Liturgy Reflection

Reflections on the Weekend liturgical readings

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?

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: May 21, 2017

LoveThis is the Sixth Sunday of Easter. If one is aware of world problems, one can feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Yet the first reading talks of joy and healing and the second speaks of hope. Good things can happen with the power of the Spirit. The healing that God wants for our world can come to us. We must not lose hope. The gospel speaks of a relationship of love and solidarity between the Father and Jesus and then with all of us. This unity and solidarity can be made real, not just in our hearts, but also in the way people are treated and in the way love is expressed in action for justice and peace. We must put our faith into practice. “Love of neighbor is an absolute demand for justice, because charity must manifest itself in actions and structures which respect human dignity, protect human rights, and facilitate human development. To promote justice is to transform structures which block love.” (1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World)

As people of faith we believe more than ever that with God’s help we can offer resurrection life and love to our world and its people. This has been our continued focus this season as we consider encounter and accompaniment. Where is the Spirit working in your world and life? What signs of hope do you see?

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: May 14, 2017

DiscipleshipThis is the 5th Sunday of Easter. The gospel of Jesus is not simply a “personal interior message or experience” which changes the way we feel. Genuine belief leads to works. Spirituality is connected to action. As Jesus says in today’s gospel, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these.” During this Easter season we’ve continued 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. How are you being called to continue the works of Christ?

The work of the gospel is reflected in the concern of the early church for the poor. In today’s example from Acts, it is reflected in a concern for the widows in the community. The work of the gospel is about service and especially service to those who are most in need. It is a responsibility for the whole community – not just a responsibility for the apostles. Deacons are appointed. The whole community is involved in this very local need. [In some way this story reflects the principle of subsidiarity which is one of the key principles of Catholic social teaching.] The apostles also seek to create a structure for responding to the needs for the long term. [This too is important in Catholic social teaching, for we desire to offer more than charity to respond to some immediate need but to create structures of justice that empower all people.]

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: May 7, 2017

Good ShepherdThis is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. A world that makes real the loving care of the Good Shepherd must work to put an end to all kinds of abuse that may be endured by God’s people. We must not forget those who have been victims of violence, those who are abused by unjust economic systems, children who are denied a safe environment, good education or proper nutrition, those who work hard for something less than a living wage, women who are denied basic human or economic rights, and all who are abused in any way by the structures of injustice.

As shepherds 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.” (Pope Francis)

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 consider the violence in our own city, how we can accompany our neighbors affected by this tragedy, and work to put an end to violence in our community. “Hands Across Louisville” offers us an opportunity to encounter our neighbors from around the city, especially in the West End, and to accompany those devastated by gun violence. Join people of faith on Saturday, May 13, 2017 in showing our solidarity with our neighbors, and sign up to hold hands 2:00 – 3:00 PM on Epiphany’s block on Broadway!

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?

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