Posts Tagged ‘treasure’

John: Naming OurselvesMislabeling-the-Word-of-God

Monday, March 28, 2022

In beautiful prose, the writer of John’s Gospel gives us many portals to name Christ, to understand the person of Jesus, and to model ourselves after this Word of God Among Us.  As we move closer to Palm Sunday, as we prepare to enter the holiest of times in the liturgical calendar, let us take time to assess who Jesus is, how we convey to the world our own understanding of God in the person of Jesus, and how we intend to change in order that we become more like this saving servant.

Chapter 1: Word of God and Light of the World – What does it mean to be the Word of God? Do we enact God’s mercy and justice in our actions and words? How might we bring light to the world’s darkness? Do we look for hope, bring peace, and heal others?

Chapter 3: Spirit of God – God grants us eternal life. What do we store up for this eternity? Where does our treasure lie? Do we offer life or death to ourselves and others?

Chapters 4 – 9: Healer and Miracle Worker – How do we become the hands and feet of Christ? When do we allow God to work many small miracles for and through us? How often do we witness to injustice? When and why do we heal ourselves and others?

good shepherdChapter 10: The Good Shepherd – We have the prophets’ cry out against false shepherd and teachers. Do we number among them? Do we listen for the voice of Jesus the Shepherd? Do we put aside the world to follow the one true shepherd? When do we call others to follow in Christ’s Way?

Chapters 11-12: Restorer of Life – We cannot raise Lazarus from the dead but we can restore wounded hearts, ask and grant forgiveness, bridge gaps and mend fences. We are capable of bringing hope to the hopeless, mercy to the marginalized and love to the abandoned and brutalized. When and where do we grant these gifts we have been given by God?

Chapters 13 – 14: Advocate – It is easy to look away from problems and slip into denial. Who are our loved ones, associates, colleagues and friends? Do they call us to good or encourage us to hide in darkness?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChapters 15 – 17: Vine for our Branches – God gives us the choice to be life-takers or life-givers. What path do we choose and why? Are we willing to change course once we see that we need to change? Do we offer to God the apology saying that we are content in our comfort zone? Do we inflict discomfort on others or call them gently? What nourishment do we allow God to bring us and how do we pass this sacred sustenance along?

Chapters 18 – 20: Lamb of God – Humility is such a difficult quality to wear in our status and power-driven world and yet it is essential. Do we strive for the meekness that Jesus displays? Do we give more than we receive? What role does pride play in our lives? How do we handle our own sense of entitlement and that of others?

Chapter 21: Resurrection – There are no words to express the beauty of God’s desire to bring us to eternal happiness in the kingdom. What fidelity to do we show to the Gospel story in our actions and words? What narrative of resurrection do we live out? What promise of resurrection to we believe? And how do we witness to the miracles of resurrection we know God performs constantly in our own lives and in the lives of others?

empty tomb with sheet and lightWe are perhaps too accustomed to these images and if this is so, we must spend quiet time with them today. If we celebrate and enact these metaphors in our lives daily then let us rejoice in the Good News that is so familiar. In either case, let us spend time with these names and call ourselves followers of Christ as today we prepare for the Palm Sunday gift of Jesus as the very name of God.

Tomorrow, Christ in Us.

Images from: http://www.redletterchristians.org/mislabeling-the-word-of-god/, http://jnwheels.com/tag/jnwheels/, http://galleryhip.com/i-am-the-vine-you-are-the-branches-bible.html, and http://wallpaper-kid.com/empty-tomb-worship-backgrounds.htm

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Luke 12:22-34: Allfarming for hunger

Saturday, March 26, 2022

If we learn nothing more about ourselves in this Lenten journey, let us pray that we understand how much easier life when we learn the simple lesson Jesus teaches us daily: Where your treasure lies, there also will your heart be.

Where do we place our priorities each morning? Do we jump into our day or do we pause to spend time orienting ourselves to God’s agenda rather than our own?

Where do we place all our energies each afternoon? Do we make plans for vacations, parties, and reunions as frequently as we plan to spend time in prayer and fellowship with others?

