Tag Archives: Gospel of Luke

Gospel Reflection for December 16, 2018, 3rd Sunday of Advent

14 Dec

Sunday Readings: Zephaniah 3.14-18; Philippians 4.4-7; Luke 3.10-18

The crowd asks John the Baptist, “What should we do?” Let people with two coats give to people who have none. People who have lots of food should do the same.” – Luke 3.10-11

Crowds are listening to John the Baptist scold his hearers because they come seeking baptism, a sign of a new and changed life, but have made no changes. “Bear fruit worthy of repentance,” he says. The crowds wants specifics. The Baptist tells them to share their belongings and food with those who are without clothes and food. He tells the tax collectors to collect only the money taxes require. John calls them to do justice in their everyday life and work. When people wash in the Jordan, they commit to just living. Baptism expresses this commitment. John teaches that uncleanness is a spiritual rather than a physical condition.

What is your experience of water cleansing and reviving you? What is a way you  have marked a turning toward God in your life?


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Gospel Reflection for December 9, 2018, 2nd Sunday of Advent

7 Dec

Sunday Readings: Baruch 5.1-9; Philippians 1.4-6, 8-11; Luke 3.1-6

“A herald’s voice in the desert cries out: ‘Make ready a road for God. Clear a straight path for God. Every valley shall be filled; every mountain and hill shall be leveled.’” – Luke 3.4-5

John the Baptist heralds the turning point in history by which much of the world marks its calendar. His preaching echoes the prophet Second Isaiah, who called the exiled Israelites to come home  to Jerusalem and be a people, to rebuild their ruined city and temple. God will lead them. Second Isaiah’s imagines God straightening hairpins turns, filling impassable crevasses, and smoothing exhausting terrain to lead the people home through the wilderness. The message invites us to ask what road we are traveling. Is it full of traffic? Is it fast? Or scenic? Where does it lead?

Where is home? What relationships are you building to call home? 


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Gospel Reflection for December 2, 2018, 1st Sunday of Advent

29 Nov

Gospel Reflection for December 2, 2018, 1st Sunday of Advent

Sunday Readings: Jeremiah 33.14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3.12-4.2; Luke 21.25-28, 34-36

“Stay watchful, praying for strength to escape what will happen and to stand before the Son of Man.” – Luke 21.36

Advent begins the Church year with a gospel that fairly froths with frightful images. The gospel reminds us that no matter how threatening personal or world events, we live from beginning to end in the embrace of God. In our experience of being alive, we find God within us. In turning to one another and bridging our separate selves, we find God among us. In experiencing our human limits, we find we have heart and hope for mystery—God beyond us. The God of our beginning is the God of all we will become.

Whether we see Jesus’ coming again as a threat or a fulfillment, the gospel challenges us to stay watchful and pray for strength. In living consciously, attentive to people and life within and around us, we will find God already with us.

What gives you hope this Advent? 


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Luke’s Gospel, Written For Us

22 Oct
Sister Joan’s new book, Luke’s Gospel, Written for Us, focuses on the themes and stories unique to Luke’s telling of the good news. Only Luke characterizes Jesus as the Spirit-filled prophet anointed to bring good news to the poor and oppressed. Only Luke has the parables of the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, and the persistent widow.
The easy-to-use format of this gospel study makes Luke’s witness to Jesus’ life and teaching available in nine short chapters. Ideal for Bible study groups, small Christian communities, and all who want to explore the themes that hold together the short Gospel excerpts we hear each Sunday. Visit goodgroundpress.com or call 800-232-5533 to order your copy today!

Don’t forget to also check out Sister Joan’s other new book, Holy Women, Full of Grace! Women were always there in the Jesus story. This litany invites you to pray with the women in Mark’s Gospel. This book is an ideal gift.

Gospel Reflection for June 24, 2018, Birth of John the Baptist

18 Jun

Gospel Reflection for June 24, 2018, Birth of John the Baptist

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 49.1-6; Acts 13.22-26; Luke 1.57-66, 80

On the eighth day Elizabeth and Zachariah came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after Zachariah after his father. But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name. Then they began to motion to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed and he began to speak, praising God.  – Luke 1.59-64

John is not unique in having God at work in his early life to prepare him for his vocation. John is not to follow his father into service as a priest of the temple. He lives apart from his culture and family and walks with God in the desert. He cultivates an awareness of God at work in him. In fewer than 30 words, Sunday’s gospel characterizes John’s 30 years of life prior to his public ministry as becoming “strong in spirit.” He needs strength for his prophetic vocation of preparing Jesus way. John offers us a model for activating the prophetic vocation that comes with our baptisms.

What strength of spirit do you have? Who challenges you to live gospel values?


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Gospel Reflection for April 15, 2018, 3rd Sunday of Easter

9 Apr

Scripture Readings: Acts 3.13-15,  17-19; 1 John 2.1-5; Luke 24.35-48

“Thus it was written and so it happened that the Messiah is to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day. In his name repentance and forgiveness of sins are to be preached to the nations.” – Luke 24.46

Jesus’ crucifixion ends the story his disciples thought they were living by following him. His resurrection begins a new story. It adds a day to the story creation, an eighth day. Sunday’s gospel climaxes Luke 24, the gospel writer’s chapter on Jesus’ resurrection.

The disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus have returned to the assembled disciples. Their report affirms the women’s account of encountering Jesus risen at the empty tomb. Then suddenly Jesus is in their midst, extending peace, which startles and terrifies them. Jesus invites his followers to touch him,  eat with him, and opens their minds to interpret the scriptures (the Old Testament) in the light of his resurrection.

Christian still keep Sunday by gathering, remembering Jesus, interpreting events in our world in the light of scripture, and breaking bread together as he asked. At least that is the long practice of Christians. Now in our time abuse scandals, rules and doctrines irrelevant to new generations, and the challenge to faith to keep up with science leads many to walk away from affiliation with churches.

Some people start over as the original disciples did in small communities that re-interpret the scriptures for today.

When have you found Jesus breaking into presence anew in a community of seekers?


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Gospel Reflection for December 25th, Christmas

25 Dec

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 9.1-6; Titus 2.11-14; Luke 2.1-20

“Mary gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” – Luke 2.7

Jesus’ birth story in Luke’s gospel anticipates Jesus’ whole life and emphasizes his mission to people who are poor. In Bethlehem for a Roman census, Joseph finds shelter among the animals in a stable. There Mary gives birth. Like the holy family, many refugees, immigrants, and deportees today find little room among us. Like finding shelter in a barn during a census, many live in cramped camps awaiting legal status in a new country.

An angel chorus announces Jesus’ birth to shepherds, people who are poor and living out in the fields with their sheep. They find the child in the manger and become the heralds of the messiah’s birth. We recognize with the shepherds that Jesus is good news for the poor.

On the world stage Caesar counts potential taxpayers. His subjects give Caesar the title Augustus, the divine. But it is the child lying in the manger who incarnates the love and life-giving power of the universe. Jesus is the true savior of the world, the one who incarnates God’s love among us.

Where might Jesus be born today to express God’s willingness to identify with the lowliest among us?


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Gospel Reflection for December 24, 2017, 4th Sunday of Advent

20 Dec

Sunday Readings: 2 Samuel 7.1-5, 8-12, 14-16; Romans 26.25-27; Luke 1.26-38

“Nothing is impossible with God.” – Luke 1.37

In Mary, the Most High overshadows and dwells in a human person, intensifying God’s presence among us. The same God who created all that is makes the impossible come to be in Mary, who is young and objects to the angel she is a virgin.

With the wholehearted yes of this teenager, God will become human. She will feel the first stirrings of salvation within her womb. God’s Son will look like her. She will nurse and rock him after he is born. With Mary’s yes to God’s invitation to be Jesus’ mother, the Creator moves to make us whole.

In her Magnificat, Mary blesses God for showing mercy to her people, for raising up the poor, for filling the hungry. In saying yes, she trusts God’s promises to her people and to her.

What do you remember about how you responded to God in your teen years? How have you lived out your early response?


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Gospel Reflection for October 15, 2017, 28th Sunday Ordinary Time

12 Oct

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 25.6-10; Philippians 4.12-14,19-20; Matthew 22.1-10


“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son.  He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the banquet, but they would not come.  Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” – Matthew 22.2-4


The meal Jesus describes in Sunday’s parable is no ordinary dinner but the messiah’s wedding feast. The royal wedding setting is unique to Matthew’s way of telling the parable. Matthew adds other details to the parable that give the story double meaning. In this way he creates an allegory in which characters and action in the parable parallel events his own time in the A.D. 80s. The king’s fury at guests who refuse his invitation seems overkill until a reader realizes Matthew is connecting the parable with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the event that effectively ends Israel’s ancient temple-centered religion.  Matthew’s interpretation shows the danger of allegory; it fixes the meaning and  perpetuates an ancient conflict that led to genocide in the Holocaust.

The parable speaks more to us today without the allegory; it asks what we do with our excess and who we invite to our tables. Abundant food is one of the most fundamental blessings in our lives. The parable is very different in Luke’s telling (Luke 14.15-24). When people refuse to come to a great dinner in Luke’s version, the host invites in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.

How do you think the kingdom of heaven will be like a lavish dinner?


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Gospel Reflection for April 30, 2017, 3rd Sunday Ordinary Time

28 Apr

Sunday Readings: Acts 2.14,22-23; 1 Peter 1.17-21; Luke 24.13-35

“Stay with us.” – Luke 24.29

The walk to Emmaus in Sunday’s gospel becomes a liturgy on foot for two of Jesus’ disciples. They talk about the scriptures (liturgy of the word) and break bread together (liturgy of the Eucharist).

As they tell how Jesus took hold of their hearts and hopes, the two get excited all over again about who Jesus is. Conversation with the stranger stirs the embers of their faith into flame. Breaking bread together reveals the stranger is Jesus with them.

So many times conversation repeats this liturgy of friendship. Talking together stirs the embers of old understandings and burst new insights into flame. The shared meal sends us forth humming, feeling understood and understanding, in communion.

With whom have you talked and eaten lately?

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please visit the Sunday By Sunday page
to order a subscription or request a free sample.
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