image-i-nations trésor

The Alphabet of Lent – Letter X

X for xenophobia

A word that, you have guessed, is not found in the texts of the gospel.
But the reality to which it refers is really there, and Jesus has addressed it openly.
It is about a scene which is perhaps less known, but it has an important message for us (Mark 9:38-40).

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name
and we told him to stop,
because he was not one of us.”

Some of us – many of us perhaps? – would react as John did.
John was known as the disciple Jesus especially loved…
Yet, he still needed to learn an important lesson from his Master.

We may feel uneasy at John’s initiative.
To forbid someone to drives out demons in the name of Jesus is not an attitude that is without consequence.
What prompts this act, the motivation that inspires it, is reprehensible.
Jesus does not fail to correct his apostle:

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said.
“For no one who does a miracle in my name
can in the next moment say anything bad about me,
for whoever is not against us is for us”.

A definition of xenophobia, easy to understand, describes it as hostility towards strangers.
In other words: we keep at a distance from those who do not belong to our own group.

Those people are not from among us, and we do not want them to meddle in what concerns us!
Their way of speaking, their manners, displease us.
We suspect them, we consider them ‘strange’ – are they not precisely ‘strangers’?
It can even be that, secretly, seeing them different from us, we may judge them… less good than we are!

The words of Jesus remain as appropriate in this 21st century as they were in the first century:
“Whoever is not against us is for us”.

A lesson that we need to learn and not only as regards religious practice.
Social relations, group interactions, daily meetings –
it is our whole human interaction that must be inspired by the teaching of Christ.

He expects no less from those who call themselves his disciples…


Source: Image: Scripture Images

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:


Source: Images: Scripture Images   Unsplash

Feast of Epiphany, year A

Day after day, week after week, the Bible texts call to us in different ways.
We believe that this is God’s message addressed to us.
We are convinced that the words we hear are not simply human words but God’s own words.

They may be words of invitation, or words of comfort;
words of reproach, or words of encouragement.

 God’s messengers speaking to us in his name sometimes ask us to do something.
In the first reading, this is what Isaiah does today (Is.60:1-6). He tells us:
“Lift up your eyes and look around.”
Did you notice how many people go about doing… exactly the opposite?!
Many walk around head bent down, with stooped shoulders…
Their steps are heavy… and, possibly, their hearts as well.
Through Isaiah, God invites us to lift up our eyes to see what?
He wants his people to realize:
“The nations come to your light… all are assembling.”
This is the meaning of today’s celebration on this feast of Epiphany.
It is a celebration for all nations, all peoples are called to recognize God in our midst, “God-with-us”.
The Magi – those Wise Men from the East –are the symbol of all the many we may see as strangers, foreigners, outsiders.
They are all called to be God’s people.
They, from afar, who come close to this new-born Child, represent already the Samaritan woman, the Roman soldier, the Syro-Phoenician woman, to whom He will make himself close to.
This will be… Epiphany continued!…
God’s revelation to each and everyone, notwithstanding their nation or language, their origin or belief.
God is the GOD OF ALL – by His own choice!

Source: Images: Daily Record; The Well Community Church