image-i-nations trésor

Good Friday, the Passion of the Lord, Year B – 2024

There are things we enjoy looking at – we spend time looking at this and that aspect of a certain object.
We want to observe every side of it – the position, the color, the texture.

There are other things that we cannot bear to set our eyes on – we quickly move away when suddenly seeing a painting, or a statue.
But it can also be a scene that is causing us to move away, unable to witness what is taking place before us.

The scenes of the suffering and death of Jesus are precisely such a reality that some people find difficult to contemplate.
It is said that the first Christians would not hang on the walls of their homes what we now call a crucifix.
Their imagination was sufficient to inspire their devotion.
It was too painful for them to look at what their beloved Master had experienced,
they would not exhibit pictures of his sufferings and death.

But more still than the representations themselves, what is certainly difficult to sustain is what Jesus was submitted to in all its stark reality…

Jesus-God abandoned by his closest followers and friends…
Jesus-God forgotten by those healed and forgiven by him…
Jesus-God accused by the religious leaders of his time…
Jesus-God judged and condemned by human beings…
Jesus-God crucified like a criminal while being innocent…

But the most shocking is possibly this:
Jesus-God taking on himself our sinful condition…

In the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God…
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).

What happened to him was FOR us, in our place,
so that WE may be healed, forgiven, granted peace.

Only in silent meditation can this be… perceived… acknowledged… assumed…

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/vendredi-saint-la-passion-du-seigneur-annee-b-2024/

 

Source: Image: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

World Day of Peace – 1st January 2024

World Day of Peace, celebrated on January 1 every year, is primarily a Catholic feast day dedicated to universal peace on the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. On this occasion, Popes generally make authoritative declarations on the Catholic Social Teachings (C.S.T.). The theme of the feast has always been about creating a culture of care. The Pope and the Vatican Church stress the need to care and share tolerance for each other, and to create a society that focuses on good moral values and does not yield to the temptation to disregard others. The benefits of a peaceful society have been the emphasis of every year’s World Day of Peace.

Source: Text: https://nationaltoday.com/world-day-of-peace/

This year, the Pope has focused his message on a very important development for humanity: artificial intelligence. He addresses all  of us with these words:

« It is my prayer at the start of the New Year that the rapid development of forms of artificial intelligence will not increase cases of inequality and injustice all too present in today’s world, but will help put an end to wars and conflicts, and alleviate many forms of suffering that afflict our human family. May Christian believers, followers of various religions and men and women of good will work together in harmony to embrace the opportunities and confront the challenges posed by the digital revolution and thus hand on to future generations a world of greater solidarity, justice and peace. »

FRANCISCUS

Source: Text:https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/peace/documents/20231208    Image: Catholic Standard

 

28th Sunday of Year A – 2023

 

We sometimes hear people exclaim: “This is too good to be true!”
They may speak these words about some unexpected outcome, or some surprising opportunity.
They can hardly believe that such good fortune is offered to them.

The text of today’s 1st reading could perhaps provoke the same reaction from many people (Isaiah 25:6-10).
What the prophet Isaiah tells the people of Israel is indeed quite astonishing.
Isaiah describes what God is preparing for them.
The words of the prophet depict the scene of a wonderful feast to be enjoyed:
delicious food and wine are available in plenty and suffering and death have disappeared for ever.

It is true that our daily life is not easy and often we meet with much that causes pain and suffering.
We are faced with problems and trials of all kinds.
So, when hearing of promises such as those in Isaiah’s text, people may wonder about the possibility of such an outcome.
To many, skepticism will come more easily than optimism!…
Doubt may prevail over hope…

But perhaps we need to realize that, with God, the saying mentioned above must be turned around.
It should be said: “It is too good NOT to be true!”

God is not only good, God is goodness itself.
He delights in showering on us his gifts and blessings.
He wants us to be happy and, in Jesus, he has shown us the way to happiness.

He has shown us the way, yes, but… it is up to us to follow this way…
Then… through all that happens, all that we experience…
then, we will come to see, and to REAL-IZE…

Realize and be able to make our own the words of Isaiah:
“Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us.”

