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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.

 

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

 

 

 

 

20th Sunday of Year A – 2020

Praying… an activity which always finds us in need to learn –
to learn how to approach God and, of course, what to say when we are in his presence.

Bookshops and libraries are full of material published precisely to guide us with methods and advice about praying.
Many spiritual authors suggest what they consider the best way to pray; their thoughts and suggestions cover many pages.

The Syrophoenician woman we meet in today’s gospel (Mt.15:21-28) may not have known how to read, but…
she knew how to pray, and how to pray well:

“Lord, have mercy on me.
Lord, help me.”
 
Few words – short words – simple words –
but words that touched Jesus to the point that he did for that woman precisely what she was asking for.

Why do we sometimes think that God needs long explanations of our needs and detailed requests for his assistance?
Jesus has assured us: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Mt.6:8)
 
The Syrophoenician woman was right after all!
“Lord, have mercy on me. Lord, help me” – this could be enough at… could it not?

 

Note: This gospel scene is also offered in video format at: https://youtu.be/M-KMEFoxhSE

And another reflection on a similar theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/20e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: theministryofezra.com

 

 

 

19th Sunday of Year A – 2020

The people we live with from day to day, we claim to know them, of course.
Their ways of doing, their habits, their mannerisms.

It was the same for the apostles who were living with Jesus, travelling with him, listening to his teaching.
They knew his accent when he spoke to the crowds, they were familiar with his attitude to people.
They had observed him in all kinds of situations and learned how he reacted in different circumstances.
They knew him, at least… they thought so.

But that night on the lake when they were struggling against the storm, the mighty wind, and the waves threatening to sink their boat…
they were not so sure.
He was coming to them, walking on the water – but… this could not be him, it was a ghost, for sure.
He had to make himself known to them again, known in a new way –
a way that would bring them to recognize in him more than they had perceived up to now.
They could then say: “Truly, you are the Son of God.”  (Mt.14:22-33)
 

Knowing – Doubting – Recognizing.
Is this not the experience that is ours in so many ways and at different times in our lives?

We know God, at least we think so:
we have read about him and his message, we have been taught prayers and dogmas, we have learned much about him, yet…

It is a long pilgrimage, that of knowing God – not only knowing about him but knowing him, personally, truly.
Not an image of him, not stories about him, but the REAL God, as he wants to be known by us.
A life-long endeavour…

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/19e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

Another presentation in blog format is offered on this theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/elle-le-connaissait/

 

Source: Image: The Heart Beat                    

 

 

 

18th Sunday of Year A – 2020

Language is made of thousands of words – short words, longer ones, easy words, more difficult ones.
Words for all occasions and situations, some words provoke laughter, others cause sadness or anger.

There are words which I would qualify as categorical: they are direct, explicit.
There is something final about their meaning, words such as: ALWAYS, NEVER, ALL, NOTHING.

This last one – NOTHING – is at the heart of the 2nd reading of this Sunday (Rom.8:35,37-39).
Writing to the first Christians of Rome, Paul makes a very strong statement –
his words express a very deep faith, a profound conviction.

He says:
“I am convinced that… NOTHING will be able to separate us from the love of God 
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
 
And, in the space of what I wrote as … Paul lists 9 things, situations, people,
and he concludes: “Anything in all creation” cannot, really cannot, separate us from the love of God.
Is it not astonishing, absolutely amazing?!

I wonder… how many Christians share the same conviction with the same strength?
Being utterly certain that I am so important to God that he will not allow anything to separate me from him,
unless… I move away myself…
Even then, he will be searching for me – he told us so! (Luke 15:4).

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/18e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Life.Church Open Network

 

 

 

17th Sunday of Year A – 2020

A period of pandemic… this is what we have been experiencing.
The confinement imposed on us is being relaxed but we cannot do all we used to do in the past.
During those months, many people have been busy with different types of activities, meaningful activities.

Some people have decided to spend some time in… sorting out things – things of all kinds.
Objects gathered over the years: old tools and utensils, souvenirs from journeys here and there, letters whose paper has now turned yellow, photos, etc.

