Tag Archives: faith

Gospel Reflection for July 28, 2019, 17th Sunday Ordinary Time

22 Jul

Sunday Readings: Genesis 18.20-32; Colossians 2.12-14; Luke 11.1-13

“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” – Luke 11.9

To pray that God’s name be hallowed and that God’s kingdom come is to acknowledge that all barriers to love must be dissolved. Anything that separates race from race, rich from poor, gender from gender, age group from age group, Christian from non-Christian is a barrier to the holiness God wishes to share with believers. Biases have no place in the community that names God our Father.

Jesus calls us to preserve in prayer. God is more gracious that a friend who reluctantly gets up in the night to help us, but God’s graciousness does not guarantee that we get what we want. We may not receive what we ask for; we may instead discover more than we were looking for or be surprised at what’s behind the door on which we are knocking.

What are you seeking in prayer? What have you found? 


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Tiny Retreat #2: Hildegard of Bingen

9 Jul

Hildegard of Bingen: Patron saint of green and growing

Hildegard was only five years old in 1098 when her parents brought her, their tenth child, to the monastery of St. Disibode. A holy woman named Jutta took the little girl in and taught her Latin and music so she could sing the psalms with the monks and nuns. Jutta also taught Hildegard everything she knew about herbal medicine. At age 15, Hildegard decided to follow the Benedictine way and become a nun. When Jutta died, Hildegard became the prioress of the community.

Hildegard was a mystic, a person who experiences extraordinary communion with God. Hildegard wrote down her understandings of God in vivid pictures. Many women were attracted to her teaching about God and came to join her monastery, which grew so large that Hildegard started another monastery near Bingen, a nearby city. She continued to write and teach. Here is one of her poems.

Again I am in turmoil.

Should I speak, or must I be silent?

I feel like a gnarled old tree, withered and crooked and flaky.

All the stories of the years are written on my branches.

The sap is gone, the voice is dead.
 


But I long to make again a sacred sound.

I want to sound out God

I want to be a young juicy, sap-running tree

So that I can sing God as God knows how.
 


O God, you gentle viridity

O Mary, honeycomb of life

O Jesus, hidden in sweetness as flowing honey,

Release my voice again.
 


I have sweetness to share.
I have stories to tell.

I have God to announce.

I have green life to celebrate.

I have rivers of fire to ignite.

Hildegard make up the word viridity. It means greening, the life power of God that is in everything. For Hildegard the Word of God is greening; it has the power to create Christians. A tree growing and branching out is greenness in motion. Love is green. Jesus is greenness incarnate. Sin is not green. Sin is drying up, losing one’s ability to create.

• Read the first two verses of the poem again. When have you felt your sap is gone, your voice dead? What or who helped you know you could sing again?

• Does Hildegard’s way of calling on God, on Mary, on Jesus resonate with you? Can you read the last verse of the poem as your own song?

If Hildegard were alive today, she would sing about God’s work in the unfolding of creation in evolution. “O Holy Spirit” she writes, “you make life alive, you move in all things, you are the root of all created being, you waken and reawaken everything that is.”
 
For her teaching, Pope Benedict named Hildegard a Doctor of the Church. This means she is one of the Catholic Church’s greatest teachers. There are four women Doctors—St. Hildegard, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Therese of Lisieux.

• Make a resolution to see the Holy Spirit greening the earth around you. Pray a thanksgiving prayer each day for one beautiful thing you see.

 

 

“I am a feather on the breath of God.”

 

 


 

 

Each of the Cosmos Cards has a fact about one of God’s creative moves and a blessing. These cards are ready to mail as a postcard for someone who needs a regular reminder that God is with him or her. $15 for all 25 cards.

 

 

An Amazing Journey is a discussion guide on the Universe Story. The book features 50 articles by leaders in this field. Click here to view the Table of Contents. Only $20!

Order online at goodgroundpress.com or call 800-232-5533.

Gospel Reflection for June 2, 2019, Ascension

29 May

Gospel Reflection for June 2, 2019, Ascension

Sunday Readings: Acts 1.1-11; Ephesians 1.17-23; Luke 24.46-53

Jesus spoke to this disciples, “Thus it is written that the messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance and forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are the witnesses of these things.”  – Luke 24.48

In the cosmology of Jesus’ time, God and the heavens were up and human begins and Earth were below. Our 2,000-year old gospel tells the story of Jesus’ return to God is to go to the heavens. Today humans ride the clouds regularly in planes. Thee Hubble telescope captures the spidery webs of light from other galaxies. The Church that in the 16th century suppressed Galileo’s proofs that Earth revolved around the sun today welcomes the work of scientists as they expand the edge of mystery in space and in matter.

In returning to God, the risen Jesus takes with him the human nature assumed in his incarnation. Jesus is about embodied divinity. Jesus remains God incarnate. One of us humans is with God. Jesus is the first born of a new humanity that shares life with God. Jesus goes ahead of us toward the consummation of all in God. We hunger for lasting communion with our loved ones.

