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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?


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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? 


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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? 


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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?


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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?


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Gospel Reflection for November 4, 2018, 31st Sunday Ordinary Time

1 Nov

Scripture Readings: Deuteronomy 6.2-6; Hebrews 7.23-28; Mark 12.28-34

A scribe ask Jesus, “What is the greatest of all the commandments?” Jesus answers, “The greatest of all the commandments is ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is Lord alone. Therefore, love the Holy One your God with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ That is the greatest and the second is, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” – Mark 12.29-30

For Jesus as for all good Jews, there was no religious obligation more sacred than to keep the Law of Moses, the commands of the Torah, all 613 of them as spelled out in the first five books of the Old Testament. Which is most important? A group of Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees set Jesus up with this question.

Jesus chooses wisely. His answer is what his life and teachings are all about. These are the words Jews nail on their doorways and bind to their wrists and foreheads. They are the words Jews pray every day much as Christians do the Our Father. Love is a a verb, a word we live among our neighbors and kin, especially this week of before the election with its bitter, too-often hateful debates. Jesus is debates and disagrees but without hate and demonizing.

What actions do the two great commandments inspire in your this week?


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Gospel Reflection for October 28, 2018, 30th Sunday Ordinary Time

24 Oct

Sunday Readings: Jeremiah 31.7-9; Hebrews 5.1-6; Mark 10.46-52

Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to Jesus, “Teacher, let me see again.” “Go, your faith has healed you,” Jesus said to him. At once Bartimaeus was able to see and followed Jesus up the road  – Mark 10.51-52

In Sunday’s gospel a blind beggar named Bartimaeus models the unabashed faith in Jesus that Mark’s gospel hopes from every hearer of the gospel. As he sat at the Jericho city gates, Bartimaeus must have heard others talk about Jesus. As soon as he hears that Jesus is near, he shouts out a greeting, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” In this greeting Bartimaeus recognizes Jesus is the long-expected king from David’s royal line—the messiah. The crowd cannot silence his shouting out. As soon as Jesus calls to him, Bartimaeus throws off the cloak in which he probably collected the money passersby threw his way. The blind beggar sees with eyes of faith.

What do you persist in asking Jesus?


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Advent Is Right Around The Corner!

23 Oct

Our Advent issues of Sunday by Sunday bring both groups and individuals into the heart of the Sunday Gospels for this season. Only $4.00 per person (on orders of 10 or more). Call 800-232-5533 to order or visit goodgroundpress.com to order online.

Check back often for more Advent resources as we get closer to the season.

 

Gospel Reflection for October 21, 2018, 29th Sunday Ordinary Time

17 Oct

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 53.10-11; Hebrews 4.14-16; Mark 10.35-44

Jesus says to James and John, who ask to sit at his right and left hand in his kingdom, “You do not know what your are asking.  Are you able to drink the cup I will drink?”  – Mark 10.38

It’s ironic that James and John answer Jesus’ question, “We can.” They do the opposite. They forsake Jesus when he gets arrested and flee with all of Jesus’ men disciples except Peter. Peter follows Jesus until he denies even knowing him in the high priest’s courtyard. When following becomes life-threatening, neither James and John nor the others who are indignant at their ambition stay the course. Their commitment evaporates. They shrink from drinking the cup Jesus is about to drink. Who wouldn’t shrink? Mark want us to recognize that Jesus’ disciples have to grow into their commitment as we can.

At every eucharist we drink the cup that Jesus drank. We brashly say amen, this is the lifeblood of Christ poured out for us. It become part of us, a commitment to live into each day.

To what do you commit when at Mass you drink the cup that Jesus drank?


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Sunday’s Gospel

11 Oct

What happened to the rich young man?

Jesus meets quite a variety of people on his journey to Jerusalem. This Sunday it is the rich young man. Read the Gospel on this page. Put yourself in the young man’s shoes. Where did he go when he went away? Did he seek out Jesus again? Was he at the cross? At Pentecost?

Sunday by Sunday aims to make the Sunday gospel speak to you where you live. Click here to read the whole issue for next Sunday. Call us at 800-232-5533 if you want to become a subscriber. You don’t have to be rich or young to meet Jesus every Sunday.

 

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