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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.

 

3rd Sunday of Lent, Year A – 2020

The 1st reading on this 3rd Sunday of Lent (Year A – Exodus 17:3-7) presents us with a scene known to many of us.
The people of Israel complain that they have no water and accuse Moses of bringing them to a desert place.
He, in turn, complains to the Lord who tells him what to do to remedy the situation.
Moses strikes a rock and water gushes out abundantly.

We say: Fantastic! Wonderful!
We may add with religious admiration: ‘God answers the prayer of his servant!’
This is one aspect of the scene.

There is another, no less important if seldom mentioned.
Moses gives the location where this happened the names of:
Massah which means testing, and Meribah which means quarrelling.

These names are definitely foreign to us, but the reality they describe is most certainly familiar!
No one can doubt that, in our world today, there is much of this: testing and quarrelling.

What had led the Israelites to quarrel, to test Moses, and more still, to test God?
They were thirsty.
The 1st Sunday of Lent spoke about hunger, this one speaks of thirst – basic human needs indeed.

Our hunger and our thirst can take many forms –
bread and water are only representations of all that we long for:
health and wealth, power and prestige, freedom and domination – and so much more.

This ‘so much more’ hides ONE deeper need:
it is the one mentioned in the last verse of the text:
« The Israelites “tested the Lord saying,
‘Is the Lord among us or not?’ ”
 
This is the need for God’s presence with us.
It may remain hidden deeply within us, but it is there…
This period of Lent is welcome if it enables us to identify both, the need AND the presence!

Note: The scene of the gospel of the Samaritan at the well is presented in a video (in English) at: https://youtu.be/jU09NpjS27w
And another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/3e-dimanche-du-careme-annee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

2nd Sunday of Lent, Year A – 2020

When someone tells us something surprising, unusual, we may hesitate to accept what we hear.
Seeing our doubt, the person speaking will insist and assure us that it is true.
He or she may add: ‘You have to take my word for it!’

The scene in today’s 1st reading (Gn.12:1-4) reminds me of such a situation.
We see Abram to whom God tells, in no uncertain terms, to leave his country:

 “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household 
to the land I will show you.”
 
God’s command – for this is what it is – is very clear,
but the country where Abram is to go is not clear!
The future is unknown and the country mysterious.
Abram has, literally, to take God’s word for it!

Somehow, we are often invited, if not ordered, to repeat this experience.
It seems, at times, that we have no choice but to venture in the dark,
trusting God, taking his word for it that he will be with us for better or for worse!

And he will.
Because his Word « God-with-us » has become one of us
and he has promised:

“I am with you always until the end of times.” (Mt.28:20)

Mysterious future? Perhaps.
Assured presence? Absolutely!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/2e-dimanche-du-careme-annee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Pinterest

1st Sunday of Lent, Year A – 2020

To see in order to know – this is a very human desire, a normal aspiration for human beings.
The 1st reading (Gn.2:7-9; 3:1-7) speaks about it and reveals the outcome of this natural inclination.

The result is shown in a two-fold tableau, could we say.

“The serpent said to the woman, 
‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’.”
 
“They ate… the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized they were naked.”
 
They acquired knowledge, yes, but not the one they were hoping for.
What they learnt was that they were not what they thought they were.
They were faced with their nakedness, that is: their emptiness, their powerlessness.
They saw so clearly all that is missing in a human being… without God.

The human being trying to do things by himself, going his way,
searching for meaning where there is none, aiming at greatness where there is only absurdity.
It is a futile attempt, that of trying to… escape God –
or to venture to know him without listening to the revelation of himself…

But it remains an ever-present temptation.

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

 

Source: Image: Free Bible Images

Ash Wednesday, Year A – 2020

An unusual day, especially for people of the 21st century.
But on this day a special message is addressed to us –
a message that is altogether demanding and comforting.
It is an invitation, would we say… a petition from God?

