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Zechariah 14Apocalypse – Part V

The Sistine Chapel, The Vatican: Michelangelo's Prophet Zechariah

The Sistine Chapel, The Vatican: Michelangelo’s Prophet Zechariah

Saturday, June 11, 2022

The fight for Jerusalem that Zechariah predicts is already begun . . . and we are celebrants in the newness of what is coming into being.  Let us gather ourselves to face the disasters that life brings to us, for it is in these disasters that we find this new life. Let us find our places in God’s new city, for it is in this new place that we find new meaning. And let us rejoice and be glad for we know what to do when cataclysm strikes; it is in this cataclysm that we discover the refuge that is the house of the Lord of hosts.

Past, present, future. Let us step forward into the newness of our transformation. Past, present and future. Let us step away from our childish predictions of a future that is too simple. Past, present and future. Let us rest in the moment when we fully experience the three-person God who is more real and more certain than any savior we might conjure up on our own. Let us rest in the present to celebrate the God who always was, always is and always will be the peace and hope and joy of the world.

Enter the word restoration into the blog search bar and explore the idea of cataclysm bringing joy into our lives. 

Tomorrow, the feast of the Trinity. 


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 425. Print.   

Adapted from a reflection written on Friday, July 10, 2009.

Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zechariah_(Hebrew_prophet)

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Zechariah 14Apocalypse – Part IVcorpuschristi

Friday, June 10, 2022

Return from exile is celebrated but the celebration is taking place amid the ruin of former glory because our newness is more important than what was. In our child-like, dual minds we see the world as negative and positive, off or on, with or against, good or evil, black or white, up or down. When we give ourselves over to our Triune God we begin to understand that these opposites exist side by side and even intertwined. We also begin to see that God’s plan, God’s promise and God’s love are capable of turning any harm – natural or human-made – into a force for beauty and goodness. This is the promise of the Easter resurrection, and it is the miracle of Pentecost indwelling.

We are nearing the Feast of the Trinity and later Corpus Christi when we celebrate this gift of Jesus’ presence in gift of Eucharist. I will feed my people with finest wheat and fill them with honey from the rock (Psalm 81:16) We are one with Christ in the gift of bread and wine. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believe this has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (John 6:47-50)

We have been transformed and made anew, and this miracle of redemption that Zechariah describes already exists today in that each of us is the libation bowl poured out for Christ.  We are each a vessel fashioned by God’s hands and brought into existence for God’s purpose.  We each are the hope of the Spirit to the world.

Past present, future. Let us remember the holy trinity of our lives: all that God has created and gifted, all that is here with us in the Spirit, and all that is promised by Christ in our lives to come. Then, when apocalypse befalls us, let us offer all that we have and all that we are to the triune God: courageous creator, compassionate savior and blessed comforter.

Tomorrow, transformation.


To read about how different cultures celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, click on the image above or visit: http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/corpus-christi

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 425. Print.   

Adapted from a reflection written on Friday, July 10, 2009.

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Zechariah 14: Apocalypse – Part Itrinity-310931_640

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

As we prepare for Trinity Sunday, let us consider the prophecy of Zechariah.

Apocalypse, coming from the Greek for revelation, is an announcement of a truth revealed. Apocalyptic literature is full of mystery, is usually veiled in symbolic language and is often interpreted by an angel of God (Senior 425).  It deals with the heavenly world, the future, and describes a final judgment in which there are winners and losers.  It is sometimes incomprehensible, frightening and misunderstood.  The Apocalypse we see in today’s reading is the fight for Jerusalem which ushers in an era without storm, turmoil or deceit.  It brings a time of peace, unity and celebration.  It is a day when every libation pot shall be holy to the Lord.

Past, present, future. Let us remember the holy trinity of our lives: all that God has created and gifted, all that is here with us in the Spirit, and all that is promised by Christ in our lives to come. In this way we will know what to do and what to say when apocalypse befalls us, as it surely will. And let us offer all that we have and all that we are to the triune God: courageous creator, compassionate savior and blessed comforter.

Tomorrow, more from Zechariah.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 425. Print.   

Adapted from a reflection written on Friday, July 10, 2009.

