image-i-nations trésor

2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C – 2021

It happens to most of us: we sometimes feel we have too much to do, too many things to see to.
The commitments we have taken on are just too many.
The people relying on us for help, or advice, are too many, and their demand on our time is more than we can afford to give.
We may sit down one night and say: « I can’t go on like this, I must make some choices, take some decisions.”

We see it: in such a situation, what is needed is to set some priorities.
What is the most important, to what should I first give my attention, my time, my energy?
In fact, what we need to do is… to discern.

This is exactly what the apostle Paul tells the Philippians to do.
In the 2nd reading of this Sunday, we hear his words (Ph.1:4-6,8-11):

“This is my prayer: (…) that you may be able to discern what is best.”
 
In this period of Advent, this may be what we, too, are called to do: see what is best.
Find out what is really important in life, what we should invest ourselves in.

  • Which are the commitments we can take on at the moment?
  • What are the causes that are worth giving our time and efforts to?
  • Who are the people really in need of assistance?
  • What are the values that should prompt us to act, or withdraw?

And… would God approve of my selection?
Is he the one inspiring me to move in this or that direction?

Discerning what is best… is all about that, and Advent is a good period to reflect on this.

 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/2e-dimanche-de-lavent-annee-c-2021/

And in a short video, also in French, Ghislaine Deslières offers us another reflection on this 2nd Sunday of Advent at: https://youtu.be/jN7uIU0V9-E

 

Source: Images: Dreamstime.com

Ascension of the Lord, Year B – 2021

Time, moments in time, seasons… they rule our life.
But we need to learn how to live according to their rhythm.

The 1st reading of this Feast of the Ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:1-11) shows him teaching his apostles for the last period during which he will be visibly present with them.
We are told that he is speaking to them about the kingdom of Godin other words, the way God wants to welcome people into relationship with him.

But the apostles ask Jesus:

“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
 
Obviously, they are not on the same wavelength…
Jesus corrects them in no uncertain terms:

“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
 
I wonder if we, ourselves, would not sometimes deserve the same correction…
What concerns us most, very often, is the time when our own plans are going to be fulfilled.

God’s plan may seem to us more remote, distant, not very real or concrete.
We focus on the goals we set for ourselves, the realizations we want to see achieved.
Our moments are those of the immediate, we look for instant gratification…

We find is so difficult to adjust ourselves to God’s timetable.

Peter, the apostle, was reminding the first Christians:

“Beloved, do not forget this one thing,
that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years,
and a thousand years as one day”.    (2 Peter 3:8).    

A lesson we are in constant need to learn…
And learning together with it patience and the meaning of TIME…
 
Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/ascension-du-seigneur-annee-b-2021/

 

Source: Images: iStock   Bible Verses Pictures – Scripture Images  

1st Sunday of Lent, Year B – 2021

We have entered a new period of what is called the liturgical year.
We are now in the Season of Lent – a season rich in meaning.

In the gospel text of this 1st Sunday (Mk.1:13-15), we hear Jesus tell us:
“The time has come.” 
 
The time of what? The time for what?
Jesus answers:
“The kingdom of God has come near.”
 
We are often told to turn to God, to go to him, to be near him.
We are reminded that this Lenten period is meant for that.

What if we changed the perspective, turn it right around to…
allow God to come near to us?…
What if… Lent was the time to… allow God to come near to us?…

This is what he wanted from the very beginning when he created human beings.
He wanted to live in a relationship of proximity, of intimacy with us –
this is the meaning of the 1st reading where we see God making a special alliance with his people (Gn.9:8-15).

A time to allow God to come near to us so that he may pour into our lives all that he wants to bless us with!
Of course, we must believe it, believe HIM.
Of course, we must ‘repent’ – this is part of the process of freeing some space in us so as to be able to receive all that he is offering!

What an offering that is!

 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/1er-dimanche-du-careme-annee-b-2021/

 

Source: Image: Facebook

3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C – 2019

It happens that we go to some neighbours, friends, colleagues, to ask for something.
What do we actually request from them?
We may want some help, information, cooperation, assistance for this or that purpose.
We may also hope to receive from them understanding, sympathy, friendship.

Today’s gospel text (Lk.13:1-9) gives us to meet someone who asks for something totally different.
We hear him say: ”Give me time.”
 
