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Gospel Reflection for April 8, 2018, 2nd Sunday of Easter

5 Apr

Scripture Readings: Acts 4.32-35, 1 John 5.1-6, John 20.19-31

“Peace be with you. Thomas, take your finger and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe.” – John 20.26-27

The testimony of those who saw Jesus leaves Thomas unimpressed. He doubts as many people do today. He wants hands-on proof. When Jesus appears again, he invites Thomas to go ahead, “Poke away. If this is what it takes for you to believe, I’m at your disposal.” Thomas responds with a confession that soars above all others, “My Lord and my God.” How do we later generations come to faith, we who are unable to touch the nail holes in Jesus’ hands or the wound in his side?

God is available in the Word. The Word has become flesh not only in the person of Jesus but in the story about him and the words spoken in his name. Sunday’s gospel concludes by expressing the reason for the writing of the gospel stories. “These have been recorded to help you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that through this faith you may have life in his name” (John 20.31).

The God who creates is the God who comes among us in Jesus to save, heal, forgive, and make whole. Jesus continues to live among us in the gospel story, which calls us to hear and believe what we can no longer see and believe.

When have you questioned as Thomas did? Where did your questioning lead?


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Keep Easter Alive!

3 Apr

Download Celebrate Easter, prayers and practices for the seven weeks of the Easter season. Visit goodgroundpress.com to see more of our resources.

Celebrate Easter

 

 

Gospel Reflection for April 1, 2018, Easter Sunday

26 Mar

Scripture Readings: Acts of the Apostles 10.34,37-42; Colossians 3.1-3; (Vigil Mark 16.1-7) John 20.1-18

“This disciple who had arrived first at the tomb went in. He saw and believed.”  – John 20.8

“Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord.'” – John 20.18

Mary Magdalene brings the whole community of Jesus’ followers the good news, “I have seen the Lord.” Easter testifies to the power of God’s love. Jesus’ resurrection testifies to the impossible coming to be. Every dawn testifies to the giver of our lives, the Holy Spirit, calling us into song like the birds, calling us into deeper roots like the bulbs, calling us with poet Gerard Manley Hopkins to recognize Easter is a verb.

We Christians welcome Jesus to easter in us. What Jesus has done for us in giving himself wholeheartedly we must do for one another. We weave with our love each day a community of love in our world.

How are Jesus and his Spirit eastering in you?


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.

Blessed Holy Week, Joyful Easter

22 Mar

Sister Joan sends you an Easter poem from the sister who taught her to write. It comes with our prayers for you at this holiest of times.

We are closing the Good Ground Press offices during Holy Week. We will be back on Easter Monday. Please leave a voicemail at 800-232-5533 if you need anything. We will check voicemails regularly. Happy Easter!

 

Learn About Mark’s Gospel

30 Jan

Mark’s Gospel is the first to be written and the shortest of the four Gospels. Sister Joan shows how the excerpts we hear at Sunday Eucharist in 2018 fit into the whole story of Jesus’ life and ministry. The 11 short chapters and the questions make this book ideal for Bible study and for homiletics.

Click here to read the Table of Contents and sample chapters. Order at goodgroundpress.com or call 800-232-5533. Only $10.00 per book.

Gospel Reflection for September 3, 2017, 22nd Sunday Ordinary Time

1 Sep

Sunday Readings: Jeremiah 20.7-9; Romans 12.1-2; Matthew 18.21-27

“Those who want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16.24

Many people in Jesus’ time expected a warrior messiah, who would restore Israel to independence and power. They wanted to be great again. A messiah who suffers and dies contradicts this popular idea of the messiah’s might and mission. A powerless messiah seems no messiah at all. In Sunday’s gospel Peter, on whose faith the Christian community builds, wrestles with this contradiction.

Jesus’ predictions of his suffering invite us to reflect on the meaning of his death and resurrection for ourselves. How will we give ourselves to Jesus’ mission in our world? Jesus lived his prophetic mission all his days and faced the consequences in death at Roman hands. He healed the sick, freed the possessed, and brought God’s love near. His resurrection calls us to faith that new life is always possible–in relationships, in work for peace, in sustaining Earth. Daily we give ourselves in loving one another.


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.

Poem of the Week

21 Jul

The Stems of Flowers are the Pillars of the World
by Ellen Murphy, CSJ

Tempered by weather
welded by sun rays and metallic rain
the stems of flowers rise, poised,
erect as pillars they hold the world up.

Light-power, stronger than stone or steel
channels through leaf-scrolls
along each live green column
direct to its capital flower
joining the sky.

Each inevitable design
is a tenuous reminder
of the pillar of inner worlds: fidelity.
How it grows erect from a heart’s rectitude,
the seed selecting elements for growing
true to its form
draws cell  by cell to its quality,
color, texture,
reaches its height.

Indispensable for the holding up of the world
as stems of flowers, the heart’s fidelity.
The delicate stems of bluebells, true to themselves
are pillars of the universe, as you are,
as the rose and the gladiola,
lilac-bole, apple tree, oak and sequoia,
their protein strength gently holding
the world to its height, to its life-sheltering.


 

Living Like Francis Today is a short-faith-sharing book of Francis’ spirituality. Get a copy and find others to reflect with you on how to live his values today. View a sample chapter. $4.95. Order online or call Good Ground Press at 800-232-5533 to place your order.

 

 

Gospel Reflection for July 16, 2017, 15th Sunday Ordinary Time

12 Jul

Photo via Flickr user Jimmy – S

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 55.10-11; Romans 8.18-23; Matthew 13.1-23

“Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” – Matthew 13.8

The sower parable offers a prophetic vision beyond Jesus’ death and resurrection to the thirty, sixty, and hundredfold harvest his disciples later bring in. Within the gospel narrative Jesus’ teaching falls on paths, rocks, and thorns where the seeds fail to flourish. The disciples who flee when Jesus is arrested are like the seeds on the path that the birds eat; they vanish. Peter, whose name means rock, is like the rocky ground where the seed grows up quickly but gets scorched for lack of soil in which to root. Peter enthusiastically affirms Jesus as messiah but protests Jesus will suffer and denies even knowing Jesus during his trial. The rich young man of Matthew 19.16-23 is like the seed sown among thorns. The lure of wealth spoils his yield.

After the disciples experience Jesus’ risen presence, the words Jesus taught do take root and the Spirit sets the disciples afire preaching the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. The parable of the sower promises that despite too-traveled, rocky, and weedy ground, the seed Jesus sows will yield. The parable sows a prophetic promise. The harvest continues in every generation among us who hear who hear Jesus’ word and keep it.

What has hearing the gospel yielded 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.

 

The Wisdom of Vulnerability

22 Dec
Photo via Flickr user Waiting For The Word

Photo via Flickr user Waiting For The Word

The Christmas story is full of vulnerability– God becoming a human baby, Mary saying yes to a child that will change her life, Joseph agreeing to raise a child that is not his. Even the Magi show great vulnerability in their star gazing and quest to find and worship Jesus.

Part of an Epiphany prayer in Women’s Uncommon Prayers reads:

If there had been three wise women…they would have asked for directions, arrived early, delivered the baby, cleaned the stable, cooked the dinner, and brought practical gifts.

The Magi’s visit may have lacked practicality, yet the visitors still earned their descriptor of wise. If we take a close look at their journey, their wisdom lives in their vulnerability and faith.

They leave the comfort of their homes and lives. They travel on a whim without assurance. Instead of giving into the darkness all around them, they look up to the heavens to see the light of a star. They show up. They come prepared with gifts. They understand that the child is not just king, but holy and divine, deserving of worship. And they are in tune enough with their dreams to take an alternative route home instead of reporting back to King Herod. Through the entire story, the Magi are open to God’s leading, humble enough to go where they are called.

How many of us, when given the chance, stay warm in our homes instead of venturing out to see God out in the world with our own eyes? When nights are filled with darkness, we often forget to look up at the stars for a sign, for light. We are so filled with cynicism and importance that our hearts can become closed off to the adoration and homage required of us to worship. How many of us fall asleep with a brain too busy to hear God in our dreams?

The Christmas season brings us back to the wisdom of vulnerability. We can choose to be like Herod, who wants to know about Jesus, is worried how his power might interfere, but is not willing to leave home to find out more. Or we can choose to be like the wise men, who are vulnerable enough to venture out into the darkness on God’s provision of a savior, not quite sure how it will all work out, but hoping the path will lead us to the one worthy of our adoration and worship. May this Christmas season fill your hearts and homes with the wisdom of vulnerability!

Merry Christmas!

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