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Posts Tagged ‘transformation’


Matthew 9:14-17: Shrunken Cloth and New Wineskinswineskins

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Grown men sound like small children arguing over petty detail in today’s Noontime selection. We may want to consider Matthew’s warning to us in this quiet interlude between powerful miracles in Jesus’ story. Jesus reminds his followers – and he reminds us that while the cost of change is high, the reward of transformation is immense, even immeasurable.

When confronted with our pettiness, Jesus says: No one patches an old cloak with unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away and the tear worsens. We want to take shortcuts, fly through our work in order to get to the leisure. Jesus reminds us that there is no point in short-changing God . . . we only shortchange ourselves.

When observing our shortsightedness, Jesus says: People do not put new wine in old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. We want to do things our way, pay no attention to the long haul and focus on the present. Jesus urges us to observe that our generosity and mercy are more important than keeping score or earning a living.

When reminded of our self-centeredness, Jesus says: Pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved. We fear not getting ahead, not being comfortable and not having influence. Jesus calls us to a life in which we put others first . . . so that God can tend to us as we tend to the marginalized in our world.

When we look for the secret to happiness or the formula for success, we do well to remember that God sees with God’s eyes and not our own. When we are tempted to make a quick patch in a relationship rather than working through the depth of the problem, let us remember the old cloak mended with unshrunken cloth. When we want continue to move through the world with our unimproved self, let us remember the old skins with new wine. And when we complain that no one suffers as much as we do, let us remember that new skins and worked over cloth preserve the old while nurturing the new.

When we use the scripture link above to reflect on varying versions of these verses, we begin to see the unshrunken cloth and old wineskins in our lives.


Image from: https://www.psephizo.com/biblical-studies/what-does-jesus-mean-by-new-wineskins/

For another perspective on this citation, enter the words Attitude and Perspective into the blog search bar and explore. 

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Matthew 7:6: Casting Pearlsoyster-pearl-100903-02

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

This verse may be deeply meaningful for us when we consider just how precious and rare a genuine pearl is. Produced by layers of nacre, or mother-of-pearl, around a grain of sand, pearls begin as a nuisance and result as an object to be prized. Mollusks lay down deposits once they sense an intrusion in their otherwise placid lives. They transform an obstacle into an object to be admired. If we are pearls of great price, we began as these small irritants . . . and we too, are transformed into beautiful objects to be treasured.

We are holy people. We are temples in which the Holy Spirit abides. We are children of God. We are body, soul, mind and heart. And all of this is a gift from God to be treasured and never taken lightly.

In Song of Songs 3:4 we remember our relationship with God who loves us abundantly.  If we continue to 3:5 we also remember that our lives move best when they move in God’s plan rather than our own. All things, even love, arrive in God’s time, not ours.

Let us recall how loved we are, and determine to return that love to God.

Let us remember how beautiful we are, and decide to live up to that beauty.

Let us recall how priceless we are, and choose to act as though we believe our own good fortune.


For another Noontime reflection on this verse, enter the words Pearls of Great Price in the blog search bar and explore.

To learn more about how pearls form, click on the image above or visit: http://www.livescience.com/32289-how-do-oysters-make-pearls.html 

 

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Thursday, February 10, 2022stumbling blocks

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Receiving Grace through our Stumbling Blocks

We receive the gift of understanding once we agree to study the stumbling blocks in our path. This understanding will transform our lives and the lives of others as we rejoice in the stoning we have received.  Others will see that we rise again, once the stoners retreat. Others will see that we have survived the stoning and that we have lived to pick up those stones hurled as killing missiles.  They will see that we study those stones and that we have been blessed with the gift of reading the transforming message of each stone . . . because we respond to the call of the prophet, because we recognize that we are Sentinel People, and because we become prophets ourselves.

Ezekiel foresaw this Kingdom of prophets.  He foresaw that there would be a time when God would walk among us, would be one of us, would show us the way to turn and return to the God we had abandoned.  Ezekiel fore heard the trumpet blast of our response to God.

And so we pray . . .

Let us rejoice and be glad each time we stumble over something which strikes at our hearts.

Let us announce this gladness as the watchman Ezekiel announces the Coming of Christ.

Let us study the stumbling blocks in our path as we journey in the new Kingdom.

Let us examine the stones which the stoners throw, and read their unique messages for us.

Let us open our hearts and minds and souls to the God who created us.

Let us hope for the transformation of all of God’s people.

Let us trust that we are upheld as we work our way along the obstacle-strewn path toward home.

Let us be sentinel people, People of the Watch, calling out that the Kingdom is now.

Let us be prophets who announce that the Messiah is already among us.

Let us love ourselves and one another . . . for the Christ is in our midst . . . for the Kingdom is now.

 Let us be a Sentinel People, announcing the Kingdom of God.

Amen.

Tomorrow, giving thanks for our stumbling blocks.


Adapted from a reflection written on January 19, 2008.

Image from: http://sallysjourney.typepad.com/sallys_journey/2011/11/stumbling-blocks.html

 

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ironworker4Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Joy and Malachi

Corruption

The prophets warn, threaten, exhort, and promise us that God is always present, even though we may not recognize this presence. The Old Testament prophecies foreshadow the good news of the New Testament, and they remind us that no matter our circumstance God’s joy rescues us from sure destruction, Christ’s joy redeems us from our recklessness, and the Spirit’s joy heals us despite the gravity of our wounds. Today Malachi uses the imagery of the smith who patiently and slowly smelts ore to let the dross run off. In this way we encounter joy even in the midst of deep and intense corruption.

“This work was composed by an anonymous writer shortly before Nehemiah’s arrival in Jerusalem (455 B.C.). Because of the sharp reproaches he was leveling at the priests and rulers of the people, the author probably wished to conceal his identity . . . It is likely that the author’s trenchant criticism of abuses and religious indifference in the community prepared the way for those necessary reforms”. (Senior 1170)

Malachi 3:1: “Listen: I will send my messenger before me to prepare the way. And then the One you are looking for will come suddenly to his Temple—the Messenger of God’s promises, to bring you great joy. Yes, he is surely coming,” says the Lord Almighty.

We have just closed Christmastide when we have welcomed Emmanuel, The Lord among us. In the midst of poor leadership and corruption, and despite our own indifference, God still loves and rescues us.

Malachi 3:7: Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.

We enter Ordinary Time and wait for the Easter promise to spring upon us once more. In the midst of reproaches and despite our vanity, God still heals and transforms us.

Malachi 4:1: For lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them afire, leaving them neither root or branch, says the Lord of hosts. But for you who love my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.

joyThe choice lies before us: To burn with fire in our passion for The Word . . . or to dissolve into ash in the fire of our own self-importance. God is the patient silversmith who devotedly sits at the furnace smelting the ore of our life’s offerings. God keeps a watchful eye on the fire of love that refines our work, assuring run off of dross and the pureness of the ore. And it is through this fire of God’s love that we are either consumed or brought to new life. It is from the pungent ash of our past corruption that God’s joy springs forth to surprise us again.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 1170. Print.

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

Image from: http://honibun.blogspot.com/2012_03_01_archive.html

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Auguste Forbin: View of Jerusalem from the Valley of Jehoshaphat

Auguste Forbin: View of Jerusalem from the Valley of Jehoshaphat

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Joy and Joel

Scourge

The prophets chronicle a people’s yearning for union with their creator and un uncanny understanding of their own vulnerabilities. Their words warn, threaten, exhort, and promise us that God is always present, even though we may not recognize this presence. The Old Testament prophecies foreshadow the good news of the New Testament, and they remind us that no matter our circumstance God’s joy rescues us from sure destruction, Christ’s joy redeems us from our recklessness, and the Spirit’s joy heals us despite the gravity of our wounds.  Today Joel shows us an image of ourselves that we want to forget as we await indictment for our actions. Joel also shows us am image we will want to remember; God invites all of us to stand among the elect.

In about the year 400 B.C.E. “a terrible invasion of locusts ravaged Judah. So frightful was the scourge that the prophet visualized it as a symbol of the coming day of the Lord . . . The concluding poem pictures the nations gathered in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, where the Lord is about to pass judgment. Israel’s enemies are summoned to hear the indictment; their evil deeds are at last requited. The tumultuous throng assembled in the valley of decision is made up of the enemies of God and they face inevitable destruction. The oracle changes abruptly from the terrifying image of judgment to a vision of Israel restored and forever secure from her enemies. God is both the vindicator of his people and the source of their blessing”. (Senior 1121)

joyNot only has sustenance been cut off from the people, but joy in living as well. If we have never found ourselves in our own valley of impending destruction, it is likely that we know and love someone who has. Joel’s prophecy brings us to the understanding that even in our fear of looming indictment, God always provides a road to repentance, transformation and restoration.

Joel 1:16: Has not food been cut off before our eyes, gladness and joy from the house of our God?

As we consider the valley of Jehoshaphat with its tumultuous crowd of those awaiting indictment for having caused the great scourge, let us also consider how God also offers us the opportunity to heal ourselves and the broken world we have fashioned from God’s creation. Let us remember that Jesus includes even the outsider Gentiles in the elect. And let us open our own minds and hearts to the understanding that the Spirit converts the great scourge to healing joy as she calls all to unity in and through Christ.
To consider the concept of rewilding the world, read the transcript of an interview with George Monbiot or listen to the podcast at one of these links:

http://www.ted.com/talks/george_monbiot_for_more_wonder_rewild_the_world?language=en

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2015-01-02/environmental_outlook_george_monbiot_feral_rebroadcast


Delve into Monbiot’s thinking and science as described in his book: Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea and Human Life, and consider the joy of God’s creation.

FeralVisit Monbiot’s site at: http://www.monbiot.com/

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1121. Print.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges 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/

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jeremiah brown copyTuesday, December 21, 2021

Joy and Jeremiah

Passion

“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.

