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Posts Tagged ‘The Way’


Isaiah 35:1-10: The Holy Road

Monday, December 5, 2022freephoto_feetwalking_pixabay

Daily headlines may lead us into thinking that we have no reason for hope in the future. Isaiah tells us that we would be mistaken. Isaiah gives us reason to enter into Advent hope, promise and joy.

Wilderness and desert will sing joyously, the badlands will celebrate and flower . . .

All peoples and places where terror and pain rule will celebrate Christ’s healing rescue.

Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees. Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart!

All injury and harm that is meant to destroy will transform sorrow into joy with the Spirit’s comforting presence.

God is here, right here, on his way to put things right and redress all wrongs.

All evil and darkness that whips up angry and anxiety will become tools for transformation with God’s renewing power.

Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears unstopped, lame men and women will leap like deer, the voiceless break into song.

Jesus healed hundreds and fed thousands when he walked among us; Christ continues to restore and sustain.

desert-flowerSprings of water will burst out in the wilderness, streams flow in the desert. Hot sands will become a cool oasis, thirsty ground a splashing fountain.

The Spirit brings about the impossible; the Creator fulfills all promise.

There will be a highway called the Holy Road. No one rude or rebellious is permitted on this road.

Jesus has shown us The Way in which we are to walk – with the marginalized rather than the powerful, with the abandoned rather than the famous and beautiful, with the abandoned rather than the familiar.

It’s impossible to get lost on this road. Not even fools can get lost on it. No lions on this road, no dangerous wild animals – nothing and no one dangerous or threatening.

temple_hera_roadThe Way is the Narrow Gate that stands before us. When we trust in God the door to this way opens to us. When we follow Christ the narrow gate opens wide. When we have faith in God the Holy Road opens at our feet . . . inviting us to move forward into a future full of hope, promise and joy.

The people God has ransomed will come back on this road. They’ll sing as they make their way home . . . welcomed with gifts of joy and gladness as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night.


Reflect on the idea of repairing what we have rather than buying new. For an interesting perspective, read about why Patagonia ™ wanted its customers to stay away from its stores on Black Friday in the USA, a day dedicated to in-store and online shopping. Visit: http://www.patagonia.com/us/home OR http://www.techinsider.io/patagonias-well-worn-campaign-2015-11 OR http://fortune.com/2015/09/14/rose-marcario-patagonia/

For information on ancient Roman roads, visit: http://www.biblewalks.com/info/RomanRoads.html#Introduction

To visit an interesting blog, click on the desert flower image or go to: http://reverendmom.blogspot.com/2010/12/least-likely.html  

Images from: http://www.shalominthewilderness.com/2014_07_01_archive.html and http://reverendmom.blogspot.com/2010/12/least-likely.html

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James 4:11-5:6: Arrogance

Sunday, November 13, 2022

arrogance“James now turns to three forms of arrogance which exemplify life according to the measure of the world. The first is the practice of slander against a neighbor . . . A second form of arrogance is demonstrated by those who make great business plans without considering the fragile nature of their own existence . . . Finally, with a prophetic rage like that of Amos, James attacks the insolence of the rich who withhold wages from their laborers. The security gained by such fraud is illusory; the rich fatten themselves for the day of judgment”. (RG 552)

God says: Gossip and slander are forms of violence just as deadly as bullets. They murder not only the other’s reputation but your own. With your words you pigeon-hole others and rob them of the hope of change. The creation of business without me is another form of violence. When you create wealth without including me you weave fairy castles of illusion. You pretend that you are responsible for all you have stored up and for all that makes you comfortable. When you rob others of their just wages you do more than demoralize them, you presume to set yourself up as supreme judge and arbiter. All of these – gossip, slander, living without me, taking from others what is rightfully theirs – are acts of violence against your fellows and against me. When you turn away from these subtle separations from The Way, you turn toward me. And I welcome you each day with wide and embracing arms.

Study the words of the prophet Amos. Enter his name into the blog search bar and reflect on how our modern lives might fall into the three kinds of arrogance that James describes for us.

Tomorrow, a prayer for arrogance . . . 


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 552. Print.   

Image from: https://yazrooney.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/the-concept-of-forgiveness-human-arrogance-at-its-best/ 

 

 

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James 3:13-4:10: Envy

Saturday, November 12, 2022envy

“Within this call to conversion, James develops the theme of envy as exemplifying the measure of the world . . . Why is envy so singled out? Because its underlying assumption is that your gain is my loss. This is the opposite of the Spirit of the community, where all gain by anyone’s growth and all rejoice in anyone’s good fortune. Envy causes me to sorrow when another has something I lack. And when life is measured simply in terms of what I possess – ‘I am what I have’ – then for another to have and me to lack is intolerable. Envy drives the acquisitive instinct . . . the step is a short one to conflict, war, and murder, not only between individuals but also between nations . . . It is remarkable that this passage, which alone in the New Testament analyzes the causes of human conflict, should play so little role in moral discussions of war and peace”. (RG 551-552)

God says: James is correct when he tells you that envy is often at the root of your violence and anger. He is also correct when he points out that life in the Spirit means that you feel joy when one of you rejoices and sadness when one of you is in pain. Your friendship with me brings much than consolation; it brings you the ability to see the world as I see it, full of potential for goodness. I resist those who are full of pride in themselves and I nurture those who look for life in me. When you agree to live in The Way you will no longer be envious of others and you will celebrate when any one of you does well because you will understand that all good things come from me. When you are envious of others I am saddened, for your envy tells me that you do not understand my generosity. When you make war against one another I grieve,  for I can see that you do not understand my love. James is bringing my message to you . . . take time with it today.