Where do we place our petitions each evening as we tumble into sleep? Do we give thanks for the good we have received as much as we worry about all that did not go well?

Jesus is quite clear. Where we focus our attention and anxiety, this is the place we are storing up the essence of ourselves. Where we spend our time in kingdom building, this is the place we are calling our home for all eternity.

farming 4 hungerWhere do we choose to deposit all that we do and are? In our wealth and power? In our influence and possessions? How much better it is to place all we are and all we do in the ample heart of God.

Spend some time with Luke 12:22-34 today and compare biblical texts. How will we change our hearts as we move toward the closing days of Lent?

Visit http://www.farming4hunger.com/, or click on the image to the left, to see how one man’s determination to store up goodness has changed his life and his world. Consider sending some of your Lenten alms to a kingdom-building organization that gives its all to enact God’s goodness and mercy.

Special thanks to a Noontime friend for sharing the good news about Farming 4 Hunger. 

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Gerard van Honthorst: The Nativity

Gerard van Honthorst: The Nativity

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Joy and Witness


Yesterday we reflected on words from the Apostles whose relationship with Christ was personal, immediate and joyful. Today we consider how we might join these disciples to witness to God’s incomparable goodness.

Matthew tells us that Jesus is Emmanuel, God among us. He announces the coming of great joy.

The Christmas Miracle Matthew 2:10: When the magi saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

Matthew records Jesus’ description of heaven as a hidden reassure. He announces the unfolding of deep joy.

joyHidden TreasureMatthew 13:44: The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Matthew records Jesus’ parable of stewardship. He announces the unfolding of the kingdom’s joy.

The Parable of the Talents Matthew 25:19-21: Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, “Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents”. His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master”.

Matthew reminds us of the resurrection miracle. He announces the promise of our own profound joy.

emptytombgraveclothesAt the Tomb – Matthew 28:8: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to Jesus’ disciples.

We are called to witness to God’s promises, to Jesus’ intercession, and to the Spirit’s healing. What will we do today to pass along the Good News and joy in Matthew’s story?

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.

Images from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gerard_van_Honthorst_001.jpg and http://quoteeveryday.com/easter-tomb-background/

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whodoyousayiamSunday, July 11, 2021

Matthew 6:19-21

Jesus Taught Us

Jesus taught us, saying, “Do not store up treasures for yourself on earth, where moth and woodwork destroy them and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworm destroys them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For wherever your treasure is, there will be your heart, too”.

We go about our days acquiring goods, storing up friends, fashion, accoutrements, money. How will these treasures serve us in the world that is everlasting? How might we change these tangible goods in a way that will matter?

We go about our days serving others, taking action that will improve our world for the better. How might we share these less noticeable goods in a way that will matter?

God says, This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Do as he does and set the world afire. Do as he does and heal those who are broken-hearted. Do as he does and stand with those on the margin. Do as he does and turn the other cheek. This is difficult for you when you measure as the world measures; but when you measure for eternity you will put away your weights and yardsticks; and you will follow my son.

Enter the word treasure into the blog search bar and as we consider what Jesus taught us . . . let us consider how we will describe our treasures.

Examine the reading Matthew 3:17  in the scripture link and compare the texts. Choose other Bible versions and consider what God means when he tells us that he is well pleased with Jesus.

Image from: http://www.thepoachedegg.net/the-poached-egg/2012/04/theologians-and-thinkers-12-quotes-on-the-person-of-jesus-christ.html

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Friday, September 4, 2020

imagesCAUA46DLProverbs 2

The Blessings of Wisdom

For the last two weeks we have spent time with the opening chapters of Proverbs reflecting on the nature and blessings of Wisdom. What does she look like? Where do we find her? How do we discern true Wisdom from false? What can be gained by sitting at Wisdom’s knee?  Te answers to these questions are outlined in Chapter 2. And they are well worth sorting out and sharing.

One of the qualities of Wisdom is that she is both seen and felt. We turn our ear, incline our heart. We must listen and empathize. We must put aside old parameters and open ourselves to the suffering of others. We put away pat answers and old prejudices. We unbend our stiff necks. We thaw our hardened hearts.

