Important Feast Days Coming Up!

16 Jul

Two feast days of Gospel women are coming up in the next weeks.

July 22 is the feast day of Mary Magdalene, first witness to Jesus’ resurrection. July 29 is the day that honors Martha of Bethany, sister of Mary and Lazarus. These women are pictured for you in Holy Women of Luke’s Gospel.

Mary Magdalene is first witness to Jesus’ resurrection in all four Gospels. She was among the women from Galilee who follow Jesus and provide for him out of their resources. From early Christianity she has been called “the apostle to the apostle”, the bringer of good news to them and to us all. Click here to pray with Mary for resurrection in your own life.

 

Martha of Bethany and her sister Mary welcomed Jesus into their home. Most women remember Martha for the scolding she got from Jesus. “Martha, Martha, you are busy about many things, but your sister Mary has chosen the better part.” To read her story and an up-to-date interpretation, click here. Pray with Martha to resist the social pressures in your own life.

You will need a copy of Holy Women in Luke’s Gospel to meet and pray with the 14 other women he features. Go to goodgroundpress.com to order or call 800-232-5533.

Gospel Reflection for July 21, 2019, 16th Sunday Ordinary Time

15 Jul

Sunday Readings: Genesis 18.1-10; Colossians 1.24-28; Luke 10.38-42

“Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him to her home. She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teachings”  – Luke 10.38-39

In Sunday’s gospel Mary sits at Jesus’ feet to listen to his teachings and Martha serves him. These two actions–listening to Jesus’ words and serving a meal–are the same actions that take place in the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the eucharist. Perhaps Martha and Mary represent two forms of ministry evolving in the Christian community. Many women today value this gospel because it is one of the few stories about women. However, Luke sets the two sisters strangely against each other in the short gospel scene. Rather than ask Mary directly to help, Martha asks Jesus to command Mary to help with the work of hospitality. The request backfire.  Martha get chided for overburdening herself and Mary gets praise for silent listening.

The conflicts in the Martha and Mary story suggest that official ministries are evolving in the house churches of the A.D. 80s. The ministries of women in Christian communities have become controversial. The scene effectively silences the ministries of both women. Jesus tells Martha to give up her ministry of hospitality and perhaps house church and join her sister in preferring the better part–silent listening to Jesus. Perhaps their ministries of word and table make Martha and Mary too memorable in the life of the early Christian community to forget. Perhaps they are so important that Luke uses the voice of Jesus’ authority to put them in their place, the same subordinate position women are transforming today.

How do you participate in the Church’s ministries of word and table? What would happen if all the women in your parish withheld their service and leadership? 


If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection, please visit the Sunday By Sunday page to order a subscription or to view sample issues. Start a small bible study. Be a leader.

Tiny Retreat #2: Hildegard of Bingen

9 Jul

Hildegard of Bingen: Patron saint of green and growing

Hildegard was only five years old in 1098 when her parents brought her, their tenth child, to the monastery of St. Disibode. A holy woman named Jutta took the little girl in and taught her Latin and music so she could sing the psalms with the monks and nuns. Jutta also taught Hildegard everything she knew about herbal medicine. At age 15, Hildegard decided to follow the Benedictine way and become a nun. When Jutta died, Hildegard became the prioress of the community.

Hildegard was a mystic, a person who experiences extraordinary communion with God. Hildegard wrote down her understandings of God in vivid pictures. Many women were attracted to her teaching about God and came to join her monastery, which grew so large that Hildegard started another monastery near Bingen, a nearby city. She continued to write and teach. Here is one of her poems.

Again I am in turmoil.

Should I speak, or must I be silent?

I feel like a gnarled old tree, withered and crooked and flaky.

All the stories of the years are written on my branches.

The sap is gone, the voice is dead.
 


But I long to make again a sacred sound.

I want to sound out God

I want to be a young juicy, sap-running tree

So that I can sing God as God knows how.
 


O God, you gentle viridity

O Mary, honeycomb of life

O Jesus, hidden in sweetness as flowing honey,

Release my voice again.
 


I have sweetness to share.
I have stories to tell.

I have God to announce.

I have green life to celebrate.

I have rivers of fire to ignite.

Hildegard make up the word viridity. It means greening, the life power of God that is in everything. For Hildegard the Word of God is greening; it has the power to create Christians. A tree growing and branching out is greenness in motion. Love is green. Jesus is greenness incarnate. Sin is not green. Sin is drying up, losing one’s ability to create.

• Read the first two verses of the poem again. When have you felt your sap is gone, your voice dead? What or who helped you know you could sing again?

• Does Hildegard’s way of calling on God, on Mary, on Jesus resonate with you? Can you read the last verse of the poem as your own song?

If Hildegard were alive today, she would sing about God’s work in the unfolding of creation in evolution. “O Holy Spirit” she writes, “you make life alive, you move in all things, you are the root of all created being, you waken and reawaken everything that is.”
 
For her teaching, Pope Benedict named Hildegard a Doctor of the Church. This means she is one of the Catholic Church’s greatest teachers. There are four women Doctors—St. Hildegard, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Therese of Lisieux.

• Make a resolution to see the Holy Spirit greening the earth around you. Pray a thanksgiving prayer each day for one beautiful thing you see.

 

 

“I am a feather on the breath of God.”

 

 


 

 

Each of the Cosmos Cards has a fact about one of God’s creative moves and a blessing. These cards are ready to mail as a postcard for someone who needs a regular reminder that God is with him or her. $15 for all 25 cards.

 

 

An Amazing Journey is a discussion guide on the Universe Story. The book features 50 articles by leaders in this field. Click here to view the Table of Contents. Only $20!

Order online at goodgroundpress.com or call 800-232-5533.

Gospel Reflection for July 14, 2019, 15th Sunday Ordinary Time

8 Jul

Sunday Readings: Deuteronomy 30.10-136)?4; Colossians 1.15-20; Luke 10.25-37

“Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the man who fell in with the robbers?”  – Luke 10.25-37

Compassion may be understood as the capacity to be attracted to and moved by the vulnerability of someone else. It requires the willingness to risk, to stop and share one’s strengths and vulnerability, rather than rushing on with our own preoccupations or stereotypes. As Jesus’ story shows, compassion is the opposite of a priest’s self-righteousness and a Levite’s apathy.

Compassion is a movement of the heart. It includes sensitivity to what is weak and wounded as well as the courage to allow oneself to be affected by another’s pain. Who can take away suffering without entering into it? How can we help to heal someone else’s wounds if we have not begun to accept our own. Compassion also demands action — the type that takes time or even makes time — to help change persons and structures that sometimes blindly exclude or marginalize.

What experiences in your life make it difficult to feel compassionate? What experiences have taught you compassion and the need to be less judgmental? 


If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection, please visit the Sunday By Sunday page to order a subscription or to view sample issues. Start a small bible study. Be a leader.

Gospel Reflection for July 7, 2019, 14th Sunday Ordinary Time

2 Jul

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 66.19-14; Galatians 6.14-18; Luke 10.1-9 

“Jesus appointed 72 other missionaries and sent them in pairs ahead of him to every town and place he intended to visit.”  – Luke 10.1

Jesus asks of new disciples the same radical, itinerant way of life he models on the way to Jerusalem. His followers will have no place to lay their heads, no duties more important than preaching the gospel and bringing its healing power among the people, and no family ties deeper than the faith that unifies those who believe in Jesus and do God’s will. Jesus advises no walking staff,  no traveling bag, no sandals, no visiting along the way. A disciple cannot posses much less than this. However, Jesus’ rules presume local communities of Christians that welcome the radical, itinerant missionaries. The greeting, “Peace to this house, is the test. Missionaries stay with anyone who reciprocates the greeting.

Who brought the good news of God’s nearness to you? To whom has you handed it on? 


If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection, please visit the Sunday By Sunday page to order a subscription or to view sample issues. Start a small bible study. Be a leader.

Check out SPIRIT Online!

27 Jun

SPIRIT Online dates

SPIRIT Online is the only religion program for teens that links the Sunday Gospels to their lives. And it is all online—ready for teens on their phones and tablets. Ready for you to forward to parents and Confirmation sponsors.

 SPIRIT begins on October 6th this year. The autumn issues feature a series on prayer. Advent brings the prophecies of Isaiah for a peaceful world. The Sundays after Christmas explore Jesus as he teaches and heals in Galilee. The Lent and Easter issues ask teens what kind of Christians they want to be.

 

 

Any Sunday Gospel or SPIRIT issue can lead to conversion. When we let the Holy Spirit in, something good takes root. We are happy that SPIRIT is a part of that for the teens in your care.

 Please call Lacy at 800-232-5533 to set up your subscription for 2019-2020. Or go to goodgroundpress.com to place your order. May the blessings of summer be yours in abundance.

Gospel Reflection for June 30, 2019, 13th Sunday Ordinary Time

26 Jun

Gospel Reflection for June 30, 2019, 13th Sunday Ordinary Time

Sunday Readings: 1 Kings 19.16, 19-21; Galatians 5.1, 13-18; Luke 9.51-62 

“As the days were being fulfilled for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”  – Luke 9.51

In the first verse we hear this Sunday, Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, a journey that leads to the cross and provides the literary frame for ten chapters (Luke 9.51-19.28). Ultimately the journey leads from death to life, lifts Jesus into glory, and promises his followers a path to life with God. Jesus’ men and women disciples serve an apprenticeship on this journey to Jerusalem. On their way Jesus encounters three people who want to follow him but each finds the cost too high—no place to lay one’s head, no possessions, little time for family and parents. These three introduce us to our yes-but-not-yet selves.

What is something spiritual you plan to do but not yet? 


If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection, please visit the Sunday By Sunday page to order a subscription or to view sample issues. Start a small bible study. Be a leader.

Going on vacation? Take a retreat along.

25 Jun

Are you taking your tablet/phone/laptop on vacation? If you are, you can sit by the lake or on the beach and give yourself your annual spiritual. We recommend three online retreats from Good Ground Press that will refresh your soul. Try any one of them.

•  Holy Women, Full of Grace
•  Why Not Soar?
•  The Our Father

You actually don’t need your electronics for these retreats. They can be printed out and shared with others. There are more retreat options on our home page at goodgroundpress.com. Just click on online retreats at the right-hand top of the page.
 May your summer bring you closer to God and to the self you want to be. May your family and friends bring you strength and joy.

Image 24 Jun

Gospel Reflection for June 23, 2019, Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

20 Jun

Scripture Readings: Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11.23-26; Luke 9.11-17 

“Then taking the five loaves and the two fishes, Jesus raised his eyes to heaven, pronounced a blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to his disciples for distribution to the crowd.” – Luke 9.16

When we gather at Eucharist, we remember Jesus’ giving his whole self for us. We find strength and courage to try this kind of self-giving ourselves. We gather again and again, so that we become more and more like him. We gather in pain and delight. We pour out our lives as Jesus did. We put our lives on the altar with him. Like the sacrament itself we become Jesus’ real presence in our world. We become what we receive. The shared food multiplies, just as love and forgiveness do.

How have you become what you receive?


If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection, please visit the Sunday By Sunday page to order a subscription or to view sample issues. Start a small bible study. Be a leader.

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