This is the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today we are reminded that laboring for wealth and possessions is not only foolish, but results in sorrow, grief, and anxiety. God has given us creation’s rich bounty. With such generosity ever before us, may we measure life’s worth not by the quantity of possessions, but by the life and love we freely place at the service of others.
There is a temptation in our culture to become addicted to work and accomplishments, to worry about money, to find one’s value in possessions and to judge life by one’s material wealth and status. The scriptures strongly challenge this way of thinking and living. Jesus says "Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions." Paul writes: “Put to death the greed that is idolatry.” The teacher in Ecclesiastes points out that all the fruit of human toil can sometimes just be vanity.
This is the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our God is not a distant God. The readings illustrate that special relationship God has with each of us and with us as a community of believers and provide us with some greater understanding of who God is. In today’s gospel Jesus shows us how to pray. We are to pray to God as a child calls to a generous and caring parent, and we are to ask for what we really need, boldly and persistently. It is persistence in prayer that brings us deeper in our relationship with God and opens us to receive these “good gifts” God offers us.
“Prayer is the primary work of the moral and religious life. The root of this life is a free and conscious relationship with God, which then directs everything.” (Theophane the Recluse)
Today is the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today’s first reading shows us the value of hospitality, and that in welcoming strangers we often encounter the Divine. Yet there is a reminder in the gospel account of Martha and Mary that being burdened by the tasks of service can cause us to miss what’s more important: our relationships, especially with Jesus, our Teacher. The stress we encounter in our culture and the demands that we encounter in our lives have limited our ability to be hospitable – to take time for people – to put into practice the ideals that are modeled by the hospitality of Sarah and Abraham and by the hospitality of Mary in the gospel.
Our contemporary world places lots of demands on our goodness. War and terrorism continue. One-fifth of the children in our country are living in poverty. A great many adults are unemployed, and so many are barely making it. Banks and corporations seem to be doing much better than ordinary citizens. The politics of our world have created millions of refugees. So many people need the basics of good food, adequate shelter and decent clothing. Intolerance and discrimination continue. The environment is under stress. As we address any of these concerns, the scriptures remind us of the importance of relationship, and that all people should be treated as unique and precious human beings who are entitled to share in the bounty of the world.
This is the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Love of God and neighbor, including the “outcast,” is the guiding force of our Christian lives. Today’s scriptures remind us that the commandment of love is the summary and soul of the entire law, and that it is neither too hard nor too distant for us. May our eyes and hearts be opened to recognize the nearness of the word of God and our neighbor, so that, filled with compassion and generosity, we may become Good Samaritans to those in need.
Consider: Who is the “neighbor” that we have trouble even respecting, let alone caring for generously? How can we open ourselves more fully to the word and love of God?
This is the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. God's power shall be known to God’s servants (first reading) and in God’s servants (Gospel). God works through us to spread the good news. Today we are reminded that God comforts us as a mother comforts her child, and wants all to know healing and peace through the Spirit of compassion poured out on all disciples. May the gospel set us free to be faithful disciples, that wherever life takes us and with whomever we find ourselves, we may always share Christ’s gift of love.
Are you taking the time you need to receive Christ’s message with joy?
This is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today’s Scriptures call us to follow where Jesus has gone, without compromise or condition, and without counting the cost. We are reminded that we have been set free to love, which is the sum of the whole law. If we’re not sure how to do this, we must trust in the Spirit working in us...How are you being called to follow Christ, called to love more fully?
“The teaching of Christ even requires that we forgive injuries, and extends the law of love to include every enemy, according to the command of the New Law: "You have heard that it was said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy. But I say to you: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you" (Matt. 5:43-44). (28) PASTORAL CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH IN THE MODERN WORLD.
This is the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Taking up the cross in the footsteps of Jesus…In the gospel today, Jesus predicts his rejection, suffering and death. He goes on to say: “If anyone wishes to come after me, they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Followers of Jesus can expect some of the same as Jesus.
Today, we might reflect on the challenge of following Jesus in our contemporary world. The values and concerns of the world around us are not always those of Jesus. Sometimes our culture seems to value possessions and wealth over the needs of people, military and political power over nonviolent love, and personal welfare and security before the needs of those who are poor. With Jesus we too may experience rejection and suffering.
This is the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today’s scriptures are about “mercy and compassion.” David was given so much wealth and power, and so many blessings. Yet he craves more and ends up killing Uriah so he can have his wife. God condemns David’s sin but, after David repents, God forgives him for his unjust actions. In the gospel, Jesus does not pretend that the woman who comes to him is sinless, however, Jesus is able to see “her great love” and he forgives her. God shows us “mercy and compassion.” We are called to do the same. “Mercy and compassion” is a response to sins committed, but also a way of responding to others in all kinds of situations. How do we show mercy and compassion to those most in need?
“God's mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14)… Let us be renewed by God's mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.” (Pope Francis, Easter Urbi et Orbi message, March 31, 2013)
This is the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today’s scriptures present two mothers who are grieving the “too soon” loss of their sons, and God’s action in restoring life. Jesus establishes that death is not the final word – and Christ is always loving us into ever deeper risen life.
Today we celebrate Epiphany’s 45th birthday, and the life that has come to us through this particular community. We revisit our Vision Statement, and consider our own discipleship with this family of faith:
Animated by the Holy Spirit and rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition, we are the Community of Epiphany on a pilgrimage of faith. In response to our baptismal call and sustained by prayer:
This is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. The scriptures today proclaim the blessings that come when a meal is shared. For Christians, sharing a meal (Eucharist) is at the heart of the Christian life. There is a deep richness in the Catholic theology of Eucharist – in our belief in the real presence of God in our shared meal. Consider how that depth and richness is present in our daily lives, in our prayer and our actions:
How is the Eucharist important for my spiritual life?
Does the Eucharist empower us for action – for life?
Are we celebrating our solidarity as the living Mystical Body of Christ?
Does our solidarity move from the works of charity toward the works of justice?
How are we the living Body of Christ in the world?