Tag Archives: Gospel of John

Gospel Reflection for June 16, 2019, Trinity Sunday

14 Jun

Sunday Readings: Proverbs 8.22-31; Romans 5.1-5; John 16.12-15

“When the Spirit of truth comes, this One will guide you along the way of all truth. The Spirit will not speak independently but will speak only what the Spirit hears and will declare to you the things that are to come.”  – John 16.13

In Sunday’s gospel Jesus talks with his disciples, preparing to leave them. His words strain to express the communion in which he lives with his Father and the Spirit and in which his disciples will participate. Most Christians grasp an image of God as creator and God as incarnate Son more easily than an image of God as Spirit and guide. The Spirit in whom we live, move, and have our being may elude us, until perhaps we lose a parent, grandparent, or friend and experience their spirit and voice arising within us. The Spirit is the love or relatedness between Creator, Son, and all that lives. God is not only the Creator of old or the Savior of 2,000 years ago but the Spirit of our daily breath and deepest present desires, conflicts, and challenges. The Spirit breathes in us today.

Whose spirit has arisen in you to guide you at key points in your life? What does the image of breath tell you about the Holy Spirit?


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Gospel Reflection for May 19, 2019, 5th Sunday of Easter

16 May

Sunday Readings: Acts 14,21-27; Revelation 21.1-5; John 13.31-35

“As I have loved you, so you should love one another.” – John 13.34

Love is a feeling, the warmth of an embrace when spouses find themselves at home after work and commitments. Love is sometimes passionate, sexual, sensual, intimate. Love is attraction, the excitement of meeting someone who reads as  much or as widely, who cares about sustaining Earth, who values hope over cynicism, whom one can be oneself with.

Love lives faithfully and sustained over time translates into actions. Love is a verb. Cook, clean, wash clothes, plan shop, pay bills, fix. Like the bass drum in a marching band, these actions set the pace and rhythm of our days.

As in Jesus’ life, our lives sometimes ask more, even everything we can give. A sick child, a sick parent, mental illness. Our lives in the end asks all we have to give. Jesus stakes him claim with us in our capacity to love one another. In his footwashing and laying down his life for his friends, Jesus reveals his love for them and for us.

How do people know you are a follower of Jesus?


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Gospel Reflection for May 12, 2019, 4th Sunday of Easter

10 May

Sunday Readings: Acts 13.14, 43-52; Revelation 7.9, 14-17;  John 10.27-30

“The Father and I are one.” – John 10.30

John’s gospel uses shepherding imagery to describe Jesus’ relationship with those who believe in him. Jesus’ first words in Sunday’s gospel are plain but theologically loaded. “My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus says. Hearing his words is believing. Those who believe recognize that Jesus reveals God. “I know them, and they follow me,” Jesus continues. To  know refers to deep, personal belonging. To follow expresses wholehearted allegiance. The gospel escalates as Jesus promises believers eternal life and insists “no one will snatch them from his hand.” These promises lead to Jesus’ inflammatory claim: “The Father and I are one.” Many Jewish hearers of these words reach for rocks to stone Jesus for blasphemy, for making himself equal to God. In John’s gospel Jesus is from above. He preexists with the Father. All things come into being through him. This understanding of Jesus creates hostility with other Jews.

What divides people today in our church? What do Jesus’ words “the Father and I are one” mean to you and for you?


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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?


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Gospel Reflection for April 28, 2019, 2nd Sunday of Easter

25 Apr

Sunday Readings: Acts 5.12-16; Revelation 1.9-11, 12-13, 17-19; John 20.19-31

“Even though the disciples had locked the doors of the place where they were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood before them.…He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven them. If you hold them fast, they are held fast.” – John 20.19, 20-21

On Easter evening the risen Jesus breathes the creative, living Spirit of God upon the community of disciples locked in fear. Jesus’ gift of the Spirit empowers the disciples to become a reconciling community that forgives sins. The bible translation Catholic hear at Mass has Jesus add, “And whose sins you retain are retained.” This translation aligns Jesus’ words with those in Matthew’s gospel when he gives Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven (16.10).

Bible scholar Sandra Schneider observes that the Greek word translated retained or bound more commonly means to hold fast, to embrace. She argues that Jesus is charging the community to hold fast the people they forgive. As a reconciling community, they are to embrace and support those they forgive, not to hold them bound to their sins. This is our call in continuing Jesus’ mission—to be the face of forgiveness and mercy among those in our lives.

Jesus entrusts us to one another’s care. We can strengthen bonds among us, and we can shred relationships. We can remember wrongs that have been righted. We can exclude those who trouble and test us. In his gift of peace to the original disciples, Jesus insists that they have the power to build and hold together as a community.

Who holds you fast? Who do you hold fast?


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Gospel Reflection for April 21, 2019, Easter Sunday

18 Apr

Sunday Readings: Acts 10.34,37-43; Colossians 3.1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5.6-8; John 20.1-9 (10-18)

Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and she told them he had said these things to her. “ – John 20.16-18

Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus’ resurrection to new life. This is the core of Christians faith: that God raised Jesus, who was crucified, from the dead. His resurrection promises that we who believe in him will be raised up to new life with God as he has been. He is the firstborn of a new humanity.

Jesus reveals that God’s power lies not in magic or military might but in love. Love is the power that gives life. Self-giving actions such as forgiving, sharing and welcoming strangers take us beyond the boundaries of ourselves and open us to God’s presence and power among us. The power of these actions in our lives and the lives of others gives us the same hint as spring does that we have the Spirit at work in us, more power than our own for building human community.

What do you see in the empty tomb? What do you hear in Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Jesus that affirms your faith?

Sunday’s Gospel Story

4 Apr

The Gospels for this Lent are some of Jesus’ best-known stories and parables. Sunday by Sunday encourages you to see these old stories afresh. One way to see anew is to re-title the story. Try it out.

  • On Sunday, March 24, we heard the story of the barren fig tree whose owner wanted to cut it down. What if instead we called that gospel passage the story of the optimistic gardener?
  • Last Sunday we had the parable of the prodigal son. What if we named it the parable of the forgiving father or the story of a family who forgives and needs forgiveness?

This Sunday tells about the Women Taken in Adultery. We have printed it here and left the title space blank. What other titles for this story can you offer? Let us know by responding to this post or emailing Sister Joan directly at sisterjoan@goodgroundpress.com.

Blessings on your week as we head into Palm Sunday and Holy Week. 

Gospel Reflection for April 7, 2019, 5th Sunday of Lent

3 Apr

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 43.16-21; Philippians 3.8-14; John 8.1-11

“Woman, where are they all? Has no one condemned you?” – John 8.10

A group of men who oppose Jesus catch a woman in the act of adultery and bring her to Jesus to set a trap. The Romans don’t allow Jews to administer the death penalty. Both Jesus and his opponents know this and know that the Mosaic law prescribes stoning a married woman guilty of adultery (Deut. 22.23-24). Actually the law calls to stoning both a man and woman caught in adultery. Where did the man she was with go?

The woman seems the obvious sinner as the gospel begins. But Jesus’ opponents are using the woman and making her an object of public spectacle and shame. Jesus famously writes in the dirt as the accusers speak and then says, “Let the sinless one among you cast the first stone.” According to the law, a witness to a crime must throw the first stone and take responsibility for a sinner’s death. In fact, the law requires two witnesses. The accusers drift away, acknowledging their sinfulness and complicity in shaming the woman.

By standing with the woman, Jesus counters those who make her a spectacle. But what about the crowd that has gathered? How will the woman find belonging in the community again? Can she go back to her husband? Her children? What will neighbors say?

How do you treat people you must forgive? How have you been treated when you needed forgiveness?


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Cycle A Gospels for Lent

31 Jan

Is your parish is proclaiming the Cycle A Gospels at Eucharist for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent? The Sunday by Sunday issues around these three Gospels from John are available at goodgroundpress.com. You may download them and print as many as you need.

Check out our other Lent resources for you, your family, and your parish!

Gospel Reflection for January 20, 2019, 2nd Sunday Ordinary Time

18 Jan

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 62.1-5; 1 Corinthians 12.4-11; John 2.1-11

“You have kept the choice wine until now.” – John 2.10

In John’s gospel Jesus works his first sign at a wedding. Jesus, his new disciples, and his mother are there. The feast hints at a marriage other than the one the guests are celebrating. Turning six big water jars (20 gallons each) into wine provides 120 gallons of wine at a wedding feast that must be nearly over if the guests have drunk up the available wine. Jesus provides wine enough for celebrating the messiah’s relationship with his new community that continues in every Eucharist. The marriage feast that most concerns John is the lasting and intimate relationship of faith between the risen Jesus and his disciples down the centuries. The abundant wine is for the community that continues to gather in his name.

What do you appreciate about a wedding feast as an image of Christian community?


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