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28th Sunday of Year B – 2021

Daydreaming can bring someone to wish for all kinds of things –
The things that Royalty and wealthy people can have already:
power and privileges, gold, silver, and precious stones.
And sometimes, health and beauty are added to this rich mixture!
 
In today’s 1st reading (Wisdom 7:7-11), we meet the great King Solomon who enjoyed these and yet…
Yet, he said that, in his eyes, all these counted for nothing compared to… WISDOM.
An amazing statement…
I wonder how many people would endorse these words today?

In true wisdom, we can find learning, knowledge, sound judgement, insight, discernment.
To these qualities, the ancient Greeks, known for their wisdom, added prudence and self-control.

It is the attitude of someone who sees what is GOOD, judges what is RIGHT, follows what is JUST.
A wise person behaves in the way appropriate to someone created in the image of God – no less!

Of course, this is beyond what we can manage on our own – this is why Solomon says:
“I prayed… I called on God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.”
 
We should not expect God’s ‘visitation’ to come in some unusual form or extraordinary apparition.
God’s Spirit of Wisdom can reach us in:

a conversation,
the chapter of a book,
a talk on the radio,
a television presentation,
a silent reflection,
and so many other shapes and occasions… 

Like the many small pieces of a jigsaw puzzle it then makes up our daily experience –
the experience of someone who has learnt to listen, to hear, and… to follow God’s inspiration from day to day…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/28e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/

And a blog, in French, offers also a reflection on the theme of wisdom at: https://image-i-nations.com/sage-bien-sage/

 

Source: Images: commons.wikimedia.org    Dreamstime.com  

3rd Sunday of Lent, Year B – 2021

The Scripture texts offered to our reflection for Sundays and Feast days come in different… ‘attires’.
Some interesting, some encouraging, some quite challenging.

The 2nd reading of this Sunday gives us a short text of the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor.1:22:25).
According to me, the message we find there belongs to the last category – it is indeed quite challenging

It is focused on four words:
WISDOM, FOOLISHNESS, WEAKNESS, STRENGTH.
 
“The foolishness of God is wiser than men,
and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
 
Paul did not mince his words and this text calls on those he was writing to – and on all of us – to do some… soul-searching!
It asks of us to do some… re-vision, yes, to have a second look, at ourselves:

  • our thoughts and ideas
  • our values and preferences
  • our choices and decisions
  • our options and refusals
  • our plans and projects
  • our actions, reactions and… interactions…

A checklist to help us find out if we are guided by God’s wisdom or… our own foolishness.
Quite a project for Lent… in fact, it may serve us for a life-time!

Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/3e-dimanche-du-careme-annee-b-2021/

 

Source: Image: Heartlight

7th Sunday of Year A – 2020

Most people like to be seen… at their best!
In general, people want to have a reputation that can bring them praise.
We like to be known for our good qualities, our generous actions, our inspiring attitude in any given situation.
We wish people to appreciate who we are and what we do.

I expect that the Corinthians to whom the apostle Paul was writing (2nd reading: 1 Cor.3:16-23)
were quite the same as we are.
The words that Paul addressed them may have come rather as a shock, an unpleasant one at that!

“Do not deceive yourselves.
If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, 
you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.
As it is written: ‘The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile’.”

In other words: our human wisdom is short-sighted, narrow-minded, incomplete,
in fact: not really wise at all.
I doubt whether any of us will accept this easily…
Whenever we make a good resolution, it would be surprising to find it worded as:
“From now on, I’ll be a fool.”

But Paul makes it clear that we should become fool in order to become wise.
We can ask ourselves: What is the foolishness we need to abandon?

It comes in many guises:

– the ‘fake news’ so popular nowadays;
– the malicious gossip;
– the hopeless plans;
– the foolhardy ventures;
– the futile pursuit of pseudo-values;
– the misguided attempts to succeed without effort;
– the empty boasting of one’s qualities;
– the erroneous belief that one is always right;
– the paranoiac attitude claiming that people are always against us;
   and you can add to the list…

God’s wisdom granted to us by God’s own Spirit is one of genuine trust and hope.
It makes us go through life at peace with God, with others and with ourselves.

It is worth becoming a fool to gain it, is it not?! 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/7e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Calvary Chapel of Emmet

 

5th Sunday of Year A – 2020

Language – of whatever nation or tribe – is made of words: short words, long words, simple words, difficult words.
They are uttered, spoken, whispered, proclaimed, sung or shouted – we cannot escape them.
They take on different shades of meaning according to the way they are used –
in joy or anger, in hope or desperation, inviting or rejecting, encouraging or despising.

Yes, words have a tremendous power, for good or… bad.
They can be uplifting or dispiriting.
But what a power they have when they are… God’s own words!
When they convey God’s message being inspired by God’s Spirit.

This is the meaning of the apostle Paul in the 2nd reading of this Sunday (5th Sunday, Year A).
He assures the Corinthians to whom he is writing that
the message he sends them is not something deriving from human insight,
but it comes from the Spirit of God himself (1 Cor.2:1-5).

He is not relying on the Jewish wisdom his master Gamaliel had passed on to him,
nor on the arguments of the Greek philosophy he is familiar with.
He says it clearly:

“Far from relying on any power of my own…
in my speeches and the sermons I gave
there (was) only a demonstration of the power of the Spirit.”
 
In our own attempts to speak about God,
we could do no better than rely on this same power!
 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/5e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: www.areasonforhope.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14th Sunday of Year B

 An author of spiritual books (Gerard W. Hughes) has published one under the title: The God of surprises.
His reflections are pertinent and helpful.

