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What Tempts Us?

19 Feb

Welcome to the first week of Lent. As our gift to you this year, we have four videos from Sister Joan Mitchell on Lenten topics. We will post one each Monday. Enjoy them. Pass them on to a friend. Our prayers are with you. Please remember us in yours.

Gospel Reflection for February 18, 2018, 1st Sunday of Lent

15 Feb

Sunday Readings: Genesis 9.8-15; 1 Peter 3.18-22; Mark 1.12-15

“Immediately after the baptism the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert.” – Mark 1.15

The whole of Mark’s gospel unfolds what awakens in Jesus after living in harmony with God and all creation in the desert. “God’s reign has come near,” Jesus announces. God is near, within, and around us–the reality in which Jesus lived in the desert.

Jesus’ relationship with God mirrors the relationship to which he calls us. We are God’s beloved. The Spirit drives us, too.

What if Jesus’ time in the desert evokes in us the value of time alone and the heightening of our senses that comes from slowing down?

What if it is our affections that pull us more strongly to accomplish our commitments than the ascetic disciplines we undoubtedly consider each Lent?

What if our senses are not the problems, leading us into temptation at every side, but are doorways to community?

What if we need to fall in love again with those closest to us, giving them time and ear to re-engage? What if we make a point this Lent to do with family and friends what unfailingly brings us joy and recharges our batteries?

What if we need to fall in love again with Earth, its beauty, diversity, and unfailing burst each spring into new life?

With whom or what might you fall in love again this Lent?


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.

Gospel Reflection for February 11, 2018, 6th Sunday Ordinary Time

5 Feb

Scripture Readings: Leviticus 13.1-2, 44-46; 1 Corinthians 10.31-11.1; Mark 1.40-45

“A leper came to Jesus, imploring him urgently and kneeling as he spoke, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘I do choose. Be made clean.'”  – Mark 1.40-41
 
In Jesus’ time leprosy made its sufferers outsiders, obligated to stay away from others. Leprosy lumped together various skin conditions that like race, gender, age, and other realities show visibly on the body. Poverty can show in missing teeth and listless faces.

On the basis of appearance, we human beings start setting up boundaries between people like us and people like them, insiders and outsiders. We tend to stereotype and even demonize groups we don’t know. The voices of outsiders call for belonging among us, for equality and inclusion. The voices of those left out call us to widen our tents and lengthen our tables. In claiming justice and equality, people express their dignity as human begins made in God’s image and likeness. In healing the leper, Jesus gives voice to God’s intent for us all–wholeness and the communities love forms.

With who might you build a bridge from isolation to participation in economic life, parish life, neighborhood life, or family life?


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

Ways To Keep Lent

31 Jan

Teens created this cross of Lenten practices. We invite you to download, print, and distribute this resource to the teens in your parish and family at goodgroundpress.com or by clicking on the image above.

Gospel Reflection for February 4, 2018, 5th Sunday Ordinary Time

29 Jan

Scripture Readings: Job 7.1-4,6-7; 1 Corinthians 9.16-19,22-23; Mark 1.29-39

“On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. Jesus came, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her and she began to serve them.” – Mark 1.29-31

Peter’s mother-in-law survived in the oral traditions of the early Church and claims two verses in Mark’s gospel, the first to be written. We don’t know her name but she become the first woman disciple. The New American Bible, the translation Catholics hear in church, translates the Greek word diakonie as “began to wait on.” The word means serve, including providing for physical needs and serving the table. The word deacon, an office in the Church, comes from this same word. Jesus gives the word serve additional meaning when he equates serving with giving one’s life. He says of himself, “For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10.45). Peter’s mother-in-law responds to Jesus’ act of raising her up by serving him and his four new male disciples–Peter, Andrew, James, and John. She becomes a disciples who give herself to Jesus and his mission. Women disciples appear at Jesus’ crucifixion. Like Peter’s mother-in-law these women serve Jesus and follow him. They accompany him from Galilee to Jerusalem (Mark 15.40-41). Perhaps Peter’s mother-in-law is one of the many unnamed women who follow and serve Jesus to the end.

