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Posts Tagged ‘The Way’


Luke 24:13-35: The Road to Emmaus – Part I

Fifth Sunday of Lent, April 2, 2017

Fritz von Uhde: The Road to Emmaus

We are quickly approaching Eastertide, my favorite time of year when we want to believe that the story we have heard is true:  we are truly free, the miracle of restoration and resurrection exists, we are already building the kingdom.  Today’s reading is The Road to Emmaus, a story we hear read out to us at Mass following Easter when our hearts are heavy from witnessing the crucifixion but light because the tomb is empty.  If only we might realize that we are Emmaus People, a people who hold a truth too wonderful to keep secret.

I imagine that I have spent much of my life in the same way as these two disciples who leave Jerusalem after the events surrounding Christ’s Passion and Crucifixion.  Things have gotten too hot to handle.  Disappointment at the squashing of a ground swell movement and the execution of its leader has overcome any sense of joy they have previously experienced.  It seems that all good has been wiped from the face of the earth; all light has been sucked from the world.  And yet . . . they journey home in hope, sharing stories of the heady glory days when all possibilities were actually possible.  They meet a fellow traveler and journey with him, drink in his words feeling oddly satisfied and content . . . they invite him to linger.

Léon-Augustin Lhermitte: Friend of the Humble (Supper at Emmaus)

In an intense flash, at the breaking of the bread, they suddenly become fully aware of the identity of this companion.  They abruptly comprehend why they have felt so light and happy as they made their way to Emmaus.  They realize that the hopes they had put away may be taken back out.  The faith they had placed in God’s plan was still valid.  The love they wished to share was still viable.  The Teacher had not lied to them in some silly attempt to ease the pain of their days.  The Teacher had offered – still offered – an opportunity of intimacy with him previously unknown to humankind.  And these two disciples who had left Jerusalem in fear and sadness . . . now retrace their steps to return to the crucible of conflict which their Way of living brought them.  They are transformed.  They are no longer allowing fear to overcome courage.  They do what Paul urges the Ephesians and all of us to do; they have put on Christ, the only protection they need.

We can put ourselves into this story because Luke has left these protagonists nameless.

Things have gotten too hot to handle.  Disappointment at the squashing of a ground swell movement and the execution of its leader has overcome any sense of joy we have previously experienced.  It seems that all good has been wiped from the face of the earth; all light has been sucked from the world.  And yet . . . we journey home in hope, sharing stories of the heady glory days when all possibilities were actually possible.  We meet a fellow traveler and journey with him, drink in his words feeling oddly satisfied and content . . . we invite him to linger. 

Tomorrow, imagine . . .

A Favorite from March 31, 2009.

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Ephesians 5:8-10: Groping Through the Murk

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dave Erickson: Fog Dome

Dave Erickson: Fog Dome

In times of trouble, we might turn to scripture.

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. (NRSV)

In times of joy, we might share verses of praise.

You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord’s people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light, for it is the light that brings a rich harvest of every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth. Try to learn what pleases the Lord. (GNT)

In times of pain, we might seek Christ in The Word.

For you used to be darkness; but now, united with the Lord, you are light. Live like children of light, for the fruit of the light is in every kind of goodness, rightness and truth — try to determine what will please the Lord. (CJB)

In times of anxiety, we might flounder through our days in the Spirit.

You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it. (MSG)

In times of doubt, we know that God’s word is a light in the darkness.

stepping-stonesIn the past you were full of darkness, but now you are full of light in the Lord. So live like children who belong to the light. Light brings every kind of goodness, right living, and truth. Try to learn what pleases the Lord. (NCV)

In times of celebration, we know that Christ’s light has brought us through the murky confusion of this life, always showing us The Way to an eternity of peace.

When we compare varying translations, we begin to see that the obstacles in our lives are the stepping-stones that lead us through the murk and into the light that is Christ.

For more photographs by Erickson, click on the image above or visit: http://ericksonphotography.net/?p=130

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Jeremiah 52: The Inverted Kingdom – Part XIV

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Elamiat captives and Assyrian officer. Relief from Ashurpanibal palace Nineveh, Iraq

Elamiat captives and Assyrian officer. Relief from Ashurpanibal Palace in Nineveh, Iraq

Capture

Thus was Judah exiled from her land . . .

On January 15, 588 B.C.E. (Senior 1016) Jerusalem falls and the people of Judah are captured.  History tells us that this people later returns to Jerusalem to restore the Temple and the city – and history also tells us all will be lost again.  The human way is cyclical with valleys and peaks.  It is an inconsistent wandering of the soul in search of what it already has.  The Way that Isaiah announces, The Way we might live each day, is the constant journey of singing and rejoicing in the presence of God, a presence that is already with us.

When the enemy threatens, a highway will be there.

When capture is imminent, a holy way will be there.

When all seems lost, no lion will be there.

