Gospel Reflection for Sunday, June 7, 2020 – Trinity Sunday

Sunday Readings: Exodus 34.4-6, 8-9; 2 Corinthians 13.11-13; John 3.16-18

“Yes, God so loved the world that God gave God’s only Son that whoever believes in him may not die but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him”. – John 3.16-17

Some theologians today have reclaimed the Greek word perichoresis, which earlier theologians used to describe the Trinity interrelating dynamically as three persons in one love. English speakers know the prefix peri, for example in the word perimeter, meaning all around, near.

We know the meaning of chores from doing them every day, making our rounds. We feed our animals, take out the trash. In Greek chor means to dance around. A chorus is a joyful round dance, circling, intertwining. In musicals a chorus sings and dances, creates joyous music and motion. In any chorus sings intertwine their voices in both harmony and unity.

The early Greek theologians use the word perichoresis in imaging the Trinity as persons-in-communion, who exist in a kind of divine round dance in which no one person is superior or inferior to the other. The three persons together form one source of our being, which like theirs is being-in-relation.

In the image of making rounds, God is a dynamic community, and a community of equals becomes our human ideal. The perichoresis image eliminates the subordination implicit in patriarchal order: the Father first, the Son and Spirit subordinate. It counters the easy assumption when making the Sign of the Cross that the Father is first, then Son, the Spirit in an hierarchical order. Using the circle image of the Trinity allows us to reflect on God as the shared life at the heart of the universe.

It is this image of three persons in God sharing life, rather than the image of the monarch on the throne, that is the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. In the Trinity an irrepressible loving, creative communion of persons animates the communion of life that is our created existence.

When we use language to describe the mystery of God, we are using metaphor. When we call God father, we are saying God is like fathers we know. In the scriptures we also call God mother, friend, shepherd, lover, fortress, whirlwind. It is important to describe God as richly and fully as we can.

Share names or images of God that have meaning for you. In her book She Who Is, Elizabeth Johnson asks, if we have the choice between “an isolated, static, ruling monarch and a relational, dynamic, tripersonal mystery of love—who wouldn’t opt for the latter”? Which do you favor?


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Reflect with St. Francis about God, Earth, and your own heart.

Living Like Francis Today invites both individuals and small groups to explore six Franciscan themes — living simply, humbly, prayerfully, lovingly, with care for creation, and at peace.

This small 60-page book combines the teaching and prayers of St. Francis with gospel stories and reflection suggestions. A bargain at just $5.50. Read a sample chapter. Order online at goodgroundpress.com or call Lacy at 800-232-5533.

Book Sale!

Since 2004 Good Ground Press has carried An Amazing Journey: Readings and Discussion Guide on the Universe Story. It features your favorite lovers of Earth—Brina Swimme, Thomas Barry, Toni Nash, CS, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and more.

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Gospel Reflection for May 24, 2020 – Feast of the Ascension

Scripture Readings: Acts 1.1-11; Ephesians 1.17-23; Matthew 28.16-20
 
“Remember that I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 29.20
 
In Matthew’s resurrection story, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joses go to the Jesus’ tomb. An angel rolls back the stone for the two women who see the tomb is empty. The angel announces Jesus has been raised as he said and is going ahead to Galilee where they will see him. The women set off to tell the other disciples. On their way the risen Jesus appears to them and charges them to tell his brothers to go to Galilee. So the women set off again, setting up the final scene of Matthew’s gospel, Sunday’s gospel reading.

In his final action Jesus commissions his key disciples to extend his mission beyond Israel to all peoples. In this farewell commission Jesus charges the eleven to keep teaching and challenge all people to learn and live the word he first taught in Galilee in the sermon on the mount—bless the poor, to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, love one’s enemies as well as one’s friends, family, and neighbors, care for the least as they would him. Matthew wants Christians to see Jesus as the new Moses, the new authoritative teacher and lawgiver for the new era.

The eleven disciples go to Galilee at the women’s direction. The women animate these men disciples who fled at Jesus’ arrest. Some of the eleven doubt even as the risen Jesus commissions them. We know they did take up Jesus’ mission.
 
