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Gospel Reflection for December 24, 2017, 4th Sunday of Advent

20 Dec

Sunday Readings: 2 Samuel 7.1-5, 8-12, 14-16; Romans 26.25-27; Luke 1.26-38

“Nothing is impossible with God.” – Luke 1.37

In Mary, the Most High overshadows and dwells in a human person, intensifying God’s presence among us. The same God who created all that is makes the impossible come to be in Mary, who is young and objects to the angel she is a virgin.

With the wholehearted yes of this teenager, God will become human. She will feel the first stirrings of salvation within her womb. God’s Son will look like her. She will nurse and rock him after he is born. With Mary’s yes to God’s invitation to be Jesus’ mother, the Creator moves to make us whole.

In her Magnificat, Mary blesses God for showing mercy to her people, for raising up the poor, for filling the hungry. In saying yes, she trusts God’s promises to her people and to her.

What do you remember about how you responded to God in your teen years? How have you lived out your early response?


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.

Mary says yes to God

20 Dec

Our Christmas gift to you are these two reflections on Mary of Nazareth: Mary’s Heart & Hearth and Fra Angelico’s The Annunciation. If it is hard to find time to pray during this busy week, let these words about Mary be your prayer.

We wish you every blessing this Christmas.

Pray the Advent Names of God

14 Dec

The O Antiphons are the prayers for Vespers from December 17 through December 23. They are the last signposts on our journey through Advent to Christmas.

Sister Joan and Sister Ansgar created art and poetry for these seven prayers.  The first one, for this Sunday, December 17, illustrates this post. These cards are available from Good Ground Press. It is too late to get them to you for your prayer this Advent, but you can order now and be ready next December.

The other six 0 Antiphons will be the daily prayer on our website at goodgroundpress.com. We wish your many blessings in this last week of preparation for Christmas.

Only $15.00. Click here to order online or call Lacy at 800-232-5533 to place your order.

Gospel Reflection for December 17, 2017, 3rd Sunday of Advent

12 Dec

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 61.1-2,10-11; 1 Thessalonians 5.16-24; John 1.6-8, 19-28

“A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.” – John 1.6-7

John’s gospel begins with 18 verses about the preexistent Word who becomes flesh in Jesus. These verses include the three about John the Baptist that begins Sunday’s gospel. The Baptist is a man sent from God to witness to the light. His witness has the same purpose as the whole gospel—that all might believe in Jesus through him.

The Baptist is first of all a witness to the existence we may take for granted, the light that rises with the sun each morning, the air we breathe. To testify to the light is to raise people’s consciousness that the life and light in which we live reveals God and is God’s gift.

Like the people of Israel during their sojourn in the wilderness, the Baptist must have learned God’s nearness in the silence and solitude of the wilderness where he lives. His preaching opens people’s hearts to God’s presence in Jesus, in whom Wisdom, the Word, has come into the world and become one of us.

How do you witness to the gift in your existence in this Advent season?


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 December 10, 2017, 2nd Sunday of Advent

5 Dec

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 40.1-5,9-11; 2 Peter 3.8-14; Mark 1.1-8

“One more powerful than I will come after me.” – Matthew 1.7

Advent prepares us o celebrate the incarnation–God becoming one of us. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, the one Israel’s prophet Isaiah promised God would send. By loving us as one of us, Jesus shows us our capacity to love is the image of our life-giving, creative God in us.

As we celebrate Christmas, love evolves in our relationships, in our world. We carol and spread joy. We light up the dark. We gift one another and set tables for family and strangers. We live in the embrace of God. Creation is holy. Our family relationships are holy. Our lives of love and struggle are holy.

Tell someone about the God you believe in today.


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 December 3, 2017, 1st Sunday of Advent

29 Nov

Photo via Flickr user Stephen Grebinksi

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 63.16-17,19; 64.2-7; 1 Corinthians 1.3-9; Mark 13.33-37


“Stay awake, for you do not know when the owner of the house will come.” – Matthew 13.35 


Advent begins a new Church year with a gospel about the end of all things. Instead of a date for the end, Jesus gives us a one-verse parable about an estate owner who goes on a journey, leaves servants in charge, and commands the doorkeeper to keep watch. The owner may return in the evening, at midnight, at cockcrow, or dawn–times when Jesus’ disciples fail to watch during his passion, which follows in chapters 14-15.

