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Gospel Reflection for March 10, 2019, 1st Sunday of Lent

8 Mar

Sunday Readings: Deuteronomy 26.4-10; Romans 10.8-13; Luke 4.1-13

“Not by bread alone shall a person live.” – Luke 4.4

Turning stones to bread does not tempt Jesus. He recognizes that our relationships with others and with others nourish us as surely as food does. We humans are social beings who cannot grow out of infancy without care and who flourish in the bonds of family, friendship, and collaborative work.

In fact, Jesus always eating with people in Luke’s gospel. These meals with the messiah often turn the expectations of the righteous upside down, for Jesus welcomes and reconciles sinners at these meals. Jesus nourishes us, ultimately, by pouring out his love and life for us in meals, miracles, and the cross.

Today in North America we exercise our freedom endlessly in malls and groceries. Choices abound. What bottled water do we prefer? What flavoring do we like best in our double latte? Our choices determine personal style, but they may not nourish Christian identity. Jesus challenges us not to live by consuming alone but by choosing to lift up those who have little chance to thrive without our help.

By which of God’s words do you live? With whom do you need a renewing meal? Who might you welcome to your family table?


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.

Happy Mardi Gras!

5 Mar

Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday. In years past people didn’t eat meat for all of Lent, so this was their last chance to fry pancakes in bacon fat. We have gone beyond that small feast to all-out parties and carnivals.

Margaret Murray, CSJ, from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Los Angeles province, gives us thoughts on feasting and fasting to take into Lent. May they be a blessing to you.


 

This Lent we read from Luke’s Gospel with his stories of forgiveness, compassion, and second chances. Sister Joan’s new book is ideal for faith-sharing groups, Bible study, RCIA, homilists, and anyone who wants to understand scripture better. Only $10!

Order online at goodgroundpress.com or call us at 800-232-5533.

Gospel Reflection for March 3, 2019, 8th Sunday Ordinary Time

25 Feb

Scripture Readings: Sirach 24.4-7; 1 Corinthians 15.54-58; Luke 6.39-45

“A good person brings for goodness from the good in his or her heart. The mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart.” – Luke 6.45

Sunday’s gospel offers a collection of wise sayings. The blind can’t lead the blind. Students are not greater than their teachers. A tree is known by its fruit. Don’t try to take the splinter from your neighbor’s eye when you don’t see the plank in your own. The Greek word for plank refers to a board used for a rafter or a wall stud. The difference between a splinter and a plank is not only between tiny and immense but also between a single splinter and a fault that can threaten a whole building. From a practical point of view, criticizing others invites their scrutiny in return.

These sayings and many more that Luke includes in Jesus’ sermon on the plain provide concrete, everyday wisdom. Out cultural proverbs today tend to express values such as consumerism, individualism, or competition, for example, “Take care of yourself; no one else will.” They stand in tension with Christian values, such as sharing goods, solidarity among the members of the human family, and cooperation.

What proverbs do you try to live by? What proverbs did your parents or guardians quote often? What proverbs do you quote to your children, students, or co-workers?

Gospel Reflection for February 24, 2019, 7th Sunday Ordinary Time

21 Feb

Sunday Readings: 1 Samuel 26.2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23; 1 Corinthians 16.45-49; Luke 6.27-38

“Love your enemy and do good to those that hate you. Bless those who curse you and pray for those who insult you. When people slap you on one cheek, turn and give them your other cheek. When people want you coat, give them your shirt, too. When someone takes what is yours, do not ask for it back. Do to others what you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6.27-32

Jesus’ teachings don’t get harder than the challenge to love our enemies. Much in our culture reinforces a win or lose, destroy your enemies point of view. We mark our history by our wars. Video games develop skills to blast, shoot, shatter, and kill rather than negotiate conflicts. What if we practiced making friends of enemies? What if games challenged players to find the mutual interest opponents did not recognize they have or to get out all the facts so the game can move on to the negotiation level? What if players scored points for creative and cooperative solutions to real-life problems?

To love our enemies is the heart of Jesus’ teaching. It is the challenge to which Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. gave their lives in our times. Ultimately our identity and self-worth are at stake in our conflicts.

When and how have you successfully negotiated a conflict or difference or made a friend of a seeming enemy?


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 February 17, 2019, 6th Sunday Ordinary Time

16 Feb

Sunday Readings: Jeremiah 17.5-8; 1 Corinthians 15.12, 16-20; Luke 6.17, 20-26

“Blessed are you poor because yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungering now because you will be filled. Blessed are you who are weeping now because you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, exclude you, insult you, and throw out your name as evil because of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for your reward will be great in heaven. This is how people treat the prophets.” – Luke 6.20-23

The gospel writer Luke confronts us repeatedly with questions of Jesus’ identity. Who is this person who breaks rules and seeks out those whom others wish to avoid? What kind of world will people inherit if others follow his path and break the rules of tradition and culture? The beatitudes show us the world Jesus envisions in which the poor are blessed, the hungering full, those in mourning filled with laughter, and the persecuted rewarded in heaven.

