Tag Archives: Gospel of Matthew

Dressed up

ESUS MAFA. The poor invited to the feast, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved October 15, 2017].

Here I am at the celebration of God’s kingdom among us. Love has triumphed over death. God’s Word leads us on the way to everlasting  life.

Today I will ask God’s Holy Spirit to help me find the right garment for this celebration. Kindness. Compassion. Mercy. Generosity. Peace. Nonviolence. Welcome. Joy.

[Jesus said,] “The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?'”  Matthew 22:12a

Never too late to change

My first response is not always generosity to the poor. It is not always welcome to  someone I don’t know. Or forgiveness to someone who has hurt me. Or respect to someone who treats me with disdain.

But I always have the option to change my attitude and behavior. I can choose the way of love and kindness instead of the way of self-centeredness and resentment.

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ He said in reply, ‘I will not, ‘ but afterwards changed his mind and went. Matthew 21:28-29

As often as infinity

Josefina de Vasconcellos (1904-2005)
Reconciliation

If I want to follow Jesus, then I must be compassion. I must be forgiveness. I must be love.

And when I fail, I must find the heart and discipline to start again. It’s not a competition. There is no endpoint. It is the Way.

Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord? Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself, can he seek pardon for his own sins? Sirach 28:2-4

 

Two of us

Two People Praying
Japanese, 19th c.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Here we are, you and I, gathered together in the name of Jesus. Can we agree on what to pray for?

I’d like to pray for an understanding heart. Choosing love first. Forgiving more quickly. Transforming the energy of fear and anger into a force for compassion and reconciliation. Being more generous to those in need. Finding a way to use my gifts and talents to help out in the world. Seeking God’s will in all that I do.

How about you?

[Jesus said to his disciples,] ” Again, amen, I say to you,
if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19-20

Today’s cross

JESUS MAFA. The Crucifixion; Jesus dies on the cross, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved September 3, 2017].

Some days, the cross is light and easy to carry. No matter what’s going on with me, I am able help others. I don’t take offense at others’ thoughtlessness. I remember to put God in the center of my life.

Other days, the cross is heavy and cumbersome. I may be in pain, out of sorts, sad, exhausted, worried. I feel alone with my burdens. I have to work very hard to believe I am in the presence of God.

Most days, the cross changes its weight from light to heavy and back again. It gets lighter when I remember to ask God for help. It gets heavier when I feel victimized by its pressure. It gets lighter when I take an interest in others. It gets heavier when I am self-engrossed.

As I maneuver with my cross each day, I hope to die to myself a little more. I hope to follow the way of Love and Compassion with firmer footsteps. I hope one day to be raised to new life in the Lord.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

Who am I?

Banias, Ancient Caesarea Philippi
OSU Special Collections and Archives

A woman asked me once, in a confrontational way, “Who are you?” I didn’t know how to answer. All I could think was, I am me. I didn’t think she would understand.

And mostly I don’t understand the “me” who inhabits this frail human body. I believe I am a precious daughter of God. Sometimes a wilful child, sometimes a cooperative one, sometimes cranky, sometimes cheerful, sometimes resentful, sometimes forgiving.

In light of the Lord’s perfection, I am a humble pupil, a striving wannabe, a stumbling follower in the way of love and compassion.

[Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:15

Great is your faith

Unknown maker, Rembrandt Pupil, active 1650s
Christ and the Canaanite Woman, 1650
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, corrected with white gouache
J. Paul Getty Museum

Every day I have choices to make. I look to the Scriptures to decide what is right and just:
Love my neighbors, love my enemies.
Pray for those who persecute me.
Forgive those who hurt me.
Welcome strangers.
Feed the hungry.
Give shelter to the homeless.

Thus says the LORD: Observe what is right, do what is just. Isaiah 56:1a