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Greetings to each and everyone of you.


This section for English-speaking viewers –
and all those enjoying the culture –

has developed over the months and is now offering materials of all kinds:

texts, images, poems, videos, etc.

It will continue to provide you with rich contents week after week.

 

13th Sunday of Year A – 2020

“Small is beautiful” – people like to repeat it.
And it is true.
A small drop of dew on a bud is a thing of beauty.

Small things are beautiful and they are important.
This is the thought that came to my mind as I read the last verse of this Sunday’s gospel (Mt.10:37-42).
Jesus tells us:

 “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple,
truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
 
A cup of water amounts to nothing, some would say.
It costs nothing really, apart from the effort to care and to give!…
Yet, for someone thirsty, really thirsty, it can mean so much.

At times, we think that, to please God, we need to do extraordinary things.
We believe that only hard and painful actions will draw his attention.
We suppose that our humble efforts, our daily struggle, will go unnoticed by him, so great.

This way of thinking, this kind of belief, need correction.
Yes, “small is beautiful” in the eyes of God.
He ‘proved’ this in coming to us as… a tiny baby, so small…

So, trying as best we can, in small ways, to please God is pleasing to him –
even if it is only the gift of a cup of water!
A smile, a kind word, a listening ear, a helping hand, will do too!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/13e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: image: blazdesign.com   asoundvideo.com

 

12th Sunday of Year A – 2020

In prayer, saints of all times have said all kinds of things to God – at times surprising things!
You wonder…
Think of St. Philip of Neri who, with his usual sense of humour, would tell God:
“Lord, beware of Philip, before the day is over he could have betrayed you!”
 
At times, what is said to God is very exacting, it is demanding indeed.
It is the case with what the prophet Jeremiah says in the 1st reading (Jer.20:10-13).
He tells God:

“To you I have committed my cause.”
 
In other words, he has entrusted to God whatever is of concern to him.
When we think about it, what is most of concern to us if not… ourselves!
Whatever touches us deeply, whatever involves our own selves, this is our ‘cause’.

Our thoughts, from moment to moment.
Our secret desires and most daring hopes.
Our hunger for success and recognition.
Our search for rewarding experiences.
Our eagerness to reach cherished goals.
Our striving for achievement and self-fulfilment.
Our longing for deep and lasting happiness.
Our craving for true love and companionship.
Our constant need of forgiveness…

All this is part of our very selves, it is all included when I pronounce the word ‘I’.

But there is also, we cannot forget or deny it, the more ‘shadowy’ part of us…

Our problems and difficulties.
Our bitter regrets and guilt feelings.
Our painful memories.
Our disappointements and misfortunes.
Our failings and failures.

And for each one of us , the list could go on, and on…
All this is part or who we are, part of what is called our ‘cause’.
Like a jigsaw puzzle with countless pieces that have all to fit together so as to offer a beautiful picture.

Dare we say to God, as Jeremiah did:

“To you I have committed my cause”?

If not, what is the alternative?…
Especially in this period of pandemic when so much is unknown, unsure, unpredictable…

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/12e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Images: Microsoft   istock

Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, Year A – 2020

Though the confinement is being relaxed, the pandemic has not left us yet.
Many people try to find some meaningful activity to fill the many hours spent at home… alone.

Looking back at the past can be such a meaningful activity.
This is the invitation that today’s 1st reading offers us (Deuteronomy 8:2-3,14-16)

Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you…”
 
Much can happen in a long stretch of time, a long stretch of life.
The text adds that God was somehow ‘testing’ his people

“to know what was in their heart.” 
 
What is in our hearts?
So many things, indeed all kinds of things, possibly the best and… the worst, at times.
Because this is what we are capable of: the best and the worst.
The most compassionate, generous, self-giving, other-centred behaviour can be ours.
And, sad to say, the opposite of these noble attitudes can be found in us as well.

There are moments when we are willing to help and comfort others, to listen to them and assist them in their need.
But there are situations that find us ready to put down, to fight, to crush those who stand in our way.
We are not always able to allow our best self to overcome the other selfish and mean part of us.

We need help – the very help that is offered to us in today’s gospel (Jn.6:51-58):

“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.”
 
The journey goes on, the road ahead will see us on the way, day in, day out,
but NOT alone – not alone to struggle, to find meaning to our existence.
Someone is there with us, will always be there…
And this changes everything.
 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-du-corps-et-du-sang-du-christ-annee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Unsplash

 

 

 

Feast of the Holy Trinity, Year A – 2020

 

 

 

 

 

There is an activity that some of us enjoy doing from time to time.
It is that of clearing out things –
we look at them, sort them out, discard some, and push others into another place.
We may get busy with that in the house, the garage, the garden shed, or simply an old cupboard.
It can be with items of clothing, utensils, tools, or the toys of the children.

