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Gospel Reflection for December 16, 2018, 3rd Sunday of Advent

14 Dec

Sunday Readings: Zephaniah 3.14-18; Philippians 4.4-7; Luke 3.10-18

The crowd asks John the Baptist, “What should we do?” Let people with two coats give to people who have none. People who have lots of food should do the same.” – Luke 3.10-11

Crowds are listening to John the Baptist scold his hearers because they come seeking baptism, a sign of a new and changed life, but have made no changes. “Bear fruit worthy of repentance,” he says. The crowds wants specifics. The Baptist tells them to share their belongings and food with those who are without clothes and food. He tells the tax collectors to collect only the money taxes require. John calls them to do justice in their everyday life and work. When people wash in the Jordan, they commit to just living. Baptism expresses this commitment. John teaches that uncleanness is a spiritual rather than a physical condition.

What is your experience of water cleansing and reviving you? What is a way you  have marked a turning toward God in your life?


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.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Story

11 Dec

Our Mother Who Art

Tomorrow is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Click here for her story. Share it with family and friends. The art and prayer on this page are by Sister Ansgar, CSJ. May you and our whole continent be blessed by the Protectoress of the Americas. Happy feast day!

You are the mother
of the dark and the light
the rich and the poor
the humble and proud.
You are the mother
of the young and the old
the strong and the weak
of those who rejoice
of those who weep.

You are the mother
of woman and man
of small and of great
of broken and whole.
You are the mother who art.

 


 

Sister Ansgar also created the art for Holy Women, Full of GraceClick here for sample pages and to order online, or call at 800-232-5533.

Visit goodgroundpress.com to see our other Advent resources.

 

Gospel Reflection for December 9, 2018, 2nd Sunday of Advent

7 Dec

Sunday Readings: Baruch 5.1-9; Philippians 1.4-6, 8-11; Luke 3.1-6

“A herald’s voice in the desert cries out: ‘Make ready a road for God. Clear a straight path for God. Every valley shall be filled; every mountain and hill shall be leveled.’” – Luke 3.4-5

John the Baptist heralds the turning point in history by which much of the world marks its calendar. His preaching echoes the prophet Second Isaiah, who called the exiled Israelites to come home  to Jerusalem and be a people, to rebuild their ruined city and temple. God will lead them. Second Isaiah’s imagines God straightening hairpins turns, filling impassable crevasses, and smoothing exhausting terrain to lead the people home through the wilderness. The message invites us to ask what road we are traveling. Is it full of traffic? Is it fast? Or scenic? Where does it lead?

Where is home? What relationships are you building to call home? 


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

Praying the Advent Names of God

3 Dec

The O Antiphons are the Church’s prayer for the last days of Advent. Each of these cards have been beautifully illustrated by Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ and include a prayer poem written by Sister Joan. On the back of each card is the original antiphon and its scriptural sources. The seven cards come in a case which becomes a standing easel. Click here to view a sample.

Only $15.00 per set (price includes shipping!). Order online or give us a call at 800-232-5533. The O Antiphons are also available as 12″x18″ posters! Click here to order online.

Also, don’t forget to check out our FREE advent resources for your family or parish!

 

 

Gospel Reflection for December 2, 2018, 1st Sunday of Advent

29 Nov

Gospel Reflection for December 2, 2018, 1st Sunday of Advent

Sunday Readings: Jeremiah 33.14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3.12-4.2; Luke 21.25-28, 34-36

“Stay watchful, praying for strength to escape what will happen and to stand before the Son of Man.” – Luke 21.36

Advent begins the Church year with a gospel that fairly froths with frightful images. The gospel reminds us that no matter how threatening personal or world events, we live from beginning to end in the embrace of God. In our experience of being alive, we find God within us. In turning to one another and bridging our separate selves, we find God among us. In experiencing our human limits, we find we have heart and hope for mystery—God beyond us. The God of our beginning is the God of all we will become.

Whether we see Jesus’ coming again as a threat or a fulfillment, the gospel challenges us to stay watchful and pray for strength. In living consciously, attentive to people and life within and around us, we will find God already with us.

What gives you hope this Advent? 


