Liturgy Reflection

Reflections on the Weekend liturgical readings

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: January 29, 2017

BeatitudesThis is the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. A powerful and radically challenging key to the Christian life is found in the Beatitudes. The key is summarized in the first reading from Zephaniah in the phrase: “Seek justice, seek humility.” The values of Jesus contrast markedly with the values that we see play out in parts of our contemporary culture where greed, prestige, power, security, wealth, status and the like are often assumed to be signs of success and happiness. The gospel message is clearly “counter-cultural.” The Beatitudes challenge us to look in a new way and live in a new way. We are called to learn from those who are striving for justice, to learn even from those who are poor or sorrowing.

May we come to see with the eyes of Jesus, and recognize all the ways we and others are blessed. Called to follow in the footsteps of Christ, may the way we love and respect others bring Christ’s love to all the world.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: January 22, 2017

Fish for peopleThis is the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. In today’s gospel we are reminded that the ministry of Jesus is not thwarted by darkness and death. It is in the midst of the darkness of our broken world, Jesus calls us to love and to serve, and we are baptized to become Christ’s light. “This...guides Jesus’ mission and the mission of the Church: go in search, “fish” for men and women, not to proselytize, but to restore full dignity and freedom to all... This is the essential point of Christianity: to spread the free and regenerative love of God, with a welcoming and merciful attitude toward everyone, so that each person can encounter God’s tenderness and have the fullness of life.” (Pope Francis, 2/7/16)

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Jan. 18-25) has a history of over 100 years, in which Christians around the world have taken part in prayer for visible Christian unity. As 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we pray that all Christians move toward the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer at the Last Supper "that they all may be one." (cf. John 17:21). May God’s Spirit enlighten our minds and hearts, and draw us into harmony!

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: January 15, 2017

Be light for the worldThis is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. We, too, can recognize Jesus when, like John the Baptist, we actively watch for his coming and remain faithful to the mission God has given us. We are called to be more than servants, called to be the body of Christ shining with God’s love to the ends of the earth.

Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by – people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way.” Pope Benedict XVI, “Spe Salvi,” 49

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: January 8, 2017

magi abd starThis is the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, and our community’s feast day. We celebrate the reality that God chooses to be manifested in our time, in our world, and in our lives.

The prophet Joel tells us that a time will come when God will pour out the Spirit upon all flesh. Our sons and daughters will prophesy, the old will dream dreams, and the young will see visions. Today we are called to join the long line of seekers for God, a search that began with the dreams of the magi, a dream that reveals to us the majesty of God living in our world. Let us follow the light of that star. Let us believe in the dream God has for us. Happy Feast Day, Epiphany. Let us walk in the light of our God.

The Sunday Readings:

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: January 1, 2017

Mary lifting her childToday (New Year’s Day) is the Octave Day of Christmas, the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God (as well as the World Day of Prayer for Peace).

Theotokos, translated as “God-bearer” or “Mother of God,” is one of the most significant titles given to Mary, and reminds us that Jesus was divine from conception. Thus, this feast of Mary is also a further exploration of the meaning of Christmas.

Mary models the way of bearing God to the world. She is attentive to the ways God is present, responds whole-heartedly to God and continues to ponder her experiences of the holy as she lives out her life. May we do the same, so that in this new year we may be attentive to God’s messengers, respond whole heartedly, be enriched by insights and wisdom, and be sustained in generously sharing the gifts we’ve been given.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: December 25, 2016

EmmanuelToday is the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas). Wishing you Christmas peace and joy! We’ve all heard expressions like - words are a dime a dozen. But we have also heard or even said things like – I give you my word, my word is my bond, or, my word is good as gold. Words alone, if they are to carry any value or merit, must be backed up with real concrete action. I love you is a wonderful sentiment, but is meaningless if not followed up by deeds of care, thoughtfulness, and service… Words, if they are truly to mean something, must become flesh!

