Tag Archives: the bible

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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Gospel Reflection for December 3, 2017, 1st Sunday of Advent

29 Nov

Photo via Flickr user Stephen Grebinksi

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 63.16-17,19; 64.2-7; 1 Corinthians 1.3-9; Mark 13.33-37


“Stay awake, for you do not know when the owner of the house will come.” – Matthew 13.35 


Advent begins a new Church year with a gospel about the end of all things. Instead of a date for the end, Jesus gives us a one-verse parable about an estate owner who goes on a journey, leaves servants in charge, and commands the doorkeeper to keep watch. The owner may return in the evening, at midnight, at cockcrow, or dawn–times when Jesus’ disciples fail to watch during his passion, which follows in chapters 14-15.

Our houses, apartments, offices, stores all have doors. Daily we cross thresholds; we enter and leave each others’ lives. Like the disciples we may sleep through or feel bored during an evening encounter. In dark midnight moments fear can urge us to avoid hard things that prevent us from considering others’ points of view. Peter has made cockcrow a familiar sound that wakes us up to our regrets. At the heart of our faith is the dawn moment, the hour of resurrection, of waking to God’s presence.

What doorways do you want to enter or exit this year? What is a threshold you have crossed to faith?


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Gospel Reflection for November 12, 2017, 32nd Sunday Ordinary Time

8 Nov

Scripture Readings: Wisdom 6.12-16; 1 Thessalonians 4.13-18; Matthew 25.1-13

“The wise girls brought flasks of oil along with their lamps.” – Matthew 25.4

When Matthew writes more than 50 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Christians no longer expect Jesus’ immanent return. Instead, they are reflecting on how to live wisely and faithfully during the indeterminate delay before his second coming. No one knows when the bridegroom will come. We do recognize the wisdom of having oil in our lamps for the long night. In our faith journeys we need to explore what keeps oil in our lamps and lights the path of Christian living for us.

The oil may be time alone in solitude, retreats, mediation, spiritual reading, theological classes. The oil may involve interacting in groups, sharing faith and insights, transforming and affirming one another spiritual experiences. The oil may be Eucharist and the community of people who gather to remember what Jesus asked on the night before he died. All of us join in co-creating with /God what the world of which we are a part will become.  Christ is the omega point.

Omega is the final letter in the Greek alphabet. God comes to us not only from the past in creation and in Jesus Christ but from the future in the lure to become all love and compassion can create.

How does God come to you from the future, from your hopes and dreams? What action in your life has proved wisest and keeps your light burning?


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Gospel Reflection for September 17, 2017, 24th Sunday Ordinary Time

14 Sep

Sunday Readings: Sirach 27.30-28.7; Romans 14.7-9; Matthew 18.21-35

Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive?  As many as seven times?” – Matthew 18.21

We know Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question. Seventy times seven times. That’s always. In the Our Father we ask God to forgive us as we forgive others every time we pray it–scary. Forgiveness may not be our first impulse when someone hurts us. We may want to strike back or perhaps just nurse festering resentment, or perhaps like Peter we want to count. This is not God’s way or Jesus’ way.

The parable that follows Peter’s question and Jesus’ answer is about the servant who owes his master a big debt that a generous master forgives. Then the forgiven servant insists a fellow servant pay a debt of 100 denarii, refuses pleas for patience, and puts the fellow servant in prison. The master finds out and hands the unforgiving servant over to be tortured. The parable challenges us to recognize God’s expansive love and mercy and make room for growth and grace in our relationships.

How has making room for grace and growth helped you forgive others or yourself?


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Gospel Reflection for August 27, 2017, 21st Sunday Ordinary Time

21 Aug

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 22.19-23, Romans 11.33-36, Matthew 16.13-20

“Who do people say that I am?”  – Matthew 16.14

Jesus asks his disciples this question, “Who do people say that I am?”, halfway through his public ministry. Is he the long-awaited leader that prophets dreamed would bring peace? His disciples think so. Is her God’s servant like the Israelites in exile who pours out his life to reveal God’s vision of justice for the nations? Hmmm. Jesus’ disciples haven’t made that connection. Jesus’ question is a brave one. What are people saying about me?

We are still asking who Jesus is. Is he a prophetic reformer who hopes to breathe life into the legalistic religion of his day and whose example challenges us to do the same today? Is he a revolutionary whose inflammatory preaching catches him in the gears of the Roman Empire? Is he the greatest party giver of all time who invites everyone to come to his banquets.

In the new context of evolution we ask, “Isn’t Jesus, who is the Christ, the omega point in whom all creation will converge? Isn’t he the firstborn of a new creation who testifies that love is the ultimate transforming power in the cosmos?”

Who do people say you are? Who notices you are a Christian?


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