Jesus Christ

FORGIVENESS: The Nine Lepers

The wounding and healing of a person is an interesting process. The truth about the priest on whom I am focusing my forgiveness process – a stand-in for the line of priests in my life who have shunned me – is that what he did to me, at that time, bothered me no more than a mosquito bite.  Because the rest of my life was complete chaos. That day, and for so many thereafter, I didn’t have the time, the energy, or the interest to even think about what that priest said. Or did. So the pain was efficiently stored away. It was a shock to me, then, when God said at the beginning of this last Advent, It’s time to heal your priest-wounds. My first reaction was, What priest-wounds? And then, there they were. Spread out, like [...]

FAITH: Growth Through Humility, by The Venerable Bede, Priest and Confessor

And it came to pass that there met him ten men that were lepers. They may well be described as lepers who, while having no true knowledge of the faith, profess a variety of heretical teachings. For such people do not hide their ignorance, but proclaim it as the height of learning; priding themselves on what they have to say. There is no false doctrine in which some truth is not mingled. True doctrine therefore mixed without order with what is false, in a man’s discussion or conversation, and showing like the colors in a body, resemble the leprosy that spots and blemishes the human body with patches of true and false color. Such persons are to be excluded from the church so that, if it is possible, placed afar off they may with a loud [...]

POETRY: The Ten Lepers, by Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon

’Neath the olives of Samaria, in far-famed Galilee, Where dark green vines are mirrored in a placid silver sea, ’Mid scenes of tranquil beauty, glowing sun-sets, rosy dawn, The Master and disciples to the city journeyed on. And, as they neared a valley where a sheltered hamlet lay, A strange, portentous wailing made them pause upon their way— Voices fraught with anguish, telling of aching heart and brow, Which kept moaning: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us now!” Softly raised the gentle Saviour His eyes like midnight star, And His mournful gaze soon rested on ten lepers, who, afar, Stood motionless and suppliant, in sackcloth rudely clothed, Poor Pariahs! by their nearest, their dearest, shunned and loathed. Not unto Him prayed [...]

GRATITUDE: A Belatedly Grateful Leper, by Loretta Pehanich

From Ignatian Spirituality Luke 17:11-19 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that [...]

HUMILITY: On How Our Lord Went On Monday To Preach In The Temple, Where He Praised The Poor Widow’s Offering, And Returned To Bethany In The Evening, by Isabel de Villena

From Vita Christi Our merciful Lord, realizing that his mission was coming to an end, and that the term of his life would soon be over, with courageous spirit forced himself to preach, going every day from Bethany to Jerusalem, presenting himself at the temple, and proclaiming his divine teaching to those who wished to hear it.  Even so, ill will was already to widespread among the entire people that very few wished to hear him, but rather they fled from any location where His Majesty was, feeling deeply ashamed to have his friendship. And, therefore, the holy Apostles and all the others who followed him at that time are fittingly exalted and deservingly rewarded, for great love and faith must have kept them steadfast while they saw Our [...]

POETRY: The Widow’s Mites—A Poem, by Brother Roy

From: New Hope International Ministries  Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44) During the last days that Jesus walked upon this earth as a man, He went up to the temple to see if anyone truly understood God’s plan. A nameless, faceless widow passed by Jesus as He rested against the temple wall, But He did [...]

HUMILITY: The Widow’s Mite, by A Sister of Mercy

From: Contemplations and Meditations on the Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ: According to the Method of St. Ignatius; Revised by W. J. Amherst And Jesus, sitting over against the treasury, beheld how the people cast money therein, and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she cast in two mites. And, calling his disciples together, he saith to them : Amen, I say to you, this poor widow hath cast in more than all they who have cast into the treasury. For they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want hath cast in all she had, even her whole living. (Mark 12: 41-44) Preparatory Prayer: Grant, O my God, that during this meditation all my actions, all my intentions, and all the operations of [...]

JESUS: Psalm 102, by J. G. Bellett

From Short Meditations On The Psalms A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before Jehovah Jehovah, hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me: in the day of my trouble, incline thine ear unto me; in the day I call, answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as a firebrand. My heart is smitten and withered like grass; yea, I have forgotten to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning, my bones cleave to my flesh. I am become like the pelican of the wilderness, I am as an owl in desolate places; I watch, and am like a sparrow alone upon the housetop. Mine enemies reproach me all the day; they that are mad against me swear [...]