Strangely enough, this is what the last part of today’s gospel invites us to do (Mt.13:47-48).
It presents us with the scene of fishermen doing precisely that:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea
and gathered some of every kind,  
which, when it was full, they drew to shore;
and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.”
 
Our sorting out will be of a different kind, the things to keep and those to throw away will vary.
But still, a choice is required…
Objects hoarded for a long time perhaps, yes, but more still perhaps: values, relationships, commitments…
Some of them to keep and develop, others to discard without hesitation.

It is interesting to hear Jesus ask his apostles:
“Have you understood all these things?”

 The question is asked of us also… the response is waiting… and the sorting out process also…

 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/17e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

And a reflection on the text of the 2nd reading is offered in video format in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/rencontre-inattendue/

 

Source: Image: Grace Baptist Church                    

 

16th Sunday of Year A – 2020

Praying – we know we should do it.
Of course, we would like to pray well, to pray as we should…
We have been told many things about praying.
We have read articles on prayer, we have heard sermons about prayer and…
Yes, we believe it is important to pray.

But, it seems we do not manage – manage to pray well, manage to pray as we should.
What should we say, how should we address God?
What does he expect us to say, and how?…

Long ago, reading an article about prayer I came across this definition:
“Prayer is wanting to want to be possessed by God.”
 
At times, it seems we find if hard even to want to pray…
But, wanting to want… this is already a beginning.

And the text of the 2nd reading of this Sunday (Romans 8:26-27)
tells us something most encouraging:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

This is THE answer for me!

 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/16e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Heartlight                    

 

 

 

15th Sunday of Year A – 2020  

There is a proverb that says: “There is no deafness worse than that of the one who does not want to hear.”
Jesus’ words as he concludes his parable in this Sunday’s gospel text (Mt.13:1-23) could be addressing this condition:

He says: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
 
It is a matter of choice, the occasion of a personal decision.
We are all aware how much our daily life is filled with sounds, and noises, and cries.
Words, music, shouts surround us, much of it hardly registered in our consciousness.

Could it be that we let God’s Word go by equally unnoticed, unacknowledged?
We would then miss the blessing that Jesus says that his apostles enjoy:

“Blessed are your eyes because they see,
and your ears because they hear.
 
I ask myself: Am I missing out?…
Lacking attention, interest, motivation?
Perhaps not aware that the Word is addressed to ME personally?
Not daring to believe that I, too, could be blessed?

LISTEN – HEAR – PERCEIVE… a BLESSING!

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/15e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Wisdom and Instruction

 

 

 

14th Sunday of Year A – 2020

This period we are living – that of the Covid-19 pandemic – has taken us unawares, it is certain.
It has brought in its wake, all kinds of things totally unexpected.

But, when we think about it, our lives are filled with things which are precisely that: unexpected.

  • The promising encounter.
  • The unannounced visitor.
  • The surprise promotion.
  • The welcome help from a friend.
  • The mysterious gift left at the door.
  • The improbable happy event.
  • The unforeseen loss of work.
  • The tragic accident.
  • The sudden death…

And the list could go on of all that we had neither planned nor envisaged as possible.
Things, events, situations, people – all can belong to this category of the unexpected.

And two of the readings of this Sunday (Ze.9:9-10) (Mt.11:28-30)
make me think that the God they describe is also an… UNEXPECTED GOD!

A God who is humble, riding a donkey – not a horse as someone powerful.
A God who is gentle, humble in heart…
This is NOT the kind of God we would expect…

Yet, the story – the REALITY- started long ago…
The birth in a manger in poor surroundings,
the death on a cross condemned by jealous religious leaders and killed by the occupying power.

This has been – this remains – God’s choice… we have yet to understand…
to really meet and come to know… the ‘unexpected’ God.

Then, slowly, we may come to realize that he can also work – unexpectedly – wonderful things in our lives.
 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/14e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Zoe Ministries

 

 

 

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