He speaks to us in a direct and personal way through the prophet Joel:
(1st reading – Joel 2:12-18).

Even now, declares the Lord,
return to me with all your heart…
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love…
Who knows? He may turn and relent
and leave behind a blessing.”

The Lord, OUR God, we are told.
Who is he? Who does he want to be for US?

NOT a thought.
NOT a theme.
NOT a text.
NOT a thesis.
But a PERSON, really REAL.

He is the one calling us, urging us to turn to him, to return to him,
so that he may be able to bless us.

Could we refuse such a request… from him?

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/mercredi-des-centres-annee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: biblia.com

 

7th Sunday of Year A – 2020

Most people like to be seen… at their best!
In general, people want to have a reputation that can bring them praise.
We like to be known for our good qualities, our generous actions, our inspiring attitude in any given situation.
We wish people to appreciate who we are and what we do.

I expect that the Corinthians to whom the apostle Paul was writing (2nd reading: 1 Cor.3:16-23)
were quite the same as we are.
The words that Paul addressed them may have come rather as a shock, an unpleasant one at that!

“Do not deceive yourselves.
If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, 
you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.
As it is written: ‘The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile’.”

In other words: our human wisdom is short-sighted, narrow-minded, incomplete,
in fact: not really wise at all.
I doubt whether any of us will accept this easily…
Whenever we make a good resolution, it would be surprising to find it worded as:
“From now on, I’ll be a fool.”

But Paul makes it clear that we should become fool in order to become wise.
We can ask ourselves: What is the foolishness we need to abandon?

It comes in many guises:

– the ‘fake news’ so popular nowadays;
– the malicious gossip;
– the hopeless plans;
– the foolhardy ventures;
– the futile pursuit of pseudo-values;
– the misguided attempts to succeed without effort;
– the empty boasting of one’s qualities;
– the erroneous belief that one is always right;
– the paranoiac attitude claiming that people are always against us;
   and you can add to the list…

God’s wisdom granted to us by God’s own Spirit is one of genuine trust and hope.
It makes us go through life at peace with God, with others and with ourselves.

It is worth becoming a fool to gain it, is it not?! 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/7e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Calvary Chapel of Emmet

 

6th Sunday of Year A – 2020

I can’t do do this.
I’m not able to do that.
It’s too much for me.
I just can’t…

Children sometimes reply in this way to parents who tell them to do something.
The young people may want to avoid an unpleasant task.
They may try to escape a challenging duty and… they pretend…
Pretend that what is asked of them is beyond their capacity.

Surprisingly – or not – we, supposedly more… mature, may have the same attitude towards… God !
And today, he answers our ‘pretending’ in the words of the wise man, Ben Sira,
(1st reading – Ecclesiastius 15:15-20) telling us :

“If you choose, you can keep the commandments,
and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice.” 

 
In other words : « If you wish, you can… »
 
We may think that following God’s way is too difficult,
in fact, we may judge it to be beyond what we can achieve.
We feel we do not have the strength to fulfil what God is asking of us.

This may be true, it surely is, if we try on our own.
But, this is the point : we are NOT expected to be faithful to God on our own.
God’s own Spirit has been given to us precisely to neable us to do what we cannot do ourselves.

The apostle Paul was assuring the first Christians :
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness.” (Rom.8:24)

This remains true and valid for us!
Some remind themselves with a tattoo, others write it on their in/out tray!

   

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/6e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

Source: Images: American Threads hogartherapia.com
 

 

5th Sunday of Year A – 2020

Language – of whatever nation or tribe – is made of words: short words, long words, simple words, difficult words.
They are uttered, spoken, whispered, proclaimed, sung or shouted – we cannot escape them.
They take on different shades of meaning according to the way they are used –
in joy or anger, in hope or desperation, inviting or rejecting, encouraging or despising.

Yes, words have a tremendous power, for good or… bad.
They can be uplifting or dispiriting.
But what a power they have when they are… God’s own words!
When they convey God’s message being inspired by God’s Spirit.