The owner of the vineyard for whom he works as a gardener has told him to uproot a fruitless fig tree.
But this gardener wants to try again to save the tree and have it produce fruit as the owner expects.
So, he asks earnestly: ”Give me time.”  

This gospel text is sometimes called: ‘the gospel of the second chance’. 
Some even name it: ‘the gospel of the last chance’.

Perhaps TIME is that for each one of us – a second chance.
To do what?

  • to outgrow our childish ways…
  • to take our responsibilities seriously…
  • to develop some talent left unused up to now…
  • to come to the help of someone in need…
  • to discover the important and precious things in life…
  • to give oneself moments of relaxation, creativity, enjoyment…
  • to be more aware of what our existence on this earth is all about…

TIME to… meet God!
This time of Lent is a good period, yes, a good TIME for all of that!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/3e-dimanche-du-careme-annee-c-2019/  

Source: Image: Dissolve

14th Sunday of the Year, A

The conversations overheard at a bus shelter or in the waiting-room of a clinic can be quite revealing.
A woman may tell another: “You look tired…”
To which the other replies: “Tired is not the word I am exhausted! It seems I get up in the morning as tired as when I went to bed the night before…”

The man waiting for his medical appointment may whisper to a neighbour: “I want the doctor to give me tablets to sleep. I can’t cope any more.
The stress at work is more than I can bear, I am at the end of my tether, I am afraid I’m heading for a breakdown…”

Modern life can indeed be very stressful with its many tasks and its multiple demands made on our time and energy.
It seems that our agendas are always full of things to be done, people to meet, engagements to keep, commitments to honour –
and the list of them all is tiring even to look at!

And then… today’s gospel message (14th Sunday, Year A – Mt.11:25-30) finds its way to our attention and the words slowly sink in:

“Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened,
and I will give you rest.
Shoulder my yoke and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.”

It sounds nearly too good to be true!
REST! Relief from the burdens we carry from day to day.
Some time to breathe, to stop running here and there.
A moment to look around and notice the green of the new leaves and the sun shining through them.

Reading the words of this text of the gospel, taking in each word slowly and letting it reach our worried minds and anxious hearts…
Of the many people who can speak like the two mentioned above, I ask myself: ‘How many would take Jesus at his word? 

How many would come to him and tell him what they spontaneously admit to a friend or neighbour?…’
“Lord, I can’t cope any longer, it’s too much for me.
I am so t i r e d , my burdens are too many and too heavy their weight…”
How many would heed his call: “Come to me… you will find rest.”
 
It has been said that God does not necessarily take away from us those burdens we find heavy and painful but he will carry them with us.
Shouldering his yoke means: to take on his ways, walking and working at his rhythm.
And yes, accepting to learn from him the meaning of life and its many tasks – those we take on willingly and those imposed on us…
And – amazingly – finding with him an unexpected and so welcome REST!

Source: Image: Pinterest

13th Sunday of the Year, A

“FIRST THINGS FIRST”!
We hear these words from time to time.
They usually come from someone who has a lot to do already and to whom someone may ask to do something more…
The person may feel that too many tasks demand his attention, too many commitments claim her time and energy.
There is the obvious need to set priorities and, yes, to decide what should come first!

I would say that this Sunday (13th, Year A) is the day for doing exactly that: set priorities!
In fact, it is Jesus himself who asks us to do so and in no uncertain terms! (gospel: Mt.16:37-42).

His message is demanding, exacting, challenging!
We are to… stretch ourselves beyond the here and now.
We must extend our concern from the present to the ever-present = the everlasting!

We want life to be brimming with happiness and success and we are asked to… let go of it.
Let go of what we are trying to reach – at times, desperately so – to receive a life “in abundance” (Jn.10:10) promised to us.

It is a promise… Some may be tempted to say: ‘Only a promise…’
Yes, but from the one who never fails to make them come true! 

Source : Images : Adobe, Pinterest

3rd Sunday of Lent, C

TRAVELER DIGITAL CAMERAtraveladventures.org

  TIC, TOC, TIC, TOC……. The sound used to be familiar, the sound of the clock ticking. digital-clockNo longer so with all our silent gadgets still doing the same time, psychologytoday.comold task of… measuring time. And with the modern tempo of our busy lives, you will still hear the well-worn expressions: “Time flies”… “I didn’t have the time…” “You should be on time…” “If we have time…”

The segments of our days are often carefully planned: wake up time, departure time, meeting time, and still… we often lack the good periods of meal time, chatting time, and other important moments for our… sanity. Nowadays we are reminded that we should give ‘quality time’ to our loved ones – is there time for that?