When darkness falls, no beast of prey will be there.

When it appears that there is no hope, there is a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk.

When we know that we have strayed from The Way, all we need do is be open to change, and we will find that . . .

A highway will be there, called the holy way . . . No lion will be there . . . nor beast of prey . . . It is for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk . . . and they will be singing, crowned with everlasting joy . . . they will meet with joy and gladness . . . sorrow and mourning will flee. (Isaiah 35:2-10)

Let us join hearts and hands and souls to journey together along The Way.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1016. Print.   

Adapted from a reflection written on June 4, 2011.

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Jeremiah 52: The Inverted Kingdom – Part XIII

Monday, January 23, 2017

Jewish captives with camel and baggage on their way into exile. Detail of the Assyrian conquest of the Jewish fortified town of Lachish (battle 701 BCE) Part of a relief from the palace of Sennacherib at Niniveh, Mesopotamia (Iraq)

Jewish captives with camel and baggage on their way into exile. Detail of the Assyrian conquest of the Jewish fortified town of Lachish (battle 701 BCE) Part of a relief from the palace of Sennacherib at Niniveh, Mesopotamia (Iraq)

Capture

Thus was Judah exiled from her land . . .

In this last Chapter of Jeremiah’s prophecy, we see the capture of mind, soul and body that results from enduring neglect and refusal to do what God asks of us.  And we understand that we cannot sustain life when we practice this kind of internal death. We may want to renew ourselves with solutions we think palatable and we may believe that we know the best way to bring goodness out of evil, but we are children playing at being grown up when we prefer our ways to God’s.

Yesterday’s MAGNIFICAT Morning Prayer included a canticle from Isaiah (35:2-4, 8-10):  [The faithful] will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.  Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not!  Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you.  A highway will be there, called the holy way; no one unclean may pass over it.  No lion will be there, nor beast of prey go up to be met on it.  It is for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk.  Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.

We have a simple lesson here about how to live in a world that constantly runs counter to what the Lord asks of us.  The people of Judah are vanquished, their leaders captured, their possessions taken.  They become disenfranchised from all that identifies them.  They are slaves to another culture.  This capture is seen as something bleak and stark, a life without promise; but Isaiah reminds them that – as with all things involving the Living God – what appears to be loss is gain, and what seems to be gain is loss.  It is precisely when all that we have and know is taken from us that we are given the opportunity to turn to the font of life.  When we are and have little or nothing, there is only God.

Isaiah tells us that in this new life into which we have stepped  there is not darkness but rather light.  God will announce himself with reversals; and a Way will open up before us that we will only see once we have replaced our pride with humility and our desire to be independent from God with a desire to be one with him.  Nothing can threaten us when we walk along this Way for it is holy, and once we throw off the values that the darkness of the world has to offer, we will be holy, too.  Our step will be quick, our burden light for we will be carried by God.  We will also understand that we have a journey to make, a journey of redemption itself.

We, the ransomed, travel not toward the very one who has ransomed us . . . but with him.  During Advent and the Christmastide we heard Isaiah’s prophecy read out in which the prophet announces The One who is The Way.  We have revisited the results of capture and the road beyond that imprisonment. Today we Christ followers know our savior’s name as Jesus.  The ancient Judeans could only dream about Christ’s coming.  How fortunate are we to travel this highway with him.

Tomorrow, beyond the highway of capture.

Adapted from a reflection written on June 4, 2011.

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 4.6 (2011). Print.

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John 15:18-27: Healing Hatred

Friday, December 16, 2016jesus

John the Baptist was imprisoned and when he got wind of what Jesus was doing, he sent his own disciples to ask, “Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting?” (MSG) This week we are given an opportunity to give our own testimony.

Jesus knows that once we decide to follow him, we will encounter hatred; and he also knows that we may be tempted to hate in return. So Jesus said, “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you”. (MSG)

Jesus knows that we will need strategies to construct a life that reflects his teachings; and he also knows that we will struggle to follow in his Way.

“When that happens, remember this: Servants don’t get better treatment than their masters. If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you. If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them. (MSG)

Jesus knows that the logic of the world will challenge the wisdom of the world; and he also knows that we will need the wisdom that only God can provide.

Hate me, hate my Father—it’s all the same. If I hadn’t done what I have done among them, works no one has ever done, they wouldn’t be to blame. But they saw the God-signs and hated anyway, both me and my Father. Interesting—they have verified the truth of their own Scriptures where it is written, ‘They hated me for no good reason.’” (MSG)

Jesus knows that we will need a companion to console and guide us; and he also knows that this companion must bring us healing, truth and light.

“When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes – the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father – he will confirm everything about me. You, too, from your side must give your confirming evidence, since you are in this with me from the start.” (MSG)

Jesus knows that love will transform the world; and he also knows that each of us has the capacity to heal the hatred we find in ourselves and in those around us. Let us consider how we might best join him in his work.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to read other translations of these verses, we discover how much God wants to heal the world’s hatred.

