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2nd Sunday of Advent, Year A – 2022-2023

“Life is hard!”
You may have heard a number of people say this recently, and you probably felt that you knew what they meant!
Viruses of different kinds, the cost of living with inflation, shortage of different items, lack of personnel in different services, conflicts and war –
the list could go on.
Faced with all this, people feel helpless, and they lament and complain – what else can they do, they wonder.

In today’s 2nd reading, the apostle Paul, writing to the first Christians of Rome (Romans 15:4-9), speaks of:
the God who gives endurance and encouragement”.
 
Reading, or hearing, these words, we may think that this is where help is to be found.
We are told that these will give us HOPE.
God knows – he does indeed – how we need this!

But strangely enough, Paul goes on to say that we should pray God to give us these gifts of endurance and encouragement so that we may have:
“the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.”
 
It becomes clear, then, that our situation can improve if… we help one another!
Our condition will get better by making it easier for others to bear their burden –
the burden of daily life and all that it entails…

We may not manage to overcome all the difficulties people are faced with, but we may be able to bring some comfort to those in need of it.
Helping one another may be the way to brighten, not only their life, but also our own!

The season of Advent is a good period to make this experience…
We may be surprised at how positive the result turns out to be!
 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/2e-dimanche-de-lavent-annee-a-2022-2023/

 

Source: Image: Pinterest

 

 

33rd Sunday of Year C – 2022

Some people would say that the text of today’s gospel is quite shocking (Luke 21:5-19).
For them, two words may summarize the scenes we are given to witness: abomination and desolation.
It is a rather accurate perception of the ‘mood’ of this text.
The detailed description of events to take place – or taking place – in our world has something frightening about it.

Having read the text to the end, it may be good to remain there, at the end… the last verse giving us a message that is most important (verse 19).
Different versions of this verse give an interesting perspective, telling us:

“Stand firm, and you will win life”.  (New International Version
“Your endurance will win you your lives”. (Jerusalem Bible)
“By your perseverance you shall possess your souls”. (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

In fact, what we are told is that:

  • We should not give up trying to overcome the problems and difficulties of life.
  • We should not give in to discouragement and despair.
  • We should not give way to the temptation of abandoning the struggle for good to win over evil.

Someone has coined a new expression to qualify this endurance and called it ‘stick-to-itness’!
 
Stick to the fight against injustice and pursue the path of honesty.
Stick to the resolution of siding with the poor and those deprived of their rights.
Stick to the struggle you started always to choose the way of peace and reconciliation.

Would this not be a way to avoid disputes and injustices, recrimination and discrimination, violence and wars?
I like to believe that it is worth trying… it has a gospel felling about it…

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/33e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2022/

 

Source: Image: Scripture Images  

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

20th Sunday of Year A

I know a young man called William who was looking for work. It is not easy nowadays to find a job when so many are being laid off.
He went to a Bank but was not lucky. He then contacted an Insurance Company but was not accepted. A bookshop did not need his services either.
Discouraged, he sat at home watching television and lamenting the situation.

A neighbour was also looking for employment. He sent his CV with the application form to the same Insurance Company where William had tried his luck. The reply came that they did not need him. He went to their office to meet the manager and was told he had travelled. That young man went back again and again. Every month he appeared in the office and after three months he got what he wanted. His perseverance had paid off: he was employed.

In today’s gospel (20th Sunday of Year A – Mt.15:21-28) we meet a woman who shows that same kind of attitude.
Some people would say that she would not take ‘No’ for an answer.
In fact, she was not even put off by a rather blunt rebuff by Jesus himself who said to her:
“It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.”
 
Her reply was quick, witty and to the point:
“Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.”
 
That woman did not have ‘qualifications’ that would make it likely that her request would be granted.
She was only a woman, a simple, ordinary woman.
And she was seen as a pagan by the Jews of the time since she did not belong to the chosen people of God.
Yet, she kept on asking, and asking, and pursuing the one they called ‘the Master’ until she was given what she wanted!
 
Perseverance, endurance, steadfastness, some would call it: ‘stick-to-itness’!
Not to give up, not to be put off, not to abandon what one is asking for.
Not to get discouraged even if the answer is slow in coming or seems… never to come!

It seems that this is exactly what God admires and… yields to when we pray!

A video can be seen on this gospel scene at:

A woman, a pagan…

Source: Images: Free Bible Images

20è dimanche de l’année, C

En cette saison, un poste de télévision étrangère fait la publicité d’une série d’émissions avec des expressions qui suscitent l’intérêt. On nous promet la rencontre avec des personnes qui ont réalisé quelque chose de spécial dans leur vie et on nous propose leur exemple comme inspiration en nous disant de ces gens:
Certains relèvent des défis; d’autres surmontent les obstacles, d’autres encore vainquent la peur; nombreux sont ceux et celles qui réussissent des exploits extraordinaires; tous et toutes se surpassent.running-track-athletics-competition-49413938

Notre monde nous offre des exemples frappants d’hommes et de femmes qui excellent dans le domaine de leur compétence : les athlètes qui participent aux Jeux Olympiques ont un but bien défini : obtenir les médailles tant convoitées et monter sur le podium célébrant ainsi leur victoire. Les artistes de cinéma qui se méritent un ‘Oscar’ reçoivent le prix de leurs performance exceptionnelle, la reconnaissance de leurs collègues et l’adulation de leur public.

Les mots entendus à la télévision me sont venus à l’esprit en lisant les lectures de ce 20è dimanche (année C). Chacun des trois textes nous présentent justement des personnes qui ont réalisé une mission spécifique qui exigeait à la fois audace, courage, endurance. La lettre aux Hébreux en parle comme « Une immense nuée de témoins. » Témoins du Christ qui, le premier, a accompli jusqu’au bout la mission qu’il avait assumée – celle « d’allumer un feu sur la terre. »

Et nous, disciples du Christ, où en sommes-nous de notre performance? Il ne s’agit pas, bien sûr, de l’accomplissement d’une tâche dans le but d’épater les gens ou de s’attirer une gloire passagère. Notre quotidien est sans doute assez banal. Les occasions de prouver notre fidélité, au jour le jour, n’ont sans doute rien de bien extraordinaire. Ce qui nous occupe et nous préoccupe est tout à fait prosaïque. Mais le banal, l’ordinaire et le prosaïque peuvent être le lieu d’une fidélité exceptionnelle – et c’est vraiment ce qui compte!

Se distinguer par l’attention aux petites choses, se surpasser dans ce qui semble sans importance, savoir durer alors que tout invite au découragement, n’est-ce pas l’essence même de… l’excellence? N’est-ce pas là aussi la nature même de l’engagement à suivre le Christ à travers tout, malgré tout, jusqu’au bout?

Source: Image : www.dreamstime.com

Logo des Olympiades

C’est la période des Jeux Olympiques d’été à Rio.

C’est LE sujet d’actualité – Tout le monde en parle!640px-Olympic_Rings_svg

Pour ma part, j’en profite pour ‘personnaliser’ le logo classique des Olympiades: les 5 cercles symboliques.

Dans ma ‘course’ à la croissance personnelle je donne à chacun des cercles un titre bien défini qui se veut une attitude:

DÉTERMINATION – AUDACE – COURAGE – ENDURANCE – PERSÉVÉRANCE.

 

L’idéal de la performance, bien sûr, n’est pas de surpasser les autres mais de me surpasser de jour en jour… jusqu’au bout!

Source: Image: en.wikipedia.org