Tag Archives: Gospel of Luke

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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Gospel Reflection for November 24, Feast of Christ the King

21 Nov

Jesus was crucified between two criminals. One belittled Jesus while the second criminal believed.

The second criminal said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus responded, “I assure you this day you will be with me in paradise.”

 Luke 23.42-43

Jesus is no ordinary king. He reigns from the cross, not a throne. He forgives a thief as his final act rather than command an army to his rescue. In this act of forgiveness he completes his mission as the prophet the Spirit anoints to announce a year of God’s favor, a jubilee year.

Whom do you need to forgive? From whom do you need forgiveness?


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Gospel Reflection for November 10, 2013, 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

5 Nov
Jesus said, “God is not God of the dead but of the living.  All are alive to God.” 

Luke 20.38


In Sunday’s gospel a Sadducee poses a question to Jesus regarding the law of Moses.  The law states a man is to marry his brother’s widow if she is childless.  The Sadducee presents a case in which a widow has married seven brothers but never had children.  Who will be her husband in the afterlife?

Jesus’ statement recognizes the Sadducee’s real issue has nothing to do with the hypothetical case of a woman with seven husbands but focuses on the denial of resurrection.  He dismisses the Sadducee’s assumption that life in the resurrection will be identical to life on earth.  Jesus argues from the book of Exodus that the God who spoke to Moses in the burning bush claimed to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who lived long before Moses.  Thus God is God of the living.

When  do you use the bible to debate points of doctrine?

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Gospel Reflection for November 3, 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

29 Oct

Jesus asks, “Today salvation has come to this house for he, too, is a son of Abraham.  The Son of Man has come to seek out and save the lost.”

Luke 19.9-10

Jesus’ final statement in the gospel makes his mission clear: he comes to seek out and save the lost.  Jesus draws Zacchaeus, the marginalized tax collector, into the mystery of God’s unconditional love.  In response Zacchaeus pledges the almsgiving that marks a true Jew, a son of Abraham—half his possessions to people who are poor.  He promises to repay anyone he has defrauded fourfold.  Neither the law nor his greed isolate Zacchaeus any longer.

What is your experience of being an outsider?


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Gospel Reflection for October 27, 2013, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

21 Oct

Jesus asks, “All who make little of themselves will be lifted up, but all who make much of themselves will be brought down.”

Luke 18.14

In this Sunday’s gospel Jesus tells the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector.  The Pharisee supposes the very prayer that distanced him from the tax collector brings him near God.  The tax collector, on the other hand, supposes he is unworthy to be anything but distant from God; his openness to God’s mercy brings him close to God.

Jesus creates room for us to assess ourselves in holding up these two contrasting examples of prayer.  Outward signs of piety do not make the Pharisee an insider with God, nor does social inferiority exclude the sinner from relationship with God.

How do I measure what I or others deserve?

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Gospel Reflection for October 20, 2013, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

14 Oct

Jesus tells the parable of the unjust judge who gives in to a widow who persists in seeking her rights.

Jesus asks, “Will God not do justice to those chosen ones who call out day and night?  Will God delay justice for them?”

Luke 18.7

In Luke’s time widows have little place in society but many find a home in Christian communities.  The widow’s voice demanding her rights would perk up the ears of Luke’s original listeners.  The poor widow represents the helpless and abandoned of the world; she has no legal rights without a husband.  She lives at the mercy of those who ought to protect her.

People who are poor today often become victims of the powerful, pawns of the mighty.  The recession, the sequestration, the stall in Congress—all hurt those most in need.  Yet our heritage is one of a hope that comes through faith in the goodness of God and the goodness of those who follow Jesus’ way.

Whose persistence do you admire?


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Gospel Reflection for October 13, 2013, 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

7 Oct

On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus encountered ten people with leprosy who asked for his healing.  He sent them on and they then recognized they had been cured.  One returned to thank Jesus.

Jesus said, “Weren’t ten cleansed?  Where are the other nine?  Did none return to give glory to God but this man who is not of our country?”

Luke 17.17-18


Luke’s miracle story raises questions people who became believers after Jesus’ death and resurrection must have asked.  Is healing more than skin deep for the nine lepers who don’t return to thank Jesus?  Does physical healing lead to faith or require faith?

Luke probes the mystery of why the same sign of God’s presence—healing from leprosy—leads a Samaritan man to believe in Jesus and nine to remain under the law of Moses.

How does attitude affect healing?  How does healing affect attitude?

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Gospel Reflection for September 29, 2013, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

25 Sep

Jesus tells the story of a poor beggar name Lazarus and a rich man.  Both died and their roles reverse.  The rich man suffers while Lazarus rests in the arms of Abraham.  The rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to bring him some water.

Abraham replied, “Remember how well you lived when you were alive and how miserable Lazarus was.  Now he has found comfort, but you have found torment.  He cannot help you.  Between you and us is a great abyss that no one can cross.”

Luke 16.25-26


The great abyss that yawns between Lazarus and the rich man in the abode of the dead exists already in the distance between them when they are alive.  The rich man never notices Lazarus begging nor responds to him.  He doesn’t know the other man exists.  The rich man has no idea that his riches are anything but well-deserved blessings from God.  He has no other ethic than spending his money on himself.  He builds no connection between himself and the poor man at his gate.

Who begs at your gate?

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Gospel Reflection for September 22, 2013, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

16 Sep

Jesus said, “No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.  Neither can you serve both God and wealth.”

Luke 16.13

In the parable that forms Sunday’s gospel (Luke 16.1-13), Jesus surprisingly holds up an embezzler as a role model in ingenuity in protecting his own interests when he get fired.   Luke’s gospel does not let the self-serving manager go without criticizing him.  A series of sayings follow that pass judgment on dishonest people.  The saying insists that whoever is dishonest with a little can’t be trusted with a lot.  No one can trust a cheater.  No one can serve two masters.

What good things do you take for granted that are beyond the reach of poor people in your area or in the world?


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Gospel Reflection for September 15, 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

9 Sep

Jesus tells three parables in Sunday’s gospel, ending with the story of the prodigal son.


“My son, you are with me always, and everything I have is yours.  But we had to celebrate and rejoice!  This brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life.  He was lost, and is found.”

Luke 15.31-32

The parables in this Sunday’s gospel are about losses—a lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son—and about celebrations for the found sheep, the found coin, and for the returning repentant child.  The longest parable is about a father’s losing not only the son who leaves home but also the son who has been distant for far too long and whose resents consume him when his brother returns.

On one level in these stories, Jesus is telling his critics and us that in our judgment of others or when we are most critical of ourselves, we are missing the reality that God’s love and forgiveness transcend anything that they or we may have done or said.  On another level, Jesus affirms that experiences of loss, of grief, and of powerlessness may be precisely the ones that lead us to new awarenesses and new reasons for gratitude.

What have you learned about yourself, about others, and about God from your experiences of loss?

 

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