Monthly Archives: August 2013

Year C – Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 25, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Isaiah 66:18-21; Psalm 117:1, 2 (R/. Mark 15:15); Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13; John 14:6; Luke 13:22-30

Today’s readings remind us of God’s master plan:  that all nations hear of and see God’s glory and that all people come to “recline at table in the kingdom of God.”  Our God is a God for all.  That is the good news.  But this demands effort on our part; it calls for the discipline of a fitness program.

While the image of God as a father who disciplines his child, who “scourges every son he acknowledges,” is repugnant in out day, the author is quick to link such “scourging” with trials life brings us, emphasizing that such discipline may later bring “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” to those who learn from it.  The goal is to be strong enough to run the race and win the crown of eternal life, to “strengthen our drooping hands and weak knees.”

In the gospel, Jesus urges us to strive to enter through the narrow gate.  Again, the notion of being disciplined so that we will not be among those who “will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”

How have you experienced God’s “discipline” through a trial that has strengthened you?

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Year C – Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 18, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10; Psalm 40:2, 3, 4, 18 (R/.14b); Hebrews 12:1-4; John 10:27; Luke 12:49-53

A man interviewed on the evening news admitted taking his eyes off the road for only three seconds to check his cell phone when he smashed into the car in front of him.  Losing focus can be dangerous, leading even to loss of life – your own or someone else’s. 

The Letter to the Hebrews calls us to live a focused life so we may reach the goal our faith sets before us:  eternal life with the Lord.  Using the image of a runner striving to win a race, the letter first calls us to remove any weight of sin that would weigh us down; then it commands us to “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of the faith.”  Just as Jesus kept his focus on doing the Father’s will, enduring both opposition and suffering – even death – we must “not grow weary and lose heart” in our struggle to achieve the end God has planned for us. 

What image or story of Jesus helps you focus on him?  

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Year C – Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – August 15, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab; Psalm 45:10, 11, 12, 16; 1 Corinthians 15:20-27; Luke 1:39-56

Today’s feast can answer some very human fear.  Foremost is the fear of death.  The Assumption of Mary calls us to trust that God, who raised Mary, body and soul, to heaven, will also raise us to eternal life.  “In Christ shall all be brought to life,” Paul writes.

The Assumption also challenges any fears about aging.  Our culture puts such a premium on looking young.  The idea of growing old, of maturing into a deeper, wiser, more fully human person is not a priority on today’s cultural agenda.  But, if we think about “looking good” in terms of reflecting on the goodness of the God who created us so that we may sing, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” then our days may be lived out in the faith, hope, and love that we have because of Jesus Christ and his saving death and resurrection.  The Spirit that came upon Mary at the Annunciation and again at Pentecost is at work even now in us.  Mary’s destiny is our destiny.

How do you see God’s promise for us in this feast?

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Year C – Vigil of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – August 14, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

1 Chronicles 15:3-4, 15-16; 16:1-2; Psalm 132:6-7. 9-10, 13-14 (R/.8); 1 Corinthians 15:54b-57; Luke 11:28; Luke 11:27-28

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

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Year C – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 11, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Wisdom 18:6-9; Psalm 33:1. 12. 18-19, 20-22; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8—19 or 11:1-2. 8-12; Matthew 24:42a, 44; Luke 12:32-48 or 12:35-40

One of the popular shows on television in the past two years has been Downton Abbey, taking viewers into the early-twentieth-century world of English wealth and privilege.  What makes the show so addictive is not only having entry into the “upstairs: realm of the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their family, but also in the “downstairs” world of the servants.  The loyalty and dedication often found here brings to mind what Jesus calls for from his disciples in today’s Gospel.

Jesus tells his disciples to, “Be like servants who await their master’s return […] ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.”  Jesus says that the master himself will serve them at table.  The mark of a good servant is one who is watching, not only for the Lord’s return but for those who might harm his household.  The mark of good servants includes not abusing those entrusted to their care.  Trustworthy servants will find a trustworthy master returning to care for them.

How are you called to serve the Lord and his household while you await his return?

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Year C – Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 4, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23; Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17 (R/.1); Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11; Luke 12:13-21

In the first reading, when the Teacher (Qoheleth) uses the word “vanity,” he is not talking about having an inflated appreciation of one’s abilities or appearance; he is using the word in the sense of being empty.  He is saying life is futile, passing.  Life, love, looks, and possessions – all will pass.  In the end, we all go back to dust, as the Psalmist points out, “You turn man back to dust.”

“How dismal!” you may say.  But also, how freeing.  What are you worried about today?  Will you remember it in a month?  A year?  A decade?

Listen to Jesus, the teacher, who refuses to get caught up in family bickering over what was in the will.  Jesus directs our attention to getting into God’s kingdom, not accumulating more and more.  Greed can poison the heart, eat away at the soul, and destroy relationships.  Store up what matters to God.  Paul tells us to think about what is above, of the glory that awaits us when we make Christ and his teaching our treasure.  The goal is transformation, not accumulation.  So put on that new self.  Put on Christ.

Think of one way you can “put on Christ” this week.

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