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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.

 

29th Sunday of Year A – 2020

Cyrus the Great was born in the province of Persis, in southwest Iran in 590 BC and died in battle in 530 B.C.
History presents him as a great king whose rule stretched from India to the Mediterranean Sea; he possessed the largest empire in the world at that time.
His name is mentioned over 22 times in the Bible and his tomb in Iran can be visited today.

These biographical details are not the reason why Isaiah speaks of him in today’s 1st reading (Isaiah 45:4-6).
The purpose of Cyrus’ presence in this text is that he was chosen by God to play a special role in God’s plan for his people.
He was, in fact, God’s servant as the words of Isaiah make clear.

What has drawn my attention in this reading is NOT what Cyrus did, but what God did –
what God does over and over again.
The text reads:

“I (the Lord) summon you by name
and bestow on you a title of honor,
though you do not acknowledge me…
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
so that… people may know there is none besides me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other.”

Cyrus does not know the God of Israel – the Lord – he does not acknowledge him as the only God.
Yet, the Lord blesses him in special ways with a title of honor and with strength.

To me, this is God, OUR God!
All too often, we think that we must do things for God – offer him prayers and sacrifices.
We somehow believe that we must gain his approval and merit his blessings.

Sad to say, we have inversed this wonderful reality that God is the first to shower his gifts on us.
We must come to realize that if we can do anything for God… it is because he, himself, enables us to do so!

In the beautiful book (and movie) The Color Purple, this is what Alice Walker, the Afro-American lady, has understood when she says with amazing assurance:

“People think pleasing God is all God cares about.
But any fool in the world can see he is always trying to please us back.”

And perhaps… to please us FIRST?!

Note: Another reflection on a similar theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/29e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

 

Source: Image: Total loser and Proud    Pinterest

 

28th Sunday of Year A – 2020

 It is quite surprising how often we can catch ourselves saying: ‘I hope that…’
‘I hope that this will happen…’
‘I hope that this situation will improve…’
‘I hope that my child will soon get better…’
‘I hope that my friend will get a promotion…’

Somehow, it seems that our days are filled with… wishful thinking, or is it… hope?
HOPE is something strong, enduring, it can see us through the worse and enable us to overcome.
Yes, overcome the problems and difficulties, the obstacles and worries that threaten us with despair.

HOPE is the conviction that the best is yet to come – not because we wish for it,
but because God will make it happen.

This is what has come to my mind as I read the 1st reading of this Sunday (Is.25:6-10).
The text describes a feast where abundance and delight are offered for our pure enjoyment.
And to add to this we are told, indeed we are promised:

“The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces.”
 
What else could we wish for?

 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/28e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: aleteia

A nomination in Rome…

Pope Francis appoints “God particle” physicist to Vatican panel

Fabiola Gianotti directs the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Her life and work for the past several years have had a lot to do with collisions. But it’s the kind of collision that yields good things. 
If her work on a Vatican commission entails any sort of conflict with other members, such “collisions” could yield similarly good fruit. 

Pope Francis on Tuesday (September 29, 2020) appointed Gianotti, the director-general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The Italian experimental particle physicist is perhaps best known for having overseen the work that led to the discovery of what many call the “God particle.” 

That was in 2012, when Gianotti led Atlas, one of several experiments being conducted at the the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The world’s largest particle accelerator, a 17-mile circular tunnel straddling the French-Swiss border, is used to smash protons into each other, traveling at near speed of light, to see what they are made of. 

First predicted in the 1960s by British particle physicist Peter Higgs, the Higgs boson particle is, in the words of the Guardian, the “elusive subatomic particle that gives mass to the basic building blocks of nature.” 

Gianotti became the first woman to be elected director-general of CERN, in 2016. Last year, she became the first director-general to be reelected to a full, five-year term. 

Source: Text (summarised): John Burger | Aleteia, Sep 30, 2020       Image: secretsoftheuniversefilm.com

27th Sunday of Year A – 2020

At times, when reading a text from Scripture, you may stop short and ask yourself: ‘Is this really possible?’

The 2nd reading of this Sunday (Ph.4:6-9) could provoke such a reaction.
Writing to the Philippians, the apostle Paul tells them:       

“Do not be anxious about anything.”
 
The question cannot fail to come to our minds: ‘Is this really possible?’
God knows how many things make us worry and how many situations bring anxiety to us.
Problems and difficulties are sometimes too many, too heavy, and we experience insecurity and fear.
We feel that what we have to face is just too much for us.

Paul tells the first Christians what they should do to overcome their anxiety:
“In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
 
THE problem might be that… we try to manage on our own… while God’s help is there at hand.
God’s strength, God’s comfort, God’s assistance, GOD is there… waiting that we turn to him –
turn to him with our requests for all that we are in need of.

The result of such relying on him can be astonishing.
Paul assures us:
 
“The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

It is worth trying…

 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/27e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Inspirational Bible Verse Images – Knowing Jesus

26th Sunday of Year A – 2020

At times, it happens that we honestly wonder what God expects from us.
We ask ourselves what would be pleasing to him in our way of living from day to day.

The first Christians of Philippi may have also been asking themselves the same question.
In today’s 2nd reading, we read Paul’s words to them as he gives them a guideline which is fitting for us as well.
In simple words it demands of us: BE LIKE CHRIST.

It seems that Paul’s words are not easy to translate as different versions of the text (Ph.2:5) give us a somewhat different advice:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” (New International Version)
Or:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (King James version)
Or:
Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus.” (Christian Standard Version)

But, if we think about it, the three versions come to the simple 3-word text above: BE LIKE CHRIST –
in the way you think, the way you behave, the way you relate to others!

A demanding programme of life… the one pleasing to him in the very way that Christ did!
 

Note: Another reflection on a similar theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/26e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: wisdomandinstruction.org
 

25th Sunday of Year A – 2020

It happens that we witness situations that go against what we would expect; what we see is totally different from the usual way.
At such times, someone can exclaim: “It’s the world upside down!”

I suppose that the last verse of this Sunday’s gospel (Mt.20:1-16) would lead us to say the same as we hear:

“The last will be first, and the first will be last.”
 
With God, it seems to be the reality in so many ways! A world… upside down!
It is a world where:

  • the sick can touch the Master and be cured
  • the lepers are not kept at a distance
  • the sinners are not condemned without an offer of forgiveness
  • the children are not sent away by adults too serious
  • the Law is at the service of people, not the other way around.

It is a world where the lowly, the impure, the outcast, the rejected, the unworthy are accepted and saved.
A world where… we, too, would feel welcomed – if we accept to take on Jesus’ way.

This way – God’s way – the prophets had spoken about it in his name (1st reading: Is.55:6-9).
Jesus came to live it in our midst inviting us to follow him on this way.

A world upside down but… where it is so good to live!
« The kingdom of God », nothing less!

 

Note: Another reflection on a similar theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/25e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: World of Empowerment

 

24th Sunday of Year A – 2020

Looking for pictures on the theme of forgiveness, I came across this illustration:

A small stone really… and it launched my reflection about this demand – for it is one – of the gospel text of this Sunday (Mt.18:21-35).

To forgive: a task that feels as a big stone, at times.
In fact, sometimes it appears to be a huge rock which we are unable to move,
let alone to dislodge from inside us!
To remove this from our hearts – because it usually hides deep in there – seems absolutely impossible.

Yet, if we think about it, forgiving is beneficial to ourselves perhaps even before than to the one we give the forgiveness.
We may not see it this way at first, but it can give such a feeling of liberation.
It can provide us with a tremendous sense of being rid of a burden that was bending us under its weight.

Being hurt can be really painful, especially if the hurt is caused willingly by someone we trusted.
But wanting to hurt back, trying to ‘get even’, as people say, keeping within oneself a burning desire to take revenge –
this is hurting oneself as well!

One day, I saw a poster with the caption : ’Let go, let God!’
This may be a good attitude in this respect:
Letting go of the hurt and the pain it brought,
Letting God give us HIS forgiveness to pass on to the one who hurt us…

Note: Another reflection on a similar theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/24e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: tonyagnesi.com   Fine Art America

 

23rd Sunday of Year A – 2020

People may speak to give some information or to state a fact.
They may tell a story or give some instruction.

But it happens that someone makes a promise – this is a different kind of statement.
It is binding on the person who speaks and promising to the one receiving the promise.

What if it is… God himself who promises – we know he cannot fail to carry out what he has promised.

In today’s gospel (Mt.18:15-20), Jesus speaks such words of promise:
“Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
 
I wonder how many groups of people, gathered together because of Jesus are truly convinced of this?
If suddenly he appeared before their eyes, these people would be astonished.
Yet, even if invisible, Christ is no less present, no less REAL…

Perhaps he would chide them gently with the words he spoke before:
“You, of little faith…” (Mt.8:26)

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/23e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: The Church if Scotland

 

22nd Sunday of Year A – 2020

Last Sunday, the gospel text showed us Peter being praised by Jesus –
praised for recognizing him as he is, the Christ.
But in today’s text, far from being congratulated, Peter is reprimanded in no uncertain terms! (Mt.16:21-27)
 
“Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me;
you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
 
Peter wants the best for Jesus, his friend and Master, and he thinks that… he (Peter) knows best!
According to him, it is certainly not suffering and death at the hands of the leaders of the Jews.

Jesus sees in Peter a tempter – the meaning of the word ‘Satan’,
someone who puts obstacles on the path of Jesus carrying out his mission.

Peter has yet to learn to see life’s situations in the light of “the concerns of God,”
he is focused on “merely human concerns.”
In other words, Peter has to get adjusted to God’s ways of thinking – a life-long adjustment!

Looking at our own ways of seeing situations and people, it would seem that we need to make the same adjustment –

We are constantly in danger of thinking that we know best!
We like to believe that we know what is good and appropriate for ourselves and for others!
We would not admit it – possibly not even to ourselves – but we tend to think that God’s way should follow ours!

Yes, a life-long adjustment is needed!…

 

Note: Another reflection on a similar theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/22e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Images: www.this-mormon-life.com.  reasonforjesus.com

 

21st Sunday of Year A – 2020

In a gospel text that is well-known, I usually try to find an aspect which has perhaps gone unnoticed in the reflections and commentaries offered by different writers.

In today’s gospel (Mt.16:13-20), my attention is drawn to the fact that Peter is being praised by Jesus.
Peter must have been surprised: receiving from the Master what we would call a compliment!

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah,
for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, 
but by my Father in heaven.

But it is a compliment which has two sides to it.
It is an encouragement to Peter telling him that he has understood who he, Jesus, is.
But it is also a reminder that this perception is not purely human knowledge, it is a revelation –
a revelation given by God himself.

In simple words: to know God, to understand ever more deeply who he is,
we need his own help and guidance.
Jesus said it clearly on another occasion:

“No one knows the Son except the Father. 
Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son,
and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Mt.11:27)
 
If I am aware that I do not know God as he would like to be known by me,
perhaps it is that I do not ask him to make himself known to me…

Note: Another reflection on a similar theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/21e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: ferrysburgchurch.com