Gospel Reflection for May 24, 2020 – Feast of the Ascension

Scripture Readings: Acts 1.1-11; Ephesians 1.17-23; Matthew 28.16-20
 
“Remember that I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 29.20
 
In Matthew’s resurrection story, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joses go to the Jesus’ tomb. An angel rolls back the stone for the two women who see the tomb is empty. The angel announces Jesus has been raised as he said and is going ahead to Galilee where they will see him. The women set off to tell the other disciples. On their way the risen Jesus appears to them and charges them to tell his brothers to go to Galilee. So the women set off again, setting up the final scene of Matthew’s gospel, Sunday’s gospel reading.

In his final action Jesus commissions his key disciples to extend his mission beyond Israel to all peoples. In this farewell commission Jesus charges the eleven to keep teaching and challenge all people to learn and live the word he first taught in Galilee in the sermon on the mount—bless the poor, to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, love one’s enemies as well as one’s friends, family, and neighbors, care for the least as they would him. Matthew wants Christians to see Jesus as the new Moses, the new authoritative teacher and lawgiver for the new era.

The eleven disciples go to Galilee at the women’s direction. The women animate these men disciples who fled at Jesus’ arrest. Some of the eleven doubt even as the risen Jesus commissions them. We know they did take up Jesus’ mission.
 
What sermon does your Christian life teach? Who do you see energizing Jesus’ mission in our world today? 

Gospel Reflection for May 17, 2020 – 6th Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings: Acts 8.5-8,14-17; 1 Peter 3.15-18; John 14.15-21

“Jesus continues speaking to his disciples. ‘You know the Spirit because the Spirit abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you’.” – John 14.17-20

Jesus speaks to his disciples’ most primal fear—separation, abandonment, aloneness, death itself. Our news calls us to bravery and kindness in the face of fear today.

In Sunday’s gospel Jesus talks with his friends after their last supper together. Looking beyond his death to his risen presence, Jesus promises his friends a new relationships with him. The pervasive power of God’s love means there is nowhere we can go where the Spirit is not.

Loving one another identifies us as Jesus’ disciples. Loving one another puts us in relationship with Jesus, his Father, and the Spirit who abides in us.

The intangible bonds of love, friendship, discipleship last. The small and large gestures that make love visible last. Tenderness lasts and gets passed down generations in parents’ care for their kids, in friends’ presence in difficult times.

Jesus entrusts his first disciples and us with his mission to invest our hearts and hands in families and friends and extend them beyond, building an ever-widening human community. As we experience our interdependence day by day during the pandemic, let us transform our fear for ourselves into love for one another.

How are you experiencing the presence of God in others’ love for you and your love for them?

Evolution Revealing God’s Creative and Sustaining Love

Cosmos cards are a simple and touching way to tell the story to those near and dear to you. Each of the 25 postcards has a fact about one of God’s creative moves. And a message to us: You are loved. These are cards ready to mail as a postcard for someone who needs a regular reminder that God is with him or her. Or use them for meditation.

$15.00 for all 25 cards. Order online at goodgroundpress.com or by calling Lacy at 800-232-5533.


Check out more of our cards, books, and free online retreats at goodgroundpress.com.

Nourish your spirit

Summer is near. Hammocks sag with cocooning readers. Bring a Holy Women book along to your favorite reading place. Discover in art, scholarship, reflection, and prayer each gospel woman’s significance. View sample pages of Holy Women of Luke’s Gospel and Holy Women, Full of Grace. Order online at goodgroundpress.com or call 800-232-5533. We have orders in the mail the next day.

Gospel Reflection for May 10, 2020 – 5th Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings: Acts 6.1-7, 1 Peter 2.4-9; John 14.1-12

Jesus spoke to his disciples. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God and believe in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions.…Philip asked Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied,”All this time I have been with you, Philip, and you  still do not know me? Whoever sees me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” – John 14.1-2, 8-19

The community that gives us John’s gospel lived Jesus’ teachings for more than two generations before the gospel took written form late in the first century. These believers experienced Jesus’ absence after his ascension and his presence in the Holy Spirit and in their Eucharistic gatherings. Like us they wonder how Jesus is with us, especially when we die.

The noun in Greek that we translate dwelling places, or mansions in older translations, comes from the verb μευν, which means to abide, remain, stay, last. John’s gospel tells us that to be in Jesus is also to be in relationship to the Father, to abide in God, to dwell in God.

Jesus explains to Thomas that he is the way, the truth, and the life. He embodies and reveals who God is. Philip doesn’t get it. For Philip, Jesus repeats, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus seems a little exasperated with Philip but his questions are like our own.

In his life Jesus reveals love, healing, and forgiveness as God’s way, truth, and life. To believe in Jesus is to let his words and promises take up residence in us. In faith we do Jesus’ works and embrace the people of our globe with compassion. We dwell not just in God’s house but in God’s love.

How does Jesus stay with you? When have you sensed the Spirit stirring you in loving actions and in dealing with what you regret?

Live simply. Live prayerfully. Live in peace.

Living Like Francis Today puts you in touch with the God of love and mercy Pope Francis wants us to know. Each of the six short chapters begins and ends with a simple prayer from scripture or from the writing of St. Francis. Short reflections invite you to apply the themes in your own life. Read a sample chapter. Then call us to order copies for you and your seeker friends. Living Like Francis is only $5.50 per copy. Order online at goodgroundpress.com. We will put your books in the mail the same day we get your order.


Now is the time to order small note cards with envelopes for only $1.50 each. Two Sister of St. Joseph artists – Ansgar Holmberg and Joanne Emmer – have created images of life, light, and beauty for you. Go to goodgroundpress.com to choose the cards you need.

Gospel Reflection for May 3, 2020 – 4th Sunday of Easter

Sunday Readings: Acts 2.14,36-41; 1 Peter 2.20-25; John 10.1-10

“I came that my sheep might have life and have it more abundantly.” – John 10.10

John’s gospel makes an extended allegory in chapter 10 about shepherds, sheep, and gates. The intimacy between shepherd and sheep suggests insight into the relationship between Jesus and believers. The sheep know the shepherd’s voice. shepherd knows the sheep and calls them by name. The shepherd and sheep walk together, live together, make life possible for each other.

The Greek verb poimano means to herd, to lead, to tend sheep.

To herd is the work of gathering and keeping sheep together.

To lead is the work of finding pasture and water and taking the sheep to places where they can thrive. A shepherd walks in front of a flock; the sheep imprint and follow.

To tend means staying alert, watching, paying constant attention to every sheep, to their condition and to threats. Anyone who has worked as a life guard at a community pool or beach knows the active attention that tending demands.

In his work to be a good shepherd, Pope Francis outlines four guides for walking with people in their spiritual lives and leading them to put their faith and the stirrings of the Holy Spirit into action:

1. Time is greater than space. To build and develop character or communities requires time and process. Time makes all the difference in growth, in building peace.

2. Unity is greater than conflict. “The Spirit can harmonize every diversity,” Pope Francis writes in his encyclical Laudato Si’ about healing Earth. We humans are all creatures of Earth. We can overcome our differences and come together to repair our common home. What we share offers greater potential than conflict for healing.

3. Realities are greater than ideas. In his exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis envisions Christian life and marriage unfolding as a process and divorced people needing ongoing support rather than being cut off from the Church community. People need time to open their hearts to grace.

4. The whole is greater than the part. This guide challenges us to see the world is both global and local. It calls us to broaden our horizons and see the greater good that will benefit us all, yet work on a small scale in our own neighborhood from both perspectives.

What kind of time have your gifts and the grace of the Spirit’s nudges needed in your life?

Gospel Reflection for April 26, 2020 – 3rd Sunday of Easter

Scripture Readings: Acts 2.14, 22-33; 1 Peter 1.17-21; Luke 24.13-35

“The two disciples urged the stranger, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening.’ …So the stranger went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened , and they recognized him, and he vanished from their sight.” – Luke 24.29-31

The two disciples who head home to Emmaus in Sunday’s gospel have experienced a terrible loss. As disciples, they wrapped their lives around Jesus, whom they expected would usher in the reign of God. Their hopes died with Jesus’ crucifixion. Their expectation that their journey with Jesus would end in earthly triumph blinds them to the presence of God in the unprecedented and bewildering events unfolding around them.

Emmaus lies seven miles from Jerusalem, a walk long enough for a transforming conversation. The walk represents a whole process of moving from loss to new life, from blindness to faith.

In the Emmaus story the risen Jesus becomes present to the two disciples first through interpreting scriptures together and then through breaking bread, the same ways Jesus becomes present in every Eucharist. In extending hospitality to the stranger, the two welcome a guest for supper who turns out to be their host at the last supper and whom we readers recognize as the host of every Eucharist.

When they recognize Jesus, he vanishes. They remember how their hearts burned when as the stranger explained the scriptures and revived their hopes. They invited the risen Jesus to stay with them.

In what ways does Jesus stay with you?

Honor the Earth

Today is a world-wide day to honor and support Earth. We suggest three websites to help you and your family think about your responsibility for our common home. May Earth Day be a blessing to you and may you be a blessing to Earth.

Catholic Climate Covenant: http://www.catholicclimatecovenant.org
Earth Day 2020: https://www.earthday.org/
Laudato Si, exhortation of Pope Francis. Especially chapter one.


Each of the Cosmos Cards has a fact about one of God’s creative moves and a blessing. These cards are ready to mail as a postcard for someone who needs a regular reminder that God is with him or her. $15 for all 25 cards. Order online.

An Amazing Journey is a discussion guide on the Universe Story. The book features 50 articles by leaders in this field. View the Table of Contents. Only $20! Order online.

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