JESUS: In That Moment Right Before

I would say that, most of the time, when I hear scripture read, or read it for myself, it feels like the wind to me.  Something blowing by me.  I recognize the elements that are in the wind, but it is something that is beyond me in terms of capturing it.  Or even being part of it. From time-to-time, some of it makes me wrench my neck around in an attempt to seize it.  Some combination of words that are just that tantalizing as to make me want to scrutinize them. Then there are those astounding times when I hear or read words that I have received in a vision.  Sometimes the words are exactly the same.  And a cathedral-sized bell rings inside me.  It is a confirmation of accuracy.  I know that my vision was from God.  Those are, as [...]

JESUS: Jesus Wept, by John Chrysostom

From Homilies of Chrysostom Jesus wept. Seest thou that he had not as yet shown any sign of the raising, and goeth not as if to raise Lazarus, but as if to weep? For the Jews show that he seemed to them to be going to bewail, not to raise him; at least they said, Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? (John 11:35-37) Not even amid calamities did they relax their wickedness. Yet what he was about to do was a thing far more wonderful; for to drive away death when it hath come and conquered, is far more than to stay it when coming on. They therefore slander him by those very points through which they ought to have marveled [...]

JESUS: Jesus Outraged And Grief-Stricken, by D. A. Carson

From The Gospel According to John When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him.  Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.  When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.  Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved [...]

JESUS: He Weeps, by M. G. J. Beets

From The Wordless Voice Jesus wept. The Jews then said: “Look how he has loved him.” Some of them said: “Could this man who has opened the eyes of a blind man not have done something so that Lazarus would not have died?” (John 11:35-37) We assume, as a consequence of our approach to the gospel as a philosophical text of the highest importance which we are trying to understand in depth, that there is nothing we are told about Christ that does not have a special significance. In the verses 11:33 and 35 we are told that Jesus is distressed and that he weeps.  These words certainly mean that Christ shares with us our human emotion of grief and so, that he weeps becuase someone he loves has died and because of his [...]

JESUS: Living Vulnerability, by Vanessa Herrick and Ivan Mann

From Jesus Wept I see a wonderful kind of love! Thy Highness lieth in the straw: the hands that made the world make tiny gestures in a Mother’s arms: the eternal Wisdom, of his own will, is powerless to speak, to think. Whoso is wise will ponder these things and understand the loving kindness of the Lord. (My Lord’s Love, by Eric Milner-White) A Condescending God There are few more powerful images of vulnerability than a new-born baby; and the child’s defenselessness and utter dependence on those who care for him are heightened when the circumstances into which he is born are, in themselves, vulnerable.  Such an image can still have an impact even on our dulled consciousness when we recognize that it may be happening [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer For A Troubled Heart, by Christian Adams

O Lord, hear my cry pouring out from a troubled heart.  The sorrow that clutches at my soul has driven me to you, my protector and true friend, in time of need.  You know, my God, all my failings, my faults, and my sins, as well as the torment gripping my soul.  My greatest sorrow should be for my disregard of your holy commandments in the past, and I sincerely hope that you will grant me the grace of true contrition.  O my Savior, hide not your face from me in this tribulation.  Let the light of your countenance shine upon me that I may be illuminated by its love.  If it be your will, lighten this burden from me.  Yet should it be a means of my salvation, help me, help me O Lord, to carry this cross, for alone I can do nothing. [...]

SATURDAY READING: The First Christmas Tree, by Eugene Field

From A Little Book of Profitable Tales Once upon a time the forest was in a great commotion. Early in the evening the wise old cedars had shaken their heads ominously and predicted strange things. They had lived in the forest many, many years; but never had they seen such marvelous sights as were to be seen now in the sky, and upon the hills, and in the distant village. “Pray tell us what you see,” pleaded a little vine; “we who are not as tall as you can behold none of these wonderful things. Describe them to us, that we may enjoy them with you.” “I am filled with such amazement,” said one of the cedars, “that I can hardly speak. The whole sky seems to be aflame, and the stars appear to be [...]

FORGIVENESS: Role Reversal At Tables—Jesus, a Pharisee, and a Sinful Woman, by John T. Carroll

From: Luke: A Commentary Jesus, the man with the well-earned reputation of enjoying a good meal and befriending sinners, finds himself in a banquet setting where he can befriend the righteous.  At the home of a Pharisee, however, the unexpected appearance of a woman with her own reputation in the town – as a sinner – turns the occasion into another display of feasting and embracing, and being embraced by, a sinner.  The twin themes of inside-out role reversal and divergent responses to Jesus continue, bound up with differing views of his identity.  Jesus defends the uninvited guest who honors him and criticizes the righteous host who finds fault with him.  Within the realm of God, honor and virtue are not what, in polite company, [...]

FORGIVENESS: Reconciliation, by Todd Flowerday

The Lord asks, “Do you see this woman?” Is he speaking only to Simon the Pharisee? Or to us as well? In considering Luke 7:36-50, may we ask if this is an illustration of a sinner who comes to Jesus as an act of metanoia and of love? Or is this a prick of our consciences not to be like the Pharisee? Or is this a theological lesson how God forgives us, and what that mercy might look like in real life? One thing is certain: this is a rich reading that operates on many levels for the participants as well as us modern readers. Luke is a master dramatist, and no passage in his Gospel surpasses this for his skill as a storyteller: A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. [...]

POETRY: A Quintina Of Crosses, by Chad Walsh

Beyond, beneath, within, wherever blood, If there were blood, flows with the pulse of love, Where God’s circle and all orbits cross, Through the black space of death to baby life Came God, planting the secret genes of God. By the permission of a maiden’s love, Love came upon the seeds of words, broke blood, And howled into the Palestine of life, A baby roiled by memories of God. Sometimes he smiled, sometimes the child was cross. Often at night he dreamed a dream of God And was the dream he dreamed. Often across The lily fields he raged and lived their life, And Heaven’s poison festered in his blood, Loosing the passion of unthinkable love. But mostly, though, he lived a prentice’s life Until a singing in the surge [...]

POETRY: The Hymn Of Kassia

Traditional Greek Orthodox Sensing Thy divinity, O Lord, a woman of many sins takes it upon herself to become a myrrh-bearer, And in deep mourning brings before Thee fragrant oil in anticipation of Thy burial; crying: “Woe to me! For night is unto me, oestrus of lechery, a dark and moonless eros of sin. Receive the wellsprings of my tears, O Thou who gatherest the waters of the oceans into clouds. Bend to me, to the sorrows of my heart, O Thou who bendedst down the heavens in Thy ineffable self-emptying. I will kiss Thine immaculate feet and dry them with the locks of my hair; Those very feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise and hid herself in fear. Who shall reckon the multitude of my sins, or the abysses of Thy judgment, O [...]

CONTEMPLATION: The Penitent Woman, by William A. Anderson

From The Gospel of Luke: Salvation For All Humanity And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus [...]

PRAYER: Prayer, The Treasure Of Our Lives

From The Word Among Us The lifting up of our whole being in prayer is so pleasing to God! And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that [...]

PRAYER: The Miracle Prayer

Author unknown Lord Jesus, I come before you, just as I am. I am sorry for my sins. I repent of my sins. Please forgive me. In your name, I forgive all others for what they have done against me. I renounce Satan, the evil spirits, and all their works. I give you my entire self, Lord Jesus, now and forever. I invite you into my life, Jesus. I accept you as my Lord, God, and Savior. Heal me, change me, strengthen me in body, soul, and spirit. Come, Lord Jesus, cover me with your precious blood, and fill me with your Holy Spirit. I love you, Lord Jesus. I praise you, Jesus. I thank you, Jesus. I shall follow you every day of my life. [...]

CHILDREN: Children As Jesus’s Own, by Judith M. Gundry

From The Child in the Bible Jesus not only teaches and demonstrates through his actions his teachings, he hugs, lays hands on, and blesses the children.  While he previously touched to heal, now he touches to bless.  In Old Testament-Jewish tradition children were the objects of blessing on various occasions.  The Jewish Talmud attests the practice of bringing children to the elders (i.e., scribes) for blessing after the Day of Atonement, and some scholars have suggested that Jesus’s action here should be seen against that background.  But the late dating of rabbinic texts makes this move problematic, as does the lack of connection with the Day of Atonement in Mark. Jewish parents also blessed their children on certain [...]