What sermon does your Christian life teach? Who do you see energizing Jesus’ mission in our world today? 

Gospel Reflection for May 17, 2020 – 6th Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings: Acts 8.5-8,14-17; 1 Peter 3.15-18; John 14.15-21

“Jesus continues speaking to his disciples. ‘You know the Spirit because the Spirit abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you’.” – John 14.17-20

Jesus speaks to his disciples’ most primal fear—separation, abandonment, aloneness, death itself. Our news calls us to bravery and kindness in the face of fear today.

In Sunday’s gospel Jesus talks with his friends after their last supper together. Looking beyond his death to his risen presence, Jesus promises his friends a new relationships with him. The pervasive power of God’s love means there is nowhere we can go where the Spirit is not.

Loving one another identifies us as Jesus’ disciples. Loving one another puts us in relationship with Jesus, his Father, and the Spirit who abides in us.

The intangible bonds of love, friendship, discipleship last. The small and large gestures that make love visible last. Tenderness lasts and gets passed down generations in parents’ care for their kids, in friends’ presence in difficult times.

Jesus entrusts his first disciples and us with his mission to invest our hearts and hands in families and friends and extend them beyond, building an ever-widening human community. As we experience our interdependence day by day during the pandemic, let us transform our fear for ourselves into love for one another.

How are you experiencing the presence of God in others’ love for you and your love for them?

Evolution Revealing God’s Creative and Sustaining Love

Cosmos cards are a simple and touching way to tell the story to those near and dear to you. Each of the 25 postcards has a fact about one of God’s creative moves. And a message to us: You are loved. These are cards ready to mail as a postcard for someone who needs a regular reminder that God is with him or her. Or use them for meditation.

$15.00 for all 25 cards. Order online at goodgroundpress.com or by calling Lacy at 800-232-5533.


Check out more of our cards, books, and free online retreats at goodgroundpress.com.

Nourish your spirit

Summer is near. Hammocks sag with cocooning readers. Bring a Holy Women book along to your favorite reading place. Discover in art, scholarship, reflection, and prayer each gospel woman’s significance. View sample pages of Holy Women of Luke’s Gospel and Holy Women, Full of Grace. Order online at goodgroundpress.com or call 800-232-5533. We have orders in the mail the next day.

Gospel Reflection for May 10, 2020 – 5th Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings: Acts 6.1-7, 1 Peter 2.4-9; John 14.1-12

Jesus spoke to his disciples. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God and believe in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions.…Philip asked Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied,”All this time I have been with you, Philip, and you  still do not know me? Whoever sees me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” – John 14.1-2, 8-19

The community that gives us John’s gospel lived Jesus’ teachings for more than two generations before the gospel took written form late in the first century. These believers experienced Jesus’ absence after his ascension and his presence in the Holy Spirit and in their Eucharistic gatherings. Like us they wonder how Jesus is with us, especially when we die.

The noun in Greek that we translate dwelling places, or mansions in older translations, comes from the verb μευν, which means to abide, remain, stay, last. John’s gospel tells us that to be in Jesus is also to be in relationship to the Father, to abide in God, to dwell in God.

Jesus explains to Thomas that he is the way, the truth, and the life. He embodies and reveals who God is. Philip doesn’t get it. For Philip, Jesus repeats, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus seems a little exasperated with Philip but his questions are like our own.

In his life Jesus reveals love, healing, and forgiveness as God’s way, truth, and life. To believe in Jesus is to let his words and promises take up residence in us. In faith we do Jesus’ works and embrace the people of our globe with compassion. We dwell not just in God’s house but in God’s love.

How does Jesus stay with you? When have you sensed the Spirit stirring you in loving actions and in dealing with what you regret?

Live simply. Live prayerfully. Live in peace.

Living Like Francis Today puts you in touch with the God of love and mercy Pope Francis wants us to know. Each of the six short chapters begins and ends with a simple prayer from scripture or from the writing of St. Francis. Short reflections invite you to apply the themes in your own life. Read a sample chapter. Then call us to order copies for you and your seeker friends. Living Like Francis is only $5.50 per copy. Order online at goodgroundpress.com. We will put your books in the mail the same day we get your order.


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