image-i-nations trésor

28th Sunday of Year B – 2021

Daydreaming can bring someone to wish for all kinds of things –
The things that Royalty and wealthy people can have already:
power and privileges, gold, silver, and precious stones.
And sometimes, health and beauty are added to this rich mixture!
 
In today’s 1st reading (Wisdom 7:7-11), we meet the great King Solomon who enjoyed these and yet…
Yet, he said that, in his eyes, all these counted for nothing compared to… WISDOM.
An amazing statement…
I wonder how many people would endorse these words today?

In true wisdom, we can find learning, knowledge, sound judgement, insight, discernment.
To these qualities, the ancient Greeks, known for their wisdom, added prudence and self-control.

It is the attitude of someone who sees what is GOOD, judges what is RIGHT, follows what is JUST.
A wise person behaves in the way appropriate to someone created in the image of God – no less!

Of course, this is beyond what we can manage on our own – this is why Solomon says:
“I prayed… I called on God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.”
 
We should not expect God’s ‘visitation’ to come in some unusual form or extraordinary apparition.
God’s Spirit of Wisdom can reach us in:

a conversation,
the chapter of a book,
a talk on the radio,
a television presentation,
a silent reflection,
and so many other shapes and occasions… 

Like the many small pieces of a jigsaw puzzle it then makes up our daily experience –
the experience of someone who has learnt to listen, to hear, and… to follow God’s inspiration from day to day…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/28e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/

And a blog, in French, offers also a reflection on the theme of wisdom at: https://image-i-nations.com/sage-bien-sage/

 

Source: Images: commons.wikimedia.org    Dreamstime.com  

Feast of Pentecost, Year B – 2021

There are things and situations which somehow leave us… uncertain.
We look at the different angles of a reality and we are perplexed…
We wonder whether we are right in our appraisal of a given situation.

Our identity could be one of them, who we really are.
Of course, we know who we are as human beings –
our personality, our qualities, our past experiences, our strengths and weaknesses,
our desires and hopes, our successes and failures, etc.

But what about our identity as… Christians?
Are we truly aware of what this means?
Are we conscious of what it entails, all the richness of this condition?
We recognize ourselves as followers of Christ, yes, members of the Church, yes.
And?…

Todays’ celebration, the feast of the Holy Trinity, tells us of the identity of… God.
But it also the reminds us of a wonderful aspect of our own identity as Christians.

Writing to the first Christians of Rome, the apostle Paul tells them (2nd reading: Rom.8:14-17):

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
 
Not only does our spirit tells us but God’s Spirit himself confirms this truth.
This text removes any doubt which we may have about who we are –
nothing less than God’s own children.

We have been “adopted” says Paul et he adds that we are:

“heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.”
 
It is truly wonderful, it is absolutely astonishing!
Why do we not dare to believe in this God
and in the divinely transformed people that 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-b-2021/

 

Source: Image: pinterest.com

Feast of All Saints, Year A – 2020

We celebrate today the feast of all the saints – those well known and those perhaps not as familiar to us.
As we remember this particular saint, and that other, and others still,
we may stop thinking of them and start looking at our own lives.

And as we do, we may think that… we are not as holy as they are.
Not as patient, as humble, as prayerful, as faithful to God.
Not as generous, not as…
and our list gets longer mentioning all the qualities that we believe make a saint.

We may become dispirited and discouraged,
all the while forgetting the most important: what WE ARE.
The text of the 2nd reading says it clearly:

“Children of God! … that is what we are!
 
We have been created in God’s image – an image that cannot be erased or obliterated.
But… it can be damaged, the face of God in us can be… defaced,
yes, when we refuse to behave as his children.
But this is NOT the end of the story, God is always ready to restore his image in us.

There are people especially skillful in picture or image restoration.
A famous painting or a family picture may have been damaged but can be restored.

I personally believe that God’s Spirit present in us is a specialist in… image restoration!
The text of the 2nd reading goes on with these words:
 
What we will be has not yet been made known.
But we know that… we shall be like him.”   (1 Jn.3:1-3)

We are, in fact, saints-in-the-making, nothing less!
 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-la-toussaint-annee-a-2020/

 

Source: Images: The New Daily

Feast of Pentecost, Year A – 2020

Nowadays, public surveys are popular.
People want to be informed about popular opinions about this or that topic.
An unusual event, especially, will prompt reporters to analyze and publish detailed information about such happening.

The first reading of today’s feast (Acts 2:1-11) is interesting in that respect –
it is a little as if we were given a report about precisely an unusual event.
We are told in much detail about what has been happening.
 
“A sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven;
what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of the apostles;
they began to speak in other tongues.”

“A crowd came together in bewilderment…”
The listeners listening represented no less than 15 nations!

Not surprisingly, the text says:
 “They were utterly amazed.”
Another translation of the text adds that people were marveling at what they saw happening.
And now, fast forward to… our own 21st century…
And… three questions come to my mind:

Are we still bewildered by God’s coming to our world?
Are we amazed at what he does in our own situation?
And… do we still marvel at the wonders he works in our days?

I am personally convinced that

  • God is still present.
  • God still works among us.
  • God still realizes wonderful things for us.

Perhaps it is a question of asking God’s Spirit to give us the perception, the vision of this permanent REALITY.

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-la-pentecote-annee-a-2020/

 

 Source: Image: Aleteia

 

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
 

 

5th Sunday of Year A – 2020

Language – of whatever nation or tribe – is made of words: short words, long words, simple words, difficult words.
They are uttered, spoken, whispered, proclaimed, sung or shouted – we cannot escape them.
They take on different shades of meaning according to the way they are used –
in joy or anger, in hope or desperation, inviting or rejecting, encouraging or despising.

