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Gospel Reflection for May 31, 2015, Trinity Sunday

27 May
Photo via Flickr user Larry Koester

Photo via Flickr user Larry Koester

Sunday Readings: Deuteronomy 4.32-34, 39-40; Romans 8.14-17; Matthew 2816-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe all I have commanded you.”

(Matthew 28.19-20)

Our God is no smug solitary being enclosed in egocentric self-regard but the living God, three persons in free communion, always going forth in love and receiving love. Our Judeo-Christian traditions testify that our God is irrepressibly friendly, steadfast, faithful, and compassionate toward us.

Our heads start to hurt when we think about God, whom we experience as close as we are to ourselves but beyond the adequacy of our words. Importantly the Trinity is a communion of equals, not a monarchy, giving us community and mutual love as models of how to live on Earth as in heaven.

What is at stake in trying to understand God as a communion of equals? How do you experience God?

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Oscar Romero Proclaims God’s Love

22 May

This Saturday, in El Salvador, Archbishop Oscar Romero will be an official candidate for sainthood. He was martyred while saying Mass in March of 1980. Like Pope Francis, Romero wanted a poor church for the poor. Go to the internet to read his story. Let this message from him resonate in your heart today and give you courage.Romero

Each one of you has to be God’s microphone. Each one of you has to be a messenger, a prophet. The church will always exist as long as there is someone who has been baptized. Where is your baptism? You are baptized in your professions, in the fields of workers, in the market. Wherever there is someone who has been baptized. that is where the church is. There is a prophet here. Let us not hide the talent that God gave us on the day of our baptism and let us truly live the beauty and responsibility of being a prophetic people.

Pentecost

21 May

“All of us have been given to drink of the same Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 12.13

Let taking deep breaths and drinks of water remind you this week to pray, “Come, Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of us all.”

Pentecost-Sequence(1)

 

 

 

Gospel Reflection for May 24, 2015, Pentecost Sunday

19 May

Gospel-people2

Sunday Readings: Acts 2.1-11; 1 Corinthians 12.3-7, 12-13; John 20.19-23

“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

(John 19.23)

To send his friends forth with the good news of Easter, Jesus breathes the Spirit on the community gathered in fear and prayer. This is a sacramental scene. Breathing is Jesus’ sign of the Spirit of God’s power in us — invisible but life-essential air, moving into our lungs, hearts, blood, and brain, animating every cell of our bodies, coextensive with being alive. The Holy Spirit is a transforming give in us.

The Spirit calls us always toward peace, unity, and new life. Where bitterness, grudges, greed, pride, estrangement, addiction put up walls, freeze people out, fray family and friendship bonds, there the Spirit unsettles us, looking to mend.

The Spirit thaws the frozen, bends the stubborn, shakes the arrogant. The giver of life empowers us to be life-givers in our relationships and continuously renew the face of earth.

What is a peacemaking action you no longer want to put off?

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The Holy Spirit is hope in us this Pentecost

19 May
Photo via Flickr user Lawrence OP

Photo via Flickr user Lawrence OP

Read aloud these words of our sister Joan Chittister. Thank the Holy Spirit for  dwelling within you, speaking through you, showing God’s face in you.

The Holy Spirit moves us to new heights of understanding, to new types of witness, to new dimensions of life needed in the here and now. The static dies under the impulse of the Spirit of a creating God. We do not live in the past. We are not blind beggers on a dark road groping our separate ways towards God. There is a magnet in each of us, a gift of God that repels deceit and impels us toward good. The gifts are mutual, mitered to fit into one another for strength and surety.

We are, in other words, in the most refreshing trite, most obviously astounding way, all in this together — equally adult, equally full members, equally responsible for the Church. Nor does any one dimension of the Church have a monopoly on insight, on grace, on the promptings of God in this place at this time. The Spirit of God is a wild thing, breathing where it will, moving as it pleases, settling on women and men alike.

from In Search of Belief by Joan Chittister, OSB (Liguouri)

 

 

Ascension

12 May
Photo via Flickr user Katharina Friederike

Photo via Flickr user Katharina Friederike

“To them I have revealed your name, so that your love for me may live in them.” – John 17.26

Whose kindnesses and love bring this text alive in your life? How can you, too, have Christ’s love live on in your daily tasks?