This is the meaning of the apostle Paul in the 2nd reading of this Sunday (5th Sunday, Year A).
He assures the Corinthians to whom he is writing that
the message he sends them is not something deriving from human insight,
but it comes from the Spirit of God himself (1 Cor.2:1-5).

He is not relying on the Jewish wisdom his master Gamaliel had passed on to him,
nor on the arguments of the Greek philosophy he is familiar with.
He says it clearly:

“Far from relying on any power of my own…
in my speeches and the sermons I gave
there (was) only a demonstration of the power of the Spirit.”
 
In our own attempts to speak about God,
we could do no better than rely on this same power!
 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/5e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: www.areasonforhope.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, Year A – 2020

A young Jewish couple brings their first-born child to the Temple, as it was the custom.
An older man is there, Simeon, who is known to be faithful to the Lord.
Of this man, it was said that he was:

“looking forward to the consolation of Israel.”

The gospel of this Sunday is a long text (Lk.2:22-40),
But there is one sentence that struck me and… questioned me…
The question addressed to me is whether I expect the consolation of God.

Our prayers to him are of different kinds, and length, and intensity!
Of course, we praise him and we thank him.
But, we – most of us – have a long list of petitions that we address to him regularly,
especially in times of doubt, difficulty, distress.

But do we look forward – as if we were sure that it will come – to his consolation?
It may be that, for a long time, God has wanted to give us this special gift and…
he has not been asked for it!

Or, is it that… we did not recognize it?
Simeon held a baby in his arms and he recognize God’s salvation!

We are told that he was “guided by the Spirit”,
perhaps we need to allow this same Spirit to guide us also…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-la-presentation-de-jesus-au-temple-annee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: youtube.com

 

 

 

 

3rd Sunday of Year A – 2020

Reading texts of the Bible, we may be drawn by a scene or a person.
Our attention may be caught by an event or a story.
A parable or a text may speak to us in a special way.
But it happens that a single word strikes us so much that we remain pondering it.

It is the case for me with this Sunday’s gospel text (Mt.4:12-23) where we are told that
Jesus called some fishermen to follow him and
“immediately they left their nets and followed him.”
 
“Immediately”, no hesitation, no delay.
No waiting, no wondering, no questioning.

Most of us are not fishermen, we have obviously no boats or nets to leave.
Yet… God calls us, he calls everyone in a way that is altogether personal and unique.
We may not perceive his voice, we may not always recognize that he is the one calling…

Some people speak of a small, inner voice… an invitation to…
To do what? To be what?

This may be the moment to listen… to recognize… and to respond… immediately…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different them in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/3e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source : Image : holytrinityhillsdale.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd Sunday of Year A – 2020

To SEE – To LOOK – To RECOGNIZE.

This is the invitation addressed to us in today’s gospel text (Jn.1:29-34).
In only 5 verses, the words ‘look’ and ‘see’ are used 4 times – the message is rather obvious!

Seeing… our eyes are constantly busy with this activity.
Countless things pass before our eyes every minute of the day, unless we close our eyes, of course.
But do we really see them?
If asked about the colour of the car that just passed, or the name of the building in large letters before us,
we may be taken aback and ask ourselves…
We just did not see this.

Looking is more than simply seeing, it asks for attention. 
We need to focus, to concentrate and ‘take in’ the vision of what our eyes perceive.
The photo we look at is perhaps not clear, the landscape before us may be misty:
perhaps we need to look more closely, to adjust to what we see so as to… recognize the picture.

To recognize is even more demanding, it requires a deeper perception still.
This is perhaps the difference between ‘sight’ and ‘insight’…

In today’s gospel scene, John the Baptist invites his disciples to do precisely this:
to recognize Jesus, recognize him for who he truly is.

And this invitation is addressed to us as well . . . 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/2e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Images: unsplash.com