For interesting insights into apocalyptic beliefs, their evolution and how they shaped the western world, visit the PBS Frontline page at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/apocalypse/ 

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Deuteronomy 4:32-40: Anything So Great

Luca Rossetti da Orta: Holy Trinity

Luca Rossetti da Orta: Holy Trinity

Saturday, June 4, 2022

This week we have reflected on our relationship with the Spirit, the lessons Jesus teaches us, and our response to God’s call; tomorrow we look forward to the celebration of this trinity of love. We remember some of Moses’ words as he calls his people to new life.

Ask now of the days of old, before our time, ever since God created man upon the earth; ask from one of the sky to the other: Did anything so great ever  happen before? Was it ever heard of? Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, as you did, and live? Or did any god ever venture to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, with strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors, all of which the Lord, your God, did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?  

We ask ourselves these same questions. Have we ever encountered anything so great as this promise fulfilled of rebirth and transformation? Have our little gods of comfort and pleasure brought us the measure of joy as the healing of the Spirit?

We might see the world as a place of evil and corruption, or we might see it as a place of possibility and hope. As we prepare to celebrate the miracle of the Pentecost and anticipate the gift of Trinity, let us count the blessings God has generously given, let us determine to live as Christ has asked us, and let us remember the saving power of the Spirit. For there has never been, and never will be, anything as great as these three in one.


Use the scripture link above to compare versions of these verses, and consider if we have ever experienced anything so great as this promise, this miracle, this trinity of love.

Click on the image to learn more about the feast of the Trinity or visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_Sunday

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Friday, November 6, 2020

praise[2]Psalm 50

A Sacrifice of Praise

“The problem here is that a dead conscience lies behind the feverish ritual, reeking with sacrificial smoke, on the one side, and, on the other side, ignoring public morality. People think that ritual wraps its sacred mantle round them to hide the rotten morality of their lives. Ritual, however, is no alibi for sinning. The “wicked” addressed in v. 16 should probably be understood as none other than the “people” of v. 6, who are as eager to recite statutes as they are to offer sacrifices, tough without taking to heart the obligations of the covenant . . . It is also possible . . . that the criticism is also directed specifically at them [priests and leaders]. These leaders are afraid to condemn what the people are doing lest they lose their stipends (Deuteronomy 18:8). They even encourage sin to receive greater sin offerings and so “they feed off the sins of my people” (Hosea 4:8). Tolerating such deviousness, they give the impression that God is also deaf and blind to the situation. In concluding the entire psalm, vv. 22-23 echo phrases from the minor conclusion (vv. 14-15) and realistically warn once more against the sin of religious externalism”.  (Mays 413)

We might think about religious externalism, about wrapping ourselves in perfunctory or false ritual. We might also think about what drives us to engage in artificial ritual. We might think about our spiritual hunger.

We want to caution ourselves when we are thinking that perhaps God is deaf and blind to our circumstances. God knows and sees all. This we must trust. This we must believe. When we feel as though our petitions fall on deaf and uncaring ears, we will benefit from standing our sense of loss on its head: perhaps we yearn for God so much . . . perhaps we hunger so much for more of his healing presence in our lives . . . that we feel as though he does not listen . . . is not present . . . does not respond as we might wish. We might consider that our thirst for God is so great that we believe that God is not listening . . . when in fact he is. This might mean that our sense of hunger and thirst is not such a bad thing after all. Consider the words from Psalm 63: O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting.  My body pines for you like a dry, weary land without water . . . For your love is better than life, in your name I will lift up my hands . . . On my bed I will remember you.  On you I muse through the night for you have been my help . . .

We long for God. We feel incomplete here on this plane with only God’s Spirit to accompany us, only God’s Son to walk with us. We want to feel the full impact of a constant interaction with the Trinity.  For this we hunger. For this we thirst. This is praise we are willing to offer to God. This is praise as sacrifice.


Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 413. Print.

Adapted from a reflection written on March 26, 2008.

Image from: http://delightabidelove.com/2013/02/

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Thursday, November 5, 2020

Abba[1]Psalm 69:35-37

Dwelling There

Let the heavens and earth sing praise, the seas and whatever moves in them! God will rescue Zion, rebuild the cities of Judah. God’s servants dwell in the land and possess it; it shall be the heritage of their descendants; those who love God’s name shall dwell there.

