image-i-nations trésor

18th Sunday of Year B – 2021

In the 1st reading of today’s celebration (Ex.16:2-4,12-15), we meet people greatly annoyed and showing clearly their discontent.
They grumble about their situation and reproach their leader, Moses, for having taken them where they are.

Their attitude is quite surprising:
We would think they would rejoice at having been freed from slavery and all its misery.
But they now regret their previous situation where they could enjoy bread and meat.

And in a parallel text they will even lament:
also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic” (Numbers 11:5).

Fast forward to the 21st century, to ourselves… and our own regrets!
Regrets… We all have some and for different reasons…

            • Failure in a business venture due to laziness.
            • Cherished goals not pursued through a lack of perseverance.
            • Dreams abandoned without reflection.
            • Repeated broken relationships out of selfishness.
            • Missed opportunities in many areas of life.
                • Dissatisfaction with the present when the past was so much better, it seems…

The ever-present temptations lurk in the dark area of our hearts:
lamenting, complaining, grumbling against others, searching for a scapegoat to escape responsibility…
All these will certainly not bring us to the ‘promised land’ – the land of serenity and happiness.

God is ready to give us what we need to sustain us on the way.
As he did for the people of Israel, he will provide us with whatever will enable us to keep going on the way.
He, himself, assures us:

“Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.”

 The assurance of his presence should be enough to renew our confidence and restore our peace of mind.

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/18e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/

 

Source: Image: Joanne Viola  

All Saints Day, 1st November, Year A

November 1st marks the feast of All Saints’ Day.
What are we celebrating on this day and what really makes for… a SAINT?

Theologians and religious teachers have their own definitions and explanations.
Personally, I find in the Response to the Psalm for this feast a description which I find meaningful.
Those who can ascend the mountain of the Lord are:
“Those who search the face of the Lord.” (Ps.24:6)

SAINTS are people who, in their lives, have been searching for the face of God and who now see him face to face.

We must admit that we cannot really imagine what this is: seeing God face to face.
And yet, it has a long tradition as we read about it in the book of Exodus where we are told:
“The Lord spoke to Moses face to face” (Ex.33:11).
 
In the Book of Numbers, God himself affirms:
“My servant Moses is at home in my house;
I speak with him face to face” (Num.12:8)
 
What strikes me in this text is that Moses is still a member of the People of God… on earth!
He has not yet passed to… the other shore, to what we now call ‘eternal life’.
Moses is living on this earth as we all do.

The logical conclusion is that already NOW we can see God!
Face to face?
Certainly not in the way which this will be possible when we have entered the world of the living-for-ever.
And yet… for those truly searching for him, God does reveal himself, shows something of himself already now.
And I believe that he does so in a very… personalised way, adjusting himself to each one’s personality…

While we celebrate the lives of so many who have now reached the place we are all making for, we can already celebrate this special gift of God to all of us, ‘saints-in-the-making’, searching for the face of God.

 Source: Image: elisabethhagan.com

 

 

 

Feast of the Transfiguration, Year A *

* (This feast takes the place of the 18th Sunday of Year)

The gospel of this Sunday (Feast of the Transfiguration, Year A – Mt.17:1-9) presents us with a scene that is rather unusual in the life of Jesus.
It is no wonder that the apostles are startled and even Peter is lost for words.

The sight of Moses and Elijah present with Jesus – a Jesus so resplendent with light – is already an amazing apparition.
But suddenly there is more: the apostles are covered with a bright cloud and from within comes a voice.
Their reaction is immediate: “They fell on their faces overcome with fear.”

Throughout the Bible, this seems to be the spontaneous reaction of human beings when God comes close to them.
Strange but true: the proximity of God which should be a source of comfort and security is experienced as overwhelming and frightening…

Today’s gospel text goes on saying:
“Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Do not be afraid’.

It is said that these very words (or their equivalent: “Fear not”) is repeated 365 times in the Bible.
Yes, as many times as there are days in the year!
It appears that it is a lesson we have never finished learning – not to fear anything, and especially NOT God’s close presence!

God’s people throughout their history, God’s friends and God’s messengers – all needed to learn it:
Moses, Joshua, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Mary: Jesus’ mother herself, Jesus’ disciples, the apostle Paul, to mention but a few.

Perhaps… our own names could be listed as well for we share the same need, do we not?…

Source: Images: Pinterest, tapistryministry,org

 

 

Feast of Mary, Mother of God, C

Moses, uncyclopedia.wiki« I will bless them… »

Our reflection for yesterday – the last day of the year – was inviting us to ‘Count our blessings’.
And our celebration today, on the first day of the New Year is all about BLESSINGS.
The word comes back in different texts of the liturgy.

In the 1st reading (Numbers 6:22-27), we see Moses calling on God’s blessing for his people: “May the Lord bless you…”
And we hear God’s own promise: “And I will bless them.”
The Psalm (66 (67) echoes the same words: “May God be gracious to us and bless us… May God still give us his blessing.”

Nativity Michael Gleghorn.com

As we celebrate today the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, we recall the prayer that we, Christians, address her so many times.
We repeat again and again: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.”

In our daily conversation, we do not often mention the word ‘blessing’. We hear people talk about chance, opportunity, good luck. A recent addition to this list is that of ‘synchronicity’ an expression that underlines the fact that something good happened just at the right time. Strangely, the word ‘blessing’ seems absent.

Is it that we do not recognise it under its disguises? Would it be that we no longer discern God’s visitation to us and the many gifts (another word for ‘blessings’) that his coming brings to us? Is it that… we look without seeing, that… we hear without perceiving?

In the text of Luke’s gospel today (2:16-21), we are told: “Mary stored up all these things in her heart.”
Perhaps that was the secret why she was happy (another word for ‘blessed’).
During this festive season, we exchange good wishes of all kinds and we often repeat to all those we meet: ‘HAPPY New Year!’ Yes, we want this new year to be happy in all manner of things.
We want it to be… ‘blessed’, filled with the Lord’s precious gifts as the weeks and months go by.

It will be so, if only we keep in our hearts the memory of God’s repeated blessings reaching us from day to day!

Pics: Moses uncyclopedia.wikia.com      Nativity Michael Gleghorn.com