Daily Meditation: November 6, 2015

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A Ministry of Healing and Reconciliation

How does the Church witness to Christ in the world? First and foremost by giving visibility to Jesus’ love for the poor and the weak. In a world so hungry for healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and most of all unconditional love, the Church must alleviate that hunger through its ministry. Wherever we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the lonely, listen to those who are rejected, and bring unity and peace to those who are divided, we proclaim the living Christ, whether we speak about him or not.

It is important that whatever we do and wherever we go, we remain in the Name of Jesus, who sent us. Outside his Name our ministry will lose its divine energy.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus… for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” – Philippians 2: 5, 13 (NIV)

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Daily Meditation: November 5, 2015

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The Mission of the Church

There are more people on this planet outside the Church than inside it. Millions have been baptised, millions have not. Millions participate in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, but millions do not.

The Church as the body of Christ, as Christ living in the world, has a larger task than to support, nurture, and guide its own members. It is also called to be a witness for the love of God made visible in Jesus. Before his death Jesus prayed for his followers, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18). Part of the essence of being the Church is being a living witness for Christ in the world.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” – John 5: 39, 40 (NIV)

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Daily Meditation: November 4, 2015

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The Poverty of Our Leaders

There is a tendency to think about poverty, suffering, and pain as realities that happen primarily or even exclusively at the bottom of our Church. We seldom think of our leaders as poor. Still, there is great poverty, deep loneliness, painful isolation, real depression, and much emotional suffering at the top of our Church.

We need the courage to acknowledge the suffering of the leaders of our Church – its ministers, priests, bishops, and popes – and include them in this fellowship of the weak. When we are not distracted by the power, wealth, and success of those who offer leadership, we will soon discover their powerlessness, poverty, and failures and feel free to reach out to them with the same compassion we want to give to those at the bottom. In God’s eyes there is no distance between bottom and top. There shouldn’t be in our eyes either.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

“Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64: 8 (NIV)

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Daily Meditation: November 3, 2015

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Becoming the Church of the Poor

When we claim our own poverty and connect our poverty with the poverty of our brothers and sisters, we become the Church of the poor, which is the Church of Jesus. Solidarity is essential for the Church of the poor . Both pain and joy must be shared. As one body we will experience deeply one another’s agonies as well as one another’s ecstasies. As Paul says: “If one part is hurt, all the parts share its pain. And if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

Often we might prefer not to be part of the body because it makes us feel the pain of others so intensely. Every time we love others deeply we feel their pain deeply. However, joy is hidden in the pain. When we share the pain we also will share the joy.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

“Above all, love each other deeply…” – 1 Peter 4: 8 (NIV)

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Daily Meditation: November 2, 2015

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Who Are the Poor?

The poor are the center of the Church. But who are the poor? At first we might think of people who are not like us: people who live in slums, people who go to soup kitchens, people who sleep on the streets, people in prisons, mental hospitals, and nursing homes. But the poor can be very close. They can be in our own families, churches or workplaces. Even closer, the poor can be ourselves, who feel unloved, rejected, ignored, or abused.

It is precisely when we see and experience poverty – whether far away, close by, or in our own hearts – that we need to become the Church; that is, hold hands as brothers and sisters, confess our own brokenness and need, forgive one another, heal one another’s wounds, and gather around the table of Jesus for the breaking of the bread. Thus, as the poor we recognise Jesus, who became poor for us.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

He said, “Surely they are my people, offspring who will not be false to me”; and so he became their Savior. In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them…” – Isaiah 63: 8,9 (NIV)

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Daily Meditation: November 1, 2015

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Going to the Margins of the Church

Those who are marginal in the world are central in the Church, and that is how it is supposed to be! Thus we are called as members of the Church to keep going to the margins of our society. The homeless, the starving, parentless children, people with AIDS, our emotionally disturbed brothers and sisters – they require our first attention.

We can trust that when we reach out with all our energy to the margins of our society we will discover that petty disagreements, fruitless debates, and paralysing rivalries will recede and gradually vanish. The Church will always be renewed when our attention shifts from ourselves to those who need our care. The blessing of Jesus always comes to us through the poor. The most remarkable experience of those who work with the poor is that, in the end, the poor give more than they receive. They give food to us.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” – Matthew 25: 40 (NIV)

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Daily Meditation: October 31, 2015

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Focusing on the Poor

Like every human organization the Church is constantly in danger of corruption. As soon as power and wealth come to the Church, manipulation, exploitation, misuse of influence, and outright corruption are not far away.

How do we prevent corruption in the Church? The answer is clear: by focusing on the poor. The poor make the Church faithful to its vocation. When the Church is no longer a church for the poor, it loses its spiritual identity. It gets caught up in disagreements, jealousy, power games, and pettiness. Paul says, “God has composed the body so that greater dignity is given to the parts which were without it, and so that there may not be disagreements inside the body but each part may be equally concerned for all the others” (1 Corinthians 12:24-25). This is the true vision. The poor are given to the Church so that the Church as the body of Christ can be and remain a place of mutual concern, love, and peace.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

“Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?”- James 2: 5 (NIV)

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