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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 Lent, Year C – 2019

The texts from the Bible are often presented in a language quite different from our own way of speaking.
Different types of literature are used to transmit to us the message of God.
And, not only is the language different but, often too, the scenes represent actions and reactions that may seem foreign to our culture – and they are!
But the message has definitely something very appropriate for our own lives!

The 1st reading of this Sunday (Gn.15:5-12,17-18) is a good example of this.
The scene describes God who invites Abraham to enter a special friendship with him –
this is the meaning of the word ‘alliance’, a pact, an agreement of close relationship between two people.

Strange enough, God asks Abraham for something… quite impossible!
“Look up at the sky and count the stars…”
Who could do this? An impossible task if ever there was one!
But God adds: “If you can…”
 
This text which would not usually attract the comments of writers on the Bible has struck me.
The reason is that it illustrates, for me, the pedagogy of God!
God knows well what we can or cannot do, but… we are not always aware of this ourselves!
We are not always conscious of our tremendous potential and our limitations!

And, as important and even more so: we need to become aware of what God can do… if only we allow him.
We know and it is often repeated to us that God can do everything.
Yes, everything except… one, I believe!

He cannot, he does not, infringe on the freedom he has given us.
God calls, he invites, he may urge, or even… cajole us into friendship with him but it is a decision WE must make.
The decision of accepting him in our lives, every aspect of it, every situation, every moment…

A good thing to remember… the next time you lift up your eyes to the sky… and see the stars! 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/2e-dimanche-du-careme-annee-c-2019/

 
Source: Images: The Jerusalem Post   The conversation
                                                                            

1st Sunday of Lent, Year C – 2019

“It is too good to be true!” – no doubt, you have heard these words as well as I have.
Some people do not want to be seen as naive, or gullible, believing easily any piece of good news.
They are not trusting easily the messengers of happy tidings.

Strange – and sad to say – some will even doubt THE… ‘good news’!
The good news of who God is and what he wants to be for us.

It is true that he goes far beyond what we could expect or even dream of.
This thought comes to me as I read again the words of today’s response
to the 1st reading (Ps.91:1-2,10-15) where God himself says:

“I rescue all who cling to me,
I protect whoever knows my name,
I answer everyone who invokes me,,
I am with them when they are in trouble.”
 
“All… Whoever… Everyone…”
No restriction, no limits, no qualification or credentials required.
No past experience or achievement of any kind.
One and all are acceptable to this God of ours –
a God who is waiting, always waiting for our return to him.

This is what Lent is about, is it not?
To return and to REMIND ourselves of this amazing truth…
When it is God who speaks, is it not too good NOT to be true!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/1er-dimanche-du-careme-annee-c-2019/

A short video is also available on this theme in French: https://youtu.be/cpfWC7eed1A

Source: Image: Kozman

 

Ash Wednesday, Year C – 2019

Who knows?”  
We often hear this expression in different contexts.
It is sometimes used when inquiring about a possible event.
One may wonder about the outcome of a given project and asks someone about it.
The answer comes: ‘Who knows?’ 
 
A person may inquire about the intention of a colleague regarding a possible decision.
The same answer is given: ‘Who knows?’ 
 
These words imply that there are a number of possible outcomes.
The expression supposes that different conclusions may be reached, or choices made.
In other words: the situation is, as we say, ‘wide open’ – some change may happen in the course of time.

It is interesting to see these words used by the prophet Joel speaking about… GOD!
In the 1st reading (Joel 2:12-18), we hear him say:
Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing…”

As if God could change his mind!
We have been taught that it is not so, and yet…

Perhaps we need to switch things around, look at another angle of the situation –
the situation of… our relationship with God…

If WE change, if we return to him as he asks us to do…
Who knows?’ we may come to see him as he really is:
“gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love…”

 
Perhaps this is what Lent is all about: OUR changing so we may see God as he is…
as he wants to be for us: always ready to “leave behind a blessing…”

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/mercredi-des-cendres-annee-c-2019/

 

Source: Image: Pilgrim at the Crossroads – WordPress.com

 

 

8th Sunday of Year C

Did you notice it : nowadays, on many products there is an ISO code?
These letters identify the International Organization for Standardization.
It is the mention of ‘quality control’ for this item.
It has become compulsory for producers and companies to label clearly that a given object has been checked and tested and that it is up to the required standard.

What about… our lives?
The 1st reading (Ben Sira 27:4-7) and the gospel of this Sunday (Lk.6:39-45), both texts invite us to do exactly this: 
to check the quality of our lives.
With a simple example – that of a tree and its fruit – 
we are told to test what is the present state of our being and behaving.
One aspect is especially stressed: our speech, yes, the words we utter.

Chatting is an interesting… occupation.
Exchanging information and news can be enjoyable.
Gossiping can be even more so, quite entertaining but… perhaps not altogether innocent.

Spreading what is called nowadays ‘fake news’ can be quite destructive.
The passing on of information which is more disinformation than accurate content can even be lethal.
Even what some would call simple humoristic jokes may have negative consequences.

Lying, backbiting, slander, calumny – they are all definitely rotten fruit.
It goes without saying that none of them should be found in the garden of our lives.

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/8e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

Source: Image: Pinterest

7th Sunday of Year C

If you were to ask me what I find most difficult, near… impossible, in living as a Christian,
my answer would come without hesitation: to forgive our enemies.
Our enemies or… those we believe are such!

It is already difficult, sometimes very difficult, to forgive our friends!
And we are asked to forgive those who are against us,
those who intend to hurt us or have done so already.