Put a photo of someone you admire or love in a place where you see it daily. Give thanks to God for this person in your life.

Prayer for the week

Come, Holy Spirit.

Gospel Reflection for May 17, 2015, Ascension

11 May

Sunday Readings: Acts 1.1-11; Ephesians 1.17-23; Mark 16.15-20

“Go to the whole world and preach the gospel.”

(Mark 16.15)

The ascension is the hinge event between Jesus’ resurrection and his sending of the Spirit. Luke’s gospel ends with Jesus’ ascension and the Acts of the Apostles begins with the same scene. Luke draws on ancient imagery of God’s heavenly court to picture Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, returning to reign with God, to take his place at God’s right hand. As God’s incarnate Son, human and divine, Jesus is the firstborn of a new creation — the promise of who we are to become.

What are you looking to heaven for that you should be doing on Earth?

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Doers of the Word

7 May

22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves[a] in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing. –James 1:22-25

Last week I sat with a heavy heart at work. Because of my spouse’s work at Lutheran World Relief, I traveled to Nepal and saw the beautiful land and met the fascinating people. I could picture, then, the devastating earthquake in a slightly more personal way. My spouse, busy raising awareness about and funds for the earthquake, then received news that the headquarters of LWR in Baltimore had sent staff home to avoid the rioting in the downtown area. The staff in the Minneapolis office kept plugging away, with their minds in both Baltimore and Nepal. It was a day when I let my heart feel the weight of the earthquake and the rioting. I grew tired. I played Ben Kyle’s song “Mercy” on repeat. I took deep breaths to counter feeling overwhelmed.

On a trip to the bathroom, I met Mavis. She introduced herself and invited me to come into a nearby room and see what she was doing. Mavis is part of a quilting group at church. Every Tuesday a few women get together and make quilts to donate to Lutheran World Relief. I told Mavis about my spouse and his work, that he was able to see a quilt distribution in India and see how happy it made refugees to receive something personal, colorful and warm after losing so much in their own personal lives. Mavis smiled.

“You know,” she said, “A lot of groups here at church are just fine. They get together and eat and talk, and that’s great. We do that, too. But I love that our group also works really hard and gets something done every week.”

Mavis gave me hope and pulled me out of my fog. There are things to be done. God wants to co-create with us. Mavis isn’t looking for recognition. Her works goes unnoticed, mostly. Yet she keeps on, week in and week out, using her gifts and her time making warm, personal, beautiful things to give to people who need them. On that Tuesday, when the world was hurting, I felt better knowing that Mavis and her crew were busy being doers of the word. They were making the world better, one stitch at a time.

Gospel Reflections for May 10, 2015, 6th Sunday of Easter

6 May
Photo via Flickr user Garry Knight

Photo via Flickr user Garry Knight

Sunday Readings: Acts 10.25-26, 34-35, 44-48; 1 John 4.7-10; John 15.9-17

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Live on in my love.”

(John 15.9)

What a lovely scripture passage for Mother’s Day! We live on in our love for one another. We are social beings. We live and grow in our shared relationships — family, friends. In our intimate relationships we in a sense create each other. We let others know us and share who we are with them. In being known we recognize ourselves. In loving and being loved, we flourish. Moms do this, friends do this. Jesus does this in becoming one of us and accompanying us.

In whose love do you live?

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6th Week of Easter

5 May
Photo via Flickr user Olga Lednichenko

Photo via Flickr user Olga Lednichenko

“Peace is my gift to you.” – John 14.27

Jesus promises his disciples peace. He sends them on Easter evening to be instruments of his peace and forgiveness as God has sent him. Be an instrument of peace in your family and office.

Look over the day each evening to see how what the Spirit of Christ risen is teaching you.

Prayer of the week: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

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