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Posts Tagged ‘witness-watch-work-wait’


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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Monday, October 18, 2021

Mark 12:18-27

Resurrection – Part IV: Witnessing 

Are you not mislead because you do not know the power of God?

On All Saints we celebrate the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us in their own act of witness. As we move closer to this celebration when we celebrate our own gift of sainthood, we recall words from the Letter to the Hebrews: Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us. (Hebrews 12:1)

In reflecting on the idea of resurrection, we have come to understand that it is not a possession that we might earn but rather a presence already in our midst. Christ is among us, healing and calling, soothing and loving. But we must be watchers with open minds.

When we consider the gift of resurrection, we have come to believe that it is not a privilege bestowed on an elite few but rather a gift already given to all. Christ is within us, restoring and renewing, transforming and changing. But we must be receptive with open hearts.

Once we understand that Christ is already among us and that we will glimpse him in the loving acts of another, we also understand that we must witness to this wondrous gift of self freely given. When we slip into the thinking of the Pharisees who say that in order to love God we must memorize a code and adhere only to this code without considering what results from our elitism, we know that we must watch for the healing hand of God who includes all and excludes none. When we find ourselves thinking as these Sadducees who doubt that the Living God exists and that he loves us to the point of taking us in, forgiving and holding us forever in love, we must be on watch for the Spirit who speaks ardently to those who fear or doubt.

And once we have watched, once we have waited, once we have worked as a response to the Gospel call, then we must call one another to faith. A faith filled with outrageous hope in new possibilities.

We must be on watch like the sentinel on the high city tower. We must wait patiently as the virgins who anticipate the coming of the bridegroom. We must work in the kingdom fields of mercy and compassion and healing.  And as we watch and wait and work we must witness as the risen Christ to one another as we call out to one another these truths we hold dearly and closely. We ask intercession from the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us to help us as we run the race of life. In this way we might hope to avoid the fate of the Sadducees we see today. The fate of living a life that is greatly misled. 


Compare other versions of today’s citation and watch for the presence of the Spirit in your life today.

Adapted from a reflection written on November 22, 2008.

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_Woe_unto_You,_Scribes_and_Pharisees_(Malheur_%C3%A0_vous,_scribes_et_pharisiens)_-_James_Tissot.jpg

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Jeremiah 31:7-14None Shall Stumble

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Marc Adamus: The Cold Journey

Jeremiah encourages the faithful to keep eyes fixed on God, to remember that God is both the source and goal of our being.  Our journey here on earth is one of working in the vineyards of the Kingdom, of witnessing to injustices committed against the marginalized, and of waiting on God’s plan in God’s time.  Jeremiah tells us that the faithful are guarded and led out of exile.  He reminds us that the remnant that was scattered is gathered up in hope and loved with passion.  The blind and the lame, mothers and those with child, those who departed in tears . . . all departed in sorrow will return in an immense throng . . . and none shall stumble.  This is the best kind of news we can hope to hear.

The daily drone of life wears down our defense against pain.  The monotony of waking each morning to hope endlessly in a better day saps our resources.  The aridity of the desert dries up the wells we frequent for refreshment. The oases are further apart; our rest stops do not sustain us as they once had.  We have difficulty celebrating the good news we know is upon us . . . and it is difficult for us to believe that none shall stumble.

When the life we have arranged for ourselves fails us we have two options: we can turn away from the pain of our suffering, or we can turn toward our grief where God waits to sweep us into waiting arms.

Richard Rohr has something to tell us about this in his book Job and the Mystery of Suffering: Spiritual Reflections (pages 54-55).

“We must go through the stages of feeling, not only in the last death of anything but also in all the earlier little deaths. If we abort these emotional stages by easy answers, all they do is take a deeper form of disguise and come out in another way. So many people learn that the hard way—by getting ulcers, by all kinds of psychosomatic diseases, depression, chronic irritability, and misdirected anger—because they refuse to let their emotions run their course, honor them consciously, or find some appropriate place to share them.

“Emotions are not right or wrong, good or bad. They are merely indicators of what is happening, and must be listened to, usually in the body. People who do not feel deeply finally do not know or love deeply either. It is the price we pay for loving. Like Job we must be willing to feel our emotions and come to grips with the mystery in our head, our heart, and our body. To be honest, that takes years”.

We live in a world of instant replay, quick solutions, smiling gurus, and impatience with suffering.  Jeremiah speaks to the faithful who understand that living well is not about covering over or covering up but of delving deep and allowing the fiery furnace of pain to refine us as we witness, work and wait.  Job understands the intensity of suffering innocently.  Rohr tells us that our pain is not a punishment but an acknowledgement of our eagerness to be one with God.  We know that the journey is long and steep . . . we know that our yearning for God means that we are remnant . . . and we know that with God . . . none of the faithful shall stumble.


A re-post from November 12, 2011.

Image from: http://www.marcadamus.com/photo.php?id=37&gallery=desert

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James 5:10-11: God’s Merciful Lawbible page heart

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ultimately, God will vindicate those who live and enact the Law of Love; there is no need for us to struggle against life when we place ourselves in God’s hands. Our behavior during times of trial and temptation illustrates our belief in the goodness of God; our grumbling sets up signposts to the world about our suspicion of God’s goodness. James cautions us against all of this.

The prophecy of Isaiah (50:4-10) is full of honesty and hope. When we read it alongside James’ words, we better understand the Law of Love that Jesus brings to us.

The Master, God, has given me a well-taught tongue, so I know how to encourage tired people. He wakes me up in the morning, wakes me up, opens my ears to listen as one ready to take orders.

Jesus calls us to join him in discipleship to act with him in prophesying and enacting the Law of Love.

The Master, God, opened my ears, and I didn’t go back to sleep, didn’t pull the covers back over my head. I followed orders, stood there and took it while they beat me, held steady while they pulled out my beard, didn’t dodge their insults, faced them as they spit in my face.

Jesus is persistent in his call. Eventually we understand that the way we best participate in God’s plan is to do nothing more than witness, watch and enact God’s love in all we say, think and do.

And the Master, God, stays right there and helps me, so I’m not disgraced. Therefore I set my face like flint, confident that I’ll never regret this.

The Spirit has taken up her place in our hearts, consoling us in our trials, bolstering us as we confront our temptations.

Lean on your God! But if all you’re after is making trouble, playing with fire, go ahead and see where it gets you. Set your fires, stir people up, blow on the flames, but don’t expect me to just stand there and watch. I’ll hold your feet to those flames.

James, like Isaiah, is honest and hopeful. Offering us a clear image of how the Law of Love operates in our world. Rather than stir up division and discord, we witness to the story of Jesus, we watch for ways to live out this witnessing, and we hand over our frustration, anger and fear to the one who authors this merciful law of love.

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