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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.

Holy Women, Pray for Us

12 Aug

These small books invite you to pray with the women of the Gospels. Their stories testify that women were always there with Jesus. Ideal for your personal prayer or to share with a small group. Sample chapters are online at goodgroundpress.com. You can order online or call Good Ground Press at 800-232-5533.

4.75″x9″. 1-10 copies, $8 each; 11 or more, $7.

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.

Look Ahead to a Fall Bible Study

25 Jul

You’ve been enjoying Luke’s Gospel this summer. The good news is we continue reading from Luke all the way to Advent. Why not start a group that can dead and study Luke together? It will make Sunday Eucharist much more meaningful and deepen your relationships with your fellow Bible students.

Sister Joan’s book on Luke is short (nine chapters), easy to use, and inexpensive. Go to goodgroundpress.com to read sample chapters. Then find a few others who want to make Luke’s story about a compassionate and inclusive Jesus more alive in their lives.

1-9 copies, $10 each; 10-99, $8; 100 or more, $7.

You can order online or call us at 800-232-5533.

 

Gospel Reflection for July 28, 2019, 17th Sunday Ordinary Time

22 Jul

Sunday Readings: Genesis 18.20-32; Colossians 2.12-14; Luke 11.1-13

“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” – Luke 11.9

To pray that God’s name be hallowed and that God’s kingdom come is to acknowledge that all barriers to love must be dissolved. Anything that separates race from race, rich from poor, gender from gender, age group from age group, Christian from non-Christian is a barrier to the holiness God wishes to share with believers. Biases have no place in the community that names God our Father.

Jesus calls us to preserve in prayer. God is more gracious that a friend who reluctantly gets up in the night to help us, but God’s graciousness does not guarantee that we get what we want. We may not receive what we ask for; we may instead discover more than we were looking for or be surprised at what’s behind the door on which we are knocking.

What are you seeking in prayer? What have you found? 


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 21, 2019, 16th Sunday Ordinary Time

15 Jul

Sunday Readings: Genesis 18.1-10; Colossians 1.24-28; Luke 10.38-42

“Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him to her home. She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teachings”  – Luke 10.38-39

In Sunday’s gospel Mary sits at Jesus’ feet to listen to his teachings and Martha serves him. These two actions–listening to Jesus’ words and serving a meal–are the same actions that take place in the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the eucharist. Perhaps Martha and Mary represent two forms of ministry evolving in the Christian community. Many women today value this gospel because it is one of the few stories about women. However, Luke sets the two sisters strangely against each other in the short gospel scene. Rather than ask Mary directly to help, Martha asks Jesus to command Mary to help with the work of hospitality. The request backfire.  Martha get chided for overburdening herself and Mary gets praise for silent listening.

The conflicts in the Martha and Mary story suggest that official ministries are evolving in the house churches of the A.D. 80s. The ministries of women in Christian communities have become controversial. The scene effectively silences the ministries of both women. Jesus tells Martha to give up her ministry of hospitality and perhaps house church and join her sister in preferring the better part–silent listening to Jesus. Perhaps their ministries of word and table make Martha and Mary too memorable in the life of the early Christian community to forget. Perhaps they are so important that Luke uses the voice of Jesus’ authority to put them in their place, the same subordinate position women are transforming today.

How do you participate in the Church’s ministries of word and table? What would happen if all the women in your parish withheld their service and leadership? 


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 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.

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