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Prayer for the Burning Amazon Forest

16 Oct

Loving God, the Amazon is on fire!
We come before you with a heavy and contrite heart.
We know your heart must be deeply grieved
as you hear the cries of the innocent trees, creatures,
rivers and indigenous communities as their home burns.

We pray that in your mercy, you will forgive us
for our way of life, for we have created the markets
for beef, timber and minerals taken from the Amazon.

We pray that you will forgive those who have set the fires
in the Amazon, those who have cut down the ancient trees,
those who plunder its precious resources,
to fulfill human desire for things.

Oh God, your mercy is infinite.
Only your power can save us from choosing destruction,
Grant us your grace to turn to better and kinder ways of living.
Rain down your love to heal the scorched earth and its inhabitants.
May your love, justice and peace reign for all creation always.

In the name of your son, Jesus the Christ, we pray. Amen.

Prayer by Clare Westwood


Day 7 of the synod meeting in Rome features the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region. Follow this link to read what they say. Join your prayer with theirs.

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 August 25, 2019, 21st Sunday Ordinary Time

23 Aug

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 66.18-21; Hebrews 12.5-7, 11.13; Luke 13.22-30

Someone asked Jesus, “Teacher, will only a few be saved?” Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able” – Luke 13.34

A doorway or threshold is a liminal space. The word limen means threshold, literally, the timber or stone that lies under a door. This space between inside and outside is transitional space, the boundary where one crosses between worlds and where imagination plays with who we may become.

The empty Easter tomb is a liminal space, the threshold between life as we know it and life as Jesus promises it. The stone has been rolled back. The open tomb calls us to faith.

Jesus opens not only the narrow door of his own self-giving but also the wider challenge of loving our neighbors. In Luke’s narrative Jesus presses his followers to invest in the poor rather than build bigger granaries. Both Jesus’ narrow and wide doors teach demanding, other-centered ethics. His way calls us to alleviate our fears by giving alms, to handle conflict by turning the other cheek, to carry people’s burdens an extra mile, to love even our enemies.

Each of us lives in a now when the door to commitment is open.

What more is Jesus asking of you? What door do you want to open or shut? What door to a neighbor do you want to open this week? 


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.

8 Aug

Hate and chaos vs. Faith, hope & love

Sunday by Sunday CoverIt’s a battle. One the Gospel prepares us to expect. We are better off when we face challenging times together. Sunday by Sunday can help.

Conversation about the Gospel builds up hope and faith. Conversation breaks down barriers. Don’t despair. Bring a group together to reflect on Jesus’ message of faith and hope.

Read our August issues online. Then imagine reflecting on the Gospel message and the suggested questions with parish members or friends or family. Jesus guarantees that when two or three gather in his name, he is there with us. We can trust his word.

Try Sunday by Sunday. If you want to order, please call 800-232-5533. Or go online at goodgroundpress.com.

If you are not ready to order, let us send you sample copies you can share with potential group members. We are happy to do that at no charge. Just call Good Ground Press at 800-232-5533.

Faith moves mountains. Let us keep each other in prayer.

Gospel Reflection for August 11, 2019, 19th Sunday Ordinary Time

7 Aug

Scripture Readings: Wisdom 18.6-9; Hebrews 11.1-2, 8-19; Luke 12.32-48

“Bear this in mind: If a householder could know just when the thief would break in, the householder would never leave the house to be broken into! You have to be ready the same way, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you don’t expect.” – Luke 12.39-40

Many early Christians expected Jesus’ second coming in glory in their lifetimes. Luke’s audience has grown weary of waiting and raised questions about what commitments are of ultimate worth. Jesus’ exhortations in Sunday’s gospel encourage his disciples and us.

An element of surprise pervades the sayings. Jesus counsels us to keep our lamps burning. The kingdom may startle us, erupting as suddenly as a thief breaking in. Luke refuses to calculate when Jesus will appear in glory. We Christians cannot set any end-time clock. No, Jesus admonishes. Stay alert! Establish inexhaustible accounts in the heavens. Feed the hungry, heal the sick, free the oppressed. We have Jesus’ promise that the householder who returns and finds these works going on will seat us at table and serve us.

What in the way you live each day indicates where your heart is?


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.

Cultivating the Wisdom of Vatican II

31 Jul

Sister Joan has written five two-page summaries of the teaching of this extraordinary council. Click here to read and download this free online retreat. Find a friend to talk with. Or put a notice in your parish bulletin calling people together around this topic.

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.

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