CHILDREN: Let The Little Children Come, by Pam Norman

From Dramatix Summary: A modern retelling of Jesus welcoming the children. Style: Dramatic  Duration: 10min Scripture: Matthew 19:13.15 Actors: 3M, 2C Characters TOM: Disciple of Jesus – positive, big-hearted, merciful, with clipboard, pen, paper and envelope. PHIL: Disciple of Jesus – likes an argument, negative, judgmental with binoculars, with clipboard and pen. JESUS: Himself. JACK: Boy in red T-shirt. PHOEBE: Girl. Script (Jesus is sitting at the edge of the stage, looking off stage. He has just answered some difficult questions, spent a long time healing people, and being followed by a large crowd. He looks tired and is resting.) PHIL: [enters holding a clipboard and pen. He is counting up figures on the board. He is in a bad [...]

POETRY: After Three Days, by Lewis Carroll

I stood within the gate Of a great temple, ‘mid the living stream Of worshipers that thronged its regal state Fair-pictured in my dream. Jewels and gold were there; And floors of marble lent a crystal sheen To body forth, as in a lower air, The wonders of the scene. Such wild and lavish grace Had whispers in it of a coming doom; As richest flowers lie strown about the face Of her that waits the tomb. The wisest of the land Had gathered there, three solemn trysting-days, For high debate: men stood on either hand To listen and to gaze. The aged brows were bent, Bent to a frown, half thought, and half annoy, That all their stores of subtlest argument Were baffled by a boy. In each averted face I marked but scorn and loathing, till mine [...]

POETRY: A Christmas Carol, by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak mid-winter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak mid-winter Long ago. Our God, Heaven, cannot hold him Nor Earth sustain; Heaven and Earth shall flee away When he comes to reign: In the bleak midwinter A stable-place sufficed The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ. Enough for him, whom cherubim Worship night and day, A breastful of milk And a mangerful of hay; Enough for him, whom angels Fall down before, The ox and ass and camel Which adore. Angels and archangels May have gathered there, Cherubim and seraphim Thronged the air; But only his mother In her maiden bliss Worshiped the Beloved With a kiss. What can I give him, Poor as I am? If I [...]

CHILDREN: To Love The Lord, by Adrienne von Speyr

From Mark: Meditations for a Community Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. (10:14b-15) We will contemplate: 1. how the Lord wants to receive the children; 2. how the Kingdom of God belongs to them; 3. the condition for acceptance into the Kingdom. One: Let the children come to me, do not hinder them. The Lord knows that his influence will actually be greatest in children, children who are without complications, who thirst for love, feel his love, surrender themselves to it, and take it with them into their lives as a matter of course.  In doing so, they allow everything else, Christian [...]

CHILDREN: Models Of How To Enter The Kingdom, by Xavier Léon-Dufour

From To Act According to the Gospel Even though Jesus blessed the little children, he did not thereby affirm that the reign of God belonged to them.  Nevertheless, he held them up to his disciples as living models for them to imitate.  In what sense? Most readers of the gospels continue to follow the traditional interpretation, which the scholarly consensus also reflects: children are obedient and trusting, they provide an example of availability and are to be admired for their simplicity, innocence, and even humility.  But the Biblical perspective is quite different: children are a sign of divine blessing and must be exposed to the realities of the faith, first by their parents and then by their teachers until they reach the age of [...]

CHILDREN: Let The Children Come To Me, by A. James Murphy

From Kids and Kingdom Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak, but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so. This Christian hymn is learned by countless children every year.  It underscores Jesus’s concern and commitment for children in the vulnerability of youth.  The theme central to this hymn probably stems, in large part, from the widely familiar Biblical refrain, Let the young children come to me.  This verse has been used to justify infant baptism and communion for young children, Sunday-school programs, children and youth ministries, mission trips, and Christian relief agencies that specifically target [...]

SPIRITUAL WARFARE: A Rant

I am angry.  Very angry. Well, at least I was. I came to a boil when I read the words that generally said in an article on deliverance that fighting Satan is no harder than taking out the garbage. That it’s merely something you might not want to do, but it’s your responsibility, so go for it. Oh, and there’s nothing to be afraid of.  Because you know, Jesus something or other. The man who was nailed to a cross to bleed to death because of evil has your back. You know. So forget about it. On the evening of the day that I read this – I won’t stoop to calling it nonsense – I heard the same statement made in a lecture. It must be in the air. Nothing frightening about Satan.  Oh, no.  He’s a peach.  A [...]