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19th Sunday of Year C – 2022

The 2nd reading of this Sunday speaks of people and events long gone (Hebrew 11:1-2,8-19).
The people involved and their experiences may seem distant and strange to us and yet…
Yet, what is described in this text has a message that is very relevant to us in our own time.

Those people are often referred to as ‘our ancestors in the faith’.
They saw themselves as “strangers and nomads on earth.”

What does this really mean?
The text goes on to explain what the words express:

“People who use such terms about  themselves make it quite plain  that they are in search of their real homeland.”

If we think about it, is this not what we, ourselves, are meant to be: strangers and nomads?
Is our life on this planet not meant to be a search for another place –
“the place founded for us by God », as the text says.

Not being satisfied, not being engrossed in what is available, but longing for something else…
Looking, searching, trying to find…
Not being totally absorbed in the present, but being aware that there is more awaiting us…

Satisfying experiences, fulfilling achievements, rewarding adventures –
all this can be gratifying but… this is not the full purpose of our existence on this earth.

There is MORE – deeper knowledge, greater fulfilment, more intense happiness.
MORE – a more authentic life, a closer relationship with the God who made us.

We do not see this, but we believe that this is what is waiting for us.
And, the first lines of the reading tell us:

“Faith is confidence in what we hope for 
and assurance about what we do not see.”

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/19e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2022/

 

Source: Images: Scripture Images   Unsplash

Feast of the Holy Trinity, Year C – 2022

One day, I heard someone say with much conviction: “We must let God be God!”
Perhaps this is what today’s celebration is meant to remind us of: Let God be God…

Accept that God is…
so much greater than we can picture,
so much wiser than we can understand,
so much more powerful than we can realize,
so much more surprising, than we can imagine,
so much beyond all that our human mind can perceive…

Today’s feast of the Holy Trinity is the celebration that:

God is a Father relating in a unique way to his Son, a relationship lived within their common Spirit.
 
We cannot imagine, understand or realize this – no human being can.
But this statement must be corrected –
one human being has understood: Jesus, he who was truly one of us,
God-made-man, God-become-human.

While we do not understand God,
because of Jesus, through him, we share in God’s life.

As we are told in the 2nd reading, in the letter that Paul wrote to the Christians of Rome (Romans 5:1-5):

“God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, 
who has been given to us.”
 
This reveals the real meaning of what we believe,
of who God is,
and of what he has made us to be!

 

Note: Another reflection, on a different theme, is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-la-sainte-trinite-annee-c-2022/

 

Source: Image: YouTube 

 

Feast of Pentecost, Year C – 2022

In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that when Paul visited a community of Christians in Ephesus, he asked them:
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”
They replied: “We were never even told there was such a thing as a Holy Spirit” (Acts 19:1-3).

So, as we see in the 2nd reading of today, Paul reminds the Christians of Rome of what is at the heart of our faith (Romans 8:8-17):
 
“The Spirit of God has made his home in you…
Everyone moved by the Spirit is a child of God.
The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again;
it is the spirit of children, and it makes us cry out ‘Abba, Father!’ ”
 
An amazing reality!
We are people ‘inhabited’ by God himself.
We are his own children, sharing in his nature.
We can truly call him in a familiar way: “Father!”.

Trust, confidence, absence of fear – this should be the ‘atmosphere’ of our Christian life.
Spontaneity, security, serenity – this is the normal ‘ambience’ of a life lived of faith.

This does not mean that no problem or difficulty will be part of our ‘landscape’.
But it means that Someone is with us with God’s power to enable us to overcome whatever comes our way.

Jesus himself has said so to the apostles:

“I am sending down to you what the Father has promised…
You will be clothed with the power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

Someone is with us… Someone to rely upon…
The Feast of Pentecost is meant to remind us of this.

 

Note: Another reflection, on a different theme, is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-la-pentecote-annee-c-2022/

 

Source: Image: Facebook

2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C – 2022

In times of need, in times of shortage of money, some people risk using the ‘credit’ option –
they decide to get some commodities on credit and… pay later.
Different forms of advertising invite them to do precisely that.
Some shopkeepers will accept to extend credit to customers, others will not.

It is interesting to note that God himself is ready to go along with the ‘credit option’ in our favor! 
He did it for Abram, as the 1st reading of this Sunday tells us:

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:5-12,17-18).

God gives credit… on one condition, could we say, and that is: that we believe in him.
It is as simple as that.
God is ready to give us – abundantly – his blessings of all kinds provided we trust him.

He will count it as credit for us that we rely on him with a faith that does not waver.
A faith that does not doubt either his power, or his readiness to come to our help.

Confident belief, trustful reliance on God, this can obtain so much!
Just see for yourself…

Note: A blog, in French, gives another perspective of the 1st reading: https://image-i-nations.com/le-jour-ou-dieu-a-invite-abraham-a-faire-de-lastronomie/

Published 3 years ago for a special occasion, its message remains still valid:

And another reflection, on a different theme, is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/2e-dimanche-du-careme-annee-c-2022/

 

Source: Image: youtube.com

 

 

 

 

 

Nativity of the Lord, Year C – 2021

Someone telling a group of friends that he, or she, has received some good news would set their minds thinking.
Their curiosity would lead them to try and guess what this piece of good news can be…
A promotion? Winning the lotto? Going on holidays?
Perhaps the visit of a loved one? Or, maybe, expecting a child?
If after a few moments enjoying the friends’ guessing, the person said:

“God has come to us, yes, he’s come to our home,” –
the reaction of the group would probably be one of silent… amazement!
The friends would be utterly bewildered…
GOD, GOD has gone to his/her home!

If these words were said, not in a joking fashion but as a statement of deep faith,
it might be an incentive for the listeners to become aware that…
the same thing could be true for them, the same good news!

In fact, this is precisely the message of the gospel on the feast of the Nativity (Luke 2:1-14).
The angel appearing to the shepherds tells them:

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.”
 
Good news, great joy, and for everyone!

Those more discrete among us may not like to say openly:
“God has come to our home”,
and it may not be necessary to voice the words.

But what is necessary, what is essential, for Christmas to be truly Christmas is
to realize it deeply and…
to allow God to be at home with us!

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/nativite-du-seigneur-annee-c-2021/

 

Source: Image: verseoftheday.com

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

19th Sunday of Year B – 2021

Just imagine for a moment a man standing before a group of people.
Most of them know him, they know his mother, of course, and where he comes from.
He is dressed as they are, he speaks as they do, but… what he says has never been heard before.

He says that he descended from heaven.
He even claims that he can give some food that will enable people to live eternally.
He repeats with conviction that those eating this food will never die.
And he concludes proclaiming that he, himself, is that food.

How do you think people would react?
Voices would rise to jeer, to ridicule, to condemn such claims:

“Who does he think he is?”
“He’s talking nonsense!”
“He’s out of his mind!”
”Eating the flesh of a man, who would do that?”

This is more or less a reproduction of what the scene in today’s gospel offers us (Jn.6:41-51).
The vocabulary may have changed somehow but the reactions of the listeners are very similar:
that kind of speech is just too much of them.
Who could put faith in such extravagant language?
Who would dream of following the Man of Nazareth?

“Heaven… the Father… rise on the last day… eternal life… bread of life… bread that is flesh!”

Could it be that all these words have been part of our religious language for so long that we no longer question their meaning.
In no way do they make us feel uncomfortable…

Do they touch us really?
Do they still question us?
Do they reach us in the depths of our being?
Do we allow them to challenge our faith?
Do they inspire our commitment to that Man, Jesus?

If not, that chapter of John’s gospel is just another… printed text…
We will hear it another time, at another place, perhaps… all the time remaining the same ourselves…
While Jesus is waiting for us… just waiting…

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/19e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/

 

Source: Images: Presentation Guru   churchofjesuschrist.org

13th Sunday of Year B – 2021

The woman we meet in today’s gospel (Mark 5:21-43) was affected with a disease considered shameful in her society – 
a condition that should be kept well hidden.
But well hidden also was the woman’s secret hope.

