Blessed Holy Week, Joyful Easter

22 Mar

Sister Joan sends you an Easter poem from the sister who taught her to write. It comes with our prayers for you at this holiest of times.

We are closing the Good Ground Press offices during Holy Week. We will be back on Easter Monday. Please leave a voicemail at 800-232-5533 if you need anything. We will check voicemails regularly. Happy Easter!


Gospel Reflection for March 25, 2018, Passion/Palm Sunday

22 Mar

Scripture Readings: Mark 11.1-10, Isaiah 50.4-7, Philippians 2.6-11, Mark 14.1-15.47

Again the high priest asked Jesus, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, “I am.”  – Mark 14.61-62

A woman breaks open an alabaster jar of costly ointment and pours it on Jesus’ head.  Israel anointed its kings for office by pouring oil on their heads. The woman’s gesture is a prophetic act that, like the words of blessing that welcome Jesus to Jerusalem, identifies him as the messiah.

Jesus affirms that “wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Her action anticipates the reason the high priest condemns Jesus. It contrasts sharply with Judas Iscariot’s act of betrayal that happens next.

Artfully the narrative creates an inside and outside scene during Jesus’ trial. Outside in the courtyard of the high priest’s house Peter denies he knows Jesus.  Inside the house Jesus acknowledges he is the messiah. The high priest asks, “Are you the messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus says, “I am.”

Jesus is not alone as he dies on the cross. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, Salome, and other women disciples stand with him at a distance. The passion narrative leaves us in desolation.

Who are we like—the woman who has faith in Jesus; the betrayer; the disciples who flee when Jesus is arrested; Peter, who denies Jesus; the women who stand with him but cannot ease his suffering and anguish; Joseph of Arimathea, who shows up to bury him?

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Joseph of Dreams, Be With Us

19 Mar

Art by Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ

When Joseph didn’t know what to do with his pregnant fiancée, he slept on it. In his dreams, an angel eased his doubt and gave him courage to act. Pray to Joseph today to fill your heart with hope and with the willingness to see God at work where you never imagined. Joseph is patron of the Universal Church. Ask him to bless Pope Francis’s efforts to dream a more merciful church into being. The Sisters of St. Joseph share one of their favorite prayers below:

Joseph, most ordinary, on this your feast,
 help us listen to our dreams with compassion and openness as you did.
 Help us stretch, hold, and deepen our relationships.
 Open our embrace of the future as you opened
 your arms to a child not your own. 
In these hard times may we, like you, dream compassionately,
 provide wisely, and build community that can hold us together.
 We ask this through Jesus, whom you claimed and named. Amen.

Jesus and Evolution

13 Mar

This is the last of our Lenten video series, a look at creation and our place in it. Jesus, true man as well as true God, takes his place with us in the unfolding of life and of our ability to know and love God.


Gospel Reflection for March 18, 2018, 5th Sunday of Lent

12 Mar

Scripture Readings: Jeremiah 31.31-34, Hebrews 5.7-9, John 12.20-33

“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it will bear much fruit.”  – John 12.24

The grain of wheat metaphor in John’s gospel uses the transforming process we call growth to help us understand all Jesus’ death and resurrection promises us. In the growth process, warmth and moisture swell a seed poked down in the soil until the life secreted within it bursts its hull. Actually, the seeds doesn’t fall into the earth and die but rather germinates. It swells with more life than the seed can hold. A new sprout pushes above ground into sunlight at the same time roots spread out underground in search of nourishment. With rain and sun, a grain of wheat grows a stalk that heads out with a hundredfold new seeds. The short life cycle of seeds dramatizes all that happens in the human life cycle, but the planting that we do in loving our children, teaching our students, being faithful in our relationships takes years to flourish.

The hour of Jesus’ death is a dynamic process, a passing over, a planting that will bear fruit hundredfold like the wheat. At the heart of Christian faith is Jesus’ life-giving resurrection from his self-giving death. Jesus challenges us to follow his self-giving way, to love and serve one another and in doing so lifting others up.

What seeds of hope are you planting with your life?

