Tag Archives: Jesus

Gospel Reflection for June 23, 2019, Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

20 Jun

Scripture Readings: Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11.23-26; Luke 9.11-17 

“Then taking the five loaves and the two fishes, Jesus raised his eyes to heaven, pronounced a blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to his disciples for distribution to the crowd.” – Luke 9.16

When we gather at Eucharist, we remember Jesus’ giving his whole self for us. We find strength and courage to try this kind of self-giving ourselves. We gather again and again, so that we become more and more like him. We gather in pain and delight. We pour out our lives as Jesus did. We put our lives on the altar with him. Like the sacrament itself we become Jesus’ real presence in our world. We become what we receive. The shared food multiplies, just as love and forgiveness do.

How have you become what you receive?


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Tiny Retreat

17 Jun

In honor of the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ, we offer you a tiny retreat based on the feast’s Gospel. This retreat is especially for those who do not get Sunday by Sunday. Please feel free to pass the retreat on to a friend.



To begin place yourself in the presence of Jesus. 



Jesus, this is ________.  I have been fed by you at the Eucharist for
_____ years. This Sunday, June 23, is the day we celebrate your gift of the Eucharist. I begin by reading this story from Luke’s Gospel.
 

Why don’t you give them something to eat?


Narrator:  Jesus spoke to the crowds of the reign of God, and he healed all who were in need of healing. As sunset approached, the twelve came to him.


Twelve:  Dismiss the crowd so that they can go into the villages and farms in the neighborhood and find themselves lodging and food, for this is certainly an out-of-the-way place.


Jesus:  Why don’t you give them something to eat yourselves?


Twelve:  We have nothing but five loaves and two fishes. Shall we go and buy food for all these people?


Narrator:  There were about five thousand men.


Jesus:  Have them sit down in groups of fifty or so.


Narrator:  Jesus’ disciples followed his instructions and got the people all seated. Then taking the five loaves and the two fishes, Jesus raised his eyes to heaven, pronounced a blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to his disciples for distribution to the crowd. They all ate until they had enough. What was left filled twelve baskets.

 (Luke 9.11-17)


Jesus, you feed people who follow you hungry for healing, hungry for the words you speak, and hungry because it has been a long day. You feel compassion for them and tell your followers to feed them. When they say they have only a little food and little money to buy more, you —

Take the food they offer you,
Bless it, acknowledging it is a gift from God,
Break it into pieces,
Give it to your followers to distribute to the people.

This is what happens at our Eucharist today. We offer the bread and wine that is our lives. It becomes your body and blood to nourish us. As in your time, when we have all eaten there is plenty left over, plenty to share.



How does celebrating Eucharist nourish you?
How does Eucharist lead you to become nourishment for others?



A friend’s mother told her that if she didn’t stop eating so many chocolate-chip cookies, she was going to turn into one. The mother exaggerated about the cookies, but her example holds true for the Eucharist. When we gather at Eucharist, we remember how Jesus gave his whole self to us. We find the strength and courage to try this kind of self-giving ourselves. Because we gather together over and over, we remember over and over. We become more and more like Jesus. We become his real presence to our world.



When have your experienced yourself as Christ present in the world?
How has God acted in you and through you for nourish others?



To conclude make a prayer of thanks and praise for the many times you have received the Body of Christ. Remember the people who prepared you for this sacrament and those you have shared Eucharist with all these years. Conclude your retreat with the Alleluia verse from the feast day liturgy.

Alleluia, Alleluia! I am the living bread that come down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever (John 6.51). Alleluia!


If you want reflections for each of the summer & September Sundays, call Lacy at 800-232-5533. We will send you them for just $7.00 (shipping included).

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 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?


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 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?

Gospel Reflection for April 14, 2019, Passion/Palm Sunday

11 Apr

Sunday Readings: Luke 19.28-40; Isaiah 50.4-7; Philippians 2.6-11; Luke 22.14-23.56

Second criminal: “We are only paying this price for what we have done. This man has done nothing wrong. Jesus, remember me when you enter into your reign.” Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23.41-44

The liturgies of Holy Week give worshipers parts to act out: processing with palms, footwashing on Holy Thursday, venerating the cross on Good Friday, following the newly lit Easter candle into the dark church on Holy Saturday. We walk with Jesus to his cross and follow the women to the empty tomb at dawn on the first day of the week. This is the week to go to church and rediscover who Jesus is, stir our dead roots, and revive our commitment to mission in the world.

Luke’s passion account emphasizes Jesus’ innocence. Pilate finds no evidence of a crime. The criminal to whom Jesus talks on the cross testifies to Jesus’ innocence. “This man has done nothing wrong.” At his death the centurion at the foot of the cross expresses Luke’s view, “Surely this man was innocent.”

Innocence is a powerful agent of change. The cries of children separated from their parents at the U.S./Mexican border has awakened citizens to the immigration issues more than the plight of adults. Turning the fire hoses on children in Montgomery had the same power during the struggle for Civil Rights for African Americans. The violence we so readily justify toward one another we cannot justify doing to children.

How does violence against the innocent affect you? Imagine yourself as one of Jesus’ acquaintances or one of the women disciples who accompanied Jesus from Galilee and stands at a distance watching him crucified. What do you feel and think?


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.

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