Each of us has a place, a person, a concept, or an idea that fills us with nostalgia to become our personal Zion. Each of us feels secure and safe in our private Judah. Each of us wants to feel firm ground beneath our feet; we want a horizon that promises good tomorrows; we want an interior quiet and a life of joy with friends and companions. These are the possessions we want to pass along to our children. We want to know where we stand and who stands with us. We want to know that our Zion and Judah will last forever. We want to know that we are dwelling there . . . with God . . . for all time. And we want our children to live securely in this place with us.

We purchase or rent homes and apartments. We hire architects and landscapers. We fashion dwelling places that suit our whims but these hand-made structures are not the dwelling places we will want to pass down to our children. These temporary houses do not last forever.

We are the faithful who long for Zion and Judah. We are the faithful who are the descendants of God’s loyal followers who have gone before us. We are the faithful who pass down our spiritual dwellings to our children. We are the faithful who long to live in God for an eternity. And so we pray.

Heavenly Creator, we know that we are made in your image. We hope to remain faithful to the divine potential you have planted in each of us.

Divine Brother, we are guided by you, our rescuer. We hope to listen keenly to the parables and stories you use as lesson plans for us.

Gracious Spirit, we are nurtured and comforted by you, our counselor. We hope to rest in God’s wisdom and grace as we prepare to dwell with you for an eternity.

Grant us this day your grace, your love, your joy.  Amen.


Image from: http://holyspiritrevolution.com/the-tabernacle-how-close-are-you-with-god/

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Monday, October 5, 2020

SCR038-G-02[1]2 Peter 1:2

Grace and Peace

May grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

This is so very simple. God makes a gift of grace and peace. Rather than strive to add cash to our accounts, square footage to our homes and friends to our social media, we will do well to focus on gaining knowledge of God. We increase this knowledge through the study of God’s word, through prayer and worship, and through conversations with others who are like seekers.

This is so complicated. We do not want to leave behind our old agendas, our old goals and our old norms. We are comfortable with the world as we have arranged it and we do not want to shift perspective or viewpoint. We are content . . . for a time. And when life presents its catastrophes as it always will . . . then we will yearn for peace and grace.

We understand the peace is an uplifting serenity that calms and focuses our shattered thoughts. Peace is a state of tranquility and harmony with self and with our surrounding world. This is something to yearn for.  t is a quality worth struggling for. And what is grace?

bible-image[1]Grace is a freely offered gift from God that brings us full participation in the life of God. It is through Grace that we are pulled into intimacy with the Creator.  Grace is intended for the common good and so it frees us to collaborate with others as we grow in the Body of Christ. Grace is brought to us by the Spirit so that we might be healed and sanctified. And so, because Grace is a gift given freely by God the Creator, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, we understand that it surpasses the power of human intellect and will. We can see that it perfects the soul itself to live with God and to act by God’s love. It is this Grace in which we hope to be rooted. It is this Grace from which we hope to draw strength. It is through this Grace that we reach our full potential both individually and collectively. It is this Grace that shows itself in the many small miracles that mark our days. It is the gift of grace that brings us peace. It is this gift of grace that is God’s love for us.

This is complicated. This is simple. Let us add to our knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord so that the gift of grace and peace may be ours in abundance. In these troubles days, we will want to seek these gifts. We will want to hold these miracles.  


For a commentary on grace and peace as described by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians 1:2, click on the Bible image above or go to: http://vicsmediaroom.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/bible-commentary-grace-and-peace/

Citation image from: http://www.christianstatements.com/proddetail.php?prod=SCR038

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Monday, July 6, 2020

website_p5_B_Page_1-300x199[1]1 John 5:9-12

Testimony Within

If we accept human testimony, the testimony of God is surely greater.  Now the testimony of God is this, that he has testified on behalf of his Son.  Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself . . . And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son does not have life.

