Tag Archives: reflection

Finding God

6 Feb

Our 2018 Lenten retreat comes to you from Sister Eleanor Lincoln and Sister Catherine Litecky, both Sisters of St. Joseph who created dozens of online retreats for friends of Good Ground Press. This 8-part retreat—Finding God—was one of the last ones Eleanor and Catherine did for us. We give it to you here as our gift this Lent. God bless your seeking and your discoveries. Click here to begin the retreat.

Gospel Reflection for February 11, 2018, 6th Sunday Ordinary Time

5 Feb

Scripture Readings: Leviticus 13.1-2, 44-46; 1 Corinthians 10.31-11.1; Mark 1.40-45

“A leper came to Jesus, imploring him urgently and kneeling as he spoke, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘I do choose. Be made clean.'”  – Mark 1.40-41
 
In Jesus’ time leprosy made its sufferers outsiders, obligated to stay away from others. Leprosy lumped together various skin conditions that like race, gender, age, and other realities show visibly on the body. Poverty can show in missing teeth and listless faces.

On the basis of appearance, we human beings start setting up boundaries between people like us and people like them, insiders and outsiders. We tend to stereotype and even demonize groups we don’t know. The voices of outsiders call for belonging among us, for equality and inclusion. The voices of those left out call us to widen our tents and lengthen our tables. In claiming justice and equality, people express their dignity as human begins made in God’s image and likeness. In healing the leper, Jesus gives voice to God’s intent for us all–wholeness and the communities love forms.

With who might you build a bridge from isolation to participation in economic life, parish life, neighborhood life, or family life?


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Gospel Reflection for February 4, 2018, 5th Sunday Ordinary Time

29 Jan

Scripture Readings: Job 7.1-4,6-7; 1 Corinthians 9.16-19,22-23; Mark 1.29-39

“On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. Jesus came, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her and she began to serve them.” – Mark 1.29-31

Peter’s mother-in-law survived in the oral traditions of the early Church and claims two verses in Mark’s gospel, the first to be written. We don’t know her name but she become the first woman disciple. The New American Bible, the translation Catholics hear in church, translates the Greek word diakonie as “began to wait on.” The word means serve, including providing for physical needs and serving the table. The word deacon, an office in the Church, comes from this same word. Jesus gives the word serve additional meaning when he equates serving with giving one’s life. He says of himself, “For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10.45). Peter’s mother-in-law responds to Jesus’ act of raising her up by serving him and his four new male disciples–Peter, Andrew, James, and John. She becomes a disciples who give herself to Jesus and his mission. Women disciples appear at Jesus’ crucifixion. Like Peter’s mother-in-law these women serve Jesus and follow him. They accompany him from Galilee to Jerusalem (Mark 15.40-41). Perhaps Peter’s mother-in-law is one of the many unnamed women who follow and serve Jesus to the end.

Who models a discipleship of service that you try to follow in your life?


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Gospel Reflection for January 28, 2018, 4th Sunday Ordinary Time

23 Jan

Sunday Readings: Deuteronomy 18.15-20; 1 Corinthians 7.32-35; Mark 1.28

“What is this?  A new teaching–with authority!” – Mark 1.27

An unholy spirit cries out in the synagogue where Jesus preaches in Sunday’s gospel. Jesus rebukes the unclean spirit, a word that also means to silence, muzzle, tie shut. The unclean spirit will not be Jesus’ herald. The unclean spirits are right to ask Jesus if he has come to destroy them. The answer is yes. The gospel challenges us to discern the spirits that drive us.

Ambition may drive us, the desire to achieve and advanced degree or a high-paying job. Desire for security can drive us, a willingness to do whatever a boss asks in order to pay the bills and provide health benefits for the family. Alcohol or chocolate can possess us, becoming a comfort in our stress or pain more perfect and pliant than any human friend. Fear can stifle our creative selves or choke our voices.

What clamors for attention in yourself? What erodes your wholeness or the wholeness you seek?


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Gospel Reflection for January 21, 2018, 3rd Sunday Ordinary Time

15 Jan

Sunday Readings: Jonah 3.1-5, 10; 1 Corinthians 7.29-31; Mark 1.14-20

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of people.” – Mark 1.17

The gospel writer Mark includes few details in the spare story of Jesus calling four fishermen to follow him. Jesus’ call is direct; their responses, quick and decisive. They do not become full-fledged disciples as fast as this, however. Mark cares about how faith develops and matures. Jesus’ disciples leave their old lives behind quickly but their faith journeys twist and turn as they walk with Jesus through fear, flight, sleep, denial, and failure. They take up their work of fishing for people only after Jesus’ death and resurrection. In the end they give their lives for the gospel.

What is your vocation in life? What have you learned through persisting in a call?


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Gospel Reflection for January 14, 2018, 2nd Sunday Ordinary Time

10 Jan

Scripture Readings: 1 Samuel 3.3-10, 19; 1 Corinthians 6.13-15, 17-20; John 1.35-42

“Come and see.” – John 1.29

“Come and see,” Jesus says when Andrew wants to learn about him in Sunday’s gospel. “Come and see” is a call to encounter. Come, talk, stay, meet face to face, interact, discover who I am and what our relationship might be. The invitation opens the door to more than a quick look. With our five senses and conscious minds, we humans can probe who someone really is and what life means.

Our experiences matter, our daily sights, sounds, handshakes, conversations. We can probe what and who gives us life and ask where God is in the events that we live. We can also take the world for granted and consider it ours, not God’s gift

Can I find God at the intersection where I live? The traffic starts at five. A symphony of sounds begins–the swish of buses and delivery trucks, the clang of empty side loaders banging like cymbals on very bump. People are up for the day, interconnecting, using their life energies to do their part in a whole. I want to join in.

Where am I finding God in the ups and downs of being alive?


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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 December 17, 2017, 3rd Sunday of Advent

12 Dec

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 61.1-2,10-11; 1 Thessalonians 5.16-24; John 1.6-8, 19-28

“A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.” – John 1.6-7

John’s gospel begins with 18 verses about the preexistent Word who becomes flesh in Jesus. These verses include the three about John the Baptist that begins Sunday’s gospel. The Baptist is a man sent from God to witness to the light. His witness has the same purpose as the whole gospel—that all might believe in Jesus through him.

The Baptist is first of all a witness to the existence we may take for granted, the light that rises with the sun each morning, the air we breathe. To testify to the light is to raise people’s consciousness that the life and light in which we live reveals God and is God’s gift.

Like the people of Israel during their sojourn in the wilderness, the Baptist must have learned God’s nearness in the silence and solitude of the wilderness where he lives. His preaching opens people’s hearts to God’s presence in Jesus, in whom Wisdom, the Word, has come into the world and become one of us.

How do you witness to the gift in your existence in this Advent season?


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Gospel Reflection for December 10, 2017, 2nd Sunday of Advent

5 Dec

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 40.1-5,9-11; 2 Peter 3.8-14; Mark 1.1-8

“One more powerful than I will come after me.” – Matthew 1.7

Advent prepares us o celebrate the incarnation–God becoming one of us. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, the one Israel’s prophet Isaiah promised God would send. By loving us as one of us, Jesus shows us our capacity to love is the image of our life-giving, creative God in us.

As we celebrate Christmas, love evolves in our relationships, in our world. We carol and spread joy. We light up the dark. We gift one another and set tables for family and strangers. We live in the embrace of God. Creation is holy. Our family relationships are holy. Our lives of love and struggle are holy.

Tell someone about the God you believe in today.


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