Tag Archives: lent

Gospel Reflection for March 26, 2017, 4th Sunday of Lent

22 Mar

Scripture Readings: 1 Samuel 16.1, 6-7, 10-13; Ephesians 5.8-14; John 9.1-41

“I do know one thing; I was blind, and now I can see.” – John 9.25

The man born blind becomes the talk of his neighborhood when suddenly he can see. His neighbors want to know how this happened. The man explains that a man named Jesus put mud on his eyes and told him to wash it off in the Pool of Siloam. He washed his eyes and can now see.

Jesus appears in this story only at the beginning and end. In between the man has to explain his new sight. His parents confirm the man was born blind but insist he must speak for himself.

“What do you have to say about Jesus?” the teachers ask. “He is a prophet,” the man tells them. The teachers insist that Jesus is a sinner because he has healed on the Sabbath. The man counters that unless Jesus came from God, he could not have done such a thing as given sight to a man born blind.

As the story ends, Jesus finds the man and asks, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

“Tell me who has is, sir, so I can believe in him,” the man says, seeming not to recognize Jesus by sight. He was blind when they met.

“You have already seen him,” Jesus says, acknowledging the man born blind sees with faith, and introduces himself, “He is talking to you now.”

“I believe, Jesus,” the man says.

Who opened your eyes to see with faith in Jesus? What turning points do you remember in your faith journey?

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Lent Retreat – Week 2

8 Mar

This Lent artist Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ, and Sister Joan are praying the Gospels in words and images. You can join them by going to our homepage, goodgroundpress.com, and clicking on the Sunday Gospel images there. This coming Sunday is the story of Jesus’ transfiguration. Share this retreat with your parish by printing goodgroundpress.com in your church bulletin.

Prayer For Ash Wednesday

1 Mar

Today is Ash Wednesday, one of the most popular holy days in the church year. Most of us will try to get to church during the day to receive a cross of ashes on our foreheads. If you are unable to do that, use this prayer service to begin Lent.

Gather with your family or in a communal space in your building or with other friends and neighbors. You can create ashes by burning some palm from last year’s Palm Sunday, or a small piece of paper or fabric. All you need for the prayer service is someone to lead and someone to read the scripture.

prayer-symbolLeader: Loving God, be with us as we begin the holy season of Lent.
All: Loving God, be with us.
Reader: St. Paul tells us “God has sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts. The Spirit urges us from deep inside to say, ‘Abba, my father.’ We are no longer slaves. We are God’s sons and daughters.”
Leader: During Lent we want to grow closer to you, Abba, our father, and to be more loving to one another. These ashes are a sign of the commitments we make to keep Lent.

Pass the dish of ashes around. Each person dips his or her thumb in the ashes and makes a cross on the forehead of the person on his/her right, saying:

__________ you are a child of God. Make loving choices during Lent.

Ask if people wish to share their commitments. Sing a simple song everyone knows to conclude your prayer.

Gospel Reflection for March 5, 2017, 1st Sunday of Lent

27 Feb
Photo via Flickr user Adam Hinett

Photo via Flickr user Adam Hinett

Scripture Readings: Genesis 2.7-9; 3.1-7; Romans 5.12-19; Matthew 4.1-11

“Away with you, Satan. Scripture says, ‘You shall worship the Holy One your God; only God shall you adore.'” – Matthew 4.10

Each year the temptation story from one of the synoptic gospels is the gospel for the 1st Sunday of Lent. The devil in the story calls out Jesus for a show of divine power, something to prove he is God. But Jesus shuns divine stunts and recommits to the first commandment — to worship God alone. The story invites us to examine the God in whom we believe. Is our God one who inspires success and personal gain more than service and mercy? Perhaps we find God useless, a God who lets bad things happen to good people. Or perhaps God seems too old-fashioned, pre-scientific, and irrelevant to claim much attention. Jesus makes worshiping God alone the key to his life. The temptation gospel calls us to refresh our image of God, which we can do by taking observant walks outside in creation and by taking time for solitude and reflection on God’s word.

What is currently putting you to the test in your life?

If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection,
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41 Ways To Celebrate Lent

13 Feb

Make Lent a time of love in your family. Visit goodgroundpress.com to print this free poster and hang it on your fridge. When members of your family do any of the loving and thanking actions, highlight or circle those words. By Easter you will have a 40-day history of love.

41-ways-to-keep-lent

Happy St. Joseph’s Day!

19 Mar

St.-Joseph

Lent encourages us to slow down so we can recognize what drives us and to fast from food and fashion that consumes us. As Sisters of St. Joseph we celebrate the feast of our patron on March 19 and take a break from Lent for festivities. Joseph is also the patron of the universal Church, so March 19 is a feast we can all claim. Joseph gives us an example of an ordinary husband and father who faces extraordinary challenges. Here is a prayer to him.

Joseph, most ordinary, on this your feast,
help us listen to our dreams with compassion and openness as you did.
Help us stretch, hold, and deepen our relationships.
Open our embrace of the future
as you opened your arms to a child not your own.
In these hard times may we, like you,
dream compassionately, provide wisely,
and build community that can hold us together.
We ask this through Jesus, whom you claimed and named.  Amen.