After reading it, I was thinking to myself: ‘Were I to write a book of spiritual reflections,
I would give it the title: The God of… paradoxes’.
This is one aspect of God that I find fascinating and sometimes… more than a little disturbing!…

He is a God who has decided to… become a human being – He took on our flesh (Jn.1:14).
He who knows all things had to learn how to speak.
He who is all-powerful had to depend on a woman of our race to answer his needs as a child.
He who created the world and all it contains had nowhere to lay his head (Lc.9:58).

What triggered this reflection of mine is the text of the 2nd reading of this Sunday
(14th Sunday, Year B – 2 Cor.12:7-10) where God tells the apostle Paul:
“My power is made perfect in weakness.”
 
It is Paul who tells us again:
“The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor.1:25)

This is the God who enabled Paul to say from experience:
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses…
For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
 
Paradoxes… but then, is Christian living not a life of paradoxes?

  • Hoping against hope (Rom.4:18).
  • Walking as if one saw the invisible (He.11.27).
  • Finding life in death (Jn.11:25).

The God of PARADOXES… my God… your God?   

Note: Another reflection is available in French on a different theme at: https://image-i-nations.com/14e-dimanche-de-lannee-b/

Source : Images : Goodreads   covervault.com  YouTube

 

Feast of Mary, Mother of God, 1st January, Year B

At times, we think that to understand God’s words and ways we need long studies and much wisdom.
Wisdom? Yes, but not necessarily the one coming from intellectual achievement!
The wisdom of ordinary people, of ‘simple folks’, as they are sometimes referred to, is closer to genuine insight.

The gospel text of today’s feast of Mary, Mother of God (Year B, Lk.2:16-21) gives us to meet such simple people: the shepherds.
They have much from which we can learn.
Their attitude shows us to way to follow.

“They hurried away
and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.
They repeatedwhat they had been told about him…
They went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”
 
Ordinary people making the experience of an extraordinary event.
Their reaction is the proper one:

  • Hastening to discover what God has in store for them.
  • Recognizing God’s presence.
  • Identifying his intervention.
  • Understanding the message there for them.
  • Sharing this message with those around them.
  • Glorifying and praising God for what has been given them to see and hear.

What else could be expected from us today?…

Source: Images: ecryptographer.com   thelutheranschools.org

Feast of the Holy Family, Year B

‘Intergenerational’ – this is the ‘in-word’ nowadays!
People use it in all kinds of situations:

  • reports about prevailing trends in society speak about it;
  • architects and builders offer us new ‘intergenerational’ houses;
  • even people of our liturgical team invite us to ‘intergenerational celebrations’.

It is interesting to note that today’s gospel text on the Feast of Holy Family (Year B – Lk.2:22-40) shows us an ‘intergenerational scene’.
We meet first a young couple following the Jewish custom of presenting their first-born to the Temple.
And there, in the Temple, we see an old prophetic figure – that of Simeon – followed by an equally old feminine prophetic presence – that of Anna.

The elderly people praise God for the gift of this Child.
They also have a message for the younger man and woman: Mary and Joseph.
These two will listen to the words of this message and keep them.

Their attitude makes us wonder… how great it would be it the same happened in our world today.
Sad to say, when speaking of different generations, what is often stated is: refusal to listen to one another, misunderstanding, distance…

Perhaps today’s celebration could be seen as an invitation to pause and think…
Think of the experience and wisdom older people have to offer.
Think also of the imagination and creativity the younger people can contribute.
And think how all of these: experience, wisdom, imagination and creativity, could make life so much richer and interesting!

Source: Images: lds.org   joeskillen.com   heartlight.org
 

World Day of Nursing Assistants – 26 November

Nursing Assistants: Specialists in the Art of Caring

Because they remain in care-giving positions, Career Nursing Assistants provide predictability and stability to care, which in turn enhances the feeling of security for our aging, frail or chronically challenged population.

Career Nursing Assistants also bring wisdom, patience, humor and a general attitude of caring to the daily lives of residents.

 

Source: Text & Image: National Network Nursing Assistants

 

29th Sunday of Year A

The last verse of this Sunday’s gospel text (29th of Year A – Mt.22 :15-21) is so well-know to us that we sometimes use it ourselves… for our own purposes!
“Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

The meaning of the words is obvious and we do not question what the saying aims at as far as Caesar is concerned.
People will immediately think of such duties as: obeying the law, paying taxes, selecting just leaders by voting and… paying fines (if one is guilty of an offence involving such returns).
And what belongs to God? What are we expected to ‘render’ him?
Some will say: respect, adoration, obedience, prayer, thanksgiving, etc.
And much more…

All in all, it is plain, clear, simple, obvious!
But as I reflect on this gospel text I tell myself that, perhaps, yes perhaps… I should add something.
Not to the list of items to ‘give back’ but to the… beneficiaries!
Somehow, I feel that there are a number of people to whom I should return something for what they have done, and keep doing, for me.

My mind brings back to me the memory of:

– The good teachers who have provided me with sound knowledge.
– The skilled surgeon who operated on me and the medical staff who assisted him in bringing me back to health.
– The lawyer who wisely defended me when I had been wrongfully accused of a misdeed.
– The kind neighbour always ready to help me with this or that.
– The faithful friend always there when I need her assistance.
– The dynamic fellow coaching my children in their sport activities.
– The ever-smiling garage mechanic on whom I can safely rely.

This is my list… and you surely have yours…
I feel I should give back something to them for their kindness, their assistance, their good-humour, the wisdom they share with me, and their presence when I am in need.

Yes, I SHALL give back to Caesar, to God, and… to all those kind-hearted people who make life so much lighter and enjoyable!

Image: stjohspr.org

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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