Posts Tagged ‘trust God’

John 9Against the Light

Friday, May 26, 2023

Siloam Pool

Siloam Pool

In the opening verses of this Chapter, Jesus begins to explain that misfortune or disability is not a sign of our sin; it is only misfortune or disability. Jesus cures a man of blindness as if to make a point. A miracle occurs yet in verses 8 through 12 we see how the people doubt that the cure has taken place: No, he just looks like him. In verse 13 the Pharisees become involved. The healing happened on a Sabbath; work has occurred. This is a transgression for which the temple leaders must have an accounting. This man is not from God. The healed man is called a second time and asked what has happened, to which he replies  in verse 24. I told you already and you did not listen.  Why do you want to hear it again?  The Pharisees continue to question and he replies: This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes . . . If this man were not from God he would not be able to do anything. This is a challenge to them. They cannot comprehend – or accept – the miracle before them and so . . . Then they threw him out.

In the final verses of this chapter Jesus speaks to the healed man to assure him that they have not broken God’s true law – the Law of Love. Explaining that he is the light that has come into this world of darkness, Jesus gives his listeners something to think about: I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind. This tweaks the Pharisees – who have refused to see and accept this cure as coming from God. Jesus says to them: If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, “We see”, so your sin remains. Jesus points out to these men that they have seen the truth and reject it, so that they might believe themselves to be in control. They irony is this: They were never in control as they have imagined themselves to be.

Christ Healing the Blind Man at Bethsaida: Gioacchino Assereto

Christ Healing the Blind Man at Bethsaida: Gioacchino Assereto

In this story we are again in the world of inversion where up is down and down is up, poor is good, disability is a plus. Jesus is the light and the Pharisees set themselves against this healing force. We have the opportunity to examine our reaction to miracles. Do we accept the gift of life which each of us is offered? Or do we put aside our petty haranguing with one another in order to unite in Christ? Are we stubborn Pharisees or are we blind people cured?

Do we flail against the light and insist that what we see is not really happening? Can we accept in confidence the gift of healing and give back to God our total trust?

If this man were not from God he would not be able to do anything . . . so when the light enters our lives as it so often does let us not thrash against the goodness and the warmth. 

Images from: http://www.bibleplaces.com/poolofsiloam/ and https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WLA_cma_Christ_Healing_the_Blind_Man_c_1640.jpg

Adapted from a May 14, 2010 favorite. 

Read Full Post »

Job 8: Taking the Dare – Part V

Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 21, 2023the-love-of-god-tara-ellis

God is in charge. This is what we know. We might rail against this fact, thinking this requisite of life a restriction but still, this is what we know.

God is present in our suffering as well as our joy. This is what we feel. We might doubt God’s existence and question God’s fidelity, thinking these truths to be myth but still, this is what we feel.

God wants us to be happy and peace-filled. This is what we experience. We might wonder why God allows pain and sorrow but still, this is what we experience.

Can we ever live up to God’s expectation? Of course we can. All we need do is to take God’s open hand.

Can we ever admit that God is in the smallest microbe and at the same time in the immensity of the multiverse? Of course we can. All we need do is to accept God’s invitation to transformation.

Can we ever admit that God’s wisdom is enduring and inevitable? Of course we can. All we need do is to relax into God’s enormous heart.

And so we pray.

Good and loving God, you have entrusted all that you are to humanity’s hands. May we communicate your love in all we say. You have taken the dare to believe in us. May we return your love in all we think. You have gathered us up, taken us in, and made us your own. May we return this infinite love in our own small way in all we do. We ask this in Jesus’ name, together with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Image from: https://www.dreamstime.com/photos-images/heart-shape-bible.html

Read Full Post »

Isaiah 49A Time of Favor

Third Sunday of Easter , April 23, 2023favor

In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you, to restore the land and allot the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners: Come out!  To those in darkness: Show yourselves!

All through this portion of Isaiah’s prophecy we hear that we are to trust the Lord, we are to be willing to be his faithful servants, we are not only saved but restored.

They shall not hunger or thirst . . .

When we are suffering through a trial it is difficult to step into the void and put all of our confidence in an unseen force.

Nor shall the scorching wind or sun scorch them . . .

When we are in pain it is difficult to let go and to believe that we are powerless, that our many resources count as nothing before the awesome power of God.

I will cut a road through all my mountains, and make my highways level . . .