Another of the qualities of Wisdom is that she is a treasure more valuable than any imaginable and yet she is under our noses at all times. She is elusive and yet as tactile as silver. She is mysterious and yet as clear as daylight. She brings the security of knowledge, understanding, counsel, rectitude, justice, honesty and discretion. She saves us from darkness, perversity, crooked paths and those who commit evil.

The meaning of these verses is clear. Those who succumb to the adulteress are lured away by smooth words. Those who look for easy relationships with no thought of commitment and no promise of constancy sink down to death. Closed self-importance and disdain for the pain of others. Self-reliance and a willful disregard for the vulnerable. These are the tendrils of unwise thinking that draw us into the crooked paths of the wicked.

Listening and opening ourselves to the suffering of others. Reliance on God and a willingness to change direction when called by God. By these paths will we find Wisdom. We may come upon her abruptly, or we may see her first from afar and struggle to reach her; but no matter the way our path will be made straight.  hose who seek Wisdom are protected by God and by Wisdom herself.  Of this we are assured.

The choice laid before us could not be more stark or more important: we may be cut off from the land and rooted out . . . or we may dwell in the land and remain in it. These are the blessings of Wisdom.T hey are many, transforming and vital. Let us turn the ear, let us incline the heart, and let us call out to Wisdom and seek her like silver.  This is all the security we will ever need.

A re-post from September 7, 2013.

Image from: http://www.weidknecht.com/2013/02/proverbs-220.html

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1 Timothy 6:17-19: Going After God

Wednesday, March 14, 2016

Treasure found under water off the Florida coast aboard Nuestra Señora de Atocha

Moving forward in this fourth week of Lent, we explore the demands the Gospel places on us. Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges is the call to share all that we have hoarded with those who have little.

Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.

Jesus says: My children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. This is impossible for human beings but not for God; everything is possible for God. (Mark 10:24-27, Luke 18:24-27, Matthew 19:23-26)

God says: If you fear your wealth separates your heart from mine, then bring that fear to me. If you worry that your good fortune is a sign that you are distant from me, bring that worry as well. Share what you have with prudence. Give what you can without looking for a reward. Answer the call you hear deep within. When you listen with care, you know that I am the one who has graced you with talents to gather the harvest that fills you. Be generous with this gift of my bounty. Remember that nothing destroys the treasure of a generous heart while the treasures of your world quickly fade into nothing.

As we ponder these thoughts, we recall the words recorded by Matthew and Mark, and we go after the challenge offered by our God. For where your treasure, your heart will be there also. (Matthew 6:21, Luke 12:34)

Images from http://www.ancient-origins.net/artifacts-other-artifacts/ten-spectacular-golden-treasures-ancient-world-003826 and http://www.pinsdaddy.com/god-searches-the-heart_JKV0rcfoODqhYfcgpH1Tl8hM0VMhDiKaQmlEhOakqNM/

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1 Kings 9:1-9: Promise and Warning – Part I

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Written on October 24, 2009

The story of the patriarchs is about our relationship with our creator and about the covenant we and this creator share.  Yahweh spoke with Abraham to offer him and his descendants a place in which to live, a family with whom he might share life, and the everlasting glory of the creator’s constant presence.  These Old Testament promises or covenants brought with them not only blessings – like the ones that Yahweh gives to Abraham – but also curses.  Today we reflect on the fulfillment of the promise God gives to Solomon, and the attendant warning.  There are gifts to receive from our attendance to our relationship with God, consequences that flow from our own actions; and these consequences may be positive or negative depending on our own willingness to accept the promise and heed the warning.

Although Christ is not physically present to the Old Testament people, he walks with them just as he walks with us today.  When we read the entire story of King Solomon we see him as an intelligent young man who asks not for wealth or power but for wisdom.  We admire his sagacity in asking for this permanent gift of insight, thinking that his request shows maturity beyond his years.  As we wind though the chapters that follow we watch as this clever man unravels, overwhelmed by the pressures of the day, by the always present human desire to be self-reliant, and by the forces of darkness that constantly nibble at the souls of the faithful.  In last night’s MAGNIFICAT, we turned to Matthew 6:20-21: Store up your treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.  The mini-reflection is: Where we invest our trust and hope, we invest our lives.  Let us choose to invest in the true source of life, Jesus Christ. 

