Tag Archives: community

Gospel Reflection for August 25, 2019, 21st Sunday Ordinary Time

23 Aug

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 66.18-21; Hebrews 12.5-7, 11.13; Luke 13.22-30

Someone asked Jesus, “Teacher, will only a few be saved?” Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able” – Luke 13.34

A doorway or threshold is a liminal space. The word limen means threshold, literally, the timber or stone that lies under a door. This space between inside and outside is transitional space, the boundary where one crosses between worlds and where imagination plays with who we may become.

The empty Easter tomb is a liminal space, the threshold between life as we know it and life as Jesus promises it. The stone has been rolled back. The open tomb calls us to faith.

Jesus opens not only the narrow door of his own self-giving but also the wider challenge of loving our neighbors. In Luke’s narrative Jesus presses his followers to invest in the poor rather than build bigger granaries. Both Jesus’ narrow and wide doors teach demanding, other-centered ethics. His way calls us to alleviate our fears by giving alms, to handle conflict by turning the other cheek, to carry people’s burdens an extra mile, to love even our enemies.

Each of us lives in a now when the door to commitment is open.

What more is Jesus asking of you? What door do you want to open or shut? What door to a neighbor do you want to open this week? 


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.

Cultivating the Wisdom of Vatican II

31 Jul

Sister Joan has written five two-page summaries of the teaching of this extraordinary council. Click here to read and download this free online retreat. Find a friend to talk with. Or put a notice in your parish bulletin calling people together around this topic.

Gospel Reflection for July 14, 2019, 15th Sunday Ordinary Time

8 Jul

Sunday Readings: Deuteronomy 30.10-136)?4; Colossians 1.15-20; Luke 10.25-37

“Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the man who fell in with the robbers?”  – Luke 10.25-37

Compassion may be understood as the capacity to be attracted to and moved by the vulnerability of someone else. It requires the willingness to risk, to stop and share one’s strengths and vulnerability, rather than rushing on with our own preoccupations or stereotypes. As Jesus’ story shows, compassion is the opposite of a priest’s self-righteousness and a Levite’s apathy.

Compassion is a movement of the heart. It includes sensitivity to what is weak and wounded as well as the courage to allow oneself to be affected by another’s pain. Who can take away suffering without entering into it? How can we help to heal someone else’s wounds if we have not begun to accept our own. Compassion also demands action — the type that takes time or even makes time — to help change persons and structures that sometimes blindly exclude or marginalize.

What experiences in your life make it difficult to feel compassionate? What experiences have taught you compassion and the need to be less judgmental? 


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.

Gospel Reflection for July 7, 2019, 14th Sunday Ordinary Time

2 Jul

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 66.19-14; Galatians 6.14-18; Luke 10.1-9 

“Jesus appointed 72 other missionaries and sent them in pairs ahead of him to every town and place he intended to visit.”  – Luke 10.1

Jesus asks of new disciples the same radical, itinerant way of life he models on the way to Jerusalem. His followers will have no place to lay their heads, no duties more important than preaching the gospel and bringing its healing power among the people, and no family ties deeper than the faith that unifies those who believe in Jesus and do God’s will. Jesus advises no walking staff,  no traveling bag, no sandals, no visiting along the way. A disciple cannot posses much less than this. However, Jesus’ rules presume local communities of Christians that welcome the radical, itinerant missionaries. The greeting, “Peace to this house, is the test. Missionaries stay with anyone who reciprocates the greeting.

Who brought the good news of God’s nearness to you? To whom has you handed it on? 


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.

Image

Check out our website!

19 Jun

Gospel Reflection for May 5, 2019, 3rd Sunday of Easter

2 May

Sunday Readings: Acts 5.27-32, 40-41; Revelation 5.11-14; John 21.1-19

Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to his disciples and did the same with the fish. This marked the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after being raised from the dead. When they had eaten their meal, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Peter responded, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs” – John 21.12-1

Jesus repeats his command to Peter three times. Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep. Peter receives a responsibility but not a superior role. The flock belongs to Jesus. Peter’s duty is to keep the sheep in the love that Jesus taught them, the love Jesus demonstrated in laying down his life for his friends.

Jesus’ last words to Peter are “Follow me.” The only way Peter can follow the risen Jesus is to follow his ways of love and care for Jesus’ flock. By the time John writes the fourth gospel, Peter has been dead for several decades, martyred in A.D. 64. Hearers of the gospel know that Peter lived out his answer to Jesus’ question.

What needs does a community of believers have? What tending, what nourishing does a community need?


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.

Gospel Reflection for March 24, 2019, 3rd Sunday of Lent

21 Mar

Gospel Reflection for March 24, 2019, 3rd Sunday of Lent

Sunday Readings: Exodus 3.1-8, 13-15; 1 Corinthians 10.1-6,10-12; Luke 13.1-9

Jesus spoke a parable. A man had a fig tree, came looking for figs, but found none. He said to the gardener, “For three years I have come looking for figs and found none. Cut it down. . .” The gardener said, “Sir, leave it one more year while I hoe around it and manure it.  Perhaps then it will bear figs.” – Luke 13.7-8

How do we see ourselves in Jesus’ parable? What to do with a tree that bears no fruit? Who likes to cut down a tree? If we think of the gardener as God, then God is nurturing, caring more about another chance to bear fruit than cutting it down. If we think of the tree as ourselves or our children, who doesn’t need or won’t give another chance to grow? A fourth, a fifth?

In the Old Testament steadfast, generative love is God’s signature characteristic. Sunday’s responsorial psalm provides one of the most famous descriptions of God: “Merciful and gracious is the Holy One, slow to anger and abounding in kindness” (103.8).

Our daily interactions cultivate conversion. Like the gardener we nourish and encourage one another. Listening to others can cultivate the fruit of compassion or courage or insight. Other believers can freshen our commitments.

In what ways are you like the owner of the fig tree? In what ways like the gardener? What or whom will you give one more chance to bear fruit? What special care with this require?


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.

Gospel Reflection for October 14, 2018, 28th Sunday Ordinary Time

9 Oct

Sunday Readings: Wisdom 7.7-11; Hebrews 4.12-13; Mark 10.17-27

“You need do only one thing more.”  – Mark 10.21

The young man in Sunday’s gospel wants to know what he can do to receive eternal life. Jesus names six of the ten commandments–no to killing, adultery, stealing, giving false witness, and cheating, and yes to honoring one’s parents. The young man claims he has kept the commandments since he was a child. This is when Jesus tells him, “You need do only one thing more.” So, what is it, the one thing more?

Jesus’ answers, “Sell your possessions and give the money to the poor.” This is the way to build treasure in heaven. What could be more opposite American wisdom, which tells us to invest in Wall Street expertise and let wealth managers build us a happy retirement? Wouldn’t doing as Jesus’ says literally make us one of the poor? In a moneyed society like ours, it is irresponsible not to take care of one’s self and family. Repeated advertisements say so.

What if Jesus is pointing out that we are all human beings together here on Earth? We are separate individuals but from day one we can’t live without care from others. We can’t thrive without solidarity with one another, without bonds among us. Not all of us get face cards in the hands life deals us.

Jesus is suggesting that our possessions may possess us rather than the well-being of family, neighbors, friends, employees, coworkers. As committed Christians we are brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ and one another and of those who need a living wage, who don’t speak English, who need food for their kids on the weekend, who need medication for chronic diseases, whose skin color scares us? The Second Vatican Council said a startling thing. We are not saved as individuals but through the bonds among us that form us into a people (Constitution on the Church 9). Jesus challenges us to build a community that love holds together.

What is “one thing more” you want to commit to do?


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

Gospel Reflection for September 2, 2018, 22nd Sunday Ordinary Time

30 Aug

Scripture Readings: Deuteronomy 4.1-2,6-8; James 1.17-18,21-22,27; Mark 7.1-8,14-15, 21-23

“You forsake the commandment of God and hold to human tradition…It is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come.” – Mark 7.8, 21

Rules tend to multiply, and traditions accumulate. The Pharisees in Sunday’s gospel question why Jesus’ disciples do not follow Jewish traditions about washing their hands. In response Jesus raises a vital question: Are these rules human made or God-given? Do these rules lead people to God? Or, do these rules create unnecessary burdens? Jesus defends as more essential the moral law that declares greed, arrogance, deceit, murder, and adultery unholy. Declaring that the dietary laws have outlived their usefulness sets Jesus apart from all the authorities in the temple and synagogue. Laws like those of the Pharisees and many of the customs of the pre-Vatican II Church create a fence that was meant to keep people from even thinking about real hurtful, evil, destructive sins. Sunday’s gospel asks us to evaluate whether our rules help us become holy, open our hearts, and keep us from arrogance and obtuse spirits.

What rule do you practice that keeps your heart open to God and neighbor?


If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection, please visit the Sunday By Sunday page to order a subscription or request a free sampleStart a small bible study. Be a leader.

%d bloggers like this: