Tag Archives: Catholic

Gospel Reflection for September 14, 2014, Exaltation of the Holy Cross

8 Sep

“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

John 3.14

 Sunday’s gospel refers to Jesus’ crucifixion as a “lifting up.”  Being lifted up condenses within a single verb the whole paschal mystery—Jesus’ crucifixion and death, his resurrection and return to God.  Ironically, the lifting up to put Jesus to death has the opposite effect; it lifts him and us to new life—to life with God.

Jesus saves us by showing us how to love one another.  We can listen to one another’s stories, share one another’s hurts, and lift one another’s spirits. Christians believe new life is possible.  Easter happens many times a day in our listening, laughing, forgiving, sharing together.  The risen Jesus lives and saves us in our love for one another.

How do you continue the love of God and God’s Son for the world?

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Gospel Reflection for August 17, 2014, 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

12 Aug

“It’s not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

Matthew 15.26

 

Perhaps it is the rudeness of Jesus’ words that impels Matthew to edit Mark’s earlier version of this story.  Matthew provides a reason for Jesus’ refusal to help this Gentile woman, whose daughter is tormented by a demon.  Jesus’ mission is solely “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Matthew also makes the woman clearly a believer.  She addresses Jesus as messiah, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David.” Her faith is the reason Jesus frees her daughter and includes her in his mission.  Matthew makes specific that the table from which the woman seeks crumbs is the messiah or master’s table.

In Mark the woman sasses back when Jesus refuses to free her daughter of an unclean spirit and refers to her as a Gentile dog.  The woman says, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”  It is for saying that Jesus frees her daughter.

She counters the prejudice against her with the truth of her experience.  Unlike Jews for whom dogs were unclean, this Gentile woman has dogs as well as children at her table.  Her comeback makes space for all.

What boundaries or prejudices have you encountered and broken down?

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Gospel Reflection for July 27, 2014, 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

23 Jul
The kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.  When it is full, they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good in buckets.  What is bad they throw away.

Matthew 13.47-48


Matthew never knows when to quit.  Rather than end his chapter full of parables with the promise of a hundredfold yield or with the farmer and merchant who find their treasure, Matthew includes in chapter 13 the story of a net full of fish that need sorting.  Perhaps the Christians for whom he wrote are sorting themselves out.  Some choose to open their hearts as good ground to receive Jesus’ word.  Perhaps some cannot see in Jesus a treasure worth their lives and wholehearted commitment.

Jesus’ parables don’t boss us.  Instead parables challenge us to work on what they reveal about ourselves.  They call us to throw out the useless in our lives and embrace all that gives life.

What treasure do you seek?  What does it reveal about you?

 

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One Year of Pope Francis

20 Mar

On the day it was announced that Jorge Bergoglio was elected, the immediate reaction was, “Francis! Oh this is Revolutionary!”

A year later, we reflect. Is Pope Francis revolutionary?

He asks for our prayers before he blesses us. He hugs us, appears in selfies with youth and washes our feet. He continues to look to Pope Benedict for guidance. He speaks and acts with candor and charisma. Time named Francis Person of the Year in 2013, calling him “the people’s pope.” He also made the cover of Rolling Stone. He seems to know he is human like us. He speaks with reporters. He will set up a commission to deal with the sex scandals and abuse. He calls an elderly woman who had lost a child monthly to comfort her. He has spoken out against priests who belittle congregants. He invited homeless men to his home to celebrate his birthday. When asked about gay priests, he said, “Who am I to judge?”

In addition to showing signs of a more tolerant church and putting ministry to the poor at the forefront, Pope Francis is also clearly concerned with making the church accessible to all people on the margins. It is an echo of the action of the other Francis, the man of Assisi, rebuilding the church of Jesus,” Father Joel Camaya says. “Perhaps it is not a mere coincidence that his pontificate coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. If Vatican II opened the windows for the spring air to come in, the papacy of Pope Francis opens the doors for the church and her pastors to go out.”

Gayle Trotter adds about Pope Francis, “The fabulous thing about Pope Francis is that he challenges everybody. If you hear him from whatever perspective it is – left, right, observant, nonobservant, Protestant, Muslim – if you hear him and you are not challenged, then you’re not really listening to him.”

Some argue that many of his actions covered heavily in the media do not actually give us signs as to what his lasting affect will be as pope. It is also being reported that worldwide, Catholics seem to be excited to be Catholic. What do you think? After one year in the papacy, is Pope Francis revolutionary? 

Feminism in Faith

12 Mar

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, I wanted to promote Buzzfeed’s article Feminism in Faith: Four Women Who Are Revolutionizing Organized Religion.

Sister Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ

Sister Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ

The article highlights four women working within their faith community to bring about change:

Sara Hurwitz: the first publicly ordained Orthodox Jewish Rabba

Kate Kelly: an attorney getting the issue of ordination of Mormon women in the public eye

Elizabeth Johnson: a Catholic feminist theologian, nun and professor working for female ordination

Zainah Anwar: a Muslim journalist and advocate working to reinterpret the Qur’an’s verses that lead to taking multiple wives and beating wives

The article asks:

Why bother? Why fight? If you’re an educated feminist who was born into such a religion, why not convert to another that doesn’t relegate women to a second-class status? For each of these women, the answer relates to not only her devotion to her own faith, but to her community. This is no small thing: By a rough estimation, there are nearly a billion and a half women on Earth who are Orthodox Jewish, Mormon, Catholic, or Muslim.

Take a moment today to learn more about these women who are working for equality in their faith communities.

Who would you add to the list?

Gospel Reflection for February 9, 2014, 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

3 Feb

Jesus said, “No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel basket.  The place for a lamp is on a stand where it gives light to all in the house.” 

Matthew 5:15

Jesus compares his disciples to light.  People made lamps in Jesus’ day from clay.  Household lamps were small enough for those in the family to carry them in the palms of their hands.  To get the most illumination, a family would set a lamp on a stand.

Roman rule kept Jewish people subjugated with little hope of being full active human beings.  Jesus encourages his disciples to be like lamps in the darkness.  He challenges them to stand tall and share their illumination with others.  As disciples today, the gospel challenges us to illuminate our society.


Describe a time when you have been a light for others.

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Gospel Reflection for February 2, 2014, Feast of the Presentation

27 Jan
An old man, Simeon, received and blessed Jesus when Mary and Joseph presented him at the temple. “Lord, you can let your servant go in peace; you have fulfilled your word.  My eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared before all the nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Luke 2.29-32

The Old Testament prophets through whom God promises consolation and redemption speak in faith, not in foreknown fact.  They affirm God’s faithfulness to the covenant relationship and threaten God’s judgment on all who worship other gods and take advantage of the poor.  These prophets and their hearers have to wait to see how God’s promises come true.  In Simeon’s eyes Jesus fulfills God’s promises.  His prophetic prayer describes Jesus as both the glory of Israel and a light of revelation to all peoples.

What promises have you inherited from earlier generations in the Church, in your families, in our country?  How do these promises sustain you?  How do you sustain them?

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Gospel Reflection for November 17, 2013, 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

13 Nov

Jesus asks, “Take care not to be misled.  Many will come in my name saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is at hand.’ Do not run after them.”

Many people speak in Jesus’ name today, quoting passages like Sunday’s gospel. Luke is writing his gospel for people like us, living in the time between Jesus’ two comings, his birth and his coming in glory.  Jesus insists Christians can face terrifying events.  Faith is not certainty.  But it is trust that no other than Jesus, who passed through death to life, offers words for eternal life.  Faith in Jesus is our deepest anchor and surest model for enduring the shifts and swells of social and personal upheaval.

What most threatens the calm of your world?

What is your experience of being an outsider?

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Gospel Reflection for November 10, 2013, 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

5 Nov
Jesus said, “God is not God of the dead but of the living.  All are alive to God.” 

Luke 20.38


In Sunday’s gospel a Sadducee poses a question to Jesus regarding the law of Moses.  The law states a man is to marry his brother’s widow if she is childless.  The Sadducee presents a case in which a widow has married seven brothers but never had children.  Who will be her husband in the afterlife?

Jesus’ statement recognizes the Sadducee’s real issue has nothing to do with the hypothetical case of a woman with seven husbands but focuses on the denial of resurrection.  He dismisses the Sadducee’s assumption that life in the resurrection will be identical to life on earth.  Jesus argues from the book of Exodus that the God who spoke to Moses in the burning bush claimed to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who lived long before Moses.  Thus God is God of the living.

When  do you use the bible to debate points of doctrine?

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

29 Oct

Jesus asks, “Today salvation has come to this house for he, too, is a son of Abraham.  The Son of Man has come to seek out and save the lost.”

Luke 19.9-10

Jesus’ final statement in the gospel makes his mission clear: he comes to seek out and save the lost.  Jesus draws Zacchaeus, the marginalized tax collector, into the mystery of God’s unconditional love.  In response Zacchaeus pledges the almsgiving that marks a true Jew, a son of Abraham—half his possessions to people who are poor.  He promises to repay anyone he has defrauded fourfold.  Neither the law nor his greed isolate Zacchaeus any longer.

What is your experience of being an outsider?


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