Tag Archives: Prophets

Year A – Fourth Sunday of Advent – December 22, 2013

Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6 (R/. 7c and 10b); Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:23; Matthew 1:18-24

Sacred Scripture gives us several stories about dreamers – Jacob and his son Joseph come to
Imagemind.  But the most important dreamer of all was a carpenter named Joseph.  In his dream, an angel came and spoke to him and said, “Do not fear to take Mary into your home.  For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.”  In addition, in his dream, Joseph was told to name the child Jesus, which means “God saves.”  When he awoke from the dream, he did what had been asked and took Mary into his home.

That was not the end of his dreams though.  They kept coming.  Voices spoke, “Joseph, take the mother and child into Egypt – Herod is trying to kill him.”  “Joseph, take the mother and child out of Egypt – Herod is dead.”  Each time Joseph listened to his dreams.  Perhaps once one begins to live in God’s dream; it becomes clearer, if not easier.  God’s dream is that we live in the world as God’s children, taking care of each other and working to bring God’s peace, justice, mercy, and forgiveness – God’s very presence, wherever it is needed.

How are you living God’s dream?  

 

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Year A – Third Sunday of Advent – December 15, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10; Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10 (R/. cf. Isaiah 35:4); James 5:7-10; Isaiah 61:1 (cited in Luke 4:18); Matthew 11:2-11

ImageIsaiah is the prophet of joy in Advent.  He pictures a dry desert that will blossom and flower when the Lord comes.  He then images the healing that the Lord will also bring: feeble hands strengthened, weak knees made firm, blind eyes opened, deaf ears made clear, the lame leaping, and the mute singing for joy.  This is the jubilation that accompanies the coming of the Lord.  God wants all of us to have fullness of life.  It will surely come in God’s good time.  Even now, we get a taste of it, knowing that by our Baptism, we have entered into the life of the Trinity, and by receiving the Eucharist, we enter into communion with the Lord and each other.

For the fullness of joy, we must wait patiently, as James reminds us, not complaining but with hearts trusting in God’s promises.  The rest is only a matter of time.  While Jesus praises John as more than a prophet, nevertheless he concludes by saying, “Yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  Even now we are children of the kingdom.

How have you known the joy that is a gift of the Holy Spirit?

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Bare Minimum Checklist for Heaven

An excellent homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent, Year A, from Father John Reutemann of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, titles “Bare Minimum Checklist for Heaven.”  Do these things, and you will go to heaven!  

http://www.reutepriest.com/2013/12/08/bare-minimum-checklist-for-heaven/

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Year A – Second Sunday of Advent – December 8, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 (R/. cf. 7); Romans 15:4-9; Luke 3:4, 6; Matthew 3:1-12

Advent is a season that set before us visionaries like the poet-prophet Isaiah, the preacher-missionary Paul, and the herald-prophet John the Baptist.  Each offers us a vision of God’s good creation coming together in unity.  For Isaiah, it is all creation – human and animal; for Paul, it is the church in Rome “thinking in harmony with one another;” for John it is the Promised One coming to gather the good wheat into his barn, God’s harvest, which is the children of the kingdom.

We are brought together each Sunday to think, live, pray, and sing in harmony to the gracious God who continues to come to us in Jesus Christ, the One who came in the power of the Holy Spirit, an who continues to come in God’s Word and in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.  The risen Lord draws us more deeply into communion with the Father and with one another.

How can you help bring about God’s dream for a renewed and unified creation?

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Year C – Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 29, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Amos 6:1a, 4-7; Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10 (R/. 1b); 1 Timothy 6:11-16; cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9; Luke 16:19-31

As the gap between rich and poor widens, God’s word could not be more relevant, “Woe to the complacent,” wails Amos.  “Pursue righteousness.  Lay hold of eternal life,” urges Paul.  “Listen to the true ‘Resurrection Man’ before it is too late,” counsels Luke.  We have two pictures of complacency today.  Amos portrays a pampered people, lying on couches, snacking, sipping, massaged into a state of lethargy, all to soothing music.  Then, he chastises us saying, “The party’s over.  Get ready for exile.”

Jesus gives us a story of ongoing indolence with a rich man lying on his couch, dressed in soft linen, eating rich food, drinking choice wines every day.  He takes no notice of Lazarus lying outside his gate, smelly, starving, and sickly.  Death comes for both.  The situation is then reversed on them.  The difference is the gate has become a gap, an abyss that now separates them.  Lazarus rests in Abraham’s bosom; whereas the rich man writhes in torment.

The lesson:  Gates have an expiration date.  Go through them now to help others.  Porta is the Latin word for gate, from which we get the word opportunity.  Do no neglect the opportunities – the gates – to help others.