What we celebrate with Christmas is how God’s words of love and mercy were backed up with one of the greatest actions ever in human history, the Word becoming flesh in the person of Jesus Christ – the mystery of the Incarnation, expressed beautifully in the poetic prologue we hear in John’s gospel Christmas Day.

In Jesus, God literally gives us God’s Word, A Word that is God’s bond, A Word even greater than gold. In Jesus, all that God has said in Salvation history and through all the prophets becomes flesh. And that Word, in the person of Jesus, makes its dwelling among us – Emmanuel, our God is with us!

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: December 18, 2016

Joseph's DreamThis is the Fourth Sunday of Advent. There are events so momentous that they effect immediate and dramatic change. There is no better example than God breaking into human history in a new way through the coming of Jesus, which changes everything. Mary and Joseph model how we ourselves give "birth" to Jesus in our own time. By opening ourselves to the Holy Spirit and cooperating with God's plan for our life, we, like Mary and Joseph, usher in a whole new in-breaking of God into human history - Emmanuel, "God is with us." This story, which begins with the yes of Joseph and Mary, continues through history with our yes to opening ourselves to God's dwelling among us.

The birth of this Child isn't simply a historical event that happened long ago, but is a present experience of "God who is with us." We are to be the Josephs who listen to God in dreams, and the Marys who give birth to this Child who saves. "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ comes about": you and I say yes to God, even if we don't fully understand what God is asking of us. We give birth to Emmanuel in our homes, cities, nations. We are to be the presence of Christ in our world! This is how "God is with us."

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: December 11, 2016

Gaudete SundayThis is the Third Sunday of Advent. Rejoice, don’t lose heart, on this Gaudete Sunday! Christ brings fullness of life for all, and offers the community of faith a vision of hope and harmony. We’re halfway through our season of Advent – but perhaps not through the flurry of all our Christmas preparations. Take a few moments to stop, to breathe, to reflect… How do we answer the question, “Are you the One…?” Allow yourself the space to encounter Christ in prayer and recognize him in good works--yours and others’. Take a few moments of quiet these busy days to become mindful of Christ’s presence and reflect on where Christ has been present throughout your day. As we hear the vision of healing, harmony and fullness of life for all, it is appropriate to celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of Sick and to bless our Healing Blankets. May our love and care support the healing that Christ brings. 

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: December 4, 2016

PrepareThis is the Second Sunday of Advent. Advent invites us to rekindle our Baptismal commitment to follow Christ and produce the good fruits of holiness and justice in our lives. In the midst of the busyness of our Christmas preparations, can we carve out some space each day to welcome the presence of Christ our Light within us and to greet that Light in the other who is less fortunate than we are? Let us be on fire with the wonder of this season, prepare to celebrate Christ’s incarnated Presence among us, and open ourselves to that purifying fire of His Holy Spirit that sets us afire anew for living the Gospel!

We are called to live our lives and continue our faith formation in the context of God’s vision of hope, justice and peace. That means we need to be “awake,” open to change, ready to repent and able to recognize the in-breaking of God. This happens in the ordinary experiences of our daily lives – as our holiday preparations include the poor and needy as well as our loved ones, as we extend our care beyond our inner circle, as we try to simplify so that we are not distracted from being attentive to Christ’s coming.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: November 27, 2016

advent StillnessThis is the beginning of a new liturgical year, the First Sunday of Advent, which calls us to continue our faith formation s and live our lives in the context of God’s vision of hope, justice and peace. That means we need to be “awake,” open to change, ready to repent and able to recognize the in-breaking of God. This happens in the ordinary experiences of our daily lives – as our holiday preparations include the poor and needy as well as our loved ones, as we extend our care beyond our inner circle, as we try to simplify so that we are not distracted from being attentive to Christ’s coming. In the fullness of this holiday time, how can we create some space to be able to encounter Christ? Where will we allow a bit of stillness so we can attend to God? Gospel living requires staying awake in order to live in the presence of God, which will usher in God’s reign of hope, justice, peace and harmony for all.

The Readings: