Flying Dandelion Seeds,
Painted by Ona Lodge,
Painted in 2019,
Gouache and watercolour on paper
© Ona Lodge Artist

Flying Dandelion Seeds,
Painted by Ona Lodge,
Painted in 2019,
Gouache and watercolour on paper
© Ona Lodge Artist

Gospel of 3 November 2023

Jesus addressed the lawyers and Pharisees

Luke 14:1-6

Now on a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. There in front of him was a man with dropsy, and Jesus addressed the lawyers and Pharisees. ‘Is it against the law’ he asked ‘to cure a man on the sabbath, or not?’ But they remained silent, so he took the man and cured him and sent him away. Then he said to them, ‘Which of you here, if his son falls into a well, or his ox, will not pull him out on a sabbath day without hesitation?’ And to this they could find no answer.

Reflection on the watercolour

It can be upsetting to us when people who are important in our lives do not share our faith. Parents, in particular, can be very upset when the faith which means so much to them seems to mean so little to their children. They wonder if there is more they could have done to pass on the faith to them. Whilst it is entirely understandable that they are upset, self-blame serves no purpose in that situation. Jesus also struggled at times to hand over the faith to people who were close to him. Even he could not force anyone to believe! Gifted preacher that he was, he was helpless before the refusal of his own flesh and blood to believe in his Word. The experts in the Jewish and Pharisees in our Gospel reading refused to believe in what Jesus was saying.

In spite of his frustration with them, Jesus simply continued to witness to God’s powerful presence through his day to day ministry. Saint Paul did exactly the same. Any resistance he met, he simply continued his path, nurturing his own relationship with God. We too can be faithful only to our own calling to treasure the gift of faith we have received and to bear witness to it, even when that faith is not shared by those who are significant for us. At the end of the day, we can take responsibility only for our own faith. But also, we have to realise that through our own faith and witness, we may well touch the lives of others, even people who are not close to us. We never know where the seeds of our witness will fall and grow.

When dandelion seeds fly, they don’t know where they will land: perhaps far from the original flower. So it goes with our faith. The seeds of our witnessing may have flown far away but have taken root in someone and brought them to the faith. That is what we pray for today. Our watercolour on paper is by Dutch amateur artist Ona Lodge. It displays a myriad of differently coloured seeds flying through the night skies.

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Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
5 months ago

I wonder if any of the lawyers and pharisees who were present that day did, eventually “get it”. I so admire Jesus’ mental acuity. I wonder if that was one of the reasons why they hated him? At primary school it was a sin to display any signs of cleverness: “clever clogs” was the mildest of the insults.
I love this painting. You don’t have to be a professional artist to produce beautiful work. To stretch the image, you don’t have to be a priest, monk or nun to be a dedicated Christian. “Amateur” means “lover of”. A lady turned up at my aunt’s appartment in Paris, announcing herself as “une ancienne amateur de Mme X”. So can also mean admirer.
So, word and work, both done with love. The particular strokes used in this painting are very easy to do, with the right brushes/pens. Worth trying, the mind is totally engaged and soothed.
Thank you for all your thoughtful posts today. 🌻

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

I agree about the clever clogs’ comments Noelle- I still get them today but I care less! I love your info about amateurs so thankyou- I had no idea!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
5 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Yes, you can’t afford to let it get to you….ATB

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Thank you for your reflective, informative post Noelle. I have no artistic gifts at all although I like looking at art and listening to music.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
5 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

You never know ! A friend of mine took up pottery, and within 3 months was producing superb, collectable work….ATB

Will Howard
Member
Will Howard
5 months ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Thanks so much Noelle. Your reflections have truly inspired. If I may expand on the scripture text a little, so as to ’embrace’ the full Sabbath dinner event – to v. 24.

IN ANTICIPATION OF THE NIGHT

This wind howled, torture grey November day,
The odd leaf from now cold gray trees blows away.
Against a cold and sunless sky
A dandelion seed blows by.
It’s racing fleeting puff of white
Is a hazardous chance of fate and life.

The wit and wisdom of the Creator Christ,
His seed to send, its passage to bend
Its flight to fend the heart’s hardened glen.
To falter above the Pharisees’s table,
To sally within Faith’s valley of stumble:
“Is it lawful … or is it not” to heal or to quibble

This seed’s ‘amateur-progress’
For word and work both done with access,
Quicken God’s deed:
“For everyone who exalts” will only find regress.
The Word’s ‘clever clogs’ , it earth frozen yet,
Invites the poor and the maimed and the lame and beset.

Indeed, “Go out to the highways and hedges,
And compel my people in”;
You seed of the harvest
You ‘Blessed of the Kingdom’ ,
Oh ye Man of many guest invited –
Soon the doors will be shut and the lamp lighted.

There is an accompanying YouTube Dylan tract ” Not Dark Yet” – ONLY if you’re a fan (grin).

Andy Bocanegra
Member
Andy Bocanegra
5 months ago

In my situation, my Mother and I are the only ones that practice the faith. My Father and 2 brothers, not so much. My wife is Protestant so I pray that one day she would come into full communion with the Catholic Church. She had a son and daughter when I married her. They both became Catholic, their spouses are Catholic and so are our grandchildren. My faith has been made stronger through them.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  Andy Bocanegra

Great. Good news all round pretty much!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
5 months ago
Reply to  Andy Bocanegra

How wonderful, nearly there……

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Andy Bocanegra

Wonderful Andy!

Will Howard
Member
Will Howard
5 months ago
Reply to  Andy Bocanegra

Hmmmmm… situations
My father was an Anglican Priest – died of job related stress at 58. I became Catholic at 30 … Professed at 40, Ordained at 50. My older sister became Orthodox with her husband while accommodating Protestantism My other sister became a radical Catholic at the age of 50. My brother holds mostly to agnosticism it seems. Then my Mother became a daily communicant Catholic in her older years. She died at 89. Of her 15 grand and great grandchildren from my two sisters, non are in the Church or show any signs of being open to the Fatih. And also it is the case regarding my eight Godchildren. It appears that Catholicism has sprung up, and will die in the same generation. This poses a deep sadness and even deeper questioning for me: it seems the dandelion seeds found nowhere to land for my family.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  Will Howard

I wrote about my situation a week or two ago. Of my Irish grandparents, who have fifteen descendants, I am the only one practicing the faith.😔

Will Howard
Member
Will Howard
5 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Hmmm that’s a real comizeration Chazbo … the Mystery of ‘the sobering effect of dandelions in the world’s night of souls’

Suzan McCann
Member
Suzan McCann
5 months ago

The reflection is very reassuring
Perhaps I have laid the seed for others I do not know of. For this I pray.

Madeleine Blu
Member
Madeleine Blu
5 months ago

Thank you Reverend, your testimony has fed me today.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago

What a simple and delicate work of art today. It shows for me that beauty lies in the simple, small things we overlook every day. Also Father Patrick’s commentary is very inspiring.
When I was working in a very tough secondary school, a new head was appointed and he spoke to every member of staff individually. I have never forgotten what he said as I told him I was failing to make any in-roads with the students I was attempting to teach. He said I should never under-estimate the impact I was having in ways that couldn’t be measure by targets or league tables. This is what Father Patrick is also saying.

We impress people not so much by our words, but by our actions and our conduct. This is the Christian life we should be aspiring to, not fanfares or parades or pomp. The truth is proclaimed in the quietness far more than the noise.

Lodge’s painting tells us this without words and with a great softness of touch.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Absolutely true SFG. He must have been a wise man. I had an English teacher when I was a boy who was quite effeminate and we all made fun of him. But he stuck at it for years and he did love the English language. When he died the church was packed out with ex-pupils. Really fabulous – a life well lived.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

I have had a few apologies from miscreant students- I usually say, ‘You weren’t that bad!’ I really liked the tough kids, they had tough lives.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

My daughter teaches in quite a rough boys’ secondary school. She likes the rude boys best. She’s a great teacher as I have seen her on video.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Yes!

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
5 months ago

The pharisees and other Jewish people at the time probably had what psychologist call a cognitive bias, in particular a backfire bias , a tendency to react to disconfirming evidence by strengthening one’s previous beliefs.

Look at the list of cognitive biases on Wikipedia.

Of course we all have the same cognitive biases. It would be difficult for us or anyone else to change religious beliefs. It pretty much depends on where you were born and what your upbringing was.

Time is not of great significance to God, so it is a blessing that we have had Christianity for the last 2,000 years, but since he wasn’t too concerned about the previous 100,000 years or so, he could have waited until media would have been able to prove without doubt that Jesus was the Messiah, rather than us relying on very old passed on evidence and our faith ?

Last edited 5 months ago by Thimas@
Anthony
Member
Anthony
5 months ago
Reply to  Thimas@

God created time.
His concern is more than evident in the 1000s of years of love for His people in the old testament.
The media can prove nothing. The faith was passed on by word of mouth by witnesses.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Anthony

Yes, Anthony. This is clear to me too.

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
5 months ago
Reply to  Anthony

I think the belief is that the old testament prepares the way and points to Christ. Hence a few percentage points time delay of the arrival of Christ would have enabled us to have much more concrete evidence.

George K
George K
5 months ago
Reply to  Thimas@

“…a few percentage points time delay of the arrival of Christ would have enabled us to have much more concrete evidence.” I define faith as the presence of doubt and the absence of proof. With proof I would not need faith, I would have proof.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  George K

Quite George which is why I’m not too excited about the veracity of the Turin Shroud.
Just got to nip out and buy some milk for my morning coffee! ☕️

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Me too Chazbo. I feel the same about so called Eucharistic miracles. To me the Eucharist is the greatest miracle in itself.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  George K

Spot on George!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
5 months ago
Reply to  Thimas@

Thanks Thimas, that helps to explain what’s happening in the information/disinformation “war”.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Thimas@

This sounds like the premise to the stage musical Jesus Christ Superstar! Again, Thimas it is all about the present and unique relationship we each have with God.

On your other statement back in the day I tinkered with Tibetan buddhism. The Dalai Lama said ‘If you have a religion, why change it?’ So I didn’t, and remain Catholic!

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
5 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Indeed and the Pharisees and most of the people in the area remained Jews

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Thimas@

Yes but many didn’t- hence we now have the apostolic church all over the world.

Anthony
Member
Anthony
5 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

1.2 billion Christians I believe. More than any other faith.

George K
George K
5 months ago
Reply to  Thimas@

I think the point that Jesus was trying to make is don’t take the “Old Testament” (or even The Bible) so literally. It seems to me that is the way the Pharisees taught it. I think that is the way some people still teach the “New Testament” today. I think the Ten Commandments were probably called something like “The Ten Invitations to be Happy” originally. That changed as various religious folks over the centuries got their hands on the books and changed the wording to get control or power over the people, and they added the “Thou shalt not…”. I think the Bible was not written to restrict us; I think it was written to free us to be the way God wants us to be. I think God wants us to be happy. There are many references in The Bible where Jesus re-defines what a particular ‘law’ really means. Sorta like the eight beatitudes that were presented November 1st where “Blessed be…” was changed to “Happy are…” in a different translation of The Bible. I think of the Old Testament as the “Old Relationship”; and I think of the New Testament as the “New Relationship” that God wants to have with all of us. I think it boils down to do I want to be law-based or love-based.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  George K

The two are not mutually exclusive George.

George K
George K
5 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

I agree, the two need to be balanced. To me, the problem occurs when someone lets their choice be dominated by their head or their heart, either their ego or their spirituality. They choose between either/or instead of both/and.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  George K

Yes he does want us to be happy because Our Lord said “My yoke is easy and my burden light”

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Thimas@

I forgot to add that the New tetament builds on the Old. I think God was very concerned about the Jewish people evidenced in theirs and in our common history (you can include Muslims in this if you include Abraham). God didn’t invent Himself with the birth of Jesus, but always is.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  Thimas@

Your posts are a bit depressing Thimas 😩

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Nothing like a healthy discussion Chazbo. It’s a bit like talking to my son! The thing is we’ve been there and done all that… although I’m making assumptions about Thimas’s age?

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
5 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

I’m 72 not far off 73. Don’t worry SFG, I accept that you are incorrigible with your total refutement of any reasoning from me which may be taken as negative. But I’m flattered that you think anyone who does not follow the party line must be young! 😉

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Thimas@

I deserve to have my assumptions disproved. Also your opinion of me being incorrigible? What does that make me? I am just on a journey as you are Thimas and I fear it is taking us both closer to the final reckoning. I find my truth in the church’s teaching which is ancient and beautiful after a lifetime of not following the party line, as it were!

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
5 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Well I’m sorry I don’t mean to depress people. Faith with reason isn’t that right? Fides et ratio.
I don’t think you would have enjoyed Thomas Jefferson being a member of this group either.
I read a lot and I watch a lot of videos regarding the veracity of the New Testament gospels. From what I understand they all copied and embellished the first one by someone we called Mark. Apparently it doesn’t stack up very well for historians who need more of the dreaded proof, however it is good for people of faith. In fact they were all copied many many times. before we got our hands on them. Mark was written somewhere around 70 AD but the versions ( copies) we got were written in 200 AD. I don’t know how many mistakes could have been made with the copies over 130 years, but the experts believe there would have been a lot.

There are also a lot of mythological parallels, however I hope you think that this would be rather a boring group if everybody just agreed with each other?

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  Thimas@

The point is that you cannot apply rigorous scientific criteria to the Christian story. It’s about faith and faith isn’t reason. It involves emotions and the heart. I agree that there are undoubtedly accretions to the the original gospels and epistles but we have to run with the main thrust.
When mega sceptics grill me about the Christian faith I have to tell them that we are talking different languages. I went to Lourdes and was immersed in the water and people say ‘what was the point of that?’ It made me very happy I say and maybe there have been miracles there.
You can’t talk to Richard Dawkins about religion because he doesn’t get it….

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
5 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Well it was Pope John Paul 11 who insisted that we have faith with reason he even wrote a treatise on it. To be fair this all goes back to my original point earlier in the day about cognitive bias.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago

Well that is a comforting message Father, to a lot of subscribers to Christian Art. When you put years of effort into raising your children in the Faith and once they are in charge of their own affairs, they drop it. The comfort, I think, is that it may well resurface in later life. I spent my early adulthood away from my faith but returned when I got married. So courage and perserverance are the order of the day!

Zeffi
Member
Zeffi
5 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Good morning, Chazbo. Parents tell their children the goal of the journey, give them the map and teach them how to read it, and set their feet in the right direction. Then it is for the children to go on, to learn for themselves how to live good lives, whether of faith or not.

Is it not more pleasing to God to be followed by people who have thoughtfully chosen to believe rather than unthinkingly follow their parents’ ideas?

One might also ask, what it is that causes children to give up the faith.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  Zeffi

Yes, yes, and yes! Yes, what is it that causes children to give up their faith? And they are in huge numbers today. I am a baby boomer and I thought that I was part of the biggest exodus from the Church ever. Mega-apostasy…..But it’s much bigger now.
Your last paragraph wil take a lot of analysis. Perhaps I should come up with one possible reason particular to now rather than historically? I’m thinking…….Generations of peace in the West?

