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33rd Sunday of Year B – 2021

Every week, a new reflection appears here on the texts given to us for the Sunday celebration.
Most times, the text presented refers to one of the three readings assigned for the day.
Today, we will rather look at the Psalm (Ps.16:1,5,8-11) used as a response to the 1st reading.

The words of verse 8 have caught my attention:
“I keep the Lord before me always.”

An amazing statement!
The author of this Psalm affirms that God is present to him at all times.
If it was so for him, why would it not be so for us?

God present to us in all situations,
present in whatever happens,
wherever we find ourselves,
whatever be our condition at the moment.

The Psalmist is convinced that, remaining in God’s presence, he can claim:
“With him at my right hand, nothing can shake me.”

He keeps assured that he will “rest securely’ and that God “will not abandon” him.
He will be blessed with “abounded joy” in God’s presence.

Faith, Hope, Joy: the very ingredients of a life lived in serenity.
A choice offered to us all.

Note: Another reflection. in French, on a theme from the gospel is given at: https://image-i-nations.com/33e-dimanche-de-lannee-b/

And another reflection is available on a different theme also in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/33e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/

 

Source: Image: Online Bible – Knowing Jesus

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                    

 

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

 

 

 

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
 

 

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

 

 

21st Sunday of Year B

Making choices, taking decisions…
Not easy when the choice is … Someone, and when the decision is for a lifetime!

This is the situation we see in the 1st reading of this Sunday (21st Sunday of Year B – Jos.24:1-2.15-18)
where the people of Israel are told by their leader, Joshua, to make such a choice and take such a decision.
What prompts them to answer without hesitation?
They look back, they remember, they recall what happened…

“Was it not the Lord our God who brought us out of Egypt…
who worked those great wonders before our eyes…
and preserved us all along the way we travelled
and among all the peoples through whom we journeyed?

In other words: the past is a guarantee for the future –
If God has cared, sustained, protected in the past, how could he fail to do so in the future?

I pause and think of my own experience: I, too, look back and recall…
Before making the next important, life-changing decision…
I will make a list – a list of what the Lord has done in my own life.

That should be enough of a guarantee for me!
What about you?…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/21e-dimanche-de-lannee-b/

Source: Images: iStock   Bullet Journal

5th Sunday of Lent, Year B

Among the gospel texts, there are some which are more than a little demanding…
And, when it is Jesus himself who speaks to us, there is no trying to escape.
Some may try to pretend they do not understand, but somehow they know they are deceiving themselves.

On this 5th Sunday of Lent (Year B – Jn.12:20-33) we are told:

“Anyone who loves his life loses it;
anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (v.25)
(Text also found in Luke 9:24)
 
Some may discuss on the real meaning of ‘losing one’s life’.
Some may argue about what it entails.
Some may wonder what it demands from each one of us.

Most people will admit that it is about detachment.
But what is it ‘to be detached’?
Detached from what and… detached for what?

A modern parable makes it quite clear.
A man on pilgrimage to a renowned shrine was passing through a remote area where a poor man was living who had a reputation of holiness.
The pilgrim happened to reach the hut of the holy man at lunch time.
The poor man quickly opened a small bag and he took out a slice of bread which he broke into two pieces giving one half to his visitor.
As he did this, a precious stone also came out of the bag.
The traveler was amazed at the jewel sparkling in the noon sun.
He asked the poor man for the stone and the holy man gave it to him without hesitation.
On his return journey, the traveler brought back the jewel to the poor man saying:
“Now, give me rather what enabled you to give me so readily the only thing you possessed!”
 
This holy man was truly detached – he did possess something and something very precious –
yet, he was ready to give it without the slightest hesitation.

Perhaps it is a question of NOT being possessed by our possessions…
Someone has given a very simple definition of ‘detachment’ saying :
‘If I have something I like, it’s fine;
if I don’t have it, it’s also fine!’

Detachment of our possessions, our realizations, our reputation –
our real self is so much deeper!

In general, dying is something people do not like to think about and even less so to speak about.
Dying to … oneself, is no easier to envisage and yet…
It is essential to one who calls himself, or herself, a disciple of Christ.

Of such is discipleship made of, but the choice to be and remain a disciple of Christ is remains ours…

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

Source: Image: Pinterest

Feast of Epiphany, Year B

Have you ever tried to have a person do something that he, or she, does not feel inclined to do?
It is quite a… task, we know it.
One may use petition, supplication, cajoling or threatening, but a stubborn silent refusal may be all that is given as a reply!

I think that this is what the prophets of God’s people have sometimes met with.
No wonder that, at times, they used strong language to wake up their people.
Isaiah was no exception as he addresses the people of Jerusalem.

On this feast of Epiphany, his first word in today’s first reading (Is.60:1-6) is rather mild but insistent in tone: “ARISE, JERUSALEM!”
In today’s language, one may say: ‘GET UP!’

Why? Normally, a person gets up to do something, or to go somewhere.
This is the case for the Magi whom we meet in today’s gospel text (Epiphany, Year B – Mt.2:1-12).
They have risen, left their respective countries and set out on a journey.
They are not yet certain where their traveling will take them but they are on the move.

In this first week of a new year, this is somehow our situation as well.
We are on the move – the days go by, one by one, and take us with them.
We are not at all certain where the 31st of December will find us – neither the where nor the how are clear to us just yet.

But what is indeed clear and assured is: to what and with whom we are traveling.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, whatever our age and condition, our steps are taking us to God’s home – the place he has prepared for us – and our traveling companion is the one who has become, by his own choice, God-with-us.
 
Our steps are taking us there… if we have chosen this direction and this traveling companion.
The choice is ours… and remains so all along the way…

Source: Image: Pinterest

Note: Other texts about this feast are available at:  https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-lepiphanie-annee-b/

https://image-i-nations.com/mages-dou-viennent/