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

Gospel Reflection for March 11, 2018, 4th Sunday Ordinary Time

7 Mar

Sunday Readings: 2 Chronicles 36.14-16, 19-23; Ephesians 2.4-10; John 3.14-21

“God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world but so the world might be saved through him.” – John 3.17

Jesus’ mission is not to condemn the world but to save it. He calls us who believe in him to do like wise. Like Nicodemus to whom Jesus is talking in Sunday’s gospel, we find this hard to understand. We are accustomed to the harsh realities of our world, such as terrorism, war, collateral damage, market forces, corporate downsizing, torture, ethnic cleansing. We take the daily condemnation and crucifixion of millions of our fellow humans with disinterest and bad-news fatigue. Like Nicodemus, who later helps take Jesus down from the cross, we by the grace of God can come to the foot of the cross to stand in the light of the one like us who is lifted up. We can begin to see God’s kingdom in our midst and live the new life Jesus brings. We can do our part to take broken and suffering human begins off their crosses.

How do you respond to others pain and suffering? Whom does God send us to love?

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

An Attitude of Gratitude

5 Mar

Tulips are peeking through the snow. Bushes are budding. Spring is on its way. We are on the road to Easter both in 2018 and in our own life’s journey. What’s not to be thankful for?

If you need a mid-lent pick-me-up, go to our online retreats and “Why Not Soar?

Gospel Reflection for March 4, 2018, 3rd Sunday for Lent

28 Feb

Scripture Readings: Exodus 20.1-17; 1 Corinthians 1.22-25; John 2.13-25

“Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” – John 2.6

Jesus seeks to reclaim the temple as a place of prayer rather than commerce. His short explanation is a great Tweet: “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disruptive actions of dumping out money and overturning tables would become breaking news online today.

Similarly Pope Francis has made direct, quotable statements about repairing Earth, which he reverences as God’s creation and our sacred home. He urges us to stop pollution and our wasteful ways. “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” he says (#21). “Earth is a shared inheritance. God created the world for everybody” (#93).

Jesus’ actions to cleanse the temple calls us to clean our houses this Lent and to examine our hearts. Our fast-paced, productive lives can erode our relationships with God and make us feel like cogs in the wheels of commerce rather than friends of God and one another. Lent calls us to assess what we consume and what consumes us.

What housecleaning do you need to do in your life? How can you change to help clean up our common home, the Earth?

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

Faith is Believing and Beloving

27 Feb

We all wrestle with faith. Do we have enough? Are we losing it? Sister Joan gives you some solid ground to stand on in this short video. Blessings on this second week of Lent.

Go to for daily prayers and our online retreats.

Gospel Reflection for February 25, 2018, 2nd Sunday of Lent

23 Feb

Scripture Readings: Genesis 22.1-2, 8, 10-13, 15-18; Romans 8.31-34; Mark 9.2-10

“This is my son, my beloved. Listen to him.” – Mark 9.7

Each year the Church reflects on Jesus’ transfiguration on the 2nd Sunday of Lent. The vision challenges us to look toward Easter, to envision our hopes and prayers for transformation and renewal this Lent.

Today we face polarized times when neighbors and family members aren’t always talking. Fake news thrives. Violence is so frequent that fatigue sets in unless the violence touches us. What can transform us?

One answer is conversation, learning where others come from. Conversation followed Father Bryan Massingale’s talk on racism this fall at St. Catherine University. He used a ruler as a time line, explaining slavery lasted for 7.5 inches; reconstruction, 1 inch; Jim Crow, 2.25 inches; legal equality, 1.25 inches (1968). He made the point racism isn’t over. Indeed, an African American woman in her late 20s in my group of three remembered that her grandparents had to sit in a back section in the Catholic church where they worshiped.

A month later our religious community spent a Saturday morning on racism and white privilege. We talked in fives. One question asked, “When do you pretend?” Not much, I thought, but the gay man in our group said, “I have to decide all the time who I will be in groups and at work.”

Conversations also happened at a Come Together gathering of prayer and song. A student from Zimbabwe described worries for her family’s safety as she followed news that the only president she has known was forced to step down. A mom with a biracial child shared her fears for the child. The woman who helped start the Come Together movement described the police chase and shooting that threatened her children and led her family to move.

What conversations have opened your eyes to where others come from? 

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

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