Archive | Catholic Theology RSS feed for this section

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tiny Retreat

17 Jun

In honor of the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ, we offer you a tiny retreat based on the feast’s Gospel. This retreat is especially for those who do not get Sunday by Sunday. Please feel free to pass the retreat on to a friend.



To begin place yourself in the presence of Jesus. 



Jesus, this is ________.  I have been fed by you at the Eucharist for
_____ years. This Sunday, June 23, is the day we celebrate your gift of the Eucharist. I begin by reading this story from Luke’s Gospel.
 

Why don’t you give them something to eat?


Narrator:  Jesus spoke to the crowds of the reign of God, and he healed all who were in need of healing. As sunset approached, the twelve came to him.


Twelve:  Dismiss the crowd so that they can go into the villages and farms in the neighborhood and find themselves lodging and food, for this is certainly an out-of-the-way place.


Jesus:  Why don’t you give them something to eat yourselves?


Twelve:  We have nothing but five loaves and two fishes. Shall we go and buy food for all these people?


Narrator:  There were about five thousand men.


Jesus:  Have them sit down in groups of fifty or so.


Narrator:  Jesus’ disciples followed his instructions and got the people all seated. 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. They all ate until they had enough. What was left filled twelve baskets.

 (Luke 9.11-17)


Jesus, you feed people who follow you hungry for healing, hungry for the words you speak, and hungry because it has been a long day. You feel compassion for them and tell your followers to feed them. When they say they have only a little food and little money to buy more, you —

Take the food they offer you,
Bless it, acknowledging it is a gift from God,
Break it into pieces,
Give it to your followers to distribute to the people.

This is what happens at our Eucharist today. We offer the bread and wine that is our lives. It becomes your body and blood to nourish us. As in your time, when we have all eaten there is plenty left over, plenty to share.



How does celebrating Eucharist nourish you?
How does Eucharist lead you to become nourishment for others?



A friend’s mother told her that if she didn’t stop eating so many chocolate-chip cookies, she was going to turn into one. The mother exaggerated about the cookies, but her example holds true for the Eucharist. When we gather at Eucharist, we remember how Jesus gave his whole self to us. We find the strength and courage to try this kind of self-giving ourselves. Because we gather together over and over, we remember over and over. We become more and more like Jesus. We become his real presence to our world.



When have your experienced yourself as Christ present in the world?
How has God acted in you and through you for nourish others?



To conclude make a prayer of thanks and praise for the many times you have received the Body of Christ. Remember the people who prepared you for this sacrament and those you have shared Eucharist with all these years. Conclude your retreat with the Alleluia verse from the feast day liturgy.

Alleluia, Alleluia! I am the living bread that come down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever (John 6.51). Alleluia!


If you want reflections for each of the summer & September Sundays, call Lacy at 800-232-5533. We will send you them for just $7.00 (shipping included).

Gospel Reflection for June 16, 2019, Trinity Sunday

14 Jun

Sunday Readings: Proverbs 8.22-31; Romans 5.1-5; John 16.12-15

“When the Spirit of truth comes, this One will guide you along the way of all truth. The Spirit will not speak independently but will speak only what the Spirit hears and will declare to you the things that are to come.”  – John 16.13

In Sunday’s gospel Jesus talks with his disciples, preparing to leave them. His words strain to express the communion in which he lives with his Father and the Spirit and in which his disciples will participate. Most Christians grasp an image of God as creator and God as incarnate Son more easily than an image of God as Spirit and guide. The Spirit in whom we live, move, and have our being may elude us, until perhaps we lose a parent, grandparent, or friend and experience their spirit and voice arising within us. The Spirit is the love or relatedness between Creator, Son, and all that lives. God is not only the Creator of old or the Savior of 2,000 years ago but the Spirit of our daily breath and deepest present desires, conflicts, and challenges. The Spirit breathes in us today.

Whose spirit has arisen in you to guide you at key points in your life? What does the image of breath tell you about the Holy Spirit?


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.

Every Sunday Belongs To Luke

11 Jun

Beginning next week, every Sunday Gospel until Advent is from the Gospel of Luke. For 23 consecutive Sundays we hear Luke’s stories and parables of forgiveness and healing. We experience Jesus standing up for the poor and forgotten, searching for the lost sheep, lost coin, lost souls.

 These powerful stories that feed our faith deserve to have more than a cursory hearing. Sister Joan’s new book, Luke’s Gospel: Written for Us, invites individuals and small groups to spend more time with Luke. Click here to read the Introduction and a sample chapter. Imagine sharing the questions in each chapter with friends or family. Call Lacy at 800-232-5533 to place your order, or visit goodgroundpress.com to order online.


 

Visit goodgroundpress.com to read about the Holy Women of the Gospels!

%d bloggers like this: