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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.

 

5th Sunday of Easter, Year C – 2019  

Nowadays, technology has changed things, of course.
But at the end of the year, in the not-so-distant past, we used to see such advertisement in the doors of shops.
Business was temporarily stopped to make a list of the remaining commodities and see what needed to be bought for the coming year.
New stocks were ordered, or not renewed, according to the outcome of this important activity: an inventory.
And, for this operation, the shop was CLOSED.

Strangely enough, this memory came back to me with the text of the 1st reading of this Sunday (Acts 14:21-27).
Speaking of Paul and Barnabas, the last verse tells us:

“They assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them.”
 
To me this is an invitation to… make an inventory of a special kind with the clear sign: OPEN!
Open our awareness,
open the treasure of our memories,
open our daily experience, to uncover what is hidden there!

Have you ever made such an inventory – of all that God has done with you?
All that God has done in you, for you, through you…
I think that you may be quite surprised with the outcome.
It may be an experience providing you with some astonishing discovery.
And it may give you much encouragement…

All too often, we take for granted much of what God does for us and, yes, with us.
This Sunday may be a good occasion to have a look again at our daily life and activities and…
see from a different perspective what may lie behind the obvious.
A rewarding exercise of… ‘stock taking’!

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

Source: Images: Owler   Pexels

4th Sunday of Easter, Year C – 2019

Many people are familiar with this English expression: “To hold on for dear life.”
Its meaning is obvious: it involves holding on tightly to someone, or something, not to fall.

Hearing this expression recently, I went on thinking that, in life, there are quite a few occasions when we must do this.
Not always in a practical manner, but metaphorically, quite often! 
There are situations when we struggle not to give up, or give in…
We have to call on all our resources to face what life presents us with – problems, difficulties, or challenges.
We may feel we do not have what is required to overcome whatever obstacle is on our way.

We do hold on… for dear life!
But to what, or to whom?…

The 2nd reading of this Sunday (Ap.7:9,14-17) speaks of:
“the people who have been through the great persecution.”
 
The book of Apocalypse (or Revelation), has been written to encourage those in that situation.
Its author, John the apostle, wanted his words to bring comfort to those facing persecution because of their being followers of Christ.
In the first centuries after the death and Resurrection of Jesus, many believers had to suffer cruelly and even die for his sake.

What was enabling them, precisely, to hold on for dear life?
Surely, Christ himself, and most probably the conviction expressed in the last verse of the reading:
“God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
 
A conviction that could help many of us to follow the same path… holding on for dear life…
with the same faith and with no less courage.

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/4e-dimanche-de-paques-annee-c-2019/

 

Source: Image: iStock

 

 

3rd Easter Sunday, Year C – 2019

Last Sunday’s reflection brought us to realize that God – our God – is a surprising God.
He does things, and relates to people, often in a manner that is not what we would expect from him.
He shows this constantly in our own lives, if we only take time to notice it!

In today’s gospel text (Jn.21:1-19), there is an interesting detail that illustrates this.
When the apostles return from the lake with an amazing catch of fish, totally unexpected,
they see on the shore Jesus near a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Breakfast has been prepared and is ready for them!

But then, Jesus tells them:
“Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” (v.10)
 
This is, shall I say, typical of God!
While some of us are not keen on… collaboration, God is.
This seems to be his preferred mode of action: interaction!
He does not want only to do things for us but he wants our cooperation.
He wants our contribution to the great things he is ready to work in our lives and in our world.

It is not often the idea we have of Someone with almighty power as we believe God to be!
But then, our God is not just ‘a’ god, he is the God of Jesus.
He who has become one of us to live with us as one of us.

Something we have never finished learning and reminding ourselves of!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in English at: https://image-i-nations.com/3e-dimanche-de-paques-annee-c-2019/

 

Source: Image: Free Bible Images

2nd Sunday of Easter, Year C – 2019

Today’s gospel text (Jn.20:19-31) is rather discrete in terms of the apostles’ reaction to Jesus sudden appearance to them on Easter Sunday.
John simply tells us that “The disciples were filled with joy.”
 
In his telling of the same happening, Luke says that they were “in a state of alarm and fright as they thought they were seeing a ghost.” (Lk.24:37).
 
As I try to picture the scene and imagine what the apostles must have felt, the words that come to me to describe them are: surprised, astonished, amazed… utterly dumbfounded!
They knew that Jesus had been nailed on a cross (we can suppose that John who was present had given them some of the details…) and a soldier had pierced his side with a lance (Jn.19:26).
He had died, there was no doubt about this.

And now, suddenly, absolutely unexpected, there he is in front of them – ALIVE!
The word ‘surprise’ is hardly strong enough to mention what the apostles experienced at that moment.

Writing the word ‘surprise’, I recall a book published some years ago entitled: God of surprises (Gerard W. Hughes).
It may not be an attribute that is often given to God, but personally I believe it is very appropriate.

Looking at my life, what happened in the distant past and more recently, I can vouch for this truth:
God is indeed a surprising God!

  • Surprising in his amazing creativity,
  • surprising in his tremendous generosity,
  • surprising in his unfailing forgiveness,
  • surprising in his unfathomable understanding,
  • surprising in his permanent presence… in spite of sometimes having to wait for a welcome!

Surprising, absolutely!
Have you not noticed this for yourself?…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/2e-dimanche-de-paques-annee-c-2019/
And a video (in English) is also offered where the second part of the gospel is presented: https://image-i-nations.com/thomas-the-apostle/

Source: Image: pinterest.com

Thomas, the apostle

He was one of the Twelve, yes,
he had been following the Man of Nazareth;
but so often he did not understand what he said and did.
Until the end and then… he understood even less…
Three years of his life lost… How could this be?
But he is no longer ‘doubting Thomas’, he assures us.

She was looking for him… He found her…

During his life. she was  among his faithful disciples.
She was there when he died.
But now, in tears… she is facing an empty tomb.
On this Easter Tuesday we meet her… and Him:
‘Mary!’ – ‘Rabbuni!’

Easter Sunday, Year C – 2019

We have to admit it:
the world is full of things that puzzle us,
daily life is rife with events that baffle us,
situations abound when we cannot make sense of what is happening.
Science and psychology give some clues but they are unhelpful in so many cases…

We study, and we search, and we analyze, but…
our minds fail to understand many aspects of our human existence.
and our hearts remain dissatisfied, so very often…
 
And today, celebrating the Feast of the Resurrection of Christ, where are we at?…
The last verse of the gospel text (Jn.20:1-9) tells us:
 
« Till this moment, the disciples had failed to understand the teaching of scripture
that he must rise from the dead. »
 
Amazing, is it not?
They had been living with him for three years, or so.
They had walked with him from day to day.
They had listened to hours of his teaching.
They had witnessed countless ‘signs’ of who he was – God’s special messenger.
Yet, “they had failed to understand…”
 
As they run to what they have been told is an empty tomb, Peter and John do not understand.  
They are convinced the women have lost their minds as they think Jesus’ body has been removed. (Lk.24:11)
The disciples of Emmaus will be told they are “foolish men, slow to believe…” (Lk.24:25)
 
Believing – not seeing, not understanding, not being able to explain, or justify,
But BELIEVING, plainly and simply.

Not only admitting some articles of a creed that one recites with devotion…
Not solely repeating the explanations one has received long ago about ‘the truths of our religion’…
Not being satisfied with accepting the contents of dogmas passed on to us…

But BELIEVING in deed and in truth.
Trusting Someone to the utmost, unconditionally.
Relying on that Someone even in the midst of the most trying situations.
Surrendering to that Someone all that I am and hope to become…

Some may think: ‘It is stupid, absurd, it is pointless any way.
Only people who are naive and gullible can believe.’

Yet, all things considered, perhaps it is foolish… NOT to believe!…

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

  

Source: Image: Wikipedia

Good Friday, Year C – 2019

When things get mixed up… there is chaos, confusion, people get… lost.
This was what we were up to and our condition was rather… desperate – we needed help.

Someone came – Someone with a capital S…
But… things got mixed up for him as well.
He had come as a servant but they made him a king! 
A case of… ‘mistaken identity’?
Pilate stood his ground: “What is written is written” (Jn.19:22).