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at: https://image-i-nations.com/28e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2023/

 

Source: Image: KALEIDOSCOPE

 

 

 

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery – 2 December

Every year on December 2nd, the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery draws attention to slavery that still exists in the world. This day also focuses on the eradication of contemporary slavery.
Many Americans think of slavery as something from history. This type of slavery involved the ownership and forced labor of African Americans. The country put an end to this type of slavery in 1865.

Unfortunately, however, slavery still exists. Today, modern slavery and human trafficking is a billion-dollar business. Global profits are believed to exceed $150 billion. According to the United Nations, slavery traps over 40 million people around the world. Modern slavery victimizes one in four children, globally. Additionally, victims of modern slavery experience unimaginable suffering.

The primary forms of modern slavery include:

  • Forced labor – involves migrant workers who work in domestic servitude, agriculture, and the food and garment industry. Forced labor also includes prostitution.
  • Child labor – involves children used for economic exploitation. It also includes any instance when work deprives children of their childhood or interferes with their ability to attend school.
  • Trafficking – involves recruiting, transporting, forcing, or coercing individuals to exploit them in some way. It usually refers to prostitution but also includes labor, slavery, or servitude.

Vulnerable groups in society are usually targeted for modern slavery. These groups include tribal minorities, indigenous peoples, and those who belong in a low caste. Victims also include those who can’t fight back. These victims are children, women, and those with mental illness or physical disability.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/international-day-for-the-abolition-of-slavery-day-december-2/

22nd Sunday of Year A – 2020

Last Sunday, the gospel text showed us Peter being praised by Jesus –
praised for recognizing him as he is, the Christ.
But in today’s text, far from being congratulated, Peter is reprimanded in no uncertain terms! (Mt.16:21-27)
 
“Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me;
you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
 
Peter wants the best for Jesus, his friend and Master, and he thinks that… he (Peter) knows best!
According to him, it is certainly not suffering and death at the hands of the leaders of the Jews.

Jesus sees in Peter a tempter – the meaning of the word ‘Satan’,
someone who puts obstacles on the path of Jesus carrying out his mission.

Peter has yet to learn to see life’s situations in the light of “the concerns of God,”
he is focused on “merely human concerns.”
In other words, Peter has to get adjusted to God’s ways of thinking – a life-long adjustment!

Looking at our own ways of seeing situations and people, it would seem that we need to make the same adjustment –

We are constantly in danger of thinking that we know best!
We like to believe that we know what is good and appropriate for ourselves and for others!
We would not admit it – possibly not even to ourselves – but we tend to think that God’s way should follow ours!

Yes, a life-long adjustment is needed!…

 

Note: Another reflection on a similar theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/22e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Images: www.this-mormon-life.com.  reasonforjesus.com

 

33rd Sunday of Year C – 2019

People sometimes say that poets and prophets have a way with words.
This expression means that poets and prophets have the gift of stirring up our imagination.
They offer us… visions!
Yes, they enable us to see things we had not perceived, or to see familiar things in a new way.

This is the case with Prophet Malachi that we meet in the 1st reading of today’s celebration (Mal.3:20 or, 4:2)
His message offers us the image, more still, the promise of God’s coming to us.
Coming to us like the welcome warmth of the sun – a sun that brings HEALING. 
 
“The sun of righteousness will rise
with healing in its wings.”

 
Healing… who among us does not need it?
Healing of some physical condition that causes suffering for too long…
Healing of some psychological trait of our personality that can be made less disturbing…
Healing of some memories of the past that are crippling our present…
Healing of some addiction that enslaves us and distorts our relationships with people…

It is offered to us, offered by the One who is always ready to heal in a way beyond expectation,
beyond even what the wildest imagination can suggest.

And, long ago, he has promised:
“Whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (Jn.6:37)
 
It is a promise, HIS promise.

Note: Another reflection is offered on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/33e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

 

Source: Image: Pinterest.ca

 

 

Good Friday, Year B

“The crowds were appalled on seeing him –
so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human –
… without beauty, without majesty,
No looks to attract our eyes…
A man to make people screen their faces. »

This is what Isaiah tells us in the 1st reading of today celebration
(Good Friday, Year B: Is.52:13 – 53:12).
This is the picture we are presented with today:
Someone who no longer appears to be a human being
and who certainly does not appear… to be God.
Someone people prefer not to see, someone they choose to ignore, to move away from.