But could we do the same with… our minds?
Would we be ready to do it also about…GOD?

Today’s feast of the Holy Trinity is perhaps the appropriate moment to do this:
Removing from our minds and hearts…
our false ideas, our incorrect concepts, our mistaken beliefs, about God –
all that is not according to what he, HIMSELF, says about who he is.

We hear him tell us in today’s 1st reading (Ex.34:4-6,8-9):

“The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious,
longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.”

This is what he is, what he wants to be, for each one of us.
If we could only understand this… and delight in his mercy and graciousness!

 
Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-la-sainte-trinite-annee-a-2020/

 

Source: Images: Unsplash

 

 

Feast of Pentecost, Year A – 2020

Nowadays, public surveys are popular.
People want to be informed about popular opinions about this or that topic.
An unusual event, especially, will prompt reporters to analyze and publish detailed information about such happening.

The first reading of today’s feast (Acts 2:1-11) is interesting in that respect –
it is a little as if we were given a report about precisely an unusual event.
We are told in much detail about what has been happening.
 
“A sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven;
what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of the apostles;
they began to speak in other tongues.”

“A crowd came together in bewilderment…”
The listeners listening represented no less than 15 nations!

Not surprisingly, the text says:
 “They were utterly amazed.”
Another translation of the text adds that people were marveling at what they saw happening.
And now, fast forward to… our own 21st century…
And… three questions come to my mind:

Are we still bewildered by God’s coming to our world?
Are we amazed at what he does in our own situation?
And… do we still marvel at the wonders he works in our days?

I am personally convinced that

  • God is still present.
  • God still works among us.
  • God still realizes wonderful things for us.

Perhaps it is a question of asking God’s Spirit to give us the perception, the vision of this permanent REALITY.

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-la-pentecote-annee-a-2020/

 

 Source: Image: Aleteia

 

Feast of the Ascension, Year A – 2020

The gospel texts have much for us to learn, to reflect upon, to be inspired and to be challenged by.
But at times, there are some texts which are also giving us some comfort and encouragement.
It can be a series of verses, but it can also happen that only one line, or even a few words, have some unexpected comforting message.

This is the case in today’s gospel text (Mt.28:16-20) where we are told:
“The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”
 
This is surprising indeed.
The apostles had been with Jesus for some three years.
They had seen, heard and touched him (as John would later write: 1 Jn.1:1),
noticing what he said and observing what he did.

In the 1st reading is is also said:
“After his suffering, he presented himself to them
and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.”  (Acts 1:1-11)
 
Still some of the apostles doubted – is it not quite astonishing?
Astonishing, yes, but also encouraging for us who are struggling to believe.

There are moments when our faith is tested… questions arise in our minds.
We find ourselves in situations where we no longer see God present with us.
Some circumstances see us puzzled and perplexed, wondering and searching for meaning.
We are trying to make sense of some event that seems meaningless.

We should not think that this makes us guilty in God’s eyes.
He knows us, fragility is part of our human nature.
God understands our difficulty in trusting him in all things and at all times.
What he expects from us is that we try, and try again… and again.

And he is pleased when we make ours the prayer of the man in the gospel who said to Jesus:
“Lord, I believe but help my unbelief.” (Mk.9:24)
In other words: Help this part of me which is still struggling to overcome my doubts…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-lascension-annee-a-2020/

 
 
Source: Image: www.joyfulheart.com
 
 

 

6th Sunday of Easter, Year A – 2020

After nearly two months of confinement and of social distancing, some people are longing to see…
the light at the end of the tunnel.
With the daily statistics of the Coronavirus more often going up rather than down,
people themselves start feeling… down.

No wonder that we need to repeat and remind one another:
IT WILL GET BETTER.
WE WILL OVERCOME TOGETHER.
TOMORROW WILL BE BRIGHTER.

Do we really believe it?
Do we still HOPE that it will come true?

In today’s 2nd reading (1 P 3:15-18), the apostle Peter tells the first Christians:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have.
 
Do we still have hope and what kind of hope is ours?
We may try to make ourselves believe in better days but we soon find out that…
it does not always work.

What we need is the hope that comes from the promise given to us in today’s gospel message (Jn.14:15-21):

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever… the Spirit…”
 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. I live, you also will live…”
“He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him.”
This is solid ground, this is reliable support, this is unfailing assistance:
it is indeed true HOPE.