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Ephesians 4:5-7: Onenessunity-in-diversity-discussion-and-prayer

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

This week we explore how to put our love on the line just as the Creator does by abiding with us, just as Jesus does as he shows us The Way, and just as the Spirit does as she comforts and remains in us.

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. (MSG)

There is no mistaking Paul’s message. There is no misunderstanding his understanding of Christ’s message, the Creator’s intention, and the Spirit’s abiding wisdom and love. Paul is clear: we cannot expect to enter into The Kingdom with walls built around us; we cannot expect to understand the language of The Way when we exclude so many from our presence; and we cannot expect to live in the Spirit when we seek revenge and exclusion. Paul reminds us that we are to bring our diversity together to form the Body and Presence we seek. Surely we are up to the challenge.

But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. (MSG)

If we are to experience full and eternal unity with the Trinity, we might heed and act on Paul’s words.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; there is one God and Father of all people, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all. Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. (GNT)

If we are to experience our best selves, the persons God created to bring order out of chaos, unity out of diversity, love out of hatred, we might listen to and take up Paul’s message.

When we explore various translations of these verses, we discover our need for oneness.

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Matthew 7:7-8: So Very Goodask-seek-knock

Monday, December 5, 2016

This week we explore how to put our love on the line just as the Creator does by abiding with us, just as Jesus does as he shows us The Way, and just as the Spirit does as she comforts and remains in us.

In Genesis 1:31 we are told that God looks at Adam and Eve in the garden of creation and declares that it was good, so very good! It was evening, it was morning – Day Six.

Matthew bring to us the words of our brother, Jesus: Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. (MSG)

If we are to lay our love on the line, we must be direct with God. If we are to have solid and honest relationships, we must be open with our loved ones. If we are to establish bridges with our enemies, we must be straightforward, authentic, and open to the wisdom of the Spirit. If we are to put our love on the line . . . we know quite well what we are to do.

When we compare other translations of these verses, we find that God shows us how The Way. We know that we will need to remain in constant communication with our Creator, Brother and Spirit if we are to know just how and where to go. And we will come to understand that it is good, so very good. 

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1 John 2:15-17: Get Set for Eternity

Saturday, December 3, 2016

NASA and European Space Agency: Carina Nebula

NASA and European Space Agency: Carina Nebula

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world – wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important – has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out – but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. (MSG)

We may welcome this news from John the Beloved with eager ears, or we may want to ignore his counsel. In either case, do we not all want to welcome eternity?

The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live forever. (GNT)

We many want to accuse others of living too much in this world, or we may see ourselves as responding to the lure of quick but temporal satisfaction. In either case, do we not all want to participate in the unending feast?

The world is passing away, along with its desires. But whoever does God’s will remain forever. (CJB)

We may want to declare that the perfection of the kingdom is an impossible dream, or we may be one who testifies to the fact that with God all things are possible. In either case, do we not all want to share eternity with our loved ones?

This world is fading away, and these evil, forbidden things will go with it, but whoever keeps doing the will of God will live forever. (TLB)

We may want to quietly persist on our personal path with Jesus, or we may shy away from inviting others to join us. In either case, do we not all want to prepare for the gift of eternal peace?

When we compare varying translations of these verses, we find The Way to eternal life that John the Beloved assures for us.

The Hubble image above is a 50-light-year-wide panorama of the center of the Carina Nebula, and it shows a region of rapid star birth and death. (NASA and European Space Agency) For more images, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/23/science/space/unforgettable-hubble-space-telescope-photos.html?_r=0

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Luke 6:27-36: Loving Others – Part III

Thursday, November 24, 2016a-revolutionary-kind-of-love-luke-62736-1-638

To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. (MSG)

This thinking is so different from: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.

When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it.  (MSG)

This thinking causes us to look at old hatreds with new insight.

If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. (MSG)

For millennia God has protected us, Jesus has told shown us The Way, and the Spirit has healed and consoled us. Today all three speak to us through the words that Luke records.

Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! (MSG)

For millennia Jesus has turned the world upside down, telling us that we live when we die, and we fill up when we empty ourselves. Today Jesus describes for us in detail how to live our lives as his disciples.

If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. (MSG)

This thinking is the inversion of: “When someone hits me, I hit them ten times harder”. This thinking requires the building of bridges rather than walls. It asks for humility and understanding rather than ego and power.

I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. (MSG)

This thinking is Kingdom thinking. This thinking is timeless and universal, applying to all occasions and to all persons. This thinking brings eternal redemption. And it lies open and ready for our own adoption.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to explore these words as translated differently from THE MESSAGE, we begin to understand that Jesus gives us sound advice; we begin to recognize that Jesus’ request brings us closer to him in every way; and we begin to find a way to love those who have done us such damage.

 

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