Jesus’ beatitudes in Luke are a strident warning about the danger inherent in prosperity and abundance. That abundance is not blessedness is a shocking idea then and now. Jesus overturns the popular and comfortable idea that poor people somehow bring on their own circumstances and that rich people deserve their abundance. In Luke, Jesus supplies four woes paralleling the four beatitudes and challenging us to become participants in his vision for the world and shape our priorities accordingly.

When have people who are poor, hungering, weeping, or persecuted blessed you? What concrete actions can you do this week to share what you have with those who have little?


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 February 10, 2017, 5th Sunday Ordinary Time

8 Feb

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 6.1-8;  1 Corinthians 15.1-11; Luke 5.1-11

“Simon put out his nets and caught so many fish that the nets began to break…Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid. From now on you will be catching people instead of fish.'” – Luke 5.10

In the A.D 80s when Luke writes, communities of faith in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus have spread throughout the Mediterranean world. The response of the Gentiles has surprised Jesus’ apostles in the same way the great catch surprises Peter. In Jesus, Peter, James, and John encounter God at work in the world calling them off the lake and into a future as missionaries and leaders. God’s inbreaking presence in Jesus makes profound claims on their hearts and the hearts of Gentile believers. God’s word baits the human heart for liberation. In Sunday’s gospel, Peter, James, and John leave their own nets behind to teach the empowering and liberating word of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

For what liberation is the Spirit baiting your heart today?


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

Gospel Reflection for February 3, 2019, 4th Sunday Ordinary Time

28 Jan

Sunday Readings: Jeremiah 1.4-5, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 13.4-13; Luke 4.21-30

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” – Luke 4.21

In this statement Jesus identifies himself as the prophet the Spirit anoints to bring good news to the poor. He will fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah. He will lives these words and gather a community that lives God’s love and mercy into the future. It is on the Sabbath in the midst of his own people in Nazareth that Jesus proclaims the Spirit, the giver of life, will work through him to heal, forgive, set free, and lift people up. Jesus will inaugurate a jubilee era in which the poor and oppressed have a new chance to thrive.

What is the sermon you try to live? Who gave it?


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

Gospel Reflection for January 27, 2019, 3rd Sunday Ordinary Time

25 Jan

Sunday Readings: Nehemiah 8.2-4, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Corinthians 12.12-20; Luke 1.1-4; 4.14-21

“The Spirit of the Holy One is upon me, for God has anointed me and sent me to proclaim liberty for captives, sight to the blind, release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Holy One.” – Luke 4.18-19

In the first four verses of his gospel Luke tells us why he wrote the third gospel. He has investigated the events fulfilled among us and handed on by the eyewitnesses and ministers of the word from the beginning. Luke claims he has written an orderly account. The order that interests Luke is not a time line but the order of fulfillment.

The earliest Christians continue to worship in the temple, hear the words of the prophets, and pray the psalms. In these they find words that help articulate who Jesus is. In Sunday’s gospel, he pinpoint words that he will fulfill in his mission. He reads from the scroll of Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Holy One is upon me,
for God has anointed me and sent me
to proclaim liberty for captives,
sight to the blind,
release to prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the Holy One.”

Jesus rolls up and scroll, sits down, and begins to speak. His first words express his purpose and mission: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” The Spirit anoints Jesus to announce “a year of favor,” a jubilee year when debts are forgiven, field lies fallow, and creditors return land to peasants. This is a mission not only Jesus but we his followers are called to fulfill.

How can you help fulfill Jesus’ mission where you live 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.

Holy Women of Luke’s Gospel

24 Jan

Sister Joan and Sister Ansgar have collaborated for a second time on Gospel women. In both his Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles, Luke tells women’s stories — Mary and Martha, the widow of Nain, Mary Magdalene, Phoebe and Priscilla. You will meet them and more in word and illustration and prayer.

Book available in April, 2019. Click here to pre-order your copy of Holy Women of Luke’s Gospel today. 

Softcover, 88 pages. 1-9 copies, $8; 10-99, $7; 100+, $5.50.

 

Live from St. Paul!

22 Jan

Sister Joan and St. Luke

Beginning Monday, February 11, Sister Joan is teaching a class on Luke’s Gospel at Wisdom Ways Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. We read from Luke on 41 Sundays and feast days in 2019. This class is an opportunity to engage in creative and critical exploration of Luke’s themes and stories. All are welcome.

Click here to read the full description of the class and to register.

You can purchase a copy of the text, Luke’s Gospel, Written For Us, at goodgroundpress.com.

 

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