She had been hoping before, going from one doctor to another, spending all her money, and the disease never left her.
But this time, things could be different, she thought.
Now, her hope was strong and daring because of her faith in the Man of Nazareth.

She did not want to be seen, she did not want people in the crowd to know, but she was brave.
Her courage would bring her close to the Teacher.
She would find a way to come so close that she would be able to touch his garment.

She did and, immediately, her faith brought about what she had hoped for.
She was healed and she was praised, in front of everyone, by this Man who had cured her, freeing her from pain and shame.

Leaving for a moment this crowd of the time of Jesus, I look at the crowds of our time…

  • crowds at sports competitions of all kinds,
  • crowds at cultural events of all descriptions,
  • crowds at camping sites and beach resorts,
  • crowds in churches, yes, liturgical gatherings…

I ask myself: among all those people, are there some with this kind of deep faith and daring hope?…
And, closer to home… I look at myself… is there such a faith and hope in me?…

The very kind that obtains… miracles! 

 

Note: This gospel scene is presented in video format at: https://youtu.be/ZuxiEatESS0
and https://youtu.be/_K7rfk9mZ48
 
And another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/13e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/

 

Source: Image: Timothy Lutheran Bible Study

12th Sunday of Year B – 2021

Some people enjoy making lists – lists of all kinds of things.
Names of places they have visited, names of stars of cinema or sports heroes,
names of best deals for items to buy, names of prospective clients for their business, etc.

I wonder if anyone has ever made a list of… temptations he, or she, has to grapple with!…
This could be an interesting – and possibly quite surprising – ­exercise!

I will not reveal here my own list of things I have to struggle with,
but I will tell you what I find perhaps the worst temptation.
It came back to me as I read the words of the apostles in the gospel of this Sunday (Mk.4:35-41).

The scene is well known to us: the apostles are caught up in a storm on the lake at nighttime.
The wind is terribly strong, the waves threatening, and the men can no longer cope with the situation.
As for Jesus, he is quietly sleeping through it all!

The gospel text says:
 “The disciples woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
 
The temptation I spoke of is NOT that of fear, of weakness, or helplessness –
NO, these are only expressions of our being human.
The temptation – insidious, vicious, really – is to think that God does not care!
 
How many of us have not given in to this temptation at one time or another?
To think that God is too far, too great, too occupied with other people’s problems,
to be concerned with our own troubles!
To think that the nitty gritty of our daily lives is too insignificant for God to be bothered with it.
Would he lower himself to care for that?…
 
This is precisely what he has done in becoming one of us!
Food and drink, sickness and sin, and whatever comes with these situations –
this is precisely what he has been caring about… and continues to do so.

And we, “who have no faith”, are still tempted to ask him the question?!

 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/12e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/

 

Source: Image: Bijoux to Cara 

11th Sunday of Year B – 2021

As we read different texts from Scripture, we are sometimes amazed at how bold some statements are.
Obviously, the writers are people of faith and they express their belief with strength and conviction.

To me, the first line of today’s 2nd reading (2 Cor.5:6-10) is a perfect example of this.
In his second letter to the first Christians of Corinth, the apostle Paul tells them:

“We are always confident…”
 
As I look at my own life, I ask myself whether I could say this in all truth…
Confidence, trust, relying on someone with the certainty that the person will not let me down nor fail me:
this can be quite risky, if not naïve, unrealistic, and immature.

It could be all of these things if the someone were not… God himself.
But it is to him that we confide our life and our very being.

Paul stresses “always confident…” 

In small things as well as in important matters.
In ordinary situations and in unusual circumstances.
On good and bad days, in joy and in sorrow, in success and in failure –
ALWAYS, at all times.

To be absolutely certain that God is and will be there.
He will give me strength, courage, hope, for whatever situation I find myself in.
He will provide all that I am in need of, whatever that may be, today, tomorrow and… all the ‘tomorrows’ to come!
 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/11e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/

 

Source: Image: Woman’s Day