The prophet Jeremiah responds to God’s call as a young man in the 13th year of King Josiah, approximately 612 B.C.E. He persists faithfully in conveying God’s word to a recalcitrant people “with enthusiasm and hope”. (Senior 949) He remains in the rubble of Jerusalem’s ruins but is forced into exile in Egypt by conspirators. Tradition tells us that he was murdered by these countrymen and that his prophecy was recorded shortly after his death. (Senior 949)

Jeremiah 15:16: When I found your words, I devoured them; your words were my joy, the happiness of my heart, because I bear your name, Lord, God of hosts.

God’s word sustains and upholds us; it nurtures the joy within. Jeremiah’s enthusiasm for his God and God’s word sustain us today.

Jeremiah 31:13: Then young women shall make merry and dance, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will show them compassion and have them rejoice after their sorrows.

God’s love redeems and rescues us; it calls forth the joy within. Jeremiah’s fidelity to his God and God’s mercy liberates us today.

joyJeremiah 33:9: Judah will be to me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.

God’s goodness heals and transforms us; it celebrates the joy within. Jeremiah’s passion for his God and God’s power renews us today.

As we await the birth of the Christ who rescues, transforms, heals and makes new, let us reflect on God’s power to bring life out of ruin, healing out of destruction and hope out of death for a renewal of life.

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.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 877 & 949. Print. 

Image from: http://tharderdesign.blogspot.com/2011/03/jeremiah-2911_30.html

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isaiah9Monday, December 20, 2021

Joy and Isaiah

Hope

“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.

In the 8th Century B.C.E. the nations of Israel and Judah are threatened and then overcome by the Assyrians to the north and the Egyptians to the south. The prophecy of Isaiah, thought to be the combined work of several men, takes us on the rollercoaster ride of political, social and moral upheaval the faithful of Yahweh experience. But despite the dreadful events and circumstances that surround the faithful and strip away all they hold dear, the words of this prophecy bring hope.

Isaiah 24:14: They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for joy in the majesty of the Lord, they shall shout from the western sea.

In a moment when we have no words, we allow the Spirit to give voice to our hope.

Isaiah 35:6: The lame shall leap like a stag, and the mute tongue sing for joy.

On a day when we find ourselves unwell or incapacitated, we allow Christ to heal our illness.

Isaiah 55:12: Yes, in joy you shall go forth, in peace you shall be brought home; mountains and hills shall break out in song before you, all trees of the field shall clap their hands.

joyIn an hour when we see no reason to hope, we allow God to transform our fear.

Isaiah 65:18: Shout for joy and be glad forever in what I, the Lord, am creating.

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.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 877-879. Print. 

Image from: https://advent.wordpress.com/

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joyFriday, November 5, 2021

Tobit 8

Joy and Tears

We move further into the Old Testament looking for stories of joy that might surprise us. If today’s story calls you to search further, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. For the next few says, our story is taken from the Book of Tobit.

The story continues and we wonder what will become of the young couple – Tobias and Sarah – who live in fear. How will their parents, Tobit, Anna, Raguel and Edna, resolve the problems that plague their families? And how does the disguised Rafael bring about God’s renewal and transformation to convert tears of sorrow into tears of joy?

Steen: Wedding of Tobias and Sarah

Jan Steen: Wedding of Tobias and Sarah

Spend time with Chapters 6-10 of Tobit today and discover the surprise of God’s healing presence. As we watch Tobit and Anna, Raguel and Edna, Tobias and Sarah, let us look for connections with our own worries and problems. Observe Azarias, the Archangel Raphael in disguise, as he quietly, patiently calms and heals these worried people. Let us mark the times in our own journey when the healing of relationships has taken place when we least expect it. Let us watch for the surprising ways in which joy is always with us, even in the presence of demons. And finally, spend time with the prayers of Tobias, Sarah and Raguel in Chapter 8. With a bit of pondering, we might write our own petition for protection and  song of thanksgiving.  And as we journey with these characters who might be our neighbors or family members, we arrive at a better understanding of how tears of sorrow might become tears of joy.

For Noontimes based on this story, enter the word Tobit in the blog search bar and explore.


Image from: https://www.wikiart.org/en/jan-steen/wedding-of-tobias-and-sarah-1668

For more information about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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James Tissot: Jesus Appears to the Holy Women

James Tissot: Jesus Appears to the Holy Women

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Mark 12:18-27

A Prayer for Resurrection

On this All Souls Day we remember those who have gone before us . . . as we listen and watch for the resurrection that we are promised.

On All Souls Day we celebrate those who are yet to come as we watch and wait for the resurrection that is freely given.

On All Souls Day we call forth the great cloud of witnesses as we wait and work in the resurrection kingdom.

On this All Souls Day we praise God’s goodness and mercy as we work and witness to the healing of the resurrection.

On this All Souls Day we rejoice with the faithful as we witness and we pray for the transformation of the resurrection, so that we may not be greatly mislead.

Amen.

In the northern hemisphere days shorten and nights lengthen. In less than a week we will move back to standard time and celebrate the feasts of All Saints and All Souls. As we watch, wait, work, and witness, we prepare for these feasts that anticipate the great feast of salvation that we will celebrate at Easter. 


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_Jesus_Appears_to_the_Holy_Women_(Apparition_de_J%C3%A9sus_aux_saintes_femmes)_-_James_Tissot.jpg

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