In the ascension Jesus passes over into communion with God, bridging the human and divine. He blesses his company of disciples upon whom he promises to send the Holy Spirit to animate their witness to the world.

How does science affect your faith? How do you imagine communion in God?


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Check out Sunday by Sunday!

28 May

Sunday by Sunday keeps the Sunday Gospel with you all week long.

 

We are happy to share some of our Sunday by Sunday issues with you. Each weekly issue brings you:

  • The Sunday Gospel in plain language.
  • Reflection on how the Gospel can shape your life.
  • Prayer on the Gospel theme.

Click here to view some sample issues of Sunday by Sunday. Our new subscription year begins in October. Wouldn’t you like to gather a group to share the Gospel with each week? Individual subscriptions are also available. We guarantee it will enrich your life.

Click here for our calendar and prices. You can order online, or call Good Ground Press 800-232-5533. We still have Summer and September Sunday by Sunday issues. If you are not ready to commit to a subscription for 2019-2020, but want to explore what Sunday by Sunday has to offer, please give us a call at the above number and we will ship them out to you the next day.

Enjoy the blessings of the gospel with Sunday by Sunday.

 

 

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.

2019: The Year of Luke’s Gospel

7 Jan

We read from Luke’s Gospel at 41 of the Sunday and feast day liturgies in 2019. This year is a great time to become a student of Luke. His themes of justice for the poor, a voice for women, and second chances for everyone resonate with our own experiences.

Sister Joan’s new book—Luke’s Gospel: Written for Us—is ideal for the ordinary reader, for Bible study and faith-sharing groups, and for homilists. Its nine chapters and reflection questions invite readers to reflect on how we can answer Luke’s call to be witnesses to Jesus in our world.

Click here for the Table of Contents and sample chapters. Order at goodgroundpress.com or call 800-232-5533. 1-9 copies, $10.00 each; 10-99, $8.00; 100 or more, $7.00.

Gospel Reflection for December 23, 2018, 4th Sunday of Advent

20 Dec

Sunday Readings: Micah 5.1-4; Hebrews 10.5-10; Luke 1.39-45

“Blessed is she who trusts God’s words to her will be fulfilled.” – Luke 1.45

The Advent gospels lead us toward Christmas with thoughts of Jesus’ coming in glory and with John the Baptist’s urgent preaching to repent. Those of us who have not yet agreed to let God’s word transform us have a few days yet to share our extra coats and food, to challenge ourselves to consume less, and to let the rejoicing of all creation at Jesus’ birth inspire our care for Earth.

In Mary and Elizabeth the gospel focuses on two model believers who welcome God’s word into themselves, into their bodies. Their faith and trust in God’s Spirit is bearing fruit in their wombs. In their visit together these two women share their faith in what God is doing in them for the world.

Each woman has responded to God separately. As they meet, the Spirit arcs between them like sparks. At Mary’s greeting Elizabeth’s baby leaps in her womb. This happens in faith-sharing groups. Sharing insights and commitments magnifies and expands our faith as we experience the Spirit at work in each other.

Who supports and affirms the Spirit’s stirring in you? How do faith-sharing conversations affirm and deepen your faith?


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 November 18, 2018, 33rd Sunday Ordinary Time

15 Nov

Sunday Readings: Daniel 12.1-3; Hebrews 10.11-14,18; Mark 13.24-32

“The heavens and the earth will pass away but my words will not.” – Mark 13.31

Sunday’s gospel contains two answers to the question of when Jesus will come again. One answer is very soon, in this generation, and the second is no one knows. We live during the no-one-knows time. Mark writes just after the Romans destroy the temple and end Jewish temple-centered religion with its prayers and sacrifices. That world ends. But Christian faith and the Judaism we know today are just emerging.

The destructive effects of our lifestyle surround us–global warming, droughts, terrible storms, oceans that teems with plastic, species going extinct. The news reports the power of trees and winter crop cover to absorb carbon and lessen the greenhouse effect that is warming the atmosphere. Jesus directs to watch the fig trees green and recognize God is always here.

What has come to birth for you out of change and seeming chaos?


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Gospel Reflection for October 28, 2018, 30th Sunday Ordinary Time

24 Oct

Sunday Readings: Jeremiah 31.7-9; Hebrews 5.1-6; Mark 10.46-52

Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to Jesus, “Teacher, let me see again.” “Go, your faith has healed you,” Jesus said to him. At once Bartimaeus was able to see and followed Jesus up the road  – Mark 10.51-52

In Sunday’s gospel a blind beggar named Bartimaeus models the unabashed faith in Jesus that Mark’s gospel hopes from every hearer of the gospel. As he sat at the Jericho city gates, Bartimaeus must have heard others talk about Jesus. As soon as he hears that Jesus is near, he shouts out a greeting, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” In this greeting Bartimaeus recognizes Jesus is the long-expected king from David’s royal line—the messiah. The crowd cannot silence his shouting out. As soon as Jesus calls to him, Bartimaeus throws off the cloak in which he probably collected the money passersby threw his way. The blind beggar sees with eyes of faith.

What do you persist in asking Jesus?


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.

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