Gospel Reflection for November 3, 2019, 31st Sunday Ordinary Time

Sunday Readings: Wisdom 11.22-12.2; 2 Thessalonians 1.11-2.2; Luke 19.1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through the city. There was a man there named Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector and a wealthy man. He was trying to see who Jesus was but he could not see on account of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. I must stay at your house today.” – Luke 19.1-5

Zacchaeus is so curious about Jesus that he climbs a tree to get a look. His curiosity leads in the end to faith in Jesus and willingness to repay fourfold all those he has defrauded in his tax collecting for the Romans. By climbing the tree, Zacchaeus opens himself to meeting Jesus, who invites himself as a guest into Zacchaeus’s life, reversing roles with the chief tax collector, who as the homeowner ought to invite the itinerant preacher to his house. In befriending an outsider and a sinner, Jesus draws this less than upright tax collector into the mystery of God’s unconditional love. This is Jesus’ mission—to seek out and save the lost; to reach out and enter our lives.

When have you felt lost? Who found you? Who has brought you into a community of acceptance and love?  


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The Advent Names of God

 

The O Antiphons are the Church’s prayer of longing for the coming of the Lord. These seven prayer cards are beautifully illustrated by Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ, with poems by Joan Mitchell, CSJ. They come in a case which converts into an easel. Only $15, which includes shipping. View a sample card at goodgroundpress.com. Call 800-232-5533 to place your order or you can order online.

Check out our other Advent Resources at goodgroundpress.com!

 

Gospel Reflection for October 27, 2019, 30th Sunday Ordinary Time

Sunday Readings: Sirach 35.12-14,16-18; 2 Timothy 4.6-8,16-18; Luke 18.9-14

Two people went up to the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed these things concerning himself — “I give you thank, O God, that I am not like other people–greedy, unjust, adulterous–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give a tenth of all my income.” The tax collector, standing far off does not raise his eyes toward heaven. He beats his breast. “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” – Luke 18.10-13

The Pharisee’s prayer peeks in its first four words, then it’s all about him. He is a good man, observant but boastful. If he were a practicing Catholic today, he might be an usher, musician at Sunday Mass, religion teacher, and volunteer at a soup kitchen. Pharisees practiced their religion. The Pharisee in the parable uses his practices not to express his faith in God but to separate himself from sinners.

The tax collector is a stock outsider among gospel characters. Usually known for overcharging, the tax collector works for the occupying Romans, work that makes him ritually unclean. Who left worthy in God’s sight? In the parable Jesus answers the sinner rather than the Pharisee.

Professor Amy Jill Levine notes that the Greek preposition para, translated “rather than” in the parable, can also mean because of or alongside. What if the parable ended that this man, the tax collector, went home justified alongside the Pharisee or because of the him. This nuance calls us to recognize how we affect one another.

How does your prayer insulate you from others? How does your prayer connect you with 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.

The Advent Season

Advent is right around the corner! Check out our Advent Resources page to download free resources for your parish, family, and friends, order Sunday by Sunday, or to participate in a free online Advent retreat focusing on the holy women of the Gospels.

Gospel Reflection for October 20, 2019, 29th Sunday Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings: Exodus 17.8-13; 2 Timothy 3.14-4.2; Luke 18.1-8

“There was a judge in a certain city who neither feared God nor respected human beings.  A widow in that city kept coming to him and saying: ‘Take up my case.  Give me my just rights against my opponent.’ For a while the judge refused but finally he said to himself, ‘I neither fear God nor respect people, but this widow—she is wearing me out.  I will settle her case justly lest in the end she disgrace me.’” – Luke 18.3-5

When Luke writes the third gospel about A.D. 85, many Christians are wondering when and if Jesus will come again in glory. The parable of the persistent widow offers a model for these believers. She persists in seeking justice in the face of a callous judge. She’s not the nagging widow we once labeled her but a model of keeping on keeping on, a relentless activist. Justice is her purpose.

In the gospel Jesus also holds up the woman as an example of praying always and not losing heart. What justice does our nation and world most need? For example, our times call us to persist in ending the mass incarceration of black men who as felons after prison can’t ever vote or get jobs with any ease. Read Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

What justice do you seek? What evils does the judge represent that Christians must resist? Whose persistence do you admire?


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.

Prayer for the Burning Amazon Forest

Loving God, the Amazon is on fire!
We come before you with a heavy and contrite heart.
We know your heart must be deeply grieved
as you hear the cries of the innocent trees, creatures,
rivers and indigenous communities as their home burns.

We pray that in your mercy, you will forgive us
for our way of life, for we have created the markets
for beef, timber and minerals taken from the Amazon.

We pray that you will forgive those who have set the fires
in the Amazon, those who have cut down the ancient trees,
those who plunder its precious resources,
to fulfill human desire for things.

Oh God, your mercy is infinite.
Only your power can save us from choosing destruction,
Grant us your grace to turn to better and kinder ways of living.
Rain down your love to heal the scorched earth and its inhabitants.
May your love, justice and peace reign for all creation always.

In the name of your son, Jesus the Christ, we pray. Amen.

Prayer by Clare Westwood


Day 7 of the synod meeting in Rome features the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region. Follow this link to read what they say. Join your prayer with theirs.

Is Your Bible Study Ready to Go?

If you mean to start a bible study in your parish or among your friends, we can help. This fall the Sunday Gospels are all from Luke. We have three books that are bible-study friendly.

Luke’s Gospel: Written for Us is a short, easy to use introduction to Luke’s best parables and stories. Guaranteed to make any bible group one people won’t want to miss.

Holy Women of Luke’s Gospel is a bible study, a prayer book, and a visual way to reflect on Luke’s gospel.

Holy Women, Full of Grace, profiles the unique women of Mark’s gospel. Read a few sample pages and you will see how this book helps a group pray and reflect together.

You do not need a trained leader for these bible studies. Just a commitment to time together. Let us help you make this fall a time for growth in the gospel. 

Order online or call Lacy at 800-232-5533. Thank you!


Check out our website! Come to goodgroundpress.com for daily prayer, free online retreats, links to social justice websites, and free seasonal posters and family activities!

 

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