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Sunday’s Gospel Story

4 Apr

The Gospels for this Lent are some of Jesus’ best-known stories and parables. Sunday by Sunday encourages you to see these old stories afresh. One way to see anew is to re-title the story. Try it out.

  • On Sunday, March 24, we heard the story of the barren fig tree whose owner wanted to cut it down. What if instead we called that gospel passage the story of the optimistic gardener?
  • Last Sunday we had the parable of the prodigal son. What if we named it the parable of the forgiving father or the story of a family who forgives and needs forgiveness?

This Sunday tells about the Women Taken in Adultery. We have printed it here and left the title space blank. What other titles for this story can you offer? Let us know by responding to this post or emailing Sister Joan directly at sisterjoan@goodgroundpress.com.

Blessings on your week as we head into Palm Sunday and Holy Week. 

Gospel Reflection for April 7, 2019, 5th Sunday of Lent

3 Apr

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 43.16-21; Philippians 3.8-14; John 8.1-11

“Woman, where are they all? Has no one condemned you?” – John 8.10

A group of men who oppose Jesus catch a woman in the act of adultery and bring her to Jesus to set a trap. The Romans don’t allow Jews to administer the death penalty. Both Jesus and his opponents know this and know that the Mosaic law prescribes stoning a married woman guilty of adultery (Deut. 22.23-24). Actually the law calls to stoning both a man and woman caught in adultery. Where did the man she was with go?

The woman seems the obvious sinner as the gospel begins. But Jesus’ opponents are using the woman and making her an object of public spectacle and shame. Jesus famously writes in the dirt as the accusers speak and then says, “Let the sinless one among you cast the first stone.” According to the law, a witness to a crime must throw the first stone and take responsibility for a sinner’s death. In fact, the law requires two witnesses. The accusers drift away, acknowledging their sinfulness and complicity in shaming the woman.

By standing with the woman, Jesus counters those who make her a spectacle. But what about the crowd that has gathered? How will the woman find belonging in the community again? Can she go back to her husband? Her children? What will neighbors say?

How do you treat people you must forgive? How have you been treated when you needed forgiveness?


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.

Celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation

25 Mar

Sister Joan and Sister Ansgar have created a book celebrating the women of Luke’s Gospel. First among them is Mary of Nazareth, whose visit from the angel Gabriel we celebrate today. Click here to find the pages of prayer and reflection on Mary. The entire book, Holy Women of Luke’s Gospel, will be available in mid-April.

Hail, Mary. Full of grace. Blessed are you among all women.
Pray for us.


 

Visit goodgroundpress.com to pre-order your copy of Holy Women of Luke’s Gospel, or call Lacy at 800-232-5533. Only $8.00!

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.

Ash Wednesday Prayer Service

1 Mar

Ash Wednesday is next week, March 6. We have prepared an Ash Wednesday prayer service for those of you who cannot make it to church or who would like to celebrate with the homebound or those in nursing homes.

If you have a little bit of palm from last Palm Sunday, burn it to make the ashes. Or write down a way you wish to grow during Lent and then burn that paper to create ashes.

Visit goodgroundpress.com for more resources to make Lent a blessed time for yourself and for those you love and serve.

Ash Wednesday is a week away.

26 Feb

During the 40 days of Lent, you can create a resurrection cross. Simply download and print the cross on this page. It comes with 40-plus activity suggestions that will ready you for the great feast of Easter.

The cross is an ideal family project. Forward this post to your friends with our blessing. May this Lent be a time of grace to you.

Click here for other Lenten activities and resources.

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 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.

All Souls Day

2 Nov

 

All Souls Day in a small town meant visiting the cemetery and remembering those in our family who died. Today I am too far away to visit family graves, so I light a candle at the Catholic Relief Services website—crs.org—and select a prayer. I also remember Jesus’ promise, the gospel for November 2nd.

After Jesus told the crowds he was the bread of life, he made this promise. “All that the Father gives me shall come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me. I have come not to do my will but to do the will of the Father who sent me. The Father does not want me to lose anything I have been given. Rather, God wants me to raise up all things on the last day.”

“I tell you the truth. This is the will of my Father: whoever looks upon the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life. I will raise them up on the last day.”  – John 6.37-40

May you find peace and comfort in these words and this day.


Visit our website at goodgroundpress.com for daily prayers and gospel reflection.

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