This 3rd Sunday of Lent (Year C) has much to say about this aspect of our daily lives: TIME. In the gospel text (Lk.13:1-9) we hear Jesus tell the story of a master checking on his vineyard and telling the man looking after it to cut down a fig tree producing no fruit. The gardener replies: “Give me time…” Such a common request, is it not?

Time seems to be a commodity of which we never have enough. Perhaps it is good to ask: ‘Time for what?…’ Oh, there is always so much to do, things to buy, chores to be done, tasks to finish, people to meet, friends to call, neighbours to help, promises to fulfil, and… and… there is no time!

Ours is said to be a world where stress is always present, and the culprit is time, or more accurately the lack of it! Yet, on Ash Wednesday the apostle Paul was reminding us: (1 Cor.10:1-6,10-12) “NOW is the favourable time…” It may be that we need to learn the wisdom of the NOW, this special skill – yes, rare and precious – to live in the present moment!

In the gospel narratives, Jesus never appears to be… in a hurry. He is never heard to tell the apostles to hasten to do something. He had come to accomplish the salvation of the world – and yet… he had “all the time in the world”, as we say. Perhaps it was that… every moment carried out this salvation… Could it not be the same for all our ‘important things to do’?

Source: Images: en.wikipedia.org   traveladventures.org   psychologytoday.com

Ordinary time?

the-different-between-ordinary-and-extraordinary-is-that-little-extra, designcarrot.coChristmas has gone by, the New Year has been with us for 10 days now, and we have celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord – so we are back to ‘ordinary time’, or… are we?

« It might seem like a contradiction in terms but Ordinary time can be special. Most of our lives are ordinary. They are not spectacular, full of extraordinary experiences or achievements. We live in quite ordinary houses and do ordinary jobs and have ordinary friends. But that is where we meet God. In our day-to-day relationships, whether working or out of work with the children, in the parish, going shopping, planning our day or simply doing what we’re told, we are walking with the Lord.

Ordinary is described as ‘normal, customary, usual, commonplace,’ and that is where we are most of the time. And that is also where God loves us most of the time. He loves each one of us with a personal love. He makes the ordinary to be quite extraordinary and special.« 

Source: Ed. Hone, cssr., Sunday Bulletin, 2nd Sunday in ordinary time, 19th January 1992

Christmas, C

CHRISTMAS, a time to rejoice and to celebrate. We somehow move a short distance away from our routine tasks and daily activities. We try to take time – time to reflect, time to look at things, situations, and people, in a different way. Strange, but it seems that those very things, situations and people that are part of our daily lives suddenly take on, is it a glow? Or a meaning? that was not there before… It is as if things around us now have a special quality, a special depth, drawing our attention, perhaps even our admiration.

NativityReflecting on this, I started looking at the texts of the Christmas liturgy. Different aspects struck me: the light, the simplicity, the newness, the peace, that a birth – THE birth – of this God-Child brought into our world. It happened long ago, but the effect is enduring, permanent!

Then, one short text came to my mind. It stood out, not of those beautiful Christmas readings, but it appeared suddenly from the often-repeated ritual of the daily Eucharistic celebration. The words are spoken by the priest when he addresses us, saying: « The Lord is with you. »

A new meaning dawned on me and I know that, when I hear these words during the Christmas celebration, I will be tempted to reply: « HE IS ! » « Yes, indeed, HE IS, ‘GOD-WITH-US’! »

This is in fact, the meaning of all that happens during this season, what people call « the reason for the season »! It is announced at the very beginning of the gospel of Luke and it is confirmed at the end of the gospel of Matthew by that Child who has become a man who promises: « Behold, I am with you until the end of time! » (Mt.28:20) This is Christmas for me…

Pic: www.rforh.com

Time change

fall back

LOST TIME

On many an idle day have I grieved over lost time
But it is never lost, my lord.
Thou has taken every moment of my life in thine own hands
Hidden in the heart of things thou art nourishing seeds into sprouts,
buds into blossoms, and ripening flowers into fruitfulness.
I was tired and sleeping on my idle bed
and imagined all work had ceased.
In the morning I woke up
and found my garden full with wonders of flowers.

Rabindranath Tagore