What if, for the word ‘people’, we substitute the words ‘we’, ‘us’?…
Isaiah did and this is what we read:
“We took no account of him…
We thought of him as someone punished, struck by God…”

No striking feature, except that of suffering.
No attractive trait, except that of suffering.
No appealing expression except that of suffering.
A veil covering the recognition of what appears before the onlookers, confronting them.

Yet, it is a misconception to think that Good Friday is the glorification of suffering.
Some well-intentioned preachers may say that Jesus suffered more than anyone else.
We are not asked to believe this.

The martyrs of the early Christian era,
the victims of Stalin of Russia,
of Hitler of Germany,
of Mao Tsé-Tung of China,
of Pol Pot of Cambodia,
of Idi Amin in Uganda,
and closer to us, of the so-called Islamic State torturers, to name but a few –

all of them have undergone unimaginable suffering.

Good Friday is not the glorification of suffering, it is the exaltation of love
the love of God made man,
though he no longer looked like either…
A love that made him to be “pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins.”
Indeed, “through his wounds we are healed.”
 
This Friday is indeed good if it enables us to understand what, some time before this day of ultimate suffering, Jesus has revealed to Nicodemus:

“Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world,
But so that through him the world might be saved.”   (Jn.3:16-17)

Note: Another reflection is available in French on a different theme at: https://image-i-nations.com/vendredi-saint-annee-b/

Source: Image: comforftinthemidstofchaos.com

5th Sunday of Year B

It is practically every day that we are told:
“Don’t forget – don’t forget to go there, to buy this, to call so-and-so.”
Or, more positively expressed: REMEMBER – remember to do this, to collect that, to pay the bills, etc.

Yes, people around us repeatedly call our attention to the things they want us to remember.
They want to make sure that certain things will be taken care of without fail!

Strangely enough, we have somehow transferred this attitude… to God!
Yes, as if HE could forget!
Well, could he not?…
All through history, this human attitude of calling on God to REMEMBER has been part of our… spiritual DNA!

We see it in Job whom we meet in today’s 1st reading (5th Sunday of Year B – Jb.7:1-4,6-7).
He tells God in no uncertain terms:
“REMEMBER that my life is but a breath
and that my eyes will never again see joy.”

Of course, Job is having more than his share of troubles and pain.
His suffering is continual and he is hard-pressed to keep on hoping.
His fellow-human beings have proved unable to help him or comfort him.
So, he turns to God as he is desperately in need of strength and consolation.

Many of us can easily sympathize with him for we know what he is going through.
Our own problems and suffering may be of a different kind.
Of different shades and intensity, yes, but just as real and trying.
And we, too, desperately need God’s help.

But will he remember US?
Can he remember ME?…
We need a personalized divine intervention, nothing less!

One day, with much conviction, a professor of theology was saying:
“If you remember anything at all in theology, remember that God loves you.”

After all… WE may be the ones who need to REMEMBER!

Source: Images: Clipart Library   loudcanvas.com   Deacons Wife

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

 

 

 

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day – 14 October

The Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) has announced the theme of this year’s World Hospice and Palliative Care Day and Voices for Hospices. The theme is: Universal Health Coverage and Palliative Care: Don’t leave those suffering behind!

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is the global day of action for hospice and palliative care. It is taking place this year on 14 October 2017 to raise awareness of palliative care as a crucial, defining part of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The sub-theme is: CARE, COUNT, COST.

CARE
It isn’t UHC without universal access to palliative care. Palliative care is an essential, defining part of Universal Health Coverage (promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services).

UHC means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need. We must bring UHC including palliative care to those who need it most.

COUNT
What gets measured gets done. We need to measure palliative care as part of UHC. 40 million people need palliative care annually including 20 million at the end of life. In 42% of the world’s countries there is ZERO availability of palliative care.

COST
No one should face destitution and poverty when they get sick. Paying for costly treatment or travel to treatment and care services as well as loss of income by the person who is ill or their carers can lead to financial risk. Palliative care can reduce the financial burden driven by serious chronic and life-limiting illness.

Source: Text: whpca.org  Image: International drug Policy Consortium

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