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Gift Idea from Good Ground Press

13 Nov

For the “What should I get her?” person on your list: new books on the holy women in the gospels of Mark and Luke. This is the gospel story in four simple bites — the woman and Jesus in art, a short commentary, suggestions of ways to connect these stories with our own lives, and prayer in litany form. Even the Nones in your family circle will want copies of these adult stocking stuffers.

Only $8.00 each; $7.00 each if you buy ten or more. Shipping is free during November. Perfect gifts to inspire your book club, neighbors and relatives, church staff, friends. Call Lacy at 800-232-5533 to place your order and ask for free shipping, or order online.


 

We have wonderful free resources for Advent. Click here to go to the Advent page at goodgroundpress.com.

Gospel Reflection for November 3, 2019, 31st Sunday Ordinary Time

1 Nov

Sunday Readings: Wisdom 11.22-12.2; 2 Thessalonians 1.11-2.2; Luke 19.1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through the city. There was a man there named Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector and a wealthy man. He was trying to see who Jesus was but he could not see on account of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. I must stay at your house today.” – Luke 19.1-5

Zacchaeus is so curious about Jesus that he climbs a tree to get a look. His curiosity leads in the end to faith in Jesus and willingness to repay fourfold all those he has defrauded in his tax collecting for the Romans. By climbing the tree, Zacchaeus opens himself to meeting Jesus, who invites himself as a guest into Zacchaeus’s life, reversing roles with the chief tax collector, who as the homeowner ought to invite the itinerant preacher to his house. In befriending an outsider and a sinner, Jesus draws this less than upright tax collector into the mystery of God’s unconditional love. This is Jesus’ mission—to seek out and save the lost; to reach out and enter our lives.

When have you felt lost? Who found you? Who has brought you into a community of acceptance and love?  


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 October 27, 2019, 30th Sunday Ordinary Time

24 Oct

Sunday Readings: Sirach 35.12-14,16-18; 2 Timothy 4.6-8,16-18; Luke 18.9-14

Two people went up to the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed these things concerning himself — “I give you thank, O God, that I am not like other people–greedy, unjust, adulterous–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give a tenth of all my income.” The tax collector, standing far off does not raise his eyes toward heaven. He beats his breast. “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” – Luke 18.10-13

The Pharisee’s prayer peeks in its first four words, then it’s all about him. He is a good man, observant but boastful. If he were a practicing Catholic today, he might be an usher, musician at Sunday Mass, religion teacher, and volunteer at a soup kitchen. Pharisees practiced their religion. The Pharisee in the parable uses his practices not to express his faith in God but to separate himself from sinners.

The tax collector is a stock outsider among gospel characters. Usually known for overcharging, the tax collector works for the occupying Romans, work that makes him ritually unclean. Who left worthy in God’s sight? In the parable Jesus answers the sinner rather than the Pharisee.

Professor Amy Jill Levine notes that the Greek preposition para, translated “rather than” in the parable, can also mean because of or alongside. What if the parable ended that this man, the tax collector, went home justified alongside the Pharisee or because of the him. This nuance calls us to recognize how we affect one another.

How does your prayer insulate you from others? How does your prayer connect you with others? 


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 October 20, 2019, 29th Sunday Ordinary Time

17 Oct

Scripture Readings: Exodus 17.8-13; 2 Timothy 3.14-4.2; Luke 18.1-8

“There was a judge in a certain city who neither feared God nor respected human beings.  A widow in that city kept coming to him and saying: ‘Take up my case.  Give me my just rights against my opponent.’ For a while the judge refused but finally he said to himself, ‘I neither fear God nor respect people, but this widow—she is wearing me out.  I will settle her case justly lest in the end she disgrace me.’” – Luke 18.3-5

When Luke writes the third gospel about A.D. 85, many Christians are wondering when and if Jesus will come again in glory. The parable of the persistent widow offers a model for these believers. She persists in seeking justice in the face of a callous judge. She’s not the nagging widow we once labeled her but a model of keeping on keeping on, a relentless activist. Justice is her purpose.

In the gospel Jesus also holds up the woman as an example of praying always and not losing heart. What justice does our nation and world most need? For example, our times call us to persist in ending the mass incarceration of black men who as felons after prison can’t ever vote or get jobs with any ease. Read Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

What justice do you seek? What evils does the judge represent that Christians must resist? Whose persistence do you admire?


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.

Is Your Bible Study Ready to Go?

11 Oct

If you mean to start a bible study in your parish or among your friends, we can help. This fall the Sunday Gospels are all from Luke. We have three books that are bible-study friendly.

Luke’s Gospel: Written for Us is a short, easy to use introduction to Luke’s best parables and stories. Guaranteed to make any bible group one people won’t want to miss.

Holy Women of Luke’s Gospel is a bible study, a prayer book, and a visual way to reflect on Luke’s gospel.

Holy Women, Full of Grace, profiles the unique women of Mark’s gospel. Read a few sample pages and you will see how this book helps a group pray and reflect together.

You do not need a trained leader for these bible studies. Just a commitment to time together. Let us help you make this fall a time for growth in the gospel. 

Order online or call Lacy at 800-232-5533. Thank you!


