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Gospel Reflection for November 20, 2016, Christ the King

14 Nov

Sunday Readings: 2 Samuel 5.1-3; Colossians 1.12-20; Luke 23.35-43

“Jesus is the face of God’s mercy,” Pope Francis writes in announcing the Jubilee Year of Mercy that ends this Sunday. “These words might well sum up the mystery of Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him.” In Sunday’s gospel Jesus shows us mercy is his signature act; he forgives the good thief on the cross. Forgiveness is the balm of mercy that Pope Francis hopes has reached everyone this year.

In this crucifixion scene the evangelist Luke gives us the gospel in cameo. Luke tells the community for whom he writes and us that Jesus is God’s Spirit-filled prophet, innocent of charges brought against him. He brings good news to people who live in poverty and hope to those burdened with debt and exploited for profit. Jesus is our kin, who knows our sufferings and seeks to heal people and set them free. This is the mission we continue — kinship or solidarity with all.

To whom have you yet to show mercy in this year of mercy? Who among the kin of God or kin of Jesus stretches who you regard as kin?

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Gospel Reflection for September 11, 2016, 24th Sunday Ordinary Time

7 Sep
Photo via Flickr user Marcia

Photo via Flickr user Marcia

Sunday Readings: Exodus 32.7-11, 13-14; 1 Timothy 1.12-17; Luke 15.1-32

“Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep…..Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.”

(Luke 15.6, 9)

Losing, finding, rejoicing — that is the pattern in each of the three parables Jesus tells in chapter 15. Who doesn’t bother to look for the sheep that has wandered apart from the hundred and has not just strayed but is lost? Who forgets a lost coin and doesn’t bother to retrieve 10% of current assets? The lost sheep and lost coin invite us to hear the story of the man with two sons with the questions, “Who is lost?” Is it the party son who wastes his inheritance and comes home to his welcoming father or is it the responsible son who resents his father’s mercy? Which son am I? Let us rejoice in Pope Francis’ reclaiming in this year of mercy the deepest mystery of who God is.

Which son are you? How are you benefiting from this year emphasizing God’s mercy?

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Faith in Action

23 Jun

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Gospel Reflection for April 3, 2016, 2nd Sunday of Easter

31 Mar

Sunday Readings: Acts 5.12-16; Revelation 1.9-11, 12-13, 17-19; John 20.19-31

Jesus breathed on his disciples and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

(John 20.22-23)

Bible scholar Sandra Schneiders observes that the Greek word translated as retained above or sometimes bound more commonly means to hold fast, to embrace. She argues that Jesus is charging the community to hold fast the people they forgive. As a reconciling community, they are to embrace and support those they forgive, not to hold them bound to their sins.

“Jesus is the human face of God’s mercy,” Pope Francis writes in proclaiming the Jubilee Year of Mercy. This is our call in continuing Jesus’ mission — to be the human face of forgiveness and mercy among those in our lives.

Who holds you fast? How do you use your power to make peace?

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Finish coloring in your Lenten cross!

17 Mar
Click on the image to download your Lenten cross.

Click on the image to download your Lenten cross.

These are the last suggestions for your Lenten cross.

PLANT

  • Plant heirloom or organic seeds.
  • Start annuals from seed instead of buying flats at the greenhouse.

SIMPLIFY

  • Sort through your clothes and shoes. Donate what you don’t need.
  • Minimize the electricity you use for a day. Eat by candlelight.

PRAY

  • Count your blessings. Develop a habit of recognizing ten a day.
  • Pray for an enemy.

READ

  • Read Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, about her family’s experience of raising their own food for a year.
  • The Year of Mercy continues until November 20. Read Matthew 25.31-46. Go to goodgroundpress.com for a list of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS

  • Tell friends and family ways they matter to you.
  • Make family meals or meals with friends a priority. Eat and talk together.

PARTICIPATE

  • Join or start a faith-sharing group or bible study.
  • Participate as a family in a local spring clean-up.

Celebrate Mercy

3 Mar
Click on the image to download your own Lenten cross.

Click on the image to download your own Lenten cross.

When Pope Francis announced the Year of Mercy last April he said, “Wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident.  Wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy.”  The Gospels for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent have vivid pictures of mercy.  One more chance for the fig tree.  A party for the sorrowful son, a reprieve for a sinful woman.  Read the Sunday by Sunday reflections on mercy here and let God’s merciful love sink into your heart during the week.

Use any of the following Lenten practices that speak to you.  Add color to your Lenten cross.  Lent is half over!  Easter is near.


There are only three weeks of Lent remaining. Easter is coming as sure as the earth is greening and flowers are poking up through the dirt. Take time this week to follow one or more of the Lenten practices below. Color your Lenten cross if you have downloaded one.

PLANT

  • Treat yourself to a flowering plant or bulb that will flower soon.
  • Make plans for a garden. Get a child to help you.

SIMPLIFY

  • Forgive a debt.
  • Remove three things from your living area – each day!

PRAY

  • Thank God for all you have learned from a painful failure.
  • Take a page of your address book and pray for everyone there.

READ

  • Read chapter 1 of the book of Genesis. Spend the day complimenting God as you notice the “very good” work of creation around you.
  • Look over the Seder supper. Gather a group of friends to celebrate a Seder meal.

FAMILY and FRIENDS

  • Walk and talk with a grandchild or grandparent.
  • Plan to send Easter cards.

PARTICIPATE

  • Skip the Easter candy and give a flock on chicks to your children or grandchildren instead. Go to heifer.org to find out how to make this gift.
  • Make an Easter gift to Catholic Charities.

Gospel Reflection for February 28, 2016, 3rd Sunday of Lent

23 Feb
Photo via Flickr user Nate Angell

Photo via Flickr user Nate Angell

Sunday Readings: Exodus 3.1-8, 13-15; 1 Corinthians 10.1-6, 10-12; Luke 13.1-9

“For three years now I have come looking for figs on this tree and found none. Cut it down. Why should it take up space?”

(Luke 13.7)

Jesus’ parable of the fig tree reveals God’s hope and compassion for people. The gardener who cares for each tree pleads for more time and more care. A little more hoeing and fertilizing. Maybe it will bear fruit. In announcing the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis begins, “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy.”

Mercy lives visibly in Jesus. As we journey with Jesus to Jerusalem this Lent, Sunday’s gospel calls us to cultivate our capacity to show mercy, to love and care for one another, to abound in kindness as God does toward us.

What or whom will you give one more chance to bear fruit in your life? What special care will this require?

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Gospel Reflection for January 31, 2016, 4th Sunday Ordinary Time

27 Jan

Scripture Readings: Jeremiah 1.4-5, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 13.4-13; Luke 4.21-30

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

(Luke 4.21)

These words begin Jesus’ inaugural sermon in Luke’s gospel. In last Sunday’s gospel Jesus read a passage from Isaiah that describes a prophet whom the Spirit anoints and appoints to bring good news to the poor, freedom to captives, sight to the blind, to proclaim a jubilee in which those who have lost out in society get a new chance to thrive. Jesus invites the congregation in the synagogue to hear Isaiah’s word not as an ancient, someday promise but as a present claim. Jesus is the Spirit-filled prophet called to make the human race a whole, flourishing community. Pope Francis has proclaimed 2016 a Jubilee Year of Mercy, when we remember Jesus is the human face of God’s love, love we don’t deserve and doesn’t run out.

For whom are you good news? Who is good news for you?

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Start a small bible study. Be a leader.
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Social Action Has Two Feet!

2 Dec

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Year of Mercy

17 Nov

Our Year of Mercy begins December 8th!

jubilee-of-mercy-poster

Pope Francis wants each of us to be “an oasis of mercy.” Keep his wish alive in your home, school, or parish with this beautiful poster. Together we can bring Jesus’ spirit of love to our world.

Click here to download your FREE poster and forward it to a friend. Help the oasis creep into the desert.

 

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