Liturgy Reflection

Reflections on the Weekend liturgical readings

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: July 30, 2017

Where your treasure isThe 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The news around the world each day confronts us with images and stories that can push us to the core of our faith and conscience, and lead us to seek out meaning and understanding. This weekend’s scriptures offer us some insight into how we might see and respond to these realities. God offers King Solomon any gift, and Solomon asks that he be given an understanding heart to distinguish right from wrong. In the gospel reading, Jesus invites us to be a part of the kingdom of heaven, a reign of God on earth now and for all time. This is the true treasure, worth giving up all else. What do we truly treasure? Do we accept the “cost” of discipleship?

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: July 23, 2017

weeds and wheatThis is the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The crowds listening to Jesus know that mustard seed is an invasive weed - no one would ever sow mustard seeds - except God! Today’s scriptures remind us that God’s love encompasses all, and reaches even those that are rejected...those who are on the fringes...those who are broken. God’s love reaches the divorced, the depressed, the homeless, the gay, the jobless and the addicted. Our personal weeds grow together with our wheat. Things cannot be sorted out cleanly now, however much we might like to do so. But God’s love reaches each of us as we are and fills us with forgiveness. This is freely given by God to all of us, and can’t be earned. All we are called to do is to be open to this incredible gift of God, and, in turn, to reach out to others with this same love.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: July 16, 2017

Sower of seedThis is the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In the gospel parable today, the image of the sower is of one who generously, almost recklessly, scatters seeds everywhere. Grace is abundant. The goodness of God is abundant. God’s word is abundant. The possibilities for the world and its people are numerous and wonderful. The challenge is to share this abundance responsibly and lovingly. Some close their eyes or ears or hearts and do not respond to the word. Shocked by wealth and anxiety, we can close ourselves to the reality of the poor and marginalized of our world. Shocked by the structures and institutions of our world, we can feel paralyzed. The word today reminds us that something more is possible.

What are the things in your life that choke off the effectiveness of God’s word? What in your life nurtures the seed of God’s word to fullness?

The Sunday Readings:

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: July 9, 2017

Come to meThis is the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Working through the humble and the lowly, God is transforming the world. The world usually uses power, weapons and warfare to try to achieve freedom and peace, but Jesus teaches us another way. The Messiah is not a conquering warrior, but one who comes in the ways of peace, inviting us into a freeing relationship of love where we do not shoulder our burdens alone.

The gospel reminds us that this counter-cultural message is a message of liberation and life. As we let go of all the craziness of our culture, we will find “rest” and finally really be alive. Then, justice and peace can truly begin to thrive.

The Readings:

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: July 2, 2017

Take up your cross; follow ChristThis is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We receive because others give - so much of our lives depends upon the generosity of others - and all life and everything we do is because of the utter generosity of God! Taking up our cross and living as Jesus means we must be givers as well as receivers. And we must become as generous in our self-giving as Christ is.

Jesus calls us to single-mindedness, to put him at the center of our lives. He also reminds us that whoever receives his followers receives him. Our relationship to Jesus is connected to our relationships with each other. Then we find that every act of self-giving is really an act of receiving. We receive strengthened relationships, less wandering from God, the knowledge that we’ve eased another’s burden, the abiding presence of Christ and the fullness of Life that is given through our faithfulness. In generously giving and receiving we lose our lives for the sake of others, and find fullness of Life - Jesus himself.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: June 25, 2017

Be not afraidThis is the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Though it may take total commitment, as for Jeremiah, to be faithful in the face of opposition and difficulty, God brings us healing and strength through the gracious gift of Jesus. In today’s gospel, Jesus helps us sort out fear. “Fear no one,” he states boldly. We need only to keep Jesus’ continued presence before us and act accordingly. We can be assured that God counts every hair on our head, and counts us worthy to be disciples. Jesus challenges us to fear what is truly death-dealing, “the one who can destroy both soul and body. ” This kind of death comes from choosing our own selfish interests rather than the way of Christ. As we gather in community, may we be reminded of the love of God that strengthens us to continue, together, to choose the way of Christ that brings Life and helps us let go of fear.

The Sunday Readings:

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: June 18, 2017

Corpus ChristiThis Sunday is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. The Eucharist is about sharing food and sharing in God’s life. What matters is not simply eating the bread and drinking the cup, but participating in the life and mission of Christ, whose sacramental presence impels us into the world to transform it. Eucharist celebrates and challenges our sharing and our relationship with each other.

We can ask questions about our sacramental celebrations:

  • Does our celebration of the Eucharist reflect the excitement and joy of being one in community?
  • Does our celebration reflect a spirit of deep “solidarity?" Are we celebrating our solidarity as the living Mystical Body of Christ?
  • Is everyone welcome? Is there diversity in our community?
  • Does the Eucharist empower us for action – for life?

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: June 11, 2017

TrinityThis is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. We experience God as a living presence whose very nature is communion - relationship! “...God is a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect communion between Three - a circle dance of love [perichoresis].” (Richard Rohr, “The Divine Dance, The Trinity and Your Transformation”) Physics now shows that this relatedness is not only in God, or among us, but is imbedded in the very atoms of all creation. At the subatomic level scientists describe “quantum entanglements”: the state of each particle cannot be described independent of the others. Thus, “Pick a flower on earth, and you move the farthest star.” (Physicist Paul Dyrac)

God created all things in relationship, mirroring the very nature of the Trinity. Divine life and love extend beyond the Trinity to us and to all that is. May the mystery of the Trinity draw us to go deeper into ourselves – to be in touch with the Divine within us, and beyond ourselves – to an intimacy with God that moves us outward to live in solidarity and love with all God’s amazing handiwork.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: June 4, 2017

PentecostThis is the Feast of Pentecost. After fifty days of Easter feasting, today we celebrate the gift of the Spirit to the followers of Jesus, and the power of this Spirit in the church. The scriptures remind us that the Spirit leads us to solidarity with each other, the whole world, and all its people. The Spirit does more than make individuals feel good or different. The Spirit breaks down barriers between peoples. The Spirit changes behavior and moves us into community. The Spirit calls us into action.

The coming of the Spirit transforms the Christian community. Locked doors are opened. Fear is replaced by courage. Peace is proclaimed. The power to forgive sins is present. Those who were afraid now speak up boldly. Thousands hear the message in their own language.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: May 28, 2017

AscensionToday is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. The feast of the Ascension reminds us to “find God in all things” and not just stare up to heaven to find God in some other place. God is here! The spirituality of Christ is not a spirituality that looks to get out of the world and its challenges. The spirituality of Christ is a spirituality connected to the world around us – the world of people and nature – a world with rich and poor, men and women, young and old, nature and grace, conflict and reconciliation, war and peace, sin and virtue...

The disciples are sent out not with a rigid ideology or a fully spelled out set of rules, but rather with a spirit – a spirit of openness – a spirit that proclaims “repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations.” Even though our world today may be somewhat different than the world of 2000 years ago, Christ is still alive and present. The Ascension is the key that allows all this to happen. Jesus says: “It is better for you that I go, for if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). Catholic Social Teaching affirms and supports our involvement with all the richness, diversity, and mystery of human life. We can “find God in all things.” We can make a difference in all the big issues of our day. This has been our continued focus this season as we consider encounter and accompaniment. Where in your day-to-day living have you been finding God? How is God calling you to continue the work of Jesus?