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/6e-dimanche-de-paques-annee-a-2020/

  

Source: Image: King James Bible

 

 

5th Sunday of Easter, Year A – 2020

In this period of pandemic, the prevailing mood of most people is not that of exuberant joy,
and this is an understatement.
Sadness, loneliness, and for some even hopelessness, characterize their days.
Downcast, dejected, discouraged, would describe many people.
 
In the first line of this Sunday’s gospel (Jn.14:1-12) Jesus says:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. 
You believe in God; believe also in me.”
 
It seems so simple, too simple…
In life – and especially life nowadays – there are many reasons to be troubled.
Sickness, worry about a mortal virus, about money, about the situation of loved ones we cannot visit…
And worry about… death, of course.

We have been repeating to ourselves:
‘It will be fine. Together we will overcome’.
And to reassure ourselves we have displayed pictures of rainbows to assert our hope.
But, somehow, it does not always work…
The discouragement returns and sometimes tears run down the cheeks of this or that person.

Jesus says that we should NOT be troubled…
And he speaks from experience –

  • deserted by his followers (Jn.6:66)
  • abandoned by his close friends (Mt.26:56)
  • betrayed by one (Mt.26:15) and denied by another (Lc.22:54-62)
  • feeling distress and anguish (Lc.22:44; Mt.26:36)

Long ago, the author of the epistle to the Hebrews wrote to the first Christians:
“We do not have a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities,
but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
 
The temptation to say: ‘It’s too much. I can’t bear this any more.’
Yet… like an outstretched hand, help is there…
The help of his presence, his strength, his comfort, his relief…

You need not look for the hand, but HE is there!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/5e-dimanche-de-paques-annee-a-2020/

 

Source: Images: thechurchofchristoflatterdays.org Dreamstime.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th Sunday of Easter, Year A – 2020 

The text of the gospel of this Sunday is well known (Jn.10:1-10).
Many people noticing the reference will think:
‘This is the gospel of the Good Shepherd.’
This is correct… to a certain extent.

In this section of the text, Jesus speaks of a shepherd in general.
He will present himself as THE shepherd in the verses following today’s text.
But in the text offered to us this Sunday, Jesus makes another affirmation,
less familiar, perhaps, yet revealing something of himself.

He says:
“Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep
Whoever enters by me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.” 
 
A gate, a door, an entrance into somewhere.
A place that leads us from one area to another.
A threshold… an entry into another place, another space…

This is what Jesus is, what he wants to be for us.
He is there for us, with us, to enable us to… move on,
to pass from where we are to where we can become more as God wants us to be.

This is a message very appropriate for the period we live just now –
a period of pandemic due to the Coronavirus which upsets our lives and troubles our minds.
Could it be that God wants this time to be a time of grace –
a God-given time for us to pass from our ordinary lives to that which he has in store for us?

Jesus says it clearly:
“I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full.”
 
NOW, more than ever!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/4e-dimanche-de-paques-annee-a-2020/

 

Source: Images: Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

3rd Sunday of Easter, Year A – 2020

The scene of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, today’s gospel (Luke 24:13-35)
offers many interesting aspects for reflection.

One especially retains my attention; the text says:
“Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 
but they were kept from recognizing him. »

Many writers have been speculating on the cause of this:
what was it that prevented the disciples from recognizing Jesus?
What caused them to be blind in this way, unable to see that the man walking with them was Jesus?

Different commentators have proposed different reasons.
As far as their explanations are concerned, the usual expression can be used:
‘On this matter, the jury is still out.’
In other words, nobody knows for sure! 

The reason why this verse keeps me thinking does not belong to exegesis.
It is more personal, much closer to ‘home’, one could say.
The question then becomes formulated in a different way,
and it is addressed to me directly:
‘What is it that prevents ME from recognizing Jesus in my own life?

What prevents me from perceiving Christ, the Risen Lord, present with me from day to day?
What is the cause if this unusual blindness,
this failure to be aware of the obvious presence –
even though hidden from the eyes of my body?

An impediment of what kind?
An obstacle of what sort?

Fear of seeing something within myself that I would prefer not to see?
Shame for something of the past which I do not want to acknowledge?
Inattention? Indifference?

Perhaps simply forgetfulness?
Whenever I walk alone on whatever road or path, perhaps I could find out?…
 

Note: A video presentation of this scene can be found at: https://youtu.be/4QwKU442-80

And another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/3e-dimanche-de-paques-annee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Catholic online