When we are immersed in our human world it is difficult to remember that all we see has been created by God . . . not humans . . . and that God is in charge.

Hear me, O coastlands, listen, O distant peoples . . . Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?  Even should she forget I will never forget you.

The Lord God wants to redeem each creature that has sprung from his imagination and hands. Who are we to doubt that we are numbered in that flock?

Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth, break forth into song, you mountains.  For the Lord comforts his people and shows mercy to his afflicted.

The Lord God comforts and cozens his people.  He nurtures them as a mother does. Even in dark days – especially in dark days – he loves and nourishes us, watches over us and does not abandon us.

In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you, to restore the land and allot the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners: Come out!  To those in darkness: Show yourselves! . . . I will never forget you.

Eastertide is a time of favor, a time when we celebrate God’s human presence among us, a time when we celebrate out divine presence in Christ, our brother. Let us remember the good news we have been told, and let us declare it to others.

Come out! Show yourselves! . . . I will never forget you . . . 

Image from: https://www.clevelandhope.com/hope-notes/2019/6/5/favor

A Favorite from May 13, 2010.


Read Full Post »

Psalm 62: Trust in God Alone

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

As we prepare for the celebration of Easter, we return to some Christmastide meditations from 2011 and we reflect on how the Passion and Easter stories begin in a stable in Bethlehem. 

My soul rests in God alone, from whom comes my salvation, God alone is my rock and salvation, my secure height; I shall never fall. 

From the footnotes in the New American Bible: “A song of trust displaying serenity from experiencing God’s power [the refrains of 2-3 and 6-7] and anger toward unjust enemies [4-5].  From the experience of being rescued, the psalmist can teach others to trust in God [10-13]”.  (Senior 686)

We lament the lack of trust in our society; we complain that we cannot rely on civic or religious leaders; but before we complain we must examine ourselves. Are we worthy of trust? Do we act with authenticity? Do we live a life of integrity?

We look at the corruption we see in high places and point out abuses of power; but before we criticize others we must live a life devoid of corruption ourselves. Have we eliminated words of bias from our lexicon? Have we removed acts of favoritism from our lives? Do we reject the use of nepotism to get ahead?

We look back through our own trials and when we are honest we can number the times we have been rescued by God; but before we grumble about God’s absence when we need him we must be candid about the powerful presence God is in the universe. Does God exist to please us alone? Do our own wants go before those of others? Do we expect God to appease us at the expense of the common good?

We lose patience with those who are forever negative, downcast or anxious; but before we grumble about our neighbors we must take a look at how often we have helped others to find their way to a positive way of living. Do we gossip about the broken-hearted? Do we remain happy by avoiding those who suffer a series of difficult events? Do we hoard happiness and fear that those who appear to be unlucky may contaminate the Eden we have set up for ourselves?

We fool ourselves if we believe that we alone rescue ourselves from calamity.

We trick ourselves if we say that we do not need God.

We disappoint ourselves if we say that God has abandoned us.

We deceive ourselves if we say that God is not the source of goodness and kindness.

The psalmist today tells us one idea, and he tells it simply: God is good, God saves, God abides, God rescues, we can rely totally and fully on God, we must pray for our enemies and leave them in God’s hands, we must sing God’s praise for keeping us from the fall.

Before we complain about how God does not answer our petitions, we must look for goodness in ourselves and in others . . . for this goodness reflects God’s kindness. Tell others how God has rescued us. 

Before we complain about how God does not answer our call, we must look for trustworthiness in ourselves and in others . . . for this trustworthiness reflects God’s constancy. Tell others how God has answered us. 

Before we complain about how God does not answer our prayers, we must look for charity in ourselves and in others for this charity reflects God’s love. Tell others how much God is devoted to us, and trust God, trust God alone. 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.686. Print.   

Image from: http://borivaliassembly.net/index.php/ministry-corner/assurance-of-salvation/

Read Full Post »

Luke 5:1-11: Putting Out into the Deep

Wednesday, February 8, 2023Luke-5_10

Jesus: Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.

The Gospel story reminds us that when we hug the shoreline, we have little room for growth. During this Lenten season we encourage one another to take stock of where and who we are so that we can move away from the safety of the shallows, so that we can trust God and venture into the frightening but rewarding depths of kingdom-building.

Simon Peter: Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.

Peter reminds us that the waters, boat and nets all belong to the Lord and that the Lord knows far more than we can hope to know. Peter shows us why we can trust God. Jesus shows us that there is bounty where we have found nothing of value.