Check out our website! Come to goodgroundpress.com for daily prayer, free online retreats, links to social justice websites, and free seasonal posters and family activities!

 

Gospel Reflection for October 13, 2019, 28th Sunday Ordinary Time

10 Oct

Sunday Readings: 2 Kings 5.14-17; 2 Timothy 2.8-13; Luke 17.11-19

“On their way the ten lepers found they were cleansed. One of them seeing that he had been healed, turned back, praising God in a loud voice. He fell at Jesus’ feet, thanking him. This man was a Samaritan.”  – Luke 17.14-16

A wise counselor challenged me to start finding ten things every day that I was thankful for. Ten seemed a lot at first, but practicing gratitude changed me. I began to notice more and remember bits of beauty and acts of kindness. Plus, others began to appreciate me in return. Being alive calls us to appreciate the Creator. Evolution deepens the story of God’s creative love in which we live. We see with eyes that have evolved over millions of years in creatures that sought the light. Our DNA holds the memory of God’s love unfolding.

Jesus has compassion on ten lepers in Sunday’s gospel. Jesus sends them on their way to the priests who can certify they have been cleansed of this illness. The ten set out on the strength of Jesus’ word and on the way discover the leprosy is gone.

What really happens in a miracle? How does physical healing affect people spiritually within themselves? What is the power of faith to transform us into whole people? Does a miracle require faith or lead to faith? Their healing doesn’t make nine of the lepers grateful people. Today doctors can cure Hanson’s disease in weeks. We still define and profile other humans beings by appearances and make them outsiders.

Who do we banish from our circles and society today? Who do we regard as too dangerously contagious to be in our company? What miracles have you experienced? 


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 October 6, 2019, 27th Sunday Ordinary Time

4 Oct

Sunday Readings: Habakkuk 1.2-32.2-4; 2 Timothy 1.6-8,13-14; Luke 17.5-10

“Increase our faith, Lord.” – Luke 17.5

Faith is a setting of our hearts on what or who is ultimate. Faith has power. It lives in us. Like a seed it holds life and generates new life. A smidge can move mountains. The message speaks to our time when many confess they hang on to faith by a thread. Scandals in the church have disheartened many, and so has treatment of those in our families who are gay, lesbian, trans, Q. But a thread is enough, according to Jesus.

A question is enough, even a doubt. Curiosity, engagement, disgust can take us to a threshold that invites growth.

Faith lives in the currents of our relationships. Faith ties our lives to those we trust and thank. Faith grounds us in existence and purpose. Faith is about to whom and to what we belong.

Faith is to our conscious lives what blood is to the body; it sustains and animates our whole selves. Faith is our heart for embracing life, its giver and sustainer, the incomprehensible mystery of it all.

Often we inherit faith. In the sentence before Sunday’s second reading begins, the apostle Paul recalls how his protege Timothy came to believe in Jesus. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and now I’m sure lives in you” (2 Timothy 1.5). Had there been a woman on the committee deciding the passages to read, the extra verse might have made the cut.

Why does so little faith go so far? 


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.

What power does faith have?

3 Oct

How does our faith strengthen us? According to Jesus in this Sunday’s Gospel even a smidgen of faith is enough. Our part is to live the faith we have.

Sunday by Sunday has a reflection on faith that can hearten you. Consider becoming a subscriber. You will receive a reflection on the Sunday scriptures for the whole year, in the form of easy-to-use, 4-page handouts, one for each week. If faith is to sustain us in these chaotic times, we need to nourish it and share it with others. Sunday by Sunday can help do just that.

Call 800-232-5533 to place your order. We will send it out the same day, so you won’t miss a Sunday.

Visit our website—goodgroundpress.com—to explore our other spirituality resources.

Gospel Reflection for September 29, 2019, 26th Sunday Ordinary Time

27 Sep

Sunday Readings: Amos 6.1, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6.11-16; Luke 16.19-31

“Remember how well you lived when you were alive and how miserable Lazarus was. Now he has found comfort but you have found torment. He cannot help you. Between you and us is a great abyss that no one can cross.” – Luke 16.25-26

The great abyss that yawns between the poor man and the rich man in the abode of the dead exists already in the distance between them when they are alive. The rich man never notices the poor man Lazarus begging at his gate, never responds to his need. The rich man doesn’t know Lazarus exists, nor does the rich man have any idea that his riches are not well-deserved blessings from God. He has no other ethic than spending his money on himself. He has no connection with the poor man at this gate.

The two characters represent extremes. The poor man is sick, hungry, and poor–about as down and out as he can be. The well-clothed, well-fed rich man is oblivious as he can be. The story invites us to place ourselves on a continuum between the two.

The many people panhandling in our cities puts Sunday’s gospel squarely at our doorsteps. Like the rich man in the gospel, most of us have people who are poor at our subways stops, our ATMs, the doorways of our churches, our stop signs. Some have burned out every relationship in their lives for booze or drugs. Others struggle with mental illness and a lifestyle too unstable to stay on their medications. Prophets like Amos in Sunday’s first reading condemn comfort and complacency without regard for people in need.

What value do you find in distancing yourself from people who are poor? What value have you found in connecting and learning from them?


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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