Worse still: He was the Word,
but the religious leaders of his people used the word of God – their Torah – to condemn him!
They had tried more than once:
“The Law of Moses commanded us, what do you say?” (Jn.8:5)

Finally they had come up with: 
“You don’t seem to have grasped the situation at all!
You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people
than that the whole nation perish.” (Jn.11:50)

And the text goes on:
“He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy.”
They were afraid to lose to the Romans their ‘’Holy Place’ so… they were ready to kill the Holy One…
And they did, they obtained from the Roman procurator what he did not really want to grant them:
the condemnation of an innocent…

Today, as we look at the Crucified one, we remember his Seven Last Words.
For many years, Christians have meditated on them.
But… do we remember with the same faithfulness all the other words he spoke during his life on this earth?

Do we recall especially the ONE word he left us as his testament?
“Love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn.13:35)

It is perhaps more challenging, more demanding, more directly addressed to each one of us
than the seven others we have chosen to list and remember with devotion?…

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

 

Source: Images: wikipedia   ecosia.org   youchepcatholic.org
 

Holy Thursday, Year C – 2019

So many ideas come to mind when we observe and reflect on what happened on the first Thursday
we now call Holy Thursday.
We need to see, yes, but we need also to… listen,
listen to what is said by this man who is aware that his life is soon coming to an end.

He has much to say to his apostles, the friends who have walked with him for the past 3 years.
But very early on during their celebration of the Passover meal, he asked them a question.
A very simple question, one that we ask one another very often.
But the answer to HIS question is very… demanding:

“Do you understand?…” (Jn.13:12)

During the years spent with him, many times his apostles had not understood what he was saying
or what he was doing.
They waited to question him at night time, away from the crowds. (Mk.4:10; 7:17)

One day, he had openly asked them:
“Do you not yet understand? Have you no perception? Are your minds closed?” (Mark 8:17)
 
That was some time ago, what about tonight?… 
He had just done something unusual for the ‘Teacher’ that he is: He had washed their feet –
the work of a servant.
No wonder, he needs to ask:

“Do you understand what I have done for you?”
 
He goes on to explain the meaning of his unusual gesture.
They are to learn from it – learn the hard lesson of service.

I ask myself: ‘What if Christ asked me today that very same question…’ 
What he has done for me… in my life… over the years…
Have I understood?
Somehow, I feel I need still to understand much of what he did… what he does for me every day…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/jeudi-saint-annee-c-2019/
And a blog is also offered at: https://image-i-nations.com/noublie-pas-2/

 

Source: Images: Free Bible Images   Pinterest

Palm Sunday, Year C – 2019

Different situations can provoke different reactions in us.
A threatening possibility can inspire fear.
The anticipation of a positive happening may cause joy.
A difficult problem may, of course, leave us puzzled.

In the gospel text at the beginning of this celebration of Palm Sunday (Lk.19:28-40),
There is something which I find always… surprising, even astonishing!
We see the scene of Jesus entering Jerusalem and we are told that:

“The whole group of disciples joyfully began to praise God…
for all the miracles they had seen.”
 
You may think this is not surprising – and you are right.
Miracles awaken people to something wonderful happening in their midst.

What is surprising is what happened – or rather, what did NOT happen – five days later!…
When Jesus was brought before his judge – the Roman procurator – no one appears to speak for him.

I ask myself: all those who benefited from these miracles, where are they?
The blind who can now see,
the lame who now walk like everyone else,
the lepers free from their terrible condition,
all the sick suffering in one way or another and who are now well,
all of them, have they nothing to say to affirm that this man did nothing but good?
To me, this is really amazing! Not one comes up to witness in favour of Jesus.

Today, the crowd shouts with joy, the following Friday the crowd will shout again in… accusation.
Fickleness, yes, the ‘changeability’ of humans, of us…

I know someone who has coined a word to express the opposite – the word is ‘stick-to-it-ness’!
You will not find it in the dictionary but I believe that the reality of it should be found…
in our lives as disciples of Christ.
It is the faithful perseverance, or endurance.

And we have been told: “Your endurance will win you your lives” (Lk.21:19).
 
Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/dimanche-des-rameaux-annee-c-2019/

  

Source: Images: worshiphousemedia.com   imagenesmi.com