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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?


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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?


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Gospel Reflection for January 7, 2018, Epiphany

4 Jan

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 60.1-6; Ephesians 3.2-3, 5-6; Matthew 2.1-12

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage.” – Matthew 2.2

Epiphany celebrate the manifestation of Jesus to Gentile seekers. Learned Gentiles discover through their study of the heavens a new star that sets them on an earthly journey. A phenomenon in nature stirs their curiosity. They step out of the familiar and comfortable to search for something more. A great thing about being human is that we can always change. We can turn toward and turn away. We, too, can seek more. We can look beyond the places we go day after day and beyond the present.

What new horizon summons you? What first step can you take?


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Gospel Reflection for December 25th, Christmas

25 Dec

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 9.1-6; Titus 2.11-14; Luke 2.1-20

“Mary gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” – Luke 2.7

Jesus’ birth story in Luke’s gospel anticipates Jesus’ whole life and emphasizes his mission to people who are poor. In Bethlehem for a Roman census, Joseph finds shelter among the animals in a stable. There Mary gives birth. Like the holy family, many refugees, immigrants, and deportees today find little room among us. Like finding shelter in a barn during a census, many live in cramped camps awaiting legal status in a new country.

An angel chorus announces Jesus’ birth to shepherds, people who are poor and living out in the fields with their sheep. They find the child in the manger and become the heralds of the messiah’s birth. We recognize with the shepherds that Jesus is good news for the poor.

On the world stage Caesar counts potential taxpayers. His subjects give Caesar the title Augustus, the divine. But it is the child lying in the manger who incarnates the love and life-giving power of the universe. Jesus is the true savior of the world, the one who incarnates God’s love among us.

Where might Jesus be born today to express God’s willingness to identify with the lowliest among us?


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Gospel Reflection for December 24, 2017, 4th Sunday of Advent

20 Dec

Sunday Readings: 2 Samuel 7.1-5, 8-12, 14-16; Romans 26.25-27; Luke 1.26-38

“Nothing is impossible with God.” – Luke 1.37

In Mary, the Most High overshadows and dwells in a human person, intensifying God’s presence among us. The same God who created all that is makes the impossible come to be in Mary, who is young and objects to the angel she is a virgin.

With the wholehearted yes of this teenager, God will become human. She will feel the first stirrings of salvation within her womb. God’s Son will look like her. She will nurse and rock him after he is born. With Mary’s yes to God’s invitation to be Jesus’ mother, the Creator moves to make us whole.

In her Magnificat, Mary blesses God for showing mercy to her people, for raising up the poor, for filling the hungry. In saying yes, she trusts God’s promises to her people and to her.

What do you remember about how you responded to God in your teen years? How have you lived out your early response?


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Gospel Reflection for December 17, 2017, 3rd Sunday of Advent

12 Dec

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 61.1-2,10-11; 1 Thessalonians 5.16-24; John 1.6-8, 19-28

“A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.” – John 1.6-7

John’s gospel begins with 18 verses about the preexistent Word who becomes flesh in Jesus. These verses include the three about John the Baptist that begins Sunday’s gospel. The Baptist is a man sent from God to witness to the light. His witness has the same purpose as the whole gospel—that all might believe in Jesus through him.

The Baptist is first of all a witness to the existence we may take for granted, the light that rises with the sun each morning, the air we breathe. To testify to the light is to raise people’s consciousness that the life and light in which we live reveals God and is God’s gift.

Like the people of Israel during their sojourn in the wilderness, the Baptist must have learned God’s nearness in the silence and solitude of the wilderness where he lives. His preaching opens people’s hearts to God’s presence in Jesus, in whom Wisdom, the Word, has come into the world and become one of us.

How do you witness to the gift in your existence in this Advent season?


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Gospel Reflection for December 10, 2017, 2nd Sunday of Advent

5 Dec

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 40.1-5,9-11; 2 Peter 3.8-14; Mark 1.1-8

“One more powerful than I will come after me.” – Matthew 1.7

Advent prepares us o celebrate the incarnation–God becoming one of us. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, the one Israel’s prophet Isaiah promised God would send. By loving us as one of us, Jesus shows us our capacity to love is the image of our life-giving, creative God in us.

As we celebrate Christmas, love evolves in our relationships, in our world. We carol and spread joy. We light up the dark. We gift one another and set tables for family and strangers. We live in the embrace of God. Creation is holy. Our family relationships are holy. Our lives of love and struggle are holy.

Tell someone about the God you believe in today.


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Gospel Reflection for December 3, 2017, 1st Sunday of Advent

29 Nov

Photo via Flickr user Stephen Grebinksi

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 63.16-17,19; 64.2-7; 1 Corinthians 1.3-9; Mark 13.33-37


“Stay awake, for you do not know when the owner of the house will come.” – Matthew 13.35 


Advent begins a new Church year with a gospel about the end of all things. Instead of a date for the end, Jesus gives us a one-verse parable about an estate owner who goes on a journey, leaves servants in charge, and commands the doorkeeper to keep watch. The owner may return in the evening, at midnight, at cockcrow, or dawn–times when Jesus’ disciples fail to watch during his passion, which follows in chapters 14-15.

Our houses, apartments, offices, stores all have doors. Daily we cross thresholds; we enter and leave each others’ lives. Like the disciples we may sleep through or feel bored during an evening encounter. In dark midnight moments fear can urge us to avoid hard things that prevent us from considering others’ points of view. Peter has made cockcrow a familiar sound that wakes us up to our regrets. At the heart of our faith is the dawn moment, the hour of resurrection, of waking to God’s presence.

What doorways do you want to enter or exit this year? What is a threshold you have crossed to faith?


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Gospel Reflection for November 26, 2017, Feast of Christ the King

22 Nov

Sunday Readings: Ezekiel 34.11-12,15-17; 1 Corinthians 15.20-26,28; Matthew 25.31-46

“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or see you thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we you were a stranger and welcome you or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” – Matthew 25.37-39

The church year culminates this Sunday and holds up Jesus Christ as the model leader of the human race. In becoming one of us, God’s Son identifies with all of us and holds up the least as the measure of discipleship. Love of God and love of neighbor are inseparable. Sunday’s parable of judgment makes clear and concrete in the works of mercy what love does. This vision calls us to work with others to transform us and our world into a community of justice and healing.

In what sense is everyday a judgment day?


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Gospel Reflection for November 19, 2017, 33rd Sunday Ordinary Time

15 Nov

Scripture Readings: Proverbs 31.1-13, 19-20, 30-31; 1 Thessalonians 5.1-6; Matthew 25.14-30

“The servant who received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and buried the master’s money.” – Matthew 25.19

The master in the parable of the talents puts servants in charge of huge amounts of money. A worker in Jesus’ time earned one denarius for a day’s work, so a laborer who worked six days a week earned 340 denarii a year. One talent equals a worker’s earnings for17 years. The master is not giving the servants a pittance to test their trustworthiness. They have received a windfall. The priceless windfall each of us has received is life itself. Our ancestors have invested themselves in relationships and efforts that bring us to be. Jesus invested his life in the human race, identifying with us totally unto death, opening to us all we can become in God. How do we use their extravagant down payments on ourselves? Sunday’s parable calls us to multiply the gifts entrusted to us.

If you were one of the 2,043 on Forbes Billionaires List 2017, how would you invest for the good of the whole? What is one of the most valuable ways you have invested your life energies? 

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