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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.

 

2nd Sunday of Year B – 2021

The conversations we have among ourselves take on different aspects.
We can exchange information, relate events that have taken place or, on a lighter note, crack a joke!
Questions are also very much part of our daily interaction with people.
Questions of different kinds and about many topics.

In today’s gospel text (Jn.1:35-42), we witness some questioning addressed to the one known as the Man of Nazareth.
We see two men approaching Jesus and asking him a question –
a very simple question, one that we, ourselves, sometimes ask from people we meet:

“Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 
 
I pause and ask myself whether I ever asked Jesus this question…
I suppose that I presume that I know… I know that he is everywhere,
perhaps especially in heaven (whatever definition we may give to this term).
Some people may add that he is really present in the Eucharist, but… is this… all?

I suddenly recall that on the eve of his death, Jesus told his apostles:

“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.
My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (Jn.14:23)
 
Could it be that Jesus is staying much closer ‘home’ than we think?
 
Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/2e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/
 
 

Source: Image: 4brosblog.com

Baptism of the Lord, Year B – 2021

Questions are asked of us throughout the day and every day.
Some are about minor things, or small matters, and they require little thinking.
Other questions are about more serious aspects of our lives
and we may need to pause before we give an answer.

Of course, much depends also on… who is asking the question.
What about if it is… GOD who is asking us questions?!
Because he does ask us and these questions reach us personally and intimately.

In the text of the 1st reading today, God’s question is addressed to us through the prophet Isaiah (Is.55:1-11).
We hear him say:

Why spend money… and your labor on what does not satisfy?”
 
This question may reach us when we did not expect it and yet…
it involves something that touches us closely:
our money, our labor, ultimately, our choices and our values.
In simple words: What do we live for?
From what do we expect to find satisfaction, in fact: where do we look for happiness?

After questioning us, God invites us:
“Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.”
 
At the beginning of a new year, this invitation opens up for us the path to follow –
to listen to the Lord and find the path to LIFE, a life full and meaningful.

Personally, I believe that if this is what God offers, it is the best that can truly SATISFY us.
 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/bapteme-du-seigneur-b-2021/

 

Source: Image: Pinterest

Feast of the Epiphany, Year B – 2021

The text of the gospel of the Feast of Epiphany is well known to us.
We could repeat with much detail the story of the Magi searching for the new-born king and their visit to him.

Yet, every year, there seems to be in the text something that speaks in a new way.
This year I stopped at the following words:

   “We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
 
 “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

A star appears and guides people on their way…
But these people want to be sure… so they go and consult a king – a king should know, they suppose…

Is it that they no longer see the star?
Has this mysterious sign in the sky disappear?
Or, is it that the travelers no longer trust the sign?
Or is it that they do not rely on the faith they had at first that the star is a reliable guide?

I see there, a pattern, a pattern often recurring in our daily lives.
At first, we trust a message received, a sign given to us –
it seems clear, yes, like a star.
But after a while it is no longer so clear, in fact, at times it seems to have vanished completely.
We doubt the sign, and often we doubt ourselves.

Or, is it that we do not recognize the one who gave the sign?
On this feast of Epiphany – the word means ‘manifestation’ – it could be an ideal occasion to…
contemplate anew the One who has come to us.

A contemplation that leads to the recognition of Him and…
of the signs he gives us on our way, from day to day.

Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-lepiphanie-annee-b-2021/

Source: Images: depositphotos.com   Art & Life Notes – WordPress.com   depositphotos.com  

Feast of Mary, Mother of God, Year B – 2021

During this festive season of Christmas and the New Year, we exchange good wishes, all kinds of them.
Phone calls, Christmas cards, emails, messages on Messenger or Twitter
all the platforms are good If they serve our purpose:
that of sending to others our wishes for their health, happiness, success, and other good things in plenty.

But do we exchange blessings?
Some of you may be surprised at this question… Blessings?
But… what are they really?

Some would define them as gifts, opportunities, benefits, good luck perhaps…
Others would describe them as an intervention that will bring a sense of well-being, of contentment.
All this is true but…

If we pay attention to the 1st reading of today’s feast (Numbers 6:22-27),
we should admit that something is missing in the definitions above and that is… God’s touch!