What gates are before you to pass through to help another?

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Year C – Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 22, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8 (R/. cf. 1a, 7b); 1 Timothy 2:1-8; cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9; Luke 16:1-13 or 16:10-13

The bottom line is clear, “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”  Mammon is an Aramaic word meaning property, money, or possessions.  Fr. John Haughey, SJ, has written about “mammon sickness” in his book The Holy Use of Money, describing three of its symptoms:  running after things, numbness in our relationships, and a divided consciousness in our relationship with God.  Today’s readings invite us to take our spiritual temperature to see if we are suffering from this sickness.

Dishonest business practices are the target of Amos’s wrath.  The prophet connects the pursuit of wealth with both the diminishment of genuine worship of God and with trampling on the rights of the needy and the poor.  Such are the results of “mammon sickness,” when God’s love and concern for the poor do not take flesh through us.

Rather than condemning the shady practices of a steward, Jesus seems to admire them.  But a closer reading shows that what he admires is the initiative and shrewdness taken by this son of darkness, using money to make friends.  Children of the light should use money to make friends with the needy, thereby giving God glory.

How can mammon/money/possessions be sacramental, mediating God’s love?

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Year C – Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 9, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

1 Kings 17:17-24; Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13; Galatians 1:11-19; Luke 7:16; Luke 7:11-17

Widows were not merry in Sacred Scripture.  A widow was in real trouble if she did not have an adult son or another male in the family to care for her.  In reaching out to two heartbroken widows who have lost their sons, God shows divine compassion.

The widow of Zarephath thinks Elijah caused her son’s illness as a punishment on her.  “Why have you done this to me, O man of God?” she asks.  “Have you come to call attention to my guilt and to kill my son?”  But Elijah takes the boy and calls on God for help.  God responds, restoring the child to his mother.  In turn, she professes Elijah to be a man of God who speaks God’s word.

The widow of Nain says nothing to Jesus.  Seeing her tears, Jesus acts compassionately, calling the boy back to life and restoring him to his mother.  Those present recognize him as a prophet, as God visiting the people.

How can we “visit God’s people”?  Especially consider the many women who see their children die before them of disease that could be averted or cured or because of genocidal wars.

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Year C – Second Sunday of Lent – February 24, 2013 – Gospel Reflection

Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Psalm 27:1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14; Philippians 3:17 – 4:1 or 3:20 – 4:1; cf. Matthew 17:5; Luke 9:28b-36

Every so often life gives you a glimpse of glory – the beauty of a sunset, goodness in a person, truth in words spoke, peace and well-being in a friendship.  Sometimes it comes suddenly; other times it has been there but you have not been paying attention.  Still, it is real.  This happened to Peter, James, and John.  Jesus often went off to pray, to be in the presence of his Father.  On this particular occasion, while praying, his glory shone through and his disciples saw it.  They also saw Moses and Elijah, speaking with him about his coming death, his passing over into full glory.  Jesus will go on to speak to his disciples of the glory awaiting them at the end of the road.  We too need a reminder of our destiny, that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).  Our Savior has promised he will come and “change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body” (3:21).  For now, hear the Father’s words, “This is my chosen Son: listen to him” (Luke 9:35).  Our ultimate glory may depend on it.

Do you think of yourself as destined for glory?

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Year C – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 3, 2012 – Gospel Reflection

Jeremiah 1: 4-5, 17-19, Psalm 71: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17 (R/. cf. 15ab), 1 Corinthians 12: 31 – 13: 13 or 13: 4-13, Luke 4:18, Luke 4: 21-30

People seldom welcome prophets.  Jeremiah got the leaders so angry when he told them God was going to punish them for their infidelity to the Lord that they tried to kill him.  No wonder he wanted to avoid being a prophet, but God told him not to worry.  God would deliver him.

Jesus’ own townsfolk tried to kill him.  They got upset when he read from the book of the prophet Isaiah and left out the parts they really wanted to hear – how the rich and powerful Gentiles would be their slaves, they would get all of the Gentiles’ wealth, and they would be on top again.  Instead, Jesus told them that God had other plans for the Gentiles.  Jesus reminded them about Elijah feeding a Gentile woman and her son, and Elisha, curing a Gentile general who had leprosy.  Jesus emphasized how God sent these prophets to the Gentiles.  That is when the hometown folks tried to throw Jesus over a cliff.

Usually we do not realize that a prophet has spoken until later.  Looking back, we realize that God was trying to get something across, get people back on the right path, only they did not want to hear it.

How have you been challenged by prophets in your life?

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