image-i-nations trésor

32nd Sunday of Year B – 2021

The expression is familiar: ‘That’s nothing compared with…’

A child will speak these words to boast of his father’s achievement, better than that of the father of his friends: ‘That’s nothing compared with’… what my father can do!’
A woman showing the item she got on sale will say the same to a neighbour who had shown her what she bought: ‘That’s nothing compared with’… what I got!’
A manager will use the same expression showing off before colleagues the special deal he obtained surpassing by far that of another manager: ‘That’s nothing compared with what I managed to gain! 

Reading today’s gospel text (Mark 12:38-44), someone may be tempted to say the same of the poor widow’s offering in the Temple:
She put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.”
 
Of course, that’s nothing compared with…
“Many rich people threw in large amounts…” 
 
Those who happened to see the woman putting in her humble offering may have been tempted to make such a statement.
But in all the gospel texts reported to us by the different writers, nowhere can we find these words spoken by Jesus.

He did not say this when a young boy had only his few loaves and fishes to offer to feed the crowd (John 6:9).
He did not say this when he agreed to enter Jerusalem on a donkey rather than a horse as would the Roman rulers in his country (Mark 11:1-11).
He did not speak in this way either when the man who had brought his son with epilepsy admitted: “I have faith, help the little faith I have…” (Mark 9:24).

It seems that for Jesus, comparing people and their offering is something he cannot do.
For him, whatever we give, whatever we are ready to contribute, is precious to him –
no matter how small, no matter how insignificant it may appear to other people.

What comes from the heart, what is given wholeheartedly, this is the only thing that matters to God.
For him the value is not in the object itself but in the intention to please him.

Something truly encouraging for us who can find ourselves so rich… with so little!

 

Note: The scene of this gospel is presented in a video (in French) at:https://youtu.be/q3wwpTDlPPI

And another reflection is available on a different theme, also in French at:

 

Source: Images: Pinterest    YouTube

Pope Francis visits Irak

Pope Francis arrives in Iraq as ‘penitent pilgrim’ begging for peace

Pope Francis arrived in Iraq March 5 for a three-day visit aimed at encouraging the nation’s historic but diminishing Christian community. ..

The pontiff made impassioned and repeated pleas that the country might avert further conflict.  « May the clash of arms be silenced! » exhorted Francis. « May their spread be curbed, here and everywhere! « May the voice of builders and peacemakers find a hearing! » said the pope. « The voice of the humble, the poor, the ordinary men and women who want to live, work and pray in peace.”

Source: Text (excerpts): Joshua J. McElwee March 5, 2021  Image: People.com

 

30th Sunday of Year A – 2020

Writing to the first Christians of Rome, Paul tells them:
“God has no favorites.” (Rom.2:11)

Yet, today’s 1st reading leads me to think somehow differently.
It seems that there are some people who are God’s favorites.
The text of Exodus mentions them (Ex.22:20-26):

      

“The foreigner (those we call migrants or refugees), the widow, the orphan, the poor.”
All of them have one thing in common: they are needy people.
And their need makes them reliant on God
Their need seems to draw God’s love and compassion in a special way.

They are aware that they cannot manage on their own,
They are conscious that they need the assistance of someone else.
God is willing, he is anxious even, to come to their help.
More still he orders his people – the Jews – not to mistreat or be unjust to such people.

Could it be that God wants needy people to become… OUR favorites also?
And to treat them with God’s own compassion…
 

Note: Another reflection on a similar theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/30e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Images: freerangekids.com   splash   AP News   The Guardian
 

16th Sunday of Year A

There is so much that is wrong in our world today, is it not so?
The powerful bring suffering to the weak.
The selfish – legions of them – grab all they can.
The rich keep adding to their share while the poor have to manage on what they can scrape together.

It seems that evil spreads far and wide, and goodness has a hard time existing at all.
Examples we see every day are only too many and too easy to find.

Poverty, sickness, injustice, suffering – evil under all its forms – everywhere we turn it seems that we see only more of that!
Some people mutter to themselves: “Not much sign of God in a world like this…”
Others get really angry, and yes, angry with God: Why does he not do something to right all that is wrong?
They whisper under their breath: “If I were God, things would be different!”

We have to admit it: we are troubled by the presence of evil in our world, in people…
Perhaps today’s gospel (16th Sunday of Year A – Mt.13:24-43) can bring light to this situation.
At first sight, some would think: ‘More of the same!’
Good seed has been planted and there comes an enemy who spoils the whole thing as the weeds in plenty show.
The workers question the owner of the field about it and they are ready to put things right.

The owner shows wisdom: removing the weeds may destroy the good plants as well.
So, his advice is… to wait.
WAIT – waiting… till the harvest, waiting till all has grown and then… then will be the time to sort out and to separate.

For many of us, this is not our preferred mode of operating.
Yet, surprisingly perhaps, this is the way… of God!
He waits, and waits… for us!
He waits that we change…

The 1st reading (Wis.12:13,16-19) says it beautifully:
“Your sovereignty makes you lenient to all…
You are mild in judgement,
You govern us with great leniency.”

He waits that we recognize him, accept his ways, see him as REAL – really present in our lives.
How much longer will he have to wait for this to happen?…

Source: Images: Wikipedia, Experimental Theology – blogger

 

 

3rd Sunday of the Year, C

J.Naz synagogue womeninthebible.netThe scene takes place in the synagogue of Nazareth on a Sabbath day. It is the time to read a passage of the sacred text. As any adult man can do, Jesus takes the scroll and starts reading a text from the prophet Isaiah (Is.61:1-2). Today’s gospel (Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21) tells us that “All eyes were fixed on him”. Jesus read the first verse, and the second… What followed was … unexpected, unforeseen, in fact, quite shocking!Isaiah b. sergioarevalo.net

This young teacher – was he really a credible teacher? – from their town, there he was, claiming, proclaiming, that what Isaiah had said was happening there and then. The people knew the text, they knew the prophet, they thought they knew this young man – but they did not! They could not, they would not believe such a message: it was too much for them to accept, it was plainly and simply unbelievable!

Yes, God’s message to us can be precisely that: unbelievable! “Good news to the poor, comfort to the broken-hearted, freedom to prisoners, sight to the blind, liberation to the oppressed, a year of favour from the Lord…” nothing less! Happening today? Really? Would we believe it, could we believe it, were we in Nazareth today? And what about here and now?…When God comes to me with the unforeseen, the unexpected, the unbelievable, am I so shocked that I fail to recognise him?

Source: Images: Jesus – womeninthebible.net      Isaiah – sergioarevalo.net