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32nd Sunday of Year C – 2022

In today’s gospel text, we see a group of Sadducees and we are told that they “say there is no resurrection.”
They want to set a trap for Jesus to say something which will lead them to challenge his teaching.
So, thinking themselves clever, they make up a story – a story that could make people laugh but…
it is about an important matter: the resurrection of the dead.

Jesus’ answer will soon have them speechless.
His logic takes them by surprise.
They cannot refute his argument as it arises directly from their scriptures.

When a word is repeated in a conversation, or in a text, it calls for our attention.
When an idea is presented in different ways, when it is stressed again and again, we understand that it has a special meaning.

This is the case in today’s 1st reading (2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14) and in the gospel (Luke 20:27-38).
The words ‘rise’ and ‘resurrection’ come back 4 times in the gospel.
The 1st reading has them under different forms: ‘be raised, resurrection, everlasting life’.

No doubt, there is a challenge there for us, people of the 21st century…
Some of us may also think and say that “there is no resurrection.”
Others may ask themselves… could it be that there is something after this life?
They wonder… is it possible that, after death, we will live again… in a different way, yet be truly alive?

“It is a matter of belief”, will you say, and you are right.
But not only of WHAT you believe but rather… WHOM you believe.

And that is the choice which everyone has to make for himself/herself…

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different but similar theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/32e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2022/

 

Source: Image: YouTube

International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief – 22 August

On August 22nd, International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief recognizes the importance of assisting victims of religious persecution.

When reading recent headlines, one can’t ignore that religious persecution is increasing. One in three people suffers from religious persecution. Of all the religions, Christians are the most persecuted. Christians face persecution in 143 countries. According to the BBC, Christian persecution in some countries is at near genocide levels. In Iraq, there are now less than 120,000 Christians. In comparison, in 2003, 1.5 million Christians lived in Iraq.

Worldwide, Muslims and Jews also face worldwide persecution. Muslims confront persecution in 140 countries, while Jews face persecution in 87 countries.

Many nations also place restrictions on those with certain beliefs. Countries with the most religious restrictions include China, Iran, Russia, Egypt, and Indonesia.

The Universal Declaration for Human Rights serves as the foundation for the UN’s stance on religious persecution and violence. Since freedom of religion or belief is essential to the Declaration, the UN strongly condemns the continuing acts of violence against religious groups. The UN’s position is another reason why they implemented International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.

To commemorate this day the United Nations vows to reaffirm their unwavering support for the victims of violence based on religion and belief. They will demonstrate this support by doing everything in their power to prevent future attacks and hold those that are responsible accountable.

 

Source: Text & Image: nationalday.com

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

 

24th Sunday of Year B

When the word ‘GOD’ is pronounced, several images can come to the minds of different people.
Each person has, in some way, his or her own God.
Of course, everyone claims it is the ‘true’ God, yet he is perceived in many ways.

Is it a question of choosing the kind of God one believes in?
Does it come to selecting a favourite image of God and clinging to it?
Or is it not rather being touched by him in a personal way and being faithful to this revelation?

The first reading and the Psalm of this Sunday (24th Sunday of Year B) give us an insight into who God is,
what he wants to be for us personally.

“The Lord comes to my help.”   (Is.50:7,9)
“The Lord listens to my prayer,
he bends down to listen to me.
Our God is tenderhearted;
he saved me when I was brought to my knees.
The Lord has treated me kindly.
He has rescued me from death, my eyes from tears
and my feet from stumbling.” (Ps.116:1-8)
 
The prophet Isaiah and the author of this Psalm have passed on this revelation to us
for our own inspiration, today, and tomorrow, and… all the tomorrows to come!
 
Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/24e-dimanche-de-lannee-b/

Source: Images: 123RF.com   crossandcrowntx.com

 

 

31st Sunday of Year A

«God’s word is indeed at work in you who believe. »

 Did you know it?
Are you aware of it?
Do you believe it?…

It is the message we are given in the 2nd reading of this Sunday (31st Sunday Year A – 1 Th. 2:13).
Yes, God is at work in YOU; it is Paul who says it plainly as he writes to the first Christians of Thessalonica.
And, of course, his message is valid for us today.

I like to picture God as a POTTER – the Bible presents him in this way, working the clay (Jer.18: 6) (Is.64:8).
He molds us, fashions us, slowly, patiently to create in us the image that God had in mind from all eternity.

Or, I picture God as a SCULPTOR who carves and shapes a rough piece of wood or marble.
Again slowly, carefully he chips away, corrects this or that feature and… there comes a beautiful piece of art.

Or again, I see God as the artist PAINTER who works with imagination and creativity.
He softens a colour here, he deepens the shade there, adds a stroke or removes a spot and the final product is, indeed, a masterpiece!

As we go about day in, day out, busy with all kinds of activities, often occupied and preoccupied, we are not always aware that God also is busy – busy with us, for us and… for the glory of the Father.
And, one day, we will be given to see the outcome of God’s work in us.

He will bring about this astonishing realisation.
But he needs one essential element that he cannot provide: our consent!
Our willingness to let him do, with the rough material that we are, the creation that we cannot imagine!

Believe it or not: “We are God’s work of art”, Paul assures us of it as he writes to the first Christians of Ephesus (Eph.2:10).
If only… we allow him to make us so…

Source: Images: shortcourses.swtafe.vic.edu.au   aikidonorwalk.com  shutterstock.com