Although John describes God’s in-dwelling in an abstract manner, he does not mean to say that God is an idea. On the contrary, the presence of Christ in each of us is very real.  The Spirit abides and consoles while Jesus teaches and heals, and God protects and guides.  All three persons of the Trinity are constantly present to and in us.

God says: I understand that the idea of eternal life is both exhilarating and frightening but you need not fear.  It is a real as the pain you feel when you suffer and as real as the joy you feel when you celebrate.  Yet, my love is more than emotion or thought.  My love is substantial.  It cures.  It sustains.  It converts and transforms. It is constant and deep.  It is authentic and reliable.  My love is worthy of your trust.  My love is worthy of your love in return.

When we find that we insist on our own interpretation of scripture or we split hairs and parse words for explicit and implicit meaning . . . we have strayed from the love John explains to us.  When we rely on God’s goodness and the truth of John’s testimony . . . we acknowledge the gift of God’s testimony within each of us.

To reflect on how we might better comprehend God’s love for us, enter the word witness into the blog search bar and explore.

Search for a labyrinth near you and consider this form of prayer.  It may lead you to a meaningful conversation with God Within You. 


The images above shows a labyrinth, a centuries old device for contemplative or meditative prayer. https://www.wildspring.com/labyrinth.htm 

To learn how to use a labyrinth while praying, go to: http://www.emu.edu/seminary/labyrinth or https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/labyrinth-chartres-cathedral 

For information on ancient references to God Within, visit: https://quantumstones.com/embracing-the-god-within-us/

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follow-the-bread-of-life--title[1]Thursday, June 4, 2020

John 6

A Prayer for Exodus

I am the Bread of Life . . .

We are named by God, called by Christ and accompanied by the Holy Spirit in our journey here on earth.

In John 6 Jesus feeds thousands with a few pieces of food.  He mystifies his apostles, disciples and followers when he appears and disappears, walks on water, shows up, slides away, and explains the mystery of his mystical Body and the Eucharist.  Almost no one understands.  But there are those who believe, and perhaps this is all that we need do as well. Believe. Believe and enact this belief in the way we form relationships with others.  But this can be so difficult.

When we become surrounded by a relativistic society where people decide what is right and what is wrong relative to their own wishes rather than going to God in order to make their best decisions, do we still follow Christ?

When we find strained interactions with people with whom we formerly had comfortable and easy relationships, do we still rely on God to see us through the tough patches of our journey?

When we discover an ugly truth where we thought there had been beauty, do we still rely on the Spirit to bless and grace us with patience and perseverance?

When we realize that we have been too stubborn or too narrow-viewed, too backward-looking, too prideful or too self-centered in our relationships with others, where do we go for sustenance and exodus?

What will we do when Jesus offers us the manna that sustains?  How do we react when we see the door to a new and transforming exodus?  Why do we fear that the Spirit will abandon or disappoint us as some of our best-loved have done?

When we search for resolution of strife we become too focused on ourselves and we miss the wonderful gift we receive each day: Christ calls faithfully and waits endlessly for our reply; Christ offers not only his experience as a fellow exile but himself in body to us . . . the new manna . . . Eucharist.

Too often we hesitate as we watch many of those around us move away from the Light and Truth which Christ brings. What will we do today, tomorrow and every day when the Christ asks each of us: Do you also wish to go away?  Will we slip into the shadows?  Or will we respond as Peter does, saying: Where else do we go?  You have the words of everlasting life.

And so we pray . . .

May we understand that we are all in Exodus, from darkness to light, from sin to reconciliation, from separation to unity, from selfishness to selflessness, from fleeting pleasure to sustaining joy, from the old to the new, from slavery to freedom. 

May we come to fully comprehend that Christ is this new freedom from slavery, this new light to the darkened world, this new manna in the desert, this new communion of bread and wine, this new voice and body of love among us. 

May we fully express our understanding that when we join Christ in exodus, when we form solidarity as the early apostles did, and when partake of the manna that is Christ, we become one with Christ. We are that Christ.

Lord, grant us the faith to believe you, the wisdom to know you, the hope to endure with you, the love to abide with you, and the courage to join you in Exodus.   Amen.


Image rfom: http://www.begrace.org/media/follow-bread-life

Adapted from a reflection written on January 25, 2008.

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