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


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 551-552. Print.

Image from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-couch/201307/why-women-fear-envy-and-why-we-dont-need

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James 1:2-3: Sheer Giftjoy-in-times-of-trial1

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Steadfastness is a gift freely given by God.

steadfastness-vs-instability-5-728God says: I know how difficult it is for you to remain in me when so many tribulations beset you. I also know how you struggle to remain faithful and persistent. Know that I see this in you and know that your determination to follow The Way gives me great delight. Rather than dwell on where you go wrong, reflect instead on all that you do well. For your works are abundant in the million little ways you honor me in your hectic lives. When you feel anxious, abandoned, worried or lost . . . remember that when tests and challenges plague you, in am also there in the trial. These times are my sheer gift to you as you grow and live in me with your well-earned steadfastness.

Steadfastness is a gift freely given by God . . . it is a gift already given and received. Let us rest in this gift and reflect on its power to bring us hope.

Enter the word steadfastness in the blog search bar and explore other posts that open this concept for us.


Images from: https://totaltruthblog.wordpress.com/ and http://www.slideshare.net/toprank414/steadfastness-vs-instability

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James 5:7-11: A Prayer for Patience

Saturday, October 29, 2022

We have considered the difficulty of blooming in early or late rains. We have pondered the mercy we find in God’s Law of Love, and we have reflected on the importance of patience in our lives as we learn to live out mercy and humility in an authentic way. Ultimately, each of us, indeed all of us are called. Each of us and all of us are gathered in. Each of us and all of us are offered the gift of transformation. But first we must learn and exercise the practice of patience.

It is easy to define patience as a virtue and still easier to see impatience in others. Patience as a concept can be diminished to a simple exercise that we practice once in a while when there is no great demand placed on us. The more difficult task is to act continually with a patience that is not bitter or nostalgic; and it is a challenge for many of us to operate from humility, to trust God without question.

When asked to place our lives in God’s hands, we must be ready to humble ourselves before God’s plan, to trust God in both simple and grave matters, and to obey God’s call with a grateful and happy heart. This is no small request. And so we pray.

heart-shaped-bible-pageLoyal and healing God, lead us in simple obedience of your well-devised plan.

Powerful and eternal God, guide us in trusting you alone above all else.

Humble and tender God, help us to persevere in patient living with you.

We thank you for coming to us as our human brother, Jesus. We are grateful for the abiding consolation of your Spirit. And we rest in the assurance that the humility and patience that Jesus shows us is The Way we ourselves must follow. May we today and all days live and act in patience. Amen.


Images from: https://www.happierhuman.com/patience-affirmations/ and https://unsplash.com/s/photos/bible-heart

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Mark 14:17-21: The Betrayer

Caravaggio: The Taking of Christ

Caravaggio: The Taking of Christ

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

During Holy Week we often reflect on Judas’ betrayal of Jesus on the evening of the Last Supper. Today in our journey through Mark, we open scripture to the moment when we hear Jesus announce that his betrayer is quite close by. As we read varying translations of these verses, we ask ourselves if we have suffered betrayal at the hands of someone close to us . . . or if we have been the betrayer. In either case, Christ understands the piercing pain of this intense suffering that comes when we arrive at the end of our strength.

From MAGNIFICAT: In the suffering of Christ, we hear the depths of God’s love spoken in a language we can understand. (Cameron 78)

From Psalm 69: More numerous than the hairs on my head are those who hate me without cause. Those who attack me with lies are too much for my strength . . . You know how they taunt and deride me; my oppressors are all before you. Taunts have broken my heart; I have reached the end of my strength.

God says: Life will include sorrow but you are not expected to cry alone. Life will include joy. Remember me as you celebrate. When you are betrayed, remember that my son has walked this Way before you, and he walks with you today.

This is the dreadful beauty of the story of Christ. He suffers with us . . . so that we might believe. If we can but stay with him a little while.

When we spend time with Psalm 69 and Mark 14:17-21, we find the gift of Christ’s company. If we can stay awhile with him. Choose a face in the image above and focus on the emotion Caravaggio communicates. Who are we in this moment of betrayal? And what does Christ say to us? 


Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Mini-Reflection.” MAGNIFICAT. 20 March 2008: 78. Print.

Image from: http://www.lentmadness.org/2015/03/spy-wednesday-2/

Adapted from a reflection written on March 20, 2008.