Our houses, apartments, offices, stores all have doors. Daily we cross thresholds; we enter and leave each others’ lives. Like the disciples we may sleep through or feel bored during an evening encounter. In dark midnight moments fear can urge us to avoid hard things that prevent us from considering others’ points of view. Peter has made cockcrow a familiar sound that wakes us up to our regrets. At the heart of our faith is the dawn moment, the hour of resurrection, of waking to God’s presence.

What doorways do you want to enter or exit this year? What is a threshold you have crossed to faith?


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.

New Advent Retreat!

29 Nov

 

Prepare Your Heart for Christmas with this 4-part Advent retreat written by Sister Joan. Click here for the first two parts. Look for parts three and four next week.

You can view several Sunday by Sunday issues here, too. God bless these weeks of preparation for Christmas.

Visit goodgroundpress.com to view our Advent resources!

Be Ready For Advent!

1 Nov

Four ways to be ready for Advent!

 

1. A four-page all-parish bulletin insert. A wealth of activities and prayers to ready the whole parish for Christmas. Only $12.95 for a pack of 100.

 

 

 

 

2. Family Advent Poster. A free coloring page for every family. Print and distribute or put goodgroundpress.com in your bulletin or on your website. People can download and print the poster themselves.

 

 

 

3. Create a manger scene. Families will want to keep this Nativity set for many years.

 

 

 

4. The Advent/Christmas issues of Sunday by Sunday bring both groups and individuals into the heart of the Sunday Gospels for this season. Only $3.25 per person. Call 800-232-5533 to order or visit goodgroundpress.com to order online.

Advent and Lent packs are available!

15 Sep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure every household in your parish has access to these prayers, calendars, traditions game, and more! Only $12.95 for a pack of 100. Order at goodgroundpress.com or call us at 800-232-5533.

Practicing Advent, Free of Fear

16 Dec
Photo via Flickr user Joathina

Photo via Flickr user Joathina

A dear friend of mine is a pediatrician who specializes in palliative care. That means, essentially, she helps children die well. It’s vocational work that is demanding of her body, mind and spirit. Because of the grueling hours and the deep sadness, she needed to find a hobby that would encourage her to sit still and rest in her time off. She started knitting. Specifically, she started knitting warm, beautiful sweaters for all the babies being born in her life. My son has one of these sweaters, and another will come soon once my second is born. At first she saw her knitting as a way to trick her body into being still and resting while still feeling productive. Creating something tangible also soothed her mind. Now, she realizes that, maybe most importantly, it is a spiritual practice. When she is not at work with children who are dying, she needs to be celebrating the children in her life who are healthy and thriving, welcoming them into the world. The knitting brings her balance and hope, one stitch at a time. It keeps her from slipping into fear and becoming paralyzed. It helps her show back up at work to sit with people in their sorrow.

Many people are speaking to the palpable fear washing over our society. Fear separates us from God and has the toxic ability to paralyze us. When I hear talk of this fear, I think of my friend, quietly knitting, creating, claiming hope, subversively choosing light over fear while continuing to work in the center of sorrow. She is practicing Advent.

We read in our Advent Scriptures the angels saying over and over again, “Fear not!” As I marvel at my friend’s courage and strength, we marvel at Mary’s ability to nod and courageously let go of fear and accept light and life.

Fear not, for a child is coming. Babies are precious and sacred in their ability to offer love and beauty, hope and life without asking for anything in return. They are fresh and new, full of possibilities we don’t even know. They help us dream, they invite us to wonder. Who are you little baby? The world is better because you are here!

God decided to become a baby. We often think of God as big and powerful and strong. God saw that more than big power we needed simple love. We need hope and light. God wants us to dream and wonder and sit in awe of things that are beautiful and precious. God came as baby Jesus, a little, cute, fragile baby that needed people to take care of him, nurture him, and love him to keep him alive. He is a light that starts out as small as a newborn baby and gets as big as we can dream it to be. We celebrate a how clever God is, to come as a baby, so that we know that God wants our attention, adoration and love.

That is what is so tragic about my friend’s work in pediatric palliative care. That is what is so hopeful about her knitting. She lives in the thin space where she experiences both God’s saving power that brings heaven to this place and God’s saving power that offers us life in the place to come. Creating as a knitter and working as a doctor helps her let go of fear and live in the light of Jesus, now and in the time to come. She is practicing Advent, and inviting me to do the same.

Fear not. A child is coming.

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