image-i-nations trésor

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

2nd Sunday of Lent, Year B – 2021

If I were asked to make a list of all the petitions I presented to God the past year,
I would be at a loss where to start.
I would find it impossible to remember all the things I asked from him.

He told us clearly: “Ask and it will be given to you.” (Mt.7:7)
I have no doubt that he means this but…
Somehow, I feel I may not always ask what he has in mind to give!

As he writes to the Christians of Rome, Paul tells them something rather astonishing.
The 2nd reading of this Sunday gives us his words (Rom.8:31-34):
 
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all –
how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” 
 
Paul is convinced that God is ready to give us “all things”.
It is an amazing statement, an amazing expression of faith!

To believe without a doubt that God will give us ALL…

  • all that we are in need of;
  • all that he knows is best for us;
  • all that will make of us the people he had in mind when he created us – all!

It IS an amazing expression of faith indeed… and I can only hope –
no, I can expect that it is included in the ‘all’ that He is willing to give me!
Provided… I ask for it, of course.

 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/2e-dimanche-du-careme-annee-b-2021/

And a blog, in French also, reflects on the 1st reading where God invites Abraham to count the stars: https://image-i-nations.com/une-invitation-quon-ne-recoit-pas-tous-les-jours/

 

Source: Image: prayersandpetitions.org

2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B – 2020

 We know well about spring cleaning, or autumn cleaning – a time when we clear and clean many things around our houses.

The city council also knows much about road repair – it must be done again and again at the end of a season.

In both cases there is a need for change and improvement.
These two pictures came to my mind as I read the 1st reading and the gospel of this Sunday (Is.40:1-5,9-11; Mk.1:1-8).

We might not get involved in house cleaning or road repair but it may be that… some areas of our lives need change and improvement of some kind for us to welcome the Lord…Our values may need to be upgraded…

  • Our choices may benefit from being more other-centered…
  • Our decisions may gain from being more inspired by lasting concerns…
  • Our attitude to other people may be improved with respect and acceptance…
  • Our commitments may need an increase of generosity…
  • Our faith may want to be deepened…

During this period of Advent, this could be OUR straightening of paths and lowering of mountains.
It may look, at first, as a formidable task but we are not expected to do it on our own.
The Holy Spirit within us is always willing to enable us to do what is asked of us.

Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/?p=16658&preview=true

 

Source: Images: Space-O Technologies   Be HBG!

23rd Sunday of Year A – 2020

People may speak to give some information or to state a fact.
They may tell a story or give some instruction.

But it happens that someone makes a promise – this is a different kind of statement.
It is binding on the person who speaks and promising to the one receiving the promise.

What if it is… God himself who promises – we know he cannot fail to carry out what he has promised.

In today’s gospel (Mt.18:15-20), Jesus speaks such words of promise:
“Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
 
I wonder how many groups of people, gathered together because of Jesus are truly convinced of this?
If suddenly he appeared before their eyes, these people would be astonished.
Yet, even if invisible, Christ is no less present, no less REAL…

Perhaps he would chide them gently with the words he spoke before:
“You, of little faith…” (Mt.8:26)

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/23e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: The Church if Scotland

 

18th Sunday of Year A – 2020

Language is made of thousands of words – short words, longer ones, easy words, more difficult ones.
Words for all occasions and situations, some words provoke laughter, others cause sadness or anger.

There are words which I would qualify as categorical: they are direct, explicit.
There is something final about their meaning, words such as: ALWAYS, NEVER, ALL, NOTHING.

This last one – NOTHING – is at the heart of the 2nd reading of this Sunday (Rom.8:35,37-39).
Writing to the first Christians of Rome, Paul makes a very strong statement –
his words express a very deep faith, a profound conviction.

He says:
“I am convinced that… NOTHING will be able to separate us from the love of God 
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
 
And, in the space of what I wrote as … Paul lists 9 things, situations, people,
and he concludes: “Anything in all creation” cannot, really cannot, separate us from the love of God.
Is it not astonishing, absolutely amazing?!

I wonder… how many Christians share the same conviction with the same strength?
Being utterly certain that I am so important to God that he will not allow anything to separate me from him,
unless… I move away myself…
Even then, he will be searching for me – he told us so! (Luke 15:4).

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/18e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Life.Church Open Network

 

 

 

29th Sunday of Year C – 2019

“When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” 
 
A question that is strange… surprising… shocking even?…
It is not from me, but it is the last line of the gospel text for this Sunday
(29th Sunday of Year C: Luke 18:1-8).
It is somehow… disturbing, and perhaps… it does not fit into our logic.

Last week, the gospel showed us 10 lepers cured by Jesus, one of them coming back to thank him (Lk.18:1-7).
We would expect Jesus to say: “Your gratefulness has saved you.”
But he said: “Your faith has saved you.”
 
When defending Mary of Magdala to the Pharisees with whom he was having a meal (Lk.7:36-50),
Jesus did not say to the sinful woman: “Your sorrow for your sins has saved you”,
but rather: “Your faith has saved you.”

When a paralytic carried on a stretcher by some friends was brought to him (Lk.5:18-25),
Jesus was not touched by their kindness for the man,
but the text says: “When Jesus saw their faith...”
 
When two blind men begged Jesus to give them their sight (Mt.9:27-31),
Jesus asked them one question:
“Do you believe that I am able to do this?

The praise he spoke about the Roman centurion must have incensed Jesus’ fellow Jews (Mt.8:10),
but it expressed clearly Jesus’ deep appreciation:
« Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. »

Faith seems to be the one thing that Jesus wants from us.
What he expects before and above everything else.

And I dare think that this kind of faith is

  • not simply to recite the creed,
  • not only to accept some dogmas,
  • not purely to follow the traditions of the Church.

it is altogether more demanding – asking for a total commitment to Jesus himself.
It entails a trust in him, and a reliance on him, that is beyond… all logic, indeed!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/29e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

 

Source: Image: sermons.faithlife.com

Feast of Pentecost, Year C – 2019

Week after week, Sunday after Sunday, we are given Scripture readings to ponder over.
Written in a language which is not the one of our daily conversations, it may happen that we do not grasp the full meaning of the texts.
It may also be that the truth they express is so wonderful that we wonder if we can rely on what we read or hear.
We may ask ourselves: “Are these words really meant for us as well as for the people of the past?”

The gospel of this feast of Pentecost (Jn.14:15-16,23-26) is one such texts that tell us something astonishing.
On the eve of his death, Jesus told his friends, the apostles:
 
« I shall ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate,
to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth…
He will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.”
 
I read these words, I repeat them to myself, and… I ask myself: 
‘Is it really true for me?
Am I convinced of this?
Do I rely on this amazing reality?’

The Father cannot fail to answer Jesus’ prayer – it is absolutely unthinkable.
On the other hand, we have been baptised and we have received the Holy Spirit.
He is with us, not for a time but “for ever”, Jesus assures us.

So, it means that we have… a private teacher, a very special tutor to help us understand and remember –
understand Jesus’ message and remember it as we live from day today.

What is missing then?
Perhaps only… the faith that it is so…
And the prayer, from the heart, asking to understand and to remember.

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

 

Source: Image: www.stignatius.jp