We approach the Lenten season when for forty days we will spend time with scripture that gives us the opportunity to open our hearts, un-stiffen our necks; and which allows us to put out into the deep to fish the waters we think are empty.

Let this be practice for the next several days: Rather than think, “This will not work,” let us say instead, “If you say so, Lord”.

Tomorrow, taking care.

Image from: https://www.dlshsi.edu.ph/daily-lasallian-reflection-prayer/luke-51-11 

Read Full Post »

Genesis 23 & Tobit 3: God’s Yardstick – Sarah

Strength in Reliance

Jan Provoost: Abraham, Sarah and an Angel

Jan Provoost: Abraham, Sarah and an Angel

Saturday, January 7, 2023

In these opening days of a new year, we look for ways to better see God’s yardstick in our lives, and for ways to leave the world’s yardstick behind.

Two women named Sarah figure in scriptures and today as we remember their stories we better understand that God’s promise is so often delivered through surprise. Choose one of these stories – or both if there is time – and look for God’s yardstick.

Genesis Chapters 12-23 tell us the story of Sarah, wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. Although we know this story well, it is likely that we have not spent time beyond the basic facts that are obvious to us. She traveled with her husband and his family from Ur to Haran and was barren for much of her married life. She was so beautiful that her husband asked her to pose as his sister to avoid creating jealousy among Egyptian leaders and endangering his life. She suggested that her husband take her slave Hagar to his bed so that he might engender an heir with her; then later asked him to banish the slave and child when the younger woman took on a disparaging attitude. Sarah prepared a meal for strangers and then laughed when they told her that she would conceive at the age of 90. She was buried in Machpelah Cave near Hebron. When we focus on even a portion of her story, we find that Sarah shows humor, resiliency, and openness to God’s presence in her life.

Jan Steen: Tobias and Sarah on their Wedding Night

Jan Steen: Tobias and Sarah on their Wedding Night

Tobit 3 introduces us to Sarah who prays for death to come to her quickly. In Chapters 6-12 we follow Tobias and Sarah as the angel Raphael ushers them through danger. We may know this about the Sarah who marries Tobias: she is married to seven men who die on their wedding night, she and Tobit pray for death at the same moment and God hears them both, she travels from Ecbatana to Nineveh and back to Ecbatana with Tobias who – with help from the angel Raphael – routs the demon who has plagued her. When we explore her story, we find that Sarah withstands false accusations that mount against her by relying on God to solve problems that appear to have no solution.

Strength that flows from reliance on God and belief that with God all things are possible. This is the yardstick with which these two women measure their lives.

Images from: http://catholicsaints.info/sarah-the-matriarch/ and http://thislamp.com/posts/2012/2/14/for-valentines-day-a-love-story-from-the-book-of-tobit.html

Read Full Post »

Matthew 11:25-30: Drawing Us Gently

Saturday, December 10, 2022outstretche-hand

In my mother’s Bible which I read when I am home at Noontime, the Douay version of these well-known verses has a nostalgic ring. At that time, Jesus spoke and said, “I praise thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and prudent, and didst reveal them to the little ones.  For such was thy good pleasure”.  And later those famous lines: Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light”.

And you will find rest for your souls . . .

Is this not what we all seek?  Rest for the soul?  Are we not troubled as we wend our way through our day, as we hear the morning and evening news?  Whether we struggle with or for family, friends or strangers, does not the weight of the day so often feel ponderous by nightfall?

For I am meek and humble of heart . . .

Here is Jesus, the very expression of God to us, saying that he who is mighty and all-powerful and all-knowing and all-creating values most, meekness and humility, not power and glory. Do we not so often get this wrong? Do we not look for news of those who have million dollar sports or screen contracts? Do we not look for news of those who battle for political and social prominence?

find_rest_in_my_soul_aloneFor my yoke is heavy and my burden is light.

If we might only truly believe these words we would be less anxious, less worried, less controlling, less self-seeking. We have the power to act our belief. We are given the free will to choose to follow the wide road with its many deceits and traps or the narrow road of meekness and humility. The irony is that when we choose what looks like the easy road we become more burdened; and meanwhile the choice of the apparent difficult road frees us more than we can ever imagine possible. With God, all things are possible and all things work by inversion. When we think we are winning we are actually losing; and when we think we are losing we are actually winning.

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened . . .

Can we not hear our Lord calling? Can we not see the smiling face and feel the outstretched hands? Are we too wise and too prudent to experience Christ’s presence? Or can we become his little ones? For this is the pleasure of God, that we become as little children who trust. It is through our child-like expectation that all good things are possible through God that God chooses to reveal himself to us, his children and it is in this way God draws all of us to himself.

And you will find rest for your souls.

A favorite from November 30, 2007.

Image from: https://lmw.org/he-cares-about-your-anxiety/ and https://www.amazon.ca/Find-Rest-Soul-Alone-Psalm/dp/B00JZC5AEK

Read Full Post »

Mark 14:1-2: The Plot

Bama da Siena: The Pact of Judas

Barna da Siena: The Pact of Judas

Thursday, September 1, 2022

And they plotted to do away with Jesus . . .

We have spent time thinking about what it must have taken to plot against a man who showed such compassion for the ill that he put his own life in jeopardy to heal them on the Sabbath. We have meditated on what it must be like to live in such fear that we annihilate one another in our attempt to survive, even to the point of wiping out the innocent. Today we turn again to a familiar refrain . . . the plot against Jesus . . . they were seeking a way to arrest him by treachery and put him to death . . .

Some of the verses in the MAGNIFICAT Morning Psalm remind us of how we can allow ourselves to be twisted by evil when we stray too far from God.

Sin speaks to the sinner

In the depths of the heart.

There is no fear of the God

Before his eyes.


He so flatters himself in his mind

That he knows not his guilt.

In his mouth are mischief and deceit.

All wisdom is gone.


He plots the defeat of goodness

As he lies on his bed.

He has set his foot on evil ways,

He clings to what is evil.

Psalm 36

If we do not want to become one who connives with others to bring about the end of those we distrust, we must first trust God – and then ourselves.

If we do not want to become one who conspires with others to bring about the end of those we dislike, we must first love God – and then ourselves.

If we do not want to become one who becomes lost forever in the plot we ourselves weave, we must first turn to God and willingly give up the tools of deceit and darkness – and then to ourselves . . . to step into the newness we are offered.

Image from: https://www.raydowning.com/blog/2020/3/19/holy-week-in-art-jesus-plots-to-betray-jesus

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT.10.9 (2010). Print.  

A favorite from September 10, 2010.


Read Full Post »

Mark 8:11-13: The Demand for a Sign1765_Jesus-Man-of-Sorrows-628x416

Saturday, August 27, 2022

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

I am certain that Jesus sighs deeply in his spirit many times in a human day. And I am equally convinced that he smiles with our many little triumphs over self. His humanness wants to celebrate with us. His divinity wants to heal us. Despite all of the evidence we have before us of God’s constancy and love, we still do not trust God. We still ask for signs.

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

Luke 3:10-18 is a story of an encounter which John the Baptist had with the Jewish and pagan world.  He cautions the Jews that they must share what they have rather than hoard it for themselves.  He asks the tax collectors to cease cheating people.  And he reminds the soldiers that they ought to be content with the power they have and cease their grumbling. As Bishop Robert Morneau tells us in Daily Reflections for ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2009-2010 when he writes about this episode: Joy lies in perpetual gratitude.   The more we practice gratitude, the easier it is to live in trust and faith.  The more we live in trust and faith, the less need we have to ask for signs.

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

In Matthew 21:23-27, Jesus is asked by the chief priests and elders by whose authority he speaks. Jesus replies with a question – as he does frequently when he knows he is being baited. He asks who gave his cousin, John, the authority to baptize.  He wants to know: Was it of heavenly or human origin?  When they refuse to commit themselves, Jesus declines to answer their question. They had not really been looking for an answer. Are we always asking for an answer when we question or are we trying to control God in our lives?

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

We humans question God continually. We want to know our next steps. We want to know the reasons, the origins, the causes and the effects. We are a bit afraid, or a bit too proud, to allow our sophisticated selves to experience wonder or mystery; and yet it is through the mystery of Christ’s presence in our lives each day that we are stirred to ask questions, to delve deep within, to step outside of ourselves.

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

We imagine that Christ sighs a great deal as he accompanies us in our journey toward him. We also imagine that he smiles a great deal as we learn to capitulate ourselves into the safety of his hands.

Image from: http://biblefeet.blogspot.com/2009/03/and-did-those-feetthe-meaning-of-feet.html

Adapted from a reflection written on December 14, 2009.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: