Pray the Advent Names of God

From childhood on, we have relied on Advent to bring us closer to God. This year Good Ground Press features Sister Ansgar’s Advent art in a 20-page prayer book. Click here to read the sample pages.

Advent Names of God is only $10.00, plus $4.00 shipping for orders of 1-10. Call 800-232-5533 to place your order, or order on our website – goodgroundpress.com.

Blessings on your Advent time.


We have plenty of other Advent resources. Visit goodgroundpress.com for the Advent gospels, posters, and free activities for your family and parish.

Gospel Reflection for November 7, 2021 – 32nd Sunday Ordinary Time

Sunday Readings: 1 Kings 17.10-16; Hebrews 9.24-28; Matthew 12.38-44

Jesus observed people putting money into the collection box. Many rich people put in large amounts of money. One poor widow came and dropped in two small copper coins, worth about a penny each. Jesus called his disciples. ‘I want you to observe that this poor widow gave more to the treasury than all the others. They gave from their loose change what they could spare. But she in her poverty gave pennies she had to live on.'” – Mark 12.38-44

In Mark 12 Jesus daily visits the temple courtyards and disputes controversial questions with other learned teachers. In Sunday’s gospel Jesus points out a widow who lives at the margins of her society yet models a generous faith. Others give more money. This woman supports the temple with its system of sacrifices and its hierarchy of priests with money she needs to live. With only a widow’s meager livelihood she acts as a full member of the religious community. He values the widow’s simple gift more than the scribes’ long, public prayers. The widow is like Jesus himself, who gives his entire life for love of God and neighbor.

What marks a wholehearted Christian in your experience?

Advent Begins in 3 weeks!

Take time to celebrate Advent this year. All you need to make this a holy time and a peaceful preparation for Christmas is:
     · a few minutes each day,
     · an open heart, and
     · a willingness to be surprised by God.
 
We can offer you some resources for your holy time.
     · Sunday by Sunday reflections on the Sunday readings
     · Advent Names of God, nine ways to ask God to come to you
     · Free resources for you to choose from for yourself and your family.
 
May all of us who gather this Advent to pray and reflect on the mystery of grace and love, also love and support each other. We at Good Ground Press are happy to be part of your Advent. Order online at goodgroundpress.com or call us at 800-232-5534.

Gospel Reflection for October 31, 2021 – 31st Sunday Ordinary Time

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

A scribe asked Jesus, “What is the greatest of all the commandments?” Jesus answered, “The greatest of all the commandments is ‘Hear, O Israel! The Holy One your God is God alone. Therefore, love the Lord your God with all your heart, 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,’ No other commandments are greater than these.” – Mark 12.29-31

For Jesus, as for all good Jews, no religious obligation is more sacred than keeping 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. The scribe aims to entrap Jesus to pick one of the commands as the greatest and set him up to be soft on all the others.

But Jesus chose wisely. What his life boils down to are words his original audience knew well, the Shema, the daily prayer of Jews. “Hear, O Israel! The Holy One your God is God alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

These words come out of the Hebrew bible. These are the words in the mezuzot Jews have posted on their doorways for centuries. These are the words that ultra-orthodox Jews keep bound to their wrists and foreheads. These are words of love: for God, for neighbor, and for self. The scribe who asks the questions agrees with Jesus’ response. The ultimate purpose for Israel’s faith and their laws is love.

When all is said and done, what really matters to you? How apparent are these values in your life?

Gospel Reflection for October 24, 2021 – 30th Sunday Ordinary Time

Sunday Readings: Jeremiah 31.7-9; Hebrews 5.1-6; Mark 10.46-52
 
“Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting by the road. When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was coming, he began to shout, “Jesus!  Son of David! Have mercy on me!”… Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go you way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the way.” – Mark 10.46-47, 51-52
 
Bartimaeus affirms Jesus is the messiah when he calls out, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” “Son of David” is a title that identifies Jesus as the long-anticipated king from David’s royal line.
 
Like many of Jesus’ followers, Bartimaeus is poor and inconsequential; he lives on the roadside of his society. Yet the early Christians storytellers remember him by name for becoming a ready disciple. Perhaps as Bartimaeus sat begging he heard people talk about Jesus. His shouting gets Jesus’ attention and expresses faith in him.  
 
Even before Jesus heals his blindness, Bartimaeus throws away his cloak, in which he probably collected the money passersby threw his way. He leaves the trappings of a life of begging, ready to follow Jesus. He accepts the call to discipleship before Jesus gives it. His desire to see transforms Bartimaeus from beggar to disciple.

Bible Study: The Gospel of Luke

Everyone remembers a good Bible study. They remember what they learned about a portion of the scriptures, but also how they also shared faith, made new friends, and left with more hope in their hearts. We begin hearing Luke’s story of Jesus’ good news in Advent and continue throughout all of January and February. This is an ideal time to have Luke be the focus of your Bible study.
 
The easy-to-use format of Luke’s Gospel: Written for Us, by Sister Joan, makes Luke’s witness to Jesus’ life and teaching available in nine short chapters. It encourages us ordinary readers to become active bible readers as we explore the themes of the passages we hear at Mass.
 
This book is only $10.00 per copy. Call 800-232-5533 or go to goodgroundpress.com to order. 


Holy Women of Luke’s Gospel makes a great companion book to Luke’s Gospel: Written for Us. Discover in art, scholarship, reflection, and prayer each gospel woman’s significance. Order online at goodgroundpress.com.

Friday Poem

Daisies 

by Mary Oliver

It is possible, I suppose, that sometime,
we will learn everything
there is to learn: what the world is, for example,
and what it means. I think this as I am crossing
from one field to another, in summer, and the
mockingbird is mocking me, as one who either
knows enough already or knows enough to be
perfectly content not knowing. Song being born
of quest he knows this: he must turn silent
were he suddenly assaulted with answers. Instead
oh hear his wild, caustic, tender warbling ceaselessly
unanswered. At my feet the white-petalled daisies display
the small suns of their centerpiece, their — if you don’t
mind my saying so — their hearts. Of course
I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and
narrow and hidden in the roots. What do I know.
But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain; what the sun
lights up willingly; for example — I think this
as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch — 
the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the
daisies for the field.


Visit goodgroundpress.com for daily prayers, Advent resources, and free online retreats.

Gospel Reflection for October 17, 2021 – 29th Sunday Ordinary Time

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 53.10-11; Hebrews 4.14-16; Mark 10.35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, asked Jesus, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” Jesus said, “What is it you want me to do for you?” “When you sit on your throne in your glorious kingdom, we want to sit with you, one at your right and one at your left.” “But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They answered, “We can.– Mark 10.35-39

Three times Jesus tells those who are journeying with him to Jerusalem that he will suffer, die, and rise after three days. Each time Jesus’ disciples object. First, Peter and Jesus scolds him. The second time lead to talk among the disciples about who is greatest. Sunday’s gospel describes what happens after Jesus’ third attempt to correct their image of the kind of messiah he is.

Each prediction widens the irony between hearers of the gospels like us, who know how Jesus’ story turns out, and disciples within the narrative like James and John, who don’t have a clue who Jesus really is and what following Jesus will demand of them. Mark’s gospel deliberately makes Jesus’ inner circle of disciples — Peter, James, and John — unenlightened about the meaning of discipleship.

James and John imagine the glory of following the messiah, the victories, the status, the revival of the nation. They seek the top positions in Jesus’ kingdom at his right hand and left hand. Jesus recognizes that the two brothers don’t know what they are asking. Jesus question them, “Can you drink the cup I will drink?” They respond with brash certainty, “We can.”

James and John imagine sharing a cup of victory, not of suffering. When Jesus prays in the garden, they sleep; when Jesus is arrested, they flee. Yet, they are also right about themselves; they do give their lives to spreading the good new of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Mark wants us to recognize that Jesus’ first disciples grow into their commitment as we can.

This brash commitment, possemus, in Latin; we can, in English, is the motto of the Sisters of St. Joseph. At every eucharist we drink the cup that Jesus drank. We brashly say amen, affirming this is the lifeblood of Christ poured out for us. It becomes part of us, a commitment to live into each day.

What are your spiritual ambitions? To what have you said a brash yes and only later discovered it demanded more than you anticipated?

A Christmas Gift for Your Whole Parish

This Advent begins Luke’s story of Jesus’ good news. What if everyone in your parish didn’t just hear the Sunday scriptures at Mass, but had them on their phone or their laptop? What if you gave each of them the gift of Sunday by Sunday.

Sunday by Sunday not only brings the Sunday readings but adds prayer, reflection, and questions that help relate the scriptures to our daily lives. What a gift for anyone seeking God!

Our special Advent pricing means you can easily afford to give Sunday by Sunday to every parishioner. For just $100.00 ($50.00 for small parishes), we will provide you with a password that anyone can use for the six Sunday by Sunday Advent and Christmas season issues. You can include the password in an email, print it in your bulletin, send it any way you like to as many people as you like. Sunday by Sunday is good for teens, too, and Confirmation candidates.

Go to goodgroundpress.com and click on the Special Advent Offer on the home page. Place your order online or call us at 800-232-5533 with any questions. Thank you.

May you be blessed by St. Francis this week

Francis lived a life of peace, joy, and simplicity. He loved and served poor and throwaway people. He has made his way down the centuries into our hearts.

May you be blessed with the heart of Francis today. “Remember,” he said, “your life may be the only sermon someone will hear today.” Trust Francis to be with you as you live this day. 

Living Like Francis Today is a short faith-sharing book of Francis’s spirituality. Read a sample chapter. Only $5.50. Order your copy online at goodgroundpress.com or by calling 800-232-5533. Find a friend to share the book with. You’ll be glad you did.

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