Liturgy Reflection

Reflections on the Weekend liturgical readings

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: April 30, 2017

Encounter Christ in Real LifeThis is the Third Sunday of Easter. We continue our focus on encounter and accompaniment by considering specific ways we can live out our faith through meeting those in need, living in solidarity with them, and taking appropriate action for the common good.

This weekend we hear about CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates - volunteers who are trained to advocate for abused and neglected children. The Church's social teaching constantly points out the need to respect the dignity of children. …”Special attention must be devoted to the children by developing a profound esteem for their personal dignity, and a great respect and generous concern for their rights. This … becomes all the more urgent the smaller the child is and the more it is in need...” [244, Compendium Of The Social Doctrine Of The Church]

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: April 23, 2017

Easter EncounterThis is the Second Sunday of Easter. During this Easter season we continue our focus on encounter and accompaniment by considering specific ways we can live out our faith through through meeting those in need, living in solidarity with them, and taking appropriate action for the common good. This weekend we hear from and about refugees from Congo, Cuba, and Yemen working with Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services. “[The] capacity for empathy leads to a genuine encounter – we have to progress toward this culture of encounter – in which heart speaks to heart. We are enriched by the wisdom of the other and become open to travelling together the path to greater understanding, friendship and solidarity. (8/17/14, Pope Francis to Bishops)

The first reading from Acts reminds us of the commitment by the early Christian community to share whatever they had and respond to the needs of all, especially the poor. In John’s gospel, Thomas seems to be troubled because he has not had the experience of the rest of the disciples. He experiences doubt and uncertainty, and wants to know for himself. On the level of nations and international institutions, not only do individuals struggle with questions of inclusion and certainty, but whole nations, cultures, and classes of people do as well. The faith of all of us might come into doubt as we find ourselves isolated and divided by injustice. We might find it difficult to believe in a God of resurrection and new life when we are experiencing oppression, violence, abuse, homelessness, hunger, hatred, uncertainty, fear, or death...

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: April 16, 2017

Easter EncounterHappy Easter, with gratitude for all the blessings of new life! Our world knows the tragedy of division and hatred between peoples and nations. Our world knows the scandal of poverty and economic injustice. More than ever the world needs to experience resurrection. Today’s letter to the Corinthians reminds us that something new is possible: in the midst of immense human problems, great social sins, all kinds of violence, extreme economic inequalities, destruction to our planet, and serious injustices of all kinds, we affirm life. We believe - we know - that resurrection is possible.

An understanding of resurrection that does not address issues of justice is incomplete, and not consistent with the spirit of Jesus who lived, died, and rose to bring an end to all oppression and injustice. Peter in Acts reminds us that Jesus “… went about doing good and healing all those oppressed.” We are called to do the same. To use the words of Pope Francis, Christ calls us “…to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced!

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: April 9, 2017

Holy Week

Today is Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. You are invited to enter into the deepest mysteries of our faith and re-commit to the way of Christ. Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion begins an extraordinary week that concentrates in a few days the meaning of our whole Christian life. Give yourself the gift of slowing down and entering into the meaning of this week. We celebrate in the liturgies what we live every day--all the dying to self that characterizes truly faithful disciples of Jesus, all the serving in love that proclaims our choice to live in the reign of God. This is our way of continuing Jesus’ saving mission, our way of making visible our ultimate desire: to live united with Jesus who suffered, died, was raised, and lives in communion with the One God.

This Lent 2017 we have been focusing on our common call to encounter and accompany… “Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves…. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life…” (9/24/15, Pope Francis to U.S. Congress) We can encounter and accompany some of those most in need through supporting Catholic Charities Migration & Refugee Services. Where is Christ inviting us to encounter and accompany those facing misunderstanding, betrayal, condemnation, and death?

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: April 2, 2017

Encounter ChristThis is the Fifth Sunday of Lent. As Jesus approaches the tomb of his friend Lazarus, we are told, “Jesus wept.” Today we have so many deaths to weep over: deaths from countless wars, ethnic and racial fighting, acts of terrorism; from inadequate medical care, nutrition and shelter; from natural disasters, substance abuse and industrial accidents; those dying alone or feeling unloved… Jesus says to Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life.” We need a vision of resurrection life that does not forget those on the margins, respects human rights, and promotes life before money, power and pride. Jesus says: “Lazarus, come out.” Jesus says to those around him: “Untie him and let him go.” Our world needs a confident voice that will invite us out of our tombs and into freedom – freedom from the culture of violence, death, racism, discrimination, debt, revenge, and blindness – freedom to respond to the needs of others and let go of everything that keeps us from being fully alive. What in you feels barren or lifeless and longs for new life? “In the encounter with Christ, the path of liberation and salvation is opened for all men and women in every place and of every time.” (Pope Francis” 8/31/16)

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: March 26, 2017

Blind manThis is the Fourth Sunday of Lent. The experience of the man born blind recognizing Christ as the light of the world is a powerful account about how one person comes to see while so many others continue to be trapped by their own blindness. We all have our personal blind spots and prejudices, as do our cultures. Christ calls to be free and to see in a new way, just as Samuel learned to see “not as humans see but as God sees.” Christ wants us to have open eyes and ready hearts, so that we can see and then have the freedom to act with justice and love. How do we need to see things in a new way, to be able to encounter and accompany those we meet?

Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love. The word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable.” (Pope Francis, Message for Lent 2017)

This Lent 2017 we are focusing on our common call to ENCOUNTER and ACCOMPANY… Pope Francis encourages us to build a culture of encounter and accompaniment. “We must do what Jesus does: encounter others….we must create a culture of encounter, a culture of friendship, a culture in which we find brothers and sisters, in which we can also speak with those who think differently,…we are asked to seek out, to accompany, to lift up, to bind up the wounds of our time.” We can encounter and accompany some of those most in need through supporting Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services. How is Christ inviting you to see with new eyes this Lent?

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: March 19, 2017

Woman at the wellThis is the Third Sunday of Lent. The ministry of Jesus is inclusive, offering Living Water to all. Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman in today’s gospel story, which amazes the disciples. Rabbis did not casually talk to women or Samaritans. Despite all the conventions of the time, Jesus talks to her and everything is changed. She runs off in excitement to share with the whole village, and becomes the first follower in John’s gospel to spread the good news. The whole town is changed. The Samaritan woman in some way represents all in the world whose gifts are not recognized, who experience oppression, and who struggle for justice. Her encounter with Jesus is an encounter of liberation for her and then for her whole village. ”The encounter with Christ can completely change our life.” (Pope Francis on Twitter)

This Lent we are focusing on our common call to ENCOUNTER and ACCOMPANY… Pope Francis encourages us to build a culture of encounter and accompaniment. “We must do what Jesus does: encounter others….we must create a culture of encounter, a culture of friendship, a culture in which we find brothers and sisters, in which we can also speak with those who think differently,…we are asked to seek out, to accompany, to lift up, to bind up the wounds of our time.”

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: March 12, 2017

Encounter ChristThis is the Second Sunday of Lent 2017. Our focus this season of Lent 2017 is “Called to ENCOUNTER and ACCOMPANY.”

Pope Francis encourages us to build a culture of encounter and accompaniment. “We must do what Jesus does: encounter others…we must create a culture of encounter, a culture of friendship, a culture in which we find brothers and sisters, in which we can also speak with those who think differently…we are asked to seek out, to accompany, to lift up, to bind up the wounds of our time.

The experience of the transfiguration causes the disciples to see in a new way. Jesus urges them not to build tents and stay on the mountain, but sends them forth with a new vision. They are to bring good news to the poor, the outcasts, the disheartened - which soon takes Jesus to Jerusalem and his final days. The gospel invites us, too, to see things anew, and from other viewpoints. What keeps us from “coming down the mountain” and participating fully in the lives of those most in need?

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: March 5, 2017

EncounterThis is the First Sunday of Lent. Our focus this season of Lent 2017 is “Called to ENCOUNTER and ACCOMPANY.”

Pope Francis encourages us to build a culture of encounter and to offer a spirituality of accompaniment. “Faith is an encounter with Jesus, and we must do what Jesus does: encounter others...with our faith we must create a culture of encounter, a culture of friendship, a culture in which we find brothers and sisters, in which we can also speak with those who think differently,… following in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd, we are asked to seek out, to accompany, to lift up, to bind up the wounds of our time.”

We, like Jesus, face temptations. God formed humans for life in a creation garden of God’s love, but our desire for power, to “be like gods,” has led us into a desert wasteland of lies and death. We justify the use of power, violence and manipulation as the necessary means to feed our human hungers. But we are invited to more – real fullness of life through conversion to our true selves, as God created us to be. We begin this Lenten season of renewal and new life with the ancient spiritual practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving that can help us accomplish this renewal as individuals and as a community. You’re invited this Lent to experience encounter and accompaniment by supporting immigrant families through Catholic Charities Migration & Refugee Services. Watch for upcoming opportunities to learn, pray and serve!

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: February 26, 2017

Trust in God to care for youThis is the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time. How do you measure God’s care? God doesn’t measure it; it is poured out abundantly, though at times we may not recognize it. Someone devastated by war or terrible loss finds it hard to believe that God not only loves but is love itself.  We do not need to worry excessively about everyday struggles. God is with us, loving us in all situations, and the ultimate outcome of life is in God’s hands. May we be open to receive God’s care, and strengthened to manifest that same love even in difficult circumstances.

The world tells us to seek success, power and money; God tells us to seek humility, service and love.”  Pope Francis (June 2013)

The Sunday readings:

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