hello

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.

 

2nd Sunday of Lent, Year B – 2024

What God truly wants.
This is the title I would give to the 1st reading of this Sunday (Genesis 22:1-2,9-13,15-18).

The scene depicted in this text is vivid and refers to a situation prevalent in years long past.
It was a period when child sacrifices were not uncommon for people who wanted to please their gods.
The word ‘gods’ is used here in the plural, yet the text of Genesis speaks of Yahweh, THE God of the Jewish people, the only true God.
Some people reading this story would be amazed, and shocked, at what is proposed here.

From the beginning we are told:
“God tested Abraham”.
And what a test!

“God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac –
and go to the region of Moriah. 
Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

As a true believer, Abraham does not question God’s order, and he sets out to do what is asked of him.
But the offering of Isaac as a sacrifice was NOT what God truly wanted.
God himself provided what was to be a burnt offering – a ram caught by its horns in a thicket.

For an unknown reason, verse 14 has been omitted from the reading.
Yet, it gives us a meaningful interpretation of God’s gesture:

“Abraham called that place ‘The Lord Will Provide’.
And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided’.”

Three words starting with a T:
Testing, Trial, Transformation…
What God Truly wanted.

Perhaps he wanted… still wants… that we understand that if/when we really want to please him,
he will enable us to do so – HE will provide…

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/2e-dimanche-du-careme-annee-b-2024/

Source: Image: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

 

The Alphabet of Lent – Letter G

G for GREAT

The scenes of the gospel have sometimes a very contemporary aspect.
We could recognize ourselves there as in a mirror.
We must admit that the imperfections and the limitations of the characters can sometimes be found… in us!

The following text shows it clearly:

“They (Jesus and his apostles) came to Capernaum. 
When he was in the house, he asked them, 
‘What were you arguing about on the road?’
But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, 
‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all’.” (Mark 9:33-35).

To be great, no, to be the greatest – this is what we want, is it not?
To distinguish oneself…
To outdo the others…
To be more appreciated than people around us…
To take the first place…
To have a reputation which surpasses that of others…
To be treated with the respect that makes us stand out…

Like the apostles, we would not want to say it aloud.
It is better not to proclaim it openly but still… attain the desired status!

But Jesus gives a piece of advice which goes against our way of thinking.
A single sentence which challenges us with force:

“Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all”.

The apostles did not choose spontaneously this path to greatness.
And, usually, we are not more inclined to do so…

We need to learn… day after day…
Following the teaching of the Master… listening to his Spirit reminding us of this message…

 

Source: Image: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

 

The Alphabet of Lent – Letter F

F for Faith

To have faith, it is… to believe, you will say.
Of course… but still?
It is to accept a set of propositions on a given topic.
You are right but… only this?

A short text of the gospel reveals more:
 “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out,
‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’
When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, 
‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’
‘Yes, Lord,’ they replied.
Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith let it be done to you’; 
and their sight was restored” (Matthew 9:27-30).

Jesus’ question was clear: ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’
The two blindmen did not proclaim their faith in some formulas.
They did not accept a list of beliefs which they should give their assent to.
They simply replied “Yes” to someone.

They relied on someone – this is faith – to trust someone reliable!
To dare to rely on someone, to dare to surrender to… God.

He who, since long ago, has told us through the prophet Isaiah:
“You are precious in my sight… I love you” (Isaiah 43:4).

A conviction which opens up to a relationship absolutely unique… with God himself.
Daring… to believe it…
 

Source: Image: https://goodnewsshared.wordpress.com/     

 

 

 

 

The Alphabet of Lent – Letter E

E pour ENEMIES 

There are things which are not easy to do…
There are others that we find really hard to realize…
But there are still others that we find absolutely impossible to accomplish!…

The words of Jesus cannot be misinterpreted (Matthew 5:43-45).
They reach us, every one of us, personally:

“You have heard that it was said,
‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 
But I tell you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you.”

It seems to us that this is really… impossible.
Those who persecute us – to treat them the very opposite than the way they behave towards us!

Our whole being rebels against this, we do not even want to think about it.
Who can act in this way?

But Jesus adds:
“That you may be children of your Father in heaven.
 He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”.

This is the motivation that can help us: becoming the children of our Father in heaven…
He knows as well as we do – better than we do – that, left to ourselves, we cannot be like him.

If he asks this from us, we can, in our turn, ask him to enable us to do it!
Enable us to do it by giving us his own Spirit who will make us like him: compassionate and forgiving.

 

Note: In a video (in French), Diane Conte helps us to continue this reflection: https://youtu.be/JJQ6-D5w548?si=HQ0aN0xgDlsNIsy3

 

Source: Image: The Noontimes

 

The Alphabet of Lent – Letter D

D for DISCIPLES

The expression: ‘The DISCIPLES of Jesus’ is familiar to us.
Apart from the twelve apostles whose names we know, the gospel speaks also of seventy-two disciples (Luke 10:1-24).

We imagine them listening to Jesus and following him on the roads where he walks.
Our imagination does not lead us astray: to listen to Jesus and to follow him, this is the true meaning of being a disciple.  

However, there is another aspect that is required to be an authentic disciple of Christ.
Having listened to his message and walking in his steps, we then need to live according to his teaching.

But then, something wonderful takes place.
The gospel writer, Luke, speaks about it in these terms:

“He turned to his disciples and said privately, 
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 
For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Luke 10:1-24).

To be a Christian, is it not to be a disciple of Christ? Of course, it is!
Could we say that our experience following the Master allows us to see what Jesus speaks about?

Have we recognized in him the image of God made flesh?
Have we received the words that he addresses to each one of us?
Have we experienced the love and compassion that he has for us personally?

If so, then we are indeed happy!!

 

Source: Image: The Wandering Shepherd

 

 

 

The Alphabet of Lent – Letter C

C for Calm

Daily life often brings much to upset our plans and shake us.
All that we had foreseen to do and all that suddenly comes up – this is all too much.
And apart from all the activities of the moment, there are those that we must foresee.

We feel upset, threatened, overwhelmed.
We are often tired, bitter, anxious.
We experience the feeling of being caught… in a storm.
We need so much… CALM.  

It is then that the gospel text of Mark comes to our rescue: 
 
“They took him along, just as he was, in the boat…
 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.   
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.
The disciples woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”  
Then the wind died down and it was completely calm” (Mark 4:36-39).

Exactly what we need at certain periods in our lives.
And the one who calm the storm on the Sea of Galilea can do the same with all our own storms –
the storms of our fears, our regrets, our weaknesses, our guilt no matter how heavy.

The calm that he offers brings peace and serenity… a great calm, indeed!
 

Note: In the following video (in French), Teresa Peñafiel helps us to continue this reflection: https://youtu.be/54Z7yFrLzyE?si=yQOOtZ1L6jIZnKfA

 

Source: Image: Scripture Images

 

1st Sunday of Lent, Year B – 2024

Among us, human beings, relationships are of many kinds – family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc.
Somehow, we find it normal that there be special ties between ourselves and other people who are part of our lives.

The amazing thing is that… God feels the same!
From all times, God has wanted to establish a special relationship with human beings.
This is what the 1st reading of today’s celebration is about (Genesis 9:8-15).

This text reveals to us that God wants us to be united to him in a special way.
He has called human being to enter a covenant with him.

Throughout history, people have made covenants:
kings, emperors, monarchs, have concluded specific agreements with one another.
These alliances were promises of mutual help, exchange of goods, respect of borders, support against common enemies, etc.

God has done something similar with us, and for us.
He has made a promise of giving us his special help and ongoing protection.

“Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:
“I now establish my covenant with you. 
and with your descendants after you, 
and with every living creature on earth…
I establish my covenant with you”.

And, as if God was aware that we need signs, he gave us a clear sign of his commitment: the rainbow.
He, himself, said:

“This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you,
and every living creature with you,
 a covenant for all generations to come:
I have set my rainbow in the clouds,
and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth”. 

We know with certainty that God cannot fail to fulfil his promise.
We can rest assured that we SHALL receive – at all times and in all situations – his protection and assistance,
whatever our needs may be.

Can HE rest assured that we will also be faithful to the covenant we have accepted to have with him?
Next time we see a rainbow in the sky, we could ask ourselves again?…
And, of course, thank him for his faithfulness!

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/1er-dimanche-du-careme-annee-b-2024/

 

Source: Image: pexels.com (James Wheeler)

 

The Alphabet of Life – Letter B

 B for Building

In life, we build many things.
We assemble frames.
We erect houses and buildings.
We manufacture structures of all kinds.
We make plans also.
We elaborate some arguments.

Yes, in life we build many things, but…
We also need to build our lives, our future…
 
It is here that the words of Jesus reach us and challenge us:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house;
yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27).
 
A solid and promising future, or…
A spectacular crash…
The choice remains ours.

 

Source: Image: Scripture Images

 

 

The Alphabet of Lent – Letter A

A for ABUNDANCE

This is what each one desires, to own things, yes, but more still: to possess in abundance.
We think immediately of money, material goods of all kinds.
But one imagines also: excellent health, much power, influence over many people.

To enjoy all that one can obtain and… without measure!
A little does not satisfy. Much? This is not enough yet!

One day, Jesus said clearly why he had come to live our planet Earth and share our existence.
He has declared:

“I have come that they (the sheep) may have life and have it to the full (in abundance) (John 10:10).

The sheep – one must read: human beings – we are the sheep!
And the abundance that he desires for us goes far beyond what we can imagine:
“Life to the full”, in abundance”.

At the beginning of this period of Lent, let our imagination – and our desire – be stretched…
And let our heart open itself to the abundance that God offers us!…

 

Source: Image: pexels.com (Michael Burrows)

 

 

The Alphabet of Lent – Introduction

 

                                  LENT – Introduction                                       

 

 

                                    LENT is a special time…

 

 

 

                                                                                                       L eaving aside the non-essentials

                                                                                                       E ntering the depths of ourselves

                                                                                                       N either afraid nor impatient

                                                                                                       T o allow God to reach us where we are . . .

 

Let us take time…

Let us give God time…

And let us marvel at the outcome!…

 

During this period of Lent, a daily reflection will appear from Monday to Friday in the series entitled The Alphabet of Lent. The texts will focus on themes taken from the gospel, every day according to a letter of the alphabet.

The texts will be published in French and in English on the website www.image-i-nations.com

In the following sections: À bien y penser (French text) et Anglophones, anglophiles (English text).

The reflections on the readings of the Sunday celebrations will be available on Saturday.

The Facebook page of the site will also offer the presentations.

 

Note: The first reflection will appear on February 15.

 

Source: Images: pexels.com    (Elisabeth Baltadjieva,   Miniperde)