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Evening.” MAGNIFICAT. 23.10 (2009). Print.  

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Solomon's Temple

Solomon’s Temple

Nehemiah 12:44-47

Their Due Portion

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A reprise from October 28, 2013.

The whole of Israel used to give the cantors and gatekeepers their due portion for each day.

Nehemiah describes not only the restoration of the Temple when the exiles return from their place of deportation; Nehemiah also explains that the rites and rituals were also restored.  All those who officiate at liturgies are to receive their due portion.  In return, the Levites, the sons of Aaron and all those who make liturgy possible are to perform their duties.  Nehemiah not only rebuilt walls and external structures, he rebuilt internal structures as well.

The Second Temple

Nehemiah’s Temple

God says: Each of you deserves your due portion.  When you insist on having less or more you upset your natural balance.  When you take more than your share you deny others of the goodness I have in store for them.  When you take less, you deny the gift you are to the world.  When you corrupt yourself or others you corrupt the vessel that contains hope for the world.  When you deny yourself or others you also deny me. Carry out the task shown to you.  Fulfill the hope planted in you.  Come to me with your questions and concerns.  Rather than take more or less than is meant for you, rather than fill your barns to bursting or depleting your energies until you are fully spent . . . receive your due portion and remain in the truth.  This is where your true treasure lies.

Jesus reminds us that the measure we measure with is measured out to us.  (Luke 6:38) He also reminds us that where our heart lies, there will be our treasure.  (Luke 12:34)

For more information on the duties of gatekeepers, go to: http://prepareforthelamb.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/gatekeepers-watchmen-you-are-to-speak-out-the-lord-has-called-you-out-to-be-bold-today/

For more information on the Second Temple, click on the image of Nehemiah’s Temple or go to: http://michaelruark.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/there-is-enough-room-for-both/

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Luke 5:27-32Rise and Follow

Caravaggio: The Calling of Saint Matthew

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Favorite from September 21, 2009.

This is Luke’s version of the story we hear in today’s Gospel from Matthew 9:9-13, and in it we see the tax collector being called from a life of working with numbers to a life of working with souls.  At first glance, this seems like an unlikely move to make – a tax collector becomes a fisher of men’s souls.  At second glance, it is the kind of move which calls Matthew/Levi to newness, and it is the kind of move we are each called to make.

Saint Bede the Venerable (who died in 725) is cited in today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation: Jesus saw a man sitting in the tax-collector’s place, and he said to him, “Follow me”.  He saw him not so much by virtue of corporeal vision as by inner compassion . . . Jesus saw the man, and felt compassion for him because he was devoted only to human concerns and [Matthew] was not yet worthy of an angelic name . . . “And he rose and followed him”. We should not marvel that a publican, upon first hearing the Lord’s voice ordering him, left the earthly gains that he cared about.  Disregarding his property, he attached himself to the band of followers of one whom he perceived to have no riches.  For the Lord himself, who outwardly called him by a word, taught him inwardly by with an invisible impulse so that he followed him.  He poured into his mind the light of spiritual grace, by which he could understand that the one who was calling him from temporal things on earth was capable of giving him incorruptible treasures in heaven. 

When we are called but know that our ready response promises discomfort and a complete handing over of self to God’s mission for us, may we rise and follow him as eagerly as the apostle Matthew.  Some speculate that he is the brother of another apostle who Jesus had already chosen and so in this way would have had an introduction to Jesus and The Way he proposed.  This may or may not be the case but whether or not this apostle knew something of the Christ prior to the day of his call, we can learn something about his eager and immediate response to The Word which is this:  When we hear the call that Levi/Matthew heard, we will want to rise and follow as he did so that we too, might be worthy of an angelic name . . . and add to God’s incorruptible treasure in heaven.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 21.9 (2009). Print.  

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