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Posts Tagged ‘Trinity’


1 ThessaloniansThe Call

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Roman Market in old Thessaloniki - with new Thessaloniki in the backgroud

The Roman Market in old Thessaloniki – with new Thessaloniki in the background

A Favorite from April 22, 2009.

This is likely the first letter of the New Testament canon to be written around the year 50.  It is appropriate to spend time with this letter at this time of the year as it is flush with the exuberance of the early church and rather than address the profound theological concepts we find in later letters, Paul addresses the characteristics exhibited by the early Christians.  He writes especially about the joy and gratitude which these early people experienced as they waited for Christ’s return – – – which they thought was imminent.  What changes would we make in our lives if we lived as if we understood this concept of return and accounting?  How would this change our stewardship of the gifts we have been given?

The Biblia de América points out that this is a pastoral letter more than anything else and it is modest in its length and tone.  Paul’s’ themes are the mission, development and consolidation of the Church, the Trinitarian nature of the ordinary life, the mystery of evil, and the importance of salvation.  In order to put this letter into some context, we might read about his stay in Thessalonica in Acts 17 as part of his second missionary journey.  The city was a strategically situated port with trade to other parts of the Mediterranean.

Paul exhorts the faithful to refrain from sexual immorality if they are to live a Christian life.  He encourages mutual charity if they are to exhibit Christian love.  He inspires prayers for those who have already died and who are resurrected in Christ Jesus if they are to live in Christian hope.  He urges that the faithful remain faithful, even in the face of so many pressures which call them away from the Trinity.  We might heed his words today for we struggle with the same issues in the same way.  We have not come too far from where the early Christians stood.

Paul calls us to consolidation with those who live in Christ.

Paul calls us to love our enemy.

Paul calls us to be good stewards.

Paul calls us to remain strong against the negative influences of the times.

Paul calls us to Christ.

Let us spend a bit of time today reflecting on the call we feel to be faithful, hopeful, and loving in Christ’s body and resurrection.  What do our actions say about who we are . . . and what we believe?

LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.

To learn more about Thessaloniki, click on the image above or visit: http://romeartlover.tripod.com/Thessalo.html 

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Luke 1: God’s Yardstick – John the Baptist

naming of john baptist

Fra Angelico: The Naming of John the Baptist

In All We Say and Do

Thursday, January 28, 2016

We continue to see God’s yardstick in the New Testament.

John the Baptist gives all that he has and all that he is to serve both the divine creator and Jesus, God among us. Today we consider how we might measure up to this yardstick.

He’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he leaves his mother’s womb.

Might we allow the Spirit to fill us with God’s consolation and serenity?

He will turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God.

Might we allow our lives to live out God’s call to all of creation?

He will herald God’s arrival in the style and strength of Elijah, soften the hearts of parents to children, and kindle devout understanding among hardened skeptics.

Might we allow Christ to manifest himself through us in all we say and do?

He’ll get the people ready for God.

Might we believe that we, like John the Baptist, can bring a measure of love into the world?

To explore more of Luke 1, click on the Scripture link here or above. 

Tomorrow, Peter.

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Zechariah 14: Apocalypse – Part V

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

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

Saturday, June 6, 2015

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 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 IVcorpuschristi

Friday, June 5, 2015

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 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.

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

Tomorrow, transformation.

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 2, 2015

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, May 30, 2015

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 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.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

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.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

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.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

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 when Peter’s words become 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.  It 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 Father, 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.

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/

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