Finish coloring in your Lenten cross!

17 Mar
Click on the image to download your Lenten cross.

Click on the image to download your Lenten cross.

These are the last suggestions for your Lenten cross.

PLANT

  • Plant heirloom or organic seeds.
  • Start annuals from seed instead of buying flats at the greenhouse.

SIMPLIFY

  • Sort through your clothes and shoes. Donate what you don’t need.
  • Minimize the electricity you use for a day. Eat by candlelight.

PRAY

  • Count your blessings. Develop a habit of recognizing ten a day.
  • Pray for an enemy.

READ

  • Read Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, about her family’s experience of raising their own food for a year.
  • The Year of Mercy continues until November 20. Read Matthew 25.31-46. Go to goodgroundpress.com for a list of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS

  • Tell friends and family ways they matter to you.
  • Make family meals or meals with friends a priority. Eat and talk together.

PARTICIPATE

  • Join or start a faith-sharing group or bible study.
  • Participate as a family in a local spring clean-up.

Gospel Reflection for March 20, 2016, Passion/Palm Sunday

14 Mar
Photo via Flickr user Thomas Hawk

Photo via Flickr user Thomas Hawk

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

“Surely this was an innocent man.”

(Luke 23.47)

Luke’s passion account emphasizes Jesus’ innocence. When the crowd, the chief priests, and temple guard come to arrest Jesus, he says, “Am I a criminal that you come out after me armed with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you never raised a hand against me. But this is your hour — the triumph of darkness” (22.53-53).

Pilate and Herod can find no evidence of a crime. One of the criminals crucified with Jesus insists Jesus has done nothing wrong. The centurion who is at the cross as Jesus dies expresses Luke’s view, “Surely this man was innocent.”

Innocence is a powerful agent of change. The photo of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi found drowned along the Turkish coast went viral and raised awareness of the plight of immigrants fleeing the civil war in Syria. Turning the fire hoses on children in the Montgomery bus boycott stopped the violence. We cannot justify the violence to children that we do to other adults.

How does violence against the innocent affect you?

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.

 

And Inward

11 Mar
Photo via Flickr user Tarcio Saraiva

Photo via Flickr user Tarcio Saraiva

This Lent, I have been doing a lot of breathing exercises. My breath follows me everywhere, is a constant companion. The sound and the rhythm of my breath calms me when I am intentional about listening. It’s a built-in tool for reflection.

Focusing on my inhales and exhales, I settle into the tension and balance in the space between the two. Inhales feel like striving, reaching, growing. They bring in new life, new breath, new opportunity. Exhales feel like grounding, centering and contracting. They expel toxins and invite me to let go.

In our quest to find God, we reach and explore. We seek out the Bible and theologians, nature and friends. Sometimes I stop there. God is outside of me, and I go searching. But every inhale requires an exhale. If I believe I am made in the image of God, I have to trust that God is dwelling in me, too. In addition to turning outward and striving to find God, I have to sit still and let God find me. I have to turn inward and acknowledge the indwelling God.

What if part of the work is to find myself? And in finding myself, I will also encounter God. This is not to say that I am God. Thank goodness. I think this is part of what is scary about the turning inward. We know that we may be disappointed by what we find. We are limited. We are human. We fall short. Yet the same spirit that dwells in nature, that is alive in the scriptures also dwells inside of us all. It is a flame that benefits from kindling, from our turning inward with a quiet mind, body and heart. This Lent, in my breathing, I am honoring both the inhale and the exhale. Both the striving and grounding, both outward and inward quests. The courage to venture inward comes from the belief that I don’t have to be enough. My God is.

Feed Your Spirit

10 Mar

What’s more Catholic than fish dinners?

Did you know the fish is an ancient Christian symbol? The word for fish in Greek is ichtus, pronounced ick-toose. The word fish in Greek letters look like:

IXOYS-FishThe first Christians, who were sometimes persecuted for their faith in Jesus, made an acrostic out of this word. In an acrostic, each letter is the first letter of a word.

I        Jesus

CH   Christ

TH   God’s (the Greek word is Theos)

U      Son

S      Savior

When Christians wanted to show someone else they followed Jesus, they might draw a fish symbol on paper or on the ground. The fish meant the person drawing it believed in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior.

So patronize your local fish dinner this Friday. Bring a neighbor or carry fish back to a shut-in person. Do it in the name of Jesus.


 

Click on the image to dowload your Lent cross.

Click on the image to download your Lent cross.

Choose an activity each day to keep Lent alive. Add color your your cross.

PLANT

  • Work in your yard. Meet and visit with neighbors.
  • Plant a tomato in a large pot. Put it in a sunny spot and wait for your first BLT.

SIMPLIFY

  • Organize a storage area.
  • Turn off the TV for the whole evening.

PRAY

  • Thank God for spring. Make a litany of life, using each letter of the alphabet.
  • Pray for Pope Francis and the future of the Church.

READ

FAMILY AND FRIENDS

  • Tell a family member five lovable things about him or her.
  • Let go of a grudge you have held on to long enough.

PARTICIPATE

  • Go to a fish dinner.
  • Contribute to a food shelf at church or in your neighborhood.
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