The 1st reading of this Sunday (1 Sam.26:2,7-9,12-13,22-23) shows us  
someone who has done this in an amazing way.
We meet David who is fleeing before King Saul who wants to kill him.
David is given a unique opportunity to destroy the man who wants him dead.
One of his companions intends to do exactly this but David refuses.

He spares his enemy, not out of fear, but he is convinced that he should not touch
« the one who has been anointed by the Lord.”

This takes place many centuries before Jesus coming into our world
and telling us to love our enemies.
Near to impossible for us? Yes, at times really.
But, precisely, we are not asked to do it on our own.
In fact, only God’s help can enable us to do this.
But his help is always offered…

There is an inspiring story about Nelson Mandela who, coming out of prison, was asked:
“How can you forgive those who have treated you so badly for so many years?”
Mandela replied: “If I did not forget, I would still be a prisoner.”

Note: A short video is offered on this theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/ca-ca-minterpelle-8e-episode/

Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/7e-dimanche-de-lannee-c/

Source: Images: keyway.ca  JesusWalk   abcnews.go.com

 

 

6th Sunday of Year C

It is said that our society is one where immediate gratification is the order of the day.
People want success, money, fame, NOW.
Satisfaction must be obtained without delay and preferably without too much effort.
One can’t wait to possess and to enjoy whatever will satisfy one’s desires.

In the 2nd reading today (1 Cor.15:12,16-19), Paul addresses the Corinthians and speaks a language that is very different.
He boldly says: If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are the most unfortunate of all people.”
 
Words quite strange to our modern ears. 
They are in sharp contrast with the popular attitude in fashion nowadays.
We are to take… the long view!
We must look beyond the here-and-now to envisage the hereafter…

The present situation may have much to offer yet it can never satisfy fully –
have we not made this experience time and again?
Our human DNA is programmed with the desire for always more, always better, always…

It would appear that Paul is right after all: HOPE is for what is yet to come!
And… the best it promises to be!

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

Source: Image: heartlight.org

 

World Day of the Sick – 11 February

About World Day of the Sick

Pope John Paul II initiated the day in 1992 to encourage people to pray for those who suffer from illness and for their caregivers. The Pope himself had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s a year before, in 1991, and it is considered that his own illness was impetus for his designation of the day.

World Day of the Sick was first observed on February 11, 1993. February 11 is also the Catholic Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, which a name is given to the Virgin Mary in honor of the apparitions that were said to have been seen in and around Lourdes, France, by a young girl called Bernadette Soubirous. The Church canonized Bernadette as a saint several years later.

Did You Know?

Pope Benedict XVI declared his decision to resign from his post as the Pope on this day in 2013. He cited his failing health as the reason behind his decision.

 

Source: Texte: timeanddate.com Image: health.harvard.edu

5th Sunday of Year C – 2019

This Sunday’s readings present us a tableau, so to speak, in three parts.
It gives us the picture of three men: 
Isaiah, (Is.6:1-8) 
the apostle Paul, (1 Cor.15:1-11) 
Simon (Lk.5:1-11) who was to become Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. 

Though they lived many centuries apart, they have one thing in common: they saw themselves as they were!
This may seem a strange characteristic but it is no small achievement in our world of… image-making where people show off trying to impress others!…

Isaiah says to God: “What a wretched state I am in, I am a man of unclean lips.”
Paul confesses openly: “I am the least of the apostles, I hardly deserve the name apostle.”
Simon begs Jesus: “Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.”

Yes, they saw themselves as they were but… what they saw was not the full picture!
It needed to be corrected, to be… enhanced, could we say, and by God himself!

To Isaiah, the angel said: “Your sin is taken away.”
Paul recognises: “The grace that God gave me has not been fruitless.”
Jesus assures Peter: “Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.”
 
It may be a worthwhile exercise to go through the same experience:

  • Have an honest look at ourselves
  • Try to give ourselves a just appraisal and…
  • Let God do the adjustments and corrections he sees fit.

The final picture may be most encouraging !

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/5e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

Source: Images: theodisseyonline.com cursillos.ca   Free Bible Images

World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking – 8 February

Time to end slavery

Pope Francis has declared the feast of St Josephine Bakhita, which is celebrated each year on 8th February to be the World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking.

St Josephine Bakhita is the patron saint of victims of slavery and of Sudan. Australians are being urged to work together, through grass roots action and corporate governance, to end slavery around the world. (…)

It is estimated that millions of women, girls, men and boys are trafficked annually into domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, pornography production, forced marriage and forced labour.

“These forms of exploitation flourish because of society’s greed for cheap goods and services and because it is easy to forget that those who meet these needs are human beings with their own innate God-given dignity,” the Bishop of Parramatta, Vincent Long Van Nguyen, wrote.
 

Source: Text: www.cathnews.com   Image: www.renate-europe.com

4th Sunday of Year C

“Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror ;
but then we shall be seeing face to face.” (1 Cor.13:12 – 2nd reading)

It is said and repeated.
It is claimed and proclaimed.
It is promised and published …

But, do we believe this?
It is so astonishing!

It is announced and assured…
It is taught and sung…
It is preached and explained…

But can we accept this?
It is so amazing!

We hear it.
We read it.
We say it…

But can we receive this?
It is so overwhelming!

One day, we will SEE GOD face à face.
This is what he meant from the beginning.
This is what we are meant for… one day!

For now: We… Believe – Accept – Receive… in hope!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/4e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2/

 
Source: Image: videoblocks.com