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

I will just repeat what I said to Zeffi above; because they don’t attend mass doesn’t mean they have completely given up on their faith. I am not making excuses but young families today are under enormous pressures. I like to think they have not given up on faith so much as they have given up on the church, to a certain extent.
Personally I have never thought the numbers in church reflects the amount of faith in it. The church is massive in some parts of the world, does that make them more faithful than the trickle of people we had last night for All Soul’s Day? I feel the faith far more in those small numbers than ever I do in a crowded schurch, but maybe that’s just me.

I don’t understand your final comment Chazbo- are you saying we need a war to bring people back? I really don’t think that’s what you meant?

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

SFG – I agree with you that numbers in the church building do not reflect the amount of faith out there. But I do think it’s important to turn up once a week. One meets people who say ‘I can pray in a field, I have a relationship with God, I don’t need church’. But you do need structure.
What I meant by my last paragraph was that for a lot of people in our Western world like has become pretty sweet. Plentiful employment, rising living standards, foreign holidays, central heating etc. Everyday life is good for us – who needs or wants to think about a distant God or some other life in the distant future when we die. Let’s just live!

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

I agree with your first statement. However I don’t agree that life is ‘pretty sweet’ here, I know lots of examples where it is just struggle and grind.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

My generation hasn’t had to fight a war. That’s sweet! My father had the most terrible war and it broke him. He was a young man….

Zeffi
Member
Zeffi
5 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

SfG, did a post get lost?

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Zeffi

No, I think I was referring to your remark about faith being a choice, and shouldn’t just be something our parent’s did, (Although there are positives in this too.)

Zeffi
Member
Zeffi
5 months ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

No, don’t blame peace, nor prosperity: there’s not enough of either in the world today, certainly not of peace.

Blame, if you like, politicians who use religion as a cover for their desire for wealth and power and who seem to get away with it.

For myself, after 12 years at Catholic schools, going to university was a shock – and finding that Protestants knew more Church history (and had more dirt on the Church) than I’d ever heard of, and that Atheists were quite happy to throw extra anti-religious stuff about, and I had no way to counter it. (If only the internet had existed then!)

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  Zeffi

I had that experience too Zeffi but I am well able to defend the Catholic Church now. Even the Spanish Inquisition which believe it or not had its good points. Yes!!!
Of course there are some things the church has got up to that aren’t so good. I would say that the Catholic Church is a big place with big walls and there is plenty of space on that wall for the mud to stick 🫣

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Zeffi

Similar to my experience Ziff- I always say I has a cotton-wool (some say Pollyanna if you know what that means) upbringing and education. Going out into the realities of the world was tough and challenging but I have finally ridden that storm. I’m also quite glad we had no internet!

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Zeffi

I can only speak for myself here. My children still adhere to the principles of their faith if they are not regular church-goers. Sometimes they surprise me with the moral stands that reflect the church’s teachings more than I feel mine do sometimes. My daughter married an atheist who still supports, even if he doesn’t understand, her faith. My grandsons are having a Catholic education which also pleasantly surprises me in what they are learning. However, the comment, ‘Dad’s an atheist and he doesn’t have to go to mass,’ on a Sunday morning speaks volumes. Practising the faith is hard work, atheism seems an easy option. I shall leave that there in the hope and trust they will eventually reap the benefits of my prayers.

Ettie
Member
Ettie
5 months ago

Read this, this this morning: John 12:24 -26

Truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.
But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Jesus said these words as He was eminently facing the cross.

The picture struck me how beautiful dandelion seeds are as they float down to the ground & die. Death of self is a beautiful thing.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
5 months ago
Reply to  Ettie

Amen to that Ettie- we try, and there is such freedom in it! God is good.

Ettie
Member
Ettie
5 months ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Yes. You are right! The dandelion seed is completely free in the air, blown by the breeze. A picture, I guess, of the absolute surrender to the Holy Spirit. May it be so for us :). Thank you for sharing.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
5 months ago
Reply to  Ettie

Death of the body too is beautiful and necessary to make room for the next generation.

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