Yes, words have a tremendous power, for good or… bad.
They can be uplifting or dispiriting.
But what a power they have when they are… God’s own words!
When they convey God’s message being inspired by God’s Spirit.

This is the meaning of the apostle Paul in the 2nd reading of this Sunday (5th Sunday, Year A).
He assures the Corinthians to whom he is writing that
the message he sends them is not something deriving from human insight,
but it comes from the Spirit of God himself (1 Cor.2:1-5).

He is not relying on the Jewish wisdom his master Gamaliel had passed on to him,
nor on the arguments of the Greek philosophy he is familiar with.
He says it clearly:

“Far from relying on any power of my own…
in my speeches and the sermons I gave
there (was) only a demonstration of the power of the Spirit.”
 
In our own attempts to speak about God,
we could do no better than rely on this same power!
 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/5e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: www.areasonforhope.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23rd Sunday of Year C – 2019

 

“I don’t know what to do…”
“I wonder if I should go there or not…”
“Perhaps I should tell him… or maybe not…”

How often do we not speak these words, or reflect in this way!
Whoever wants to follow the right course of action will do this.
A person eager to act properly will ask him/herself these questions.

 

Of course, Christians should do so as it is a matter of following God’s will.
And God’s will is what is best for us, there is no doubt about it.

In today’s 1st reading (Wis.9:13-18) the Bible text uses perhaps less familiar words speaking of ‘God’s counsel’.
 
“Who can learn the counsel of God?
Or who can discern what the Lord wills?”

It refers exactly to the same thing:
what, in the past, devout Christians called: ‘God’s Holy Will’ – with capital letters!

The author of the Book of Wisdom is clear about it:
on our own, we cannot find what God wants from us.
But help is offered to us, that of God’s own Spirit, nothing less!
 
“Who has learned your counsel,
unless you have given wisdom
and sent your holy spirit from on high?”

Asking God himself what he wants from us: it is that simple.
And he will tell us, indeed HE WILL.
Not whispering to our ear, of course not.

But his message is given to us through:
– happenings in our lives,
– encounters with people,
– a magazine found in a waiting room,
– a book given to us,
– a song heard on the radio,
– a text found on the web…

Finding God’s will… a search always answered – it has been promised to us:
“Search and you will find.”   (Mt.7:7)

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/23e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

 

Source: Images: Crosswalk.com   Bibleinfo.com

 

 

4th Sunday of Lent, Year B

When told that something is free, or at a big discount, some people will rush to benefit from the offer.
Others may be more suspicious wondering whether this is a genuine bargain or not.

Could it be that we react in a similar way when what is on offer is… from God?!
We, human beings, have sometimes this strange attitude of wanting to prove ourselves to God…
True, it has often been said to us that we must earn what we want.
We should make efforts, sacrifices, and gain merits!

It is definitely not Paul’s conviction which he shares with the first Christians of Ephesus.
He writes to them (2nd reading – Eph.2:4-10):

“God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy…
It is through grace that you have been saved.”
 
And a few lines further in the text, Paul repeats it:
“It is by grace that you have been saved,
not by anything that you have done, but by a gift from God.”
 
Does this mean then that we have nothing to do, simply wait for God to pour his gifts in our lives?
If his blessings are a gift, then we need not strive to be better and do better…

We most certainly have something to do – something yes, simple, yet which we sometimes find difficult.
Our part is to DESIRE and to ACCEPT –
to DESIRE God’s intervention and to ACCEPT his action in our lives, in our very selves.
We are sometimes like the stubborn child, stubborn in our refusal to be guided by God’s Spirit –

  • guided in our options and choices,
  • guided in our plans and decisions,
  • guided in our activities and… our purposeful inaction…

We pretend that we can ‘handle it’, we can manage on our own.

The truth of the matter is that… we don’t do so well!
And all the while God offers his overabundant and generous gifts…
No wonder we struggle and end up dispirited.
God’s Spirit is awaiting our… desire and acceptance to work wonders in us, for us, through us!

Lent is a good time for such a discovery!

Note: Another reflection is available in French on a different theme at: https://image-i-nations.com/4e-dimanche-careme-annee-b/

and a second short one at: https://image-i-nations.com/misericorde-2/

and a video on the gospel personnage of Nicodemus at: https://image-i-nations.com/homme-sage-desirait-savoir-davantage/

Source: Images: cleinman.com  Amazon.com   (handle it)

Pentecost, Year A

“The doors were closed (‘locked’, says another translation) in the room where the disciples were for fear of the Jews.”      

Have you ever been really afraid?
If so, you surely remember the experience!
In a threatening situation, it seems we can’t think straight!
We try to figure out the best course of action but it eludes us.
We may sweat profusely while debating whether fight or flight is the best option.

Fear can be a very powerful inhibiting element.
It can paralyze us in a strange way.
It can prevent us from doing or saying what we would want to do or say.

While the disciples were hiding behind closed doors, Jesus comes to them and we are told:
“The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord.”
The situation is completely transformed: fear has given place to joy – the joy of feeling secure.
This security is given by the presence of the Lord now with them.

Then, Jesus breathing over them says: “Receive the Holy Spirit…” (Jn.20:22).

On today’s feast of Pentecost we, too, are meant to welcome God’s own Spirit. 
He is the one who will enable us to overcome our fears of all kinds.
He is the one who will free us from paralyzing anxieties and crippling worries.

The security and peace we long for, he is the one who can give them to us.
We need only ask, as Jesus has told us repeatedly in the texts of the Easter season.
Indeed, we need only ask… it is that simple!

Source: Image: Discerning Hearts