Yes, a blessing is not only some pious wish, or words expressing the desire of good fortune for someone else.
A blessing is a call on God himself to intervene in favor of someone,
in other words: to give as only God can give!
 
A blessing is a gift from God himself.
The text says that God will be ‘gracious’ to the person blessed in his name,
and the ‘grace’ that God gives is… himself!

This is what he has done in Jesus, the new-born we see in Mary’s arms.

What else could we desire, or ask for, that would satisfy us truly?
This blessing enfolds all others!
And, the amazing thing is that God wants so much to give it to us that… he wants us to ask for it!

God BLESS YOU!

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

Source: Image: ibelieve.com   deseret.com

Feast of the Holy Family, Year B – 2020

 We live an unusual situation and this period of pandemic is definitely upsetting.
Our daily lives have been turned upside down –
our ways of doing and being can no longer be what they were only nine months ago.
And we are… wondering – wondering where we are going, where this will lead us to…

The 2nd reading of today’s feast tells us of Abram (He.11:8,11-12,17-19)
who also experienced his life being transformed by an unexpected call.
We are told:

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, 
obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going…”

At that time, Abraham was in the dark, so to speak, it was only later that he would see
that the place he was going to would become a gift.

Fast forward to our 21st century:
Could it be that this period of pandemic would also become… a gift later?
 
And in today’s gospel we meet Mary and Joseph bringing their new-born child to the Temple (Lc.2:22-40).
It is said that:

“The child’s father and mother stood there wondering…”
 
The English word ‘wonder’ has, in fact, a double meaning:
To wonder can mean asking oneself questions about something or someone;
To wonder can also mean to marvel at something, some situation or person.

Our present situation of social distancing and confinement may lead us to ask many questions:
When will we be freed from this situation?
Will there be a cure one day?
Will our lives return to what they were before this pandemic?

 

What if our wonder about what is happening now
turned out to be wonder at what God will have done for us later?

God’s ways can be really wonder-full!

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

 

Source: Images: Votaws.com   Pinterest

Feast of Christmas, Year B – 2020

Did you notice how, when surprised or caught unawares, some people will explain:
“My God!”
The words come not as a prayer but as a spontaneous exclamation.

And yet, it could be a prayer… and it could be more than a prayer –
it could be the sign that the words of Isaiah in the 1st reading of the Christmas night mass (Isaiah 9:1-6)
have been really understood.

Because this is the true meaning of CHRISTMAS:
“To us a child is born,
to us a son is given.”

If only, this time – this Christmas – we could discover, understand, and appropriate this reality.
Appropriate, yes, make it our own – God is OUR God, God is God-with-us – this is his name.

How is it that we have come to imagine a distant God, remote from our human experience?
How did we miss what he has been trying to make us understand for so long?
Why do we find it so hard to accept that his idea of what God should be is the right one?!

Why do we constantly go back to the gods of the past, the gods known before Jesus was born a small child –
Born from a human mother, a woman of our race – that he could in truth claim us as his own.

He has claimed us as his own so that we may claim him as ours – indeed OUR God.
A child born to us, a son given to us.
 
This is Christmas – “MY God!” how amazingly wonderful!

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

 

Source: Image: Knowing Jesus

4th Sunday of Advent, Year B – 2020

We get used to things that we do often; used also to the words we repeat day after day.
The words we speak during our liturgical celebrations are no exception and…
sad to say, all too often we repeat them with our minds busy with all kinds of other thoughts.

During the Eucharistic celebration (the Mass) more than once, the priest tells us:
“The Lord be with you.”
We respond immediately – or at least, most of us do –
“And also with you.”
 
These 5 words addressed to us by the celebrant sound somehow like a wish,
a prayerful one but still a wish.
I know a few priests who rather say: “The Lord IS with you.”
 
These are the very words with which the angel Gabriel greeted Mary.
We hear them again in today’s gospel text (Luke 1:26-38).
I wonder if Mary was surprised?… Amazed?… Delighted?…
Wondering what would follow this greeting?…
Did she truly believe the message these words expressed?
 