Who models a discipleship of service that you try to follow in your life?


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

Make Daily Prayer a Habit for Lent

26 Jan

Our pocket-sized prayer journal has daily prayer at your fingertips. Go to goodgroundpress.com and click on the folding prayer illustration. Download the page, follow the folding directions, and begin to make a daily prayer habit.

 

Gospel Reflection for January 28, 2018, 4th Sunday Ordinary Time

23 Jan

Sunday Readings: Deuteronomy 18.15-20; 1 Corinthians 7.32-35; Mark 1.28

“What is this?  A new teaching–with authority!” – Mark 1.27

An unholy spirit cries out in the synagogue where Jesus preaches in Sunday’s gospel. Jesus rebukes the unclean spirit, a word that also means to silence, muzzle, tie shut. The unclean spirit will not be Jesus’ herald. The unclean spirits are right to ask Jesus if he has come to destroy them. The answer is yes. The gospel challenges us to discern the spirits that drive us.

Ambition may drive us, the desire to achieve and advanced degree or a high-paying job. Desire for security can drive us, a willingness to do whatever a boss asks in order to pay the bills and provide health benefits for the family. Alcohol or chocolate can possess us, becoming a comfort in our stress or pain more perfect and pliant than any human friend. Fear can stifle our creative selves or choke our voices.

What clamors for attention in yourself? What erodes your wholeness or the wholeness you seek?


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

Gospel Reflection for January 21, 2018, 3rd Sunday Ordinary Time

15 Jan

Sunday Readings: Jonah 3.1-5, 10; 1 Corinthians 7.29-31; Mark 1.14-20

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of people.” – Mark 1.17

The gospel writer Mark includes few details in the spare story of Jesus calling four fishermen to follow him. Jesus’ call is direct; their responses, quick and decisive. They do not become full-fledged disciples as fast as this, however. Mark cares about how faith develops and matures. Jesus’ disciples leave their old lives behind quickly but their faith journeys twist and turn as they walk with Jesus through fear, flight, sleep, denial, and failure. They take up their work of fishing for people only after Jesus’ death and resurrection. In the end they give their lives for the gospel.

What is your vocation in life? What have you learned through persisting in a call?


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.

Lent is coming!

12 Jan

The world needs us to live our gospel values today.

 

The Lent issues of Sunday by Sunday are ideal for faith sharing, RCIA candidates and sponsors, home-based programs, and scripture study groups.

Our Lent/Easter unit takes you from the 1st Sunday of Lent (February 18) through the 2nd Sunday after Easter for only $3.25 per person (on orders of 10 or more).

 

Our 4-page Lenten resource for all-parish distribution is also available. Click here to read it. Families love creating the Lenten cross which becomes an Easter symbol.

 

Place your order for one or both of these products online or call us at 800-232-5533.

 

Cycle A readings for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent (Scrutiny Sundays) are available to download for free here. You have permission to print as many of these as you need.

Future posts will feature other Lent resources for both parish and families. Keep an eye out!

Gospel Reflection for January 14, 2018, 2nd Sunday Ordinary Time

10 Jan

Scripture Readings: 1 Samuel 3.3-10, 19; 1 Corinthians 6.13-15, 17-20; John 1.35-42

“Come and see.” – John 1.29

“Come and see,” Jesus says when Andrew wants to learn about him in Sunday’s gospel. “Come and see” is a call to encounter. Come, talk, stay, meet face to face, interact, discover who I am and what our relationship might be. The invitation opens the door to more than a quick look. With our five senses and conscious minds, we humans can probe who someone really is and what life means.

Our experiences matter, our daily sights, sounds, handshakes, conversations. We can probe what and who gives us life and ask where God is in the events that we live. We can also take the world for granted and consider it ours, not God’s gift

Can I find God at the intersection where I live? The traffic starts at five. A symphony of sounds begins–the swish of buses and delivery trucks, the clang of empty side loaders banging like cymbals on very bump. People are up for the day, interconnecting, using their life energies to do their part in a whole. I want to join in.

Where am I finding God in the ups and downs of being alive?


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.

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