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Ephesians 3:8-11: The Mystery of ChristJesus_07_MysteryFiles

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

With humility, Paul tells us that although he does not understand why he is chosen to pass along God’s word, he does understand that we can never fully understand the mystery of God’s love for us. Nor can we plumb the depths of Christ’s impassioned love for us as God’s children.

God says: I do not expect that you will comprehend all that I do for you each moment of your existence. I do not ask that you understand the breadth or depth of my plan, my mind or my heart. Nor do I ask that you fend off the “principalities and authorities” that my servant Paul names. But what I do ask of you is simply this: that you follow the Way laid out by Jesus, and that you prepare a place for my Spirit to dwell within you. Jesus comes to you as your brother to take your hand and lead you into the narrow path that leads to peace. My Spirit flutters about you with a desire to heal and transform. You need not grasp my intention for you with full knowledge; only trust that I have plans for your joy and not your woe. All that is required is that you remain open and willing to my Spirit, open and hopeful in Christ, open and determined in the Creator. All that is required is love, my love for you . . . and your love for me. This is the great mystery of Christ that you need not understand but from which you nonetheless benefit. I come to you as Christ your brother who willingly gives over a life so that you may live.

God knows that we cannot take in the height and depth and breadth of Jesus’ love for us, and God does not ask that we understand this mystery before we partake of its benefit. All that God asks is our dedication and fidelity.

jaw-dropping-views-from-the-hubbEnter the word Fidelity into the blog search bar and explore this quality. Consider how we might better show our understanding of the mystery we find in Jesus, and how we might return own faithful love for and to Christ.

Use a web browser to search for Hubble images and reflect on how they might represent the mystery of Christ as the incarnation of the God among us. 

Click on the image from Hubble above to visit: https://hubblesite.org/resource-gallery/images 

To explore National Geographic Mystery episodes, click on the image of Jesus above or go to: https://www.natgeotv.com/za/shows/natgeo/the-jesus-mysteries

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Monday, February 14, 2022earth

Psalm 147:8-11

Who?

Who covers the earth with clouds and provides rain for the earth; who makes grass sprout on the mountains . . . ?

This is the reply that Job hears when God replies to his plea for understanding how it is that the wicked seem to live unjustly without suffering.

Who gives animals their food and ravens what they cry for . . . ?

This is the reply that we also hear when we ask how long we must endure, when we complain about our stumbling blocks.

trustinghandGod takes no delight in the strength of horses, no pleasure in the runner’s stride . . .

This statement runs counter to the ways of the world which honor those who are most powerful and influential, those who have created a persona that seems bigger than life.


Rather the Lord takes pleasure in the devout, in those who await God’s faithful care . . .

This statement affirms the gentle Way of Jesus, the soothing balm of the indwelling Spirit, and the rewards of fidelity to God. This statement reminds us that placing our trust in the merciful hands of God who holds the answer to all our woes.

isaiah 41-13We will better understand these verses when we spend time with Job 38-42 and examine the Lord’s speech, when we study Job’s reply and read about Job’s restoration. When we place all our hopes and dreams in God, we will better understand the answer to our questions of How Long and Who? And we will better understand how it is that in God’s Kingdom a humble servant is more exalted than the most powerful and most influential of men.


Click on the scripture links and spend time with Job 38-42, Isaiah 41 and Psalm 147. As we compare different versions of these verses, we listen for God’s voice that speaks to us. 

Images from: http://amagico.com/outer-space-pictures-of-earth-widescreen-2-hd-wallpaper.html and http://faithsmessenger.com/a-childlike-trust-in-god/

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Blog-The-FutureWednesday, January 26, 2022

Daniel 12:1-4

Prophecy of the Future

[The Jewish and Christian communities] preserved the most important innovation contained in the book of Daniel, the notion of resurrection in 12:1-3: “and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” Isaiah 26:19 may allude to the possibility of the resurrection of the dead, but if so, it is the only instance in the OT. “Those who are wise” (12:3) may well refer to the chasidim of which the writer Daniel is a part. Whether they pass over into the realm of the holy ones of God, the hosts of angels, is not entirely clear, though the notion that they will shine “like the stars forever and ever” might support the idea. In any case, the writer of Daniel has dared here to go further than any theological predecessor in Israel, since he suggests that beyond the culmination of human history and the wise shall shineGod’s victory on behalf of righteousness is “a world populated by the saints themselves”.  (Mays 633)

Prior to this point in Daniel’s prophecy, everything had taken place as predicted. Now the faithful are called to believe beyond their experience of today.

What do we – as the faithful remnant at the turn of the 21st Century – see as our own prophetic future? How do we anticipate moving into the days we have yet to live? Who will be our companions on The Way? And what do we do each day and each night that indicates to ourselves and the world that we are followers of Christ?


Mays, James L., ed. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 633. Print.

For more on the chasidim, visit: http://www.rebbe.org/chasidism.html

For more reflections on the words of this prophet, enter the word Daniel into the blog search bar and explore.

Image from: http://thecommunityofleaders.com/are-you-leading-the-future-or-managing-the-present/

 

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