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 November 25, 2018, Feast of Christ the King

20 Nov

Sunday Readings: Daniel 7.13-14, Revelation 1.5-8, John 18.33-37

Pilate said to Jesus, “So then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “It is you what say I am a king. The reason I was born, the reason why I came into the world, is to testify to the truth.” – John 18.36-37

In his exchange with Pilate, Jesus asks the procurator to make a judgment. Their dialogue about whether Jesus is a king invites Pilate to see and understand who Jesus is. But Pilate cannot step outside the values of the Roman Empire any more easily than we can recognize the ways our culture obscures the truth. It is not truth that governs his decision but political calculations. Similarly we live in a society that hammers us with media sound bytes that may not be true in context and often promote fear to sell advertising.

To follow Jesus we must testify to the truth within us, in the gospels, and in our Catholic social justice tradition that recognizes the sacredness of every person. As Christians we can’t help but see Jesus in the least and can’t dodge the work of including the least in our care.

How are you like Pilate? What truths do you hold self-evident? 


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 November 18, 2018, 33rd Sunday Ordinary Time

15 Nov

Sunday Readings: Daniel 12.1-3; Hebrews 10.11-14,18; Mark 13.24-32

“The heavens and the earth will pass away but my words will not.” – Mark 13.31

Sunday’s gospel contains two answers to the question of when Jesus will come again. One answer is very soon, in this generation, and the second is no one knows. We live during the no-one-knows time. Mark writes just after the Romans destroy the temple and end Jewish temple-centered religion with its prayers and sacrifices. That world ends. But Christian faith and the Judaism we know today are just emerging.

The destructive effects of our lifestyle surround us–global warming, droughts, terrible storms, oceans that teems with plastic, species going extinct. The news reports the power of trees and winter crop cover to absorb carbon and lessen the greenhouse effect that is warming the atmosphere. Jesus directs to watch the fig trees green and recognize God is always here.

What has come to birth for you out of change and seeming chaos?


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 November 11, 2018, 32nd Sunday Ordinary Time

9 Nov

Sunday Readings: 1 Kings 17.10-16; Hebrews 9.24-28; Mark 12.38-44

In the course of his teaching, Jesus said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and observed the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” – Mark 12.38-44

Mark deliberately juxtaposes the shallow, opportunistic actions of some scribes and a widow’s gift of the little she has to the temple treasury. The two parts of Sunday’s gospel contrast people who act for show and profit with a woman who gives from the heart all she has. Jesus criticizes those who like long robes and the best seats and prey on widows. “Devour their houses” are the words Jesus uses.

Typically widows were poor in Jesus’ time. A woman lost social standing and financial support when her husband died. This common plight of widows made care for them the usual measure of goodness for Jews. God hears their cries. The widow in this gospel gives to the temple. She can’t give much but she belongs to this people who worship there. She is the model donor because she gives all she has; it’s a gift of the heart and of faith. Her story anticipates Jesus’ passion, in which he gives all he has.

The widow who takes in the prophet Elijah during a famine gives us a Gentile model of generosity. She has only enough flour and oil in her jars for one more meal for her son and herself; nonetheless she shares their last meal with the prophet and neither jar ever run empty.

Who challenges your authenticity as a follower of Jesus?


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.

New Online Retreat!

9 Nov

Pray with the women of the gospel.

We have a new retreat for you, based on Sister Joan’s new book, Holy Women, Full of Grace. We hope these four sessions with gospel women will be an occasion for you to bless your own life in Christ and unite you in prayer with women and girls around the world. You can view the whole table of contents for Holy Women at goodgroundpress.com. Please feel free to share this retreat with others. Click here to begin.

Visit goodgroundpress.com to see more of our Advent Resources.

Holy Women, Full of Grace

7 Nov

Women were always there with Jesus. Holy Women, Full of Grace invites you to pray with Jesus’ mother, the generous widow, Jairus’s daughter, and many other gospel women, names and unnamed. An ideal gift. Only $8!

View the Table of Contents.

View the Introduction.

View a sample chapter.

Click here to order online or call Good Ground Press at 800-232-5533.

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