Category Archives: Matthew

A storeroom of love

Dilip V Nerlikar
The fisherman active in Vengurla, Maharshtra, India, 2017

And Jesus replied, “Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” Matthew 13:52

Every day I cast a net of discernment. It captures thought patterns, behaviors, and habits that prevent me from caring for those in need, forgiving those who have hurt me, and treating all people with respect and dignity. I sort through old fears, resentments, and wounds. I ask the Lord to remove all the hindrances to love and to strengthen everything in me that is generous, kind, and compassionate.

 

 

“Those who are just must be kind” – Wisdom 12:19

John Everett Millais (1829-1896)
The Parable of the Leaven, 1864
Wood engraving; proof on India paper
Metropolitan Museum of Art

You, O LORD, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in kindness and fidelity. Psalm 86:15

May I be slow to anger and gracious about listening to the grief and pain others are suffering.

May I be faithful to the teachings of the Lord to love my neighbor and do good to those who hurt me.

May mercy, kindness, and compassion be the yeast that leavens my interactions with each person I encounter.

Rich fruit

White, Ellen G., Christ’s Object Lessons. Oakland, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Company, 1900, p.42

And Jesus spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.” Matthew 13:3

The soil of my heart varies day to day, sometimes moment to moment. Sometimes I don’t understand the Word of God and don’t take the time to study and meditate on it. Sometimes pain and fear of others’ disapproval prevent me from believing in and speaking the Word of God’s presence and love and forgiveness. Sometimes financial hardship and job worries and the heartbreak of racist acts and abuse and human trafficking consume my thoughts and I have no energy to trust that God is in charge and has a vision of love and peace for the world.

And sometimes my heart is soft and open and ready to receive the Good News of God’s compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. Then I am able to love my neighbor and do good to those who hurt me. Then I bear the rich fruit of peace and nonviolence. Then I treat all human persons with respect and kindness.

 

 

Labor in love

Stikå Erik Hansson (1823-1897)
Jesus’ Entry into Jerusalem, 1843

Jesus said, ““Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

We labor every day to follow Jesus, to love our enemies, forgive those who hurt us, feed the hungry, stay peaceful in the midst of conflict, seek justice for the abused and rejected.

The Lord’s humble presence, gentle guidance, and abiding love renews us for our daily mission to be like God in compassion, kindness, and mercy.

 

Follow the Way of Love

Attributed to Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
Christ Carrying the Cross

Jesus said to his apostles: “…whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:38

We are carrying a number of crosses today: the public crosses of the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, bullying, abuse, self-serving  leadership,  destructive sandstorms, wild fires, and floods.

We also carry personal crosses such as pain, illness, family divisions, addiction, loneliness, and grief.

No matter the cross we carry, Jesus asks us to follow him on the Way of Love and Compassion.

Today I will bring God’s love with me wherever I go. I will trust love will lighten the burdens that I and others carry.

Do not be afraid

Zeynel Cebeci
A male house sparrow (Passer domesticus’) at Eskibaraj Dam Lake, Adana – Turkey.
7 November 2018

Jesus said to the Twelve: “Fear no one.”  Matthew 10:26

Today I will open my heart to God’s love. I will ask for the grace to love as God loves. I will ask God to fill me with love, peace, compassion, and joy.

Love heals fear. Today I will choose love over fear.

Becoming obedient

Jesus Before Pilate, James Tissot (1836-1902)
First Interview (Jésus devant Pilate. Premier entretien).
gouache over graphite on gray wove paper
between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

[Jesus] humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8

In all times God walks with us through fear, pain, uncertainty, sorrow, and grief. Our part is to trust God’s will, trust God’s vision, trust God’s love, trust God is with us.

Today I will accept that this is a time of illness and isolation. I will ask God to show me God’s will for me and for the grace to carry it out.

 

 

Transfigured

White as light

[Jesus] was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. Matthew 17:2

Those moments of transfiguring awe
when you see a rainbow in a dewdrop,
the translucent wing of a seagull in flight,
when you hear the silence
and know you are in the presence of God.

 

 

Nonviolent authority

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Jésus tenté dans le désert
gouache over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.”
Matthew 4:8-10

Here is a glimpse into the nonviolent nature of Jesus. He listens to the devil’s words without judgment, but, with calm authority, refuses to participate in the devil’s campaign for power.

Jesus’ command of the scriptures and knowledge of the nature of God form his responses and become teaching moments — in which, without aggression, he offers the devil the possibility of conversion.

Lord, teach me your Way of nonviolence that I may serve God in love and justice.

The bad and the good

Károly Ferenczy (1862–1917)
Sermon on the Mountain
oil on canvas, 1896
Hungarian National Gallery

Jesus said to his disciples, “Your heavenly Father… makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” Matthew 5:45

Whenever I catch myself judging others, I remind myself that God loves all people equally. No one’s life is more or less valuable to the One who created us all in love and for love.

Lord, help me to see as you see and love as you love.