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Living the Gospel Today: Have you no faith?

4 Feb

Gospel Reflection for February 9, 2014, 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

3 Feb

Jesus said, “No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel basket.  The place for a lamp is on a stand where it gives light to all in the house.” 

Matthew 5:15

Jesus compares his disciples to light.  People made lamps in Jesus’ day from clay.  Household lamps were small enough for those in the family to carry them in the palms of their hands.  To get the most illumination, a family would set a lamp on a stand.

Roman rule kept Jewish people subjugated with little hope of being full active human beings.  Jesus encourages his disciples to be like lamps in the darkness.  He challenges them to stand tall and share their illumination with others.  As disciples today, the gospel challenges us to illuminate our society.


Describe a time when you have been a light for others.

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Gospel Reflection for February 2, 2014, Feast of the Presentation

27 Jan
An old man, Simeon, received and blessed Jesus when Mary and Joseph presented him at the temple. “Lord, you can let your servant go in peace; you have fulfilled your word.  My eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared before all the nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Luke 2.29-32

The Old Testament prophets through whom God promises consolation and redemption speak in faith, not in foreknown fact.  They affirm God’s faithfulness to the covenant relationship and threaten God’s judgment on all who worship other gods and take advantage of the poor.  These prophets and their hearers have to wait to see how God’s promises come true.  In Simeon’s eyes Jesus fulfills God’s promises.  His prophetic prayer describes Jesus as both the glory of Israel and a light of revelation to all peoples.

What promises have you inherited from earlier generations in the Church, in your families, in our country?  How do these promises sustain you?  How do you sustain them?

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Living the Gospel Today with Sister Joan Mitchell: Possumus

21 Jan

Gospel Reflection for January 26, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

20 Jan

 

Jesus said to the fishermen, “Come follow me.  I want you to gather people in your nets.”

Matthew 4.19

Christians today may wonder why the four fishermen so unhesitatingly follow a man who comes walking along the lake shore and invites them to, “Follow me.”  Matthew is writing about the call of Peter, Andrew, James, and John more than 50 years after Jesus’ public life.  Their instant, wholehearted initial response to Jesus reflects the story of their whole lives.  They experience a steep learning curve as they follow Jesus during his ministry but in the end they give their lives wholeheartedly to spreading Jesus’ good news after this death and resurrection.  Responding to Jesus’ friendship changes their lives.  It redirects them from casting nets for fish to gathering people in the Christian community.


Who has called and empowered you to minister?  How do you respond?  How has  your response changed your life?

 

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Gospel Reflection for January 19, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

14 Jan

The fourth gospel begins in God time and enters history only in verse 6, when “a man named John was sent from God…to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him” (1.6-7). Jesus has no birth story and no parents at the beginning of this gospel. Instead he has a dedicated public relations man who testifies someone greater is coming.

John the Baptist apparently preaches in such a compelling way that many mistake him for the promised messiah, but he insists no. Someone else is coming who will baptize with the Spirit. Artfully the fourth gospel uses the Baptist to build up anticipation. The Baptist is the point man. Artists often draw him pointing.

The Baptist witnesses that indeed Wisdom, God’s partner in creation, has found a dwelling in Israel. The Word has taken flesh to reveal God among us. Not until verse 29, where Sunday’s gospel begins, does the Baptist point out Jesus and identify him as the someone.

In court, witnessing and testifying require swearing to tell the whole truth about events one has observed or participated in. Testimony is also a Christian practice in which one talks about the power of God in one’s life.

Many people who grew up Catholic no longer claim their faith. The continuing flow of sexual abuse cases causes deep distrust of leaders who don’t meet their promise of zero tolerance. The whole Church suffers.

We Christians are Jesus’ witnesses today. As our courts work to find the whole truth, we in the pews must give witness to all God is doing in our lives. We must be church to one another and Christians others can believe in.

What witness do you give?

Gospel Reflection for January 12, 2014, Baptism of the Lord

7 Jan
After Jesus was baptized be John, a voice from the heavens spoke.
“This is my beloved Son.  My favor rests on him.”

Matthew 3.17

In receiving John’s baptism, Jesus passes from private life in Galilee to public life characterized by humility and compassionate justice.  At his baptism the Spirit of God commissions him for his life work.

The voice from the heavens tells Jesus that God’s favor rests on him; he is the one chosen to bring justice to the nations.  He will open the eyes of the blind, free prisoners, and bring those who live in darkness out of the dungeon.

What is the public purpose of your Christian adulthood?

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Living the Gospel Today: Gratitude

2 Jan

 

Gospel Reflection for January 5, Epiphany Sunday

30 Dec
Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?  We saw his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage.”

Matthew 2.2

The gospel tells us little about the foreigners who come to worship Jesus, but we have clothed them in rich detail.  Why?  Maybe because the strangers take such a big risk in following the star.  They leave the comforts of their homes, take a long trip, and outwit a king anxious for his crown.  They don’t know where they are going or what they will find when they get there.  In other words, they are model believers and seekers of truth.


Where have you journeyed to find hope in transcendent meaning in your life?  What did you find?

 

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Gospel Reflection for December 29, Feast of the Holy Family

26 Dec

The angel of God appeared to Joseph with this command. “Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you otherwise. Herod is searching for the child to destroy him.”

Matthew 2.13

In Sunday’s gospel the Holy Family is on the run to protect Jesus’ life. King Herod has viciously ordered his soldiers to kill boy children like him. Matthew makes a parallel in this story between Jesus’ life and the history of his people. Both sojourn in Egypt. Matthew quotes a statement from the prophet Hosea to make this point, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

How did the first members of your family come to this country?

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