy with a God who loves them more than they can imagine.  As believers today, we are in relationship with God and frequently we look for something we already have . . . the presence within that keeps us from harm and that draws us continually to our own divine origin.  For some reason, we humans struggle with relationships that bring us to the truth of ourselves, relationships that ask us to grow, relationships that fulfill through their constancy.

There is no lack of stories – either about famous celebrities or the people in our own circles of friends and families – of men and women who cannot maintain fidelity.  What is it we fear?  Seeing ourselves in the mirror of the beloved’s eyes?  Finding that we prefer the instant, superficial image that others have of us rather than the enduring truth of who we are?

We need not succumb to the fear of who we might be.  We need not do as we think best but rather, let us do as God thinks best and as God asks of us as we hear in today’s first reading at Mass from Isaiah 30: Thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: O people . . . no more will you weep; he will be gracious to you when you cry out, as soon as he hears you he will answer you.  The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst.  No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, while from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: “This is the way; walk it in”, when you would turn to the right or to the left.

We have an interior guide who is ever faithful to us.  Let us put aside our fears of who we think we might be to open our eyes and ears to who we really are.  And let us return this gift of self to the God who made us.  For in this one small action we find a self that is waiting to be revealed.  In this one small way . . . we remain truly faithful to the one who knows and loves us . . . precisely as we are.

Tomorrow, the gift of life and love.

A favorite from December 5, 2009.



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