Gospel Reflection for February 23, 2020, 7th Sunday Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings: Leviticus 19.1-2, 17-18; 1 Corinthians 3.16-23; Matthew 5.38-48

“You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for God makes the sun rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” – Matthew 5.43-45

After calling us to be salt and light in our world and contrasting the laws of Moses and the prophets with his new law, Jesus asks us in this Sunday’s gospel to commit to a level of self-giving like his own, to put ourselves at risk to transform the violence and hate others visit on us. These teachings are from Jesus’ sermon on the mount and show Israel’s moral standards evolving not only beyond an eye for an eye but also beyond to the golden rule—Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The golden rule makes us the measure of how to treat others. Jesus invites us to take God as our standard, God who makes the sun rise and the evil and the good. To respond to enemies and evil with conscious, gracious, undeserved compassion goes farther. To love our enemies is how a life-giving, loving, merciful God acts.

When have you made a neighbor of a seeming enemy? What capacities do others count on your to bring to conflicts? What is a choice that built up resentment in you?

Gospel Reflection for February 16, 2020, 6th Sunday Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings: Sirach 15.15-20; 1 Corinthians 2.6-10; Matthew 5.17-37

“Do not think I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill them.” – Matthew 5.17

Jesus reflects on Israel’s laws in Sunday’s gospel by inviting us to assess our inner attitudes. The fifth commandment says “You shall not kill.” Jesus wants us to recognize anger and insult can harm and even kill. Anger can be user-friendly in alerting us that we have choices to make. We feel anger when our expectation aren’t met, when someone puts us down, disses us, ignores our opinions, takes credit for an idea, boasts, hurts us or someone we love. We have choices about how we act on our feelings. Maybe we need to express anger directly to the person who didn’t meet our expectations and not spread anger around or hold grudges forever.

“You shall not commit adultery,” Jesus quotes the sixth commandment. He adds that looking lustfully at another’s spouse is the same. Desires can inspire us and sidetrack us. Desire for justice can put us to work to change polices but advertising plays with our desire for more in order to lure us to buy. Our bodies and spirit are not separate but one whole.  We must integrate our sexuality and spirituality. Jesus exhorts us to be single-hearted and honest in our marriage relationships. Christian community also depends on openness to wider friendships in which our embodied selves express love and concerns in handshakes, hugs, and kind actions.

Jesus brings up taking debtors to prison and swearing false oaths but nothing about friending and unfriending on Facebook or sorting the truth from lies in a global world that feeds on sensation and spin 24/7. We have our own reflection to pursue.

What rules from your family have gospel roots? What helps you deal with anger? How do you express love and care for others?


If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection, please visit the Sunday By Sunday page to order a subscription or to view sample issues. Start a small bible study. Be a leader.

4 ways to be ready for Lent!

1. The Lent/Easter issues of Sunday by Sunday. Nothing beats sharing the Gospel message with friends and family, especially during Lent. Our special price for the eight Lent/Easter issues is only $4.00 per person. To order call Lacy at 800-232-5533 or order online. We will ship them out the next day.

 

2. Download this cross from our Free Lent Resources page at goodgroundpress.com. A separate page lists color-coded activities to choose from. Do an activity and color a section of the Cross. By Easter you will have a joyful symbol of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

 

3. Teens created this cross of Lenten practices. Print it and post it in your home. Take turns finding an activity that’s right for each day. Or print a copy for each child and let them decide how to keep Lent in their own way.

 

4. New! The Gospels of Lent in art and prayer. “Use the eyes God gave you.” Lent 2020 makes seeing a way to reflect on the Sunday gospels of Lent. Art works magic. Places the seer in the gospel scenes. Pulls scattered thoughts into focus. Try it. View a sample page. Only $5. Order online at goodgroundpress.com or call Lacy at 800-232-5533.

We pray that Lent is filled with blessings for you.

Ash Wednesday is February 26th

Are you looking for a way to make this Lent transforming? Let the gospel lead you to Easter newness. Sunday by Sunday makes reflecting on the Sunday gospels easy.

You can receive all eight issues in our Lent unit for just $4.00 a person. Gather a group of friends or fellow parishioners to reflect together. When Easter comes, you will be glad you spent Lent with Gospels.

You can order online at goodgroundpress.com or call Lacy at 800-232-5533. We will put your order in the mail the next day.


 

“Use the eyes God gave you.” Lent 2020 makes seeing a way to reflect on the Sunday gospels of Lent. Art works magic. Places the seer in the gospel scenes. Pulls scattered thoughts into focus. View a sample page and order your copy today at goodgroundpress.com.

Gospel Reflection for February 2, 2020, Feast of the Presentation

Scripture Readings: Malachi 3.1-4; Hebrews 2.14-18; Luke 2.22-40

Simeon took the child Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying, “Now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation for the Gentiles and for glory to you people Israel.” – Luke 2.29-3

Expecting God’s promises to come true characterizes the faith of many in Luke’s gospel. Simeon awaits the consolation of Israel. The people to whom Anna speaks are looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. Cleopas tells the stranger who joins him on the road to Emmaus that he had hope Jesus was the one to redeem Israel (Luke 24.21).

The prophets through whom God promised consolation and redemption spoke in faith, not in foreknown fact. Israel’s prophets are not in the business of foretelling the future. They are affirming God’s faithfulness to the covenant relationship and threatening God’s judgment on all who worship other gods and take advantage of people who are poor. In the persons of Simeon and Anna a believing community welcomes Jesus in a very personal way. They recognize his promise and entrust him to believing parents, Mary and Joseph.

The act of presenting a firstborn son to God harkens back to the exodus events that founded Israel as a believing people. In the tenth plague, the angel of death destroyed every firstborn Egyptian child, the act that made Pharoah set the Hebrew slaves free. The law of Moses directs parents to remember God’s saving act by presenting all firstborn sons to God ever after.

How have you fulfilled the promise people saw in you? What wisdom do you hear from elders in your church?

NEW! The gospels of Lent in art and prayer

“Use the eyes God gave you.” Lent 2020 makes seeing a way to reflect on the Sunday gospels of Lent. Art works magic. Places the seer in the gospel scenes. Pulls scattered thoughts into focus. Try it. View a sample page.



Engage the questions, prayers, and practices. Even better, interest friends and neighbors in keeping Lent in this new way. Form a weekly group. “Where two or three are gathered, I will be with them,” Jesus says.

You can order the 12-page booklet for only $5.00 each. Call 800-232-5533 or order online at goodgroundpress.com.

Check out our Lent Resources!

Don’t let Lent 2020 go by without enriching the faith life of your parish, your friends, and yourself. Visit our Lent Resources page to check out FREE material ranging prayers to daily activities and practices that you and your family can do throughout the season. Retreats and Easter activities will be added soon!

Holy Women of Luke’s Gospel

Pray with Mary and Anna and other holy women of Luke’s Gospel. Sister Joan and Sister Ansgar collaborate to bring you the women’s stories in word and art. Ideal for sharing in small groups and families. Check out the book and read sample chapters at goodgroundpress.com.

Take time in Lent for holy reading

Reading spiritual books is a long tradition among Catholics, especially during Lent. We recommend these short and easy-to-read books for your Lenten reflection and prayer. Each of them is even better when you share it with friends, family, or a faith-sharing group.

Holy Women of the Gospel


These two books bring forward the stories of the women Jesus knew. Read the sample pages and imagine the group of women you want to share these stories with. 1-8 copies, $8.00; 11-99, $7.00.





Living Like Francis Today


In six short chapters this book describes Francis’s spirituality for today’s world. Prayer and reflection questions make it an occasion of grace when shared with others. $5.50.

 

Secrets of Prayer


This practical book suggests six ways of listening to God in prayer. Try one for each week of Lent. You will have a new sense of God in your life by Easter. $16.99.


 

Check out our Lenten resources page at goodgroundpress.com.

Gospel Reflection for January 26, 2020, 3rd Sunday Ordinary Time

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 8.23-9.3; 1 Corinthians 1.10-13, 17; Matthew 4.12-23

From the time John the Baptist’s arrest, Jesus began to proclaim, “Reform your lives! The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As Jesus walked along the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon known as Peter, and his brother Andrew, who were casting a net into the sea. They fished for a living. Jesus said to  them, “Come after me. I want you to fish for people. Peter and Andrew immediately left their nets and followed him. Jesus walked along farther and saw James and John, Zebedee’s sons. They were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father to follow him.” – Matthew 4.18-22

From the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus gathers companions. Peter, Andrew, James, and John respond to Jesus’ call. They abandon their boats and nets for a new vocation, a fishing for people.

Many Christians today may wonder why the four so unhesitatingly follow a man who just comes walking along the lake shore. The gospel writer Matthew is telling the story of the first disciples’ call more than 50 years later. Their initial response expresses the full commitment they grow into by participating in Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, they give their lives wholeheartedly to spreading the good news.of his new life.

Responding to Jesus’ friendship changes the lives of his disciples. It redirects them from casting nets for fish to gathering people into the Christian community. They follow Jesus as he preaches God’s nearness in their local synagogues and brings God near in healing the sick.

Who has called you to minister? How have you responded? How has your response changed your life?


If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection, please visit the Sunday By Sunday page to order a subscription or to view sample issues. Start a small bible study. Be a leader.

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