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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?


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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.

Gospel Reflection for September 22, 2019, 25th Sunday Ordinary Time

20 Sep

Sunday Readings: Amos 8.4-7; 1 Timothy 2.1-8; Luke 16.1-13

A rich man summoned his manager and said, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager anymore.” Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what I will do so that when I am dismissed as manager, people will take me into their homes.” – Luke 16.2-4

The dishonest manage forgives his boss’s debtors–50 of the 100 gallons of oil for one debtor and for another 20 of the 100 bushels of wheat owed. When the rich boss praises the dishonest manager, Jesus’ parable upends our usual way of looking at things. The self-serving manager does reduce the debts of the poor, carrying out what Catholic social teaching calls a preferential option for the poor.

The owner makes little of having his profits plundered for the sake of the powerless but instead admires the manager’s skillful exploitation of his accounts to create a future for himself. Luke’s gospel does not let the self-serving manager go without criticizing. Luke attaches a series of Jesus’ sayings to the parable, which pass judgment on dishonest people. The sayings insist that whoever is dishonest with a little cannot be trusted with a lot. No one can trust a cheater. No one can serve two masters.

The safest investment, according to the parable, is to throw in our lot with the poor–to serve God rather than pursue wealth. Jesus’ parables calls us to apply as much ingenuity for the sake of the poor as we do to exploit the poor for the sake of the economy.

How do you benefit from the labor of the poor? How do you invest in people in need?


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 September 15, 2019, 24th Sunday Ordinary Time

12 Sep

Sunday Readings: Exodus 32.7-11,13-14; 1 Timothy 1.12-17; Luke 15.1-32

The tax-collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus, at which the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” – Luke 15.1

The parables that lure sinners and prostitutes to seek out Jesus feature a shepherd’s lost sheep, a homemaker’s lost coin, and a father’s two sons. The parables inspire compassion by singling out a shepherd’s care for one lost sheep out of a hundred, the woman’s value on one coin of ten, and a father’s enduring relationships with both his prodigal son and his righteous one.

A single, straying sheep is probably in danger, tangled in briars, caught in a crevasse, or young and not paying attention. Left alone the sheep may died. Still it seems risky to leave the 99 for the one but the parable is a story with a point. One sheep matters. The shepherd carrying the lost sheep on his shoulders is iconic of God’s compassion for each of us. The shepherd cannot help sharing with friends and neighbors the joy he feels in find the one sheep.

The woman’s search for one lost coin demonstrates how close to subsistence she lives that finding one coin matters. Her house must be small and dark. She lights a lamp to sweep. The two parables are a parallel pair, one a man’s example, one a woman’s. Many statues and medals illustrate Jesus as the compassionate sheep, including Pope Francis’s pectoral cross  Seldom do Christians see images of God as the homemaker trimming her lamp and sweeping her house until she finds the coin. Both the compassionate shepherd and the determined homemaker image God. Both parables end with joy in finding the lost.

In the parable of the father with two sons, the prodigal takes his inheritance and squanders it on fair weather friends. He repents at a pig trough when we realizes the hogs are eating better than he is, so he returns to his father to great rejoicing. The righteous son is working in the fields when he hears the music welcoming his brother home. The hard-working son thinks his father should not celebrates his brother’s return when he has never celebrated his diligence. He refuses to join in the welcome even when his father comes out to urge him. The parable ends with the righteous son lost.

Who is your God more like — the shepherd, the homemaker, or the father? Who has insisted on finding you when you were lost? Whose compassion has helped you find yourself?


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.

Bible Study. Faith Sharing. Small Christian Communities.

9 Sep

We have a special offer for you. If you are looking for a program to fit and maybe enliven your group, try Sunday by Sunday.

Sunday by Sunday is a four-page weekly based on the Sunday scripture readings. Up-to-date commentary and pertinent reflection questions make Sunday by Sunday ideal for small groups. No leader training needed!

Don’t take our word for it. Call us and ask for FREE samples of our issues for the October Sundays. See for yourself if Sunday by Sunday is right for you.


Call now — 800-232-5533. We will put your FREE samples in the mail as soon as we receive your request. You will have them in days — ready to use.

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Call 800-232-5533 or visit goodgroundpress.com to learn more about our other products for adult and teen Gospel study.

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