The first time I heard the words repeated during Mass, I was suddenly made aware of what was said… to ME!
And, for some time after, I kept repeating silently to myself: The Lord is with me…
 
Perhaps this is the purpose of the period of Advent: to realize that God is with us –
yes, already with us!
We need not wait for the Nativity scene to make us believe it.

The reproduction of the Holy Family in a stable, or a cave, or any kind of shelter, will not make this more real.
It will only be a reminder of who God is now and for ever: EMMANUEL – GOD-WITH-US.

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

 

Source: Image: YouTube

3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B – 2020

“You did not see this!” or “Did you not hear that?”
“You have not done this?” or “You have not been there!”

Whether in the form of a question, or an exclamation, many people do not like to be addressed in this way.
Somehow, they perceive such words as an accusation, an indication that they have missed something.
And… perhaps they have indeed missed something…
They may have missed out on something they would have greatly benefitted from!

In today’s gospel (Jn.1:6-8,19-28), we meet John the Baptist with the people sent to question him on his true identity.
Having denied that he is any of the prophets or God’s special messenger, he tells them:

“There stands One among you whom you do not know.”

Enigmatic? Perhaps.
Prophetic? Certainly
It is an invitation to become aware of a presence – the presence of one as yet unrecognized.

This is the very invitation addressed to us in this period of Advent.
No matter how long we have been Christians, there is a permanent need to become more aware of this presence.
A permanent need to discover anew who is this God who constantly comes to us… at times, in some unlikely disguises!
A need, an invitation to know him more deeply from day to day… among us…
 
Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/3e-dimanche-de-lavent-annee-b-2020/

Source: Images: BibleAsk    Free Bible Images

2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B – 2020

 We know well about spring cleaning, or autumn cleaning – a time when we clear and clean many things around our houses.

The city council also knows much about road repair – it must be done again and again at the end of a season.

In both cases there is a need for change and improvement.
These two pictures came to my mind as I read the 1st reading and the gospel of this Sunday (Is.40:1-5,9-11; Mk.1:1-8).

We might not get involved in house cleaning or road repair but it may be that… some areas of our lives need change and improvement of some kind for us to welcome the Lord…Our values may need to be upgraded…

  • Our choices may benefit from being more other-centered…
  • Our decisions may gain from being more inspired by lasting concerns…
  • Our attitude to other people may be improved with respect and acceptance…
  • Our commitments may need an increase of generosity…
  • Our faith may want to be deepened…

During this period of Advent, this could be OUR straightening of paths and lowering of mountains.
It may look, at first, as a formidable task but we are not expected to do it on our own.
The Holy Spirit within us is always willing to enable us to do what is asked of us.

Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/?p=16658&preview=true

 

Source: Images: Space-O Technologies   Be HBG!

1st Sunday of Advent, Year B – 2020

All kinds of things and situations can keep us awake.
For some people, caffeine will do this.
Other substances with some stimulant will do the same.

But anxiety, fear and worry, will have the same effect: prevent us from sleeping.
On the other hand, a phone call announcing some unexpected good news or the anticipation of a pleasant event will probably keep sleep away.

The gospel text of this 1st Sunday of Advent (Year B: Mark 13:33-37) is short
and yet we are told four times to keep awake, to stay awake!

Stay awake not to watch a good movie on the screen, or play a video game.
Not to work on the computer, or read a novel.
But then, to do what?

Stay awake to wait for the Lord.
For many people, these words evoke the end of the world, or perhaps the moment of death.
This understanding is correct but, to my mind, incomplete.

Personally, I am convinced that the Lord can come at any moment, in every situation –
Not necessarily at the end of time, or the end of our lives.

His coming is discreet, gentle… it come under the form of

  • a word of praise from a colleague
  • a new idea for a project
  • an additional supply of patience in a trying situation
  • some encouragement from a friend who sees I am at my wit’s end
  • an increase of strength when I just can’t go on
  • the sudden understanding of the puzzling reaction of a loved one…

His presence can become close and very real in whatever happens if only we are alert,
AWAKE to his being there with us.
If only…

The period of Advent starting today is a good time to do this from day to day.

Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/1er-dimanche-de-lavent-annee-b-2020/

 

Source: Images: human life   AppleGate Recovery   Stockfreeimages   SoundCloud