Category Archives: Reflection

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
2 Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14
Jewish martyrs give witness to their faith, even unto death.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 17:1,5-6,8,15
The just person will live in God’s presence.

Second Reading
2 Thessalonians 2:16—3:5
Paul encourages the Thessalonians and asks for their prayers.

Gospel Reading
Luke 20:27-38
Jesus answers a question from some Sadducees about the resurrection of the dead. (short form Luke 20:27, 34-38)

Background on the Gospel Reading

In today’s Gospel, we hear about an encounter between Jesus and some Sadducees. The Sadducees were a party of Judaism active in Jesus’ time, descended from the priestly family of Zadok. They were literal interpreters of the written Law of Moses, which means that they were in disagreement with the position of the Pharisees, who offered an oral interpretation of the Law of Moses.

The Sadducees are described in this Gospel as opponents to the belief in resurrection. In the dialogue presented here, we see an example of the means of disputation that was common in first century Judaism. The Sadducees use the example of Levirate marriage, found in the Law of Moses, to disprove belief in the resurrection. According to Deuteronomy 25:5-10, if a man died without producing an heir, the man’s brother should marry his wife and the offspring of this union would inherit the property and carry on the name of the man who had died. The Sadducees use this as an example to challenge belief in the resurrection.

Jesus argues from the same written Law of Moses to show that there is resurrection. Using the texts from the Book of Exodus (Chapter 3) that describe Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush, Jesus shows that God is the God of the living, not the dead. Here Jesus uses the same method and texts of the Sadducees to counter them. As the Gospel text suggests, he beat them at their own game!

More importantly, in this discourse Jesus shows the limits of our imaginations when it comes to eternal life. The Sadducees argued against resurrection because of the limits of earthly existence. They did not imagine another possibility for existence and relationship with God. Jesus proposes that the possibilities of resurrected life are beyond our imaginations. Jesus’ conclusion suggests something else as well: To spend time worrying about resurrected life is to miss the point. The point is eternal relationship with God is possible, for God is the God of the living, “. . . for to him all are alive.”loyolapress.com

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Wisdom 11:22—12:2
God is merciful because all things were created by God.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 145:1-2,8-9,10-11,13,14
Sing praise to God, who is faithful.

Second Reading
2 Thessalonians 1:11—2:2
Paul tells the Thessalonians to remain faithful to Christ until Christ comes again.

Gospel Reading
Luke 19:1-10
Jesus stays at the house of Zacchaeus, the tax collector.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In Jesus’ day, tax collectors were not popular people. They were collaborators with the Romans and were despised by many Jewish people. The tax system allowed them to charge more than what was required so that they could make a profit for themselves. Thus, they were considered sinners by their countrymen. Observers in the crowd that day grumble because Jesus dines with a sinner. Throughout Scripture, Jesus’ choice of dinner companions set him apart from other observant Jews of his time. In first century Jewish culture, to dine together was to show a bond of fellowship and peace among those at the table. Observant Jews did not generally dine with foreigners and sinners. Yet, Jesus chooses to honor the tax collector, Zacchaeus, by staying at his house.

Even before Jesus comes to his home, Zacchaeus shows himself to be someone in search of salvation. Zacchaeus, described as short in stature, climbs a tree in order to see Jesus. We know from Luke’s description that Zacchaeus was no ordinary tax collector; he was, in fact, the chief tax collector and a person of some wealth. In his search for salvation, he humbled himself by making a spectacle of himself by climbing a tree.

Jesus recognizes the faith of this tax collector exhibited in his search for salvation and calls him down from the tree. In the hospitality he extends to Jesus and in his conversion of heart, Zacchaeus is raised up by Jesus as a model of salvation.- loyolapress.com

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Sirach 35:12-14,16-18
God hears the prayer of the poor.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 34:2-3,17-18,19, 23
The Lord hears and answers the cry of the poor.

Second Reading
2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18
Paul perseveres in faith, confident that God will rescue him.

Gospel Reading
Luke 18:9-14
Jesus tells the parable of the proud Pharisee who prayed from his self-importance and the tax collector who prayed humbly.

Background on the Gospel Reading

The second parable that Jesus tells in Luke 18 addresses attitude in prayer. In contrasting the prayer of the Pharisee with the prayer of the tax collector, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray in humility before God. Jesus again surprises his listeners by showing the tax collector as the example of faith, rather than the Pharisee. Remember that Pharisees were members of a sect of Judaism active in Jesus’ time. They taught an oral interpretation of the Law of Moses as the basis for Jewish piety. If anyone would be a model for prayer, a Pharisee was a likely candidate. In contrast, Jesus offers the tax collector as a model for prayer. Tax collectors were collaborators with the Roman authorities in a system that allowed the tax collectors to line their own pockets by charging in excess of the defined taxes. Yet, in this parable, Jesus offers the humility of the tax collector as a model for the prayer of a disciple. The parable reminds us that when we pray, we must remember our need for God in our lives. If we are too full of ourselves, there is too little room for God’s grace to work in us.- loyolapress.com

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
2 Kings 5:14-17
Naaman is cleansed of his leprosy and chooses to serve the God of Israel.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 98:1,2-3,3-4
Rejoice! The salvation of God is made known to all.

Second Reading
2 Timothy 2:8-13
Those who remain faithful to Christ will share Christ’s glory.

Gospel Reading
Luke 17:11-19
Jesus heals 10 lepers, and one, the Samaritan, returns to give thanks.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today we hear about how Jesus, continuing on his journey to Jerusalem, heals 10 lepers. This story is a lesson about faith and reminds us that faith is sometimes found in unlikely places. Ten people afflicted with leprosy cry out to Jesus. Struck with pity, Jesus heals all 10. However, only one is described as glorifying God and returning to thank Jesus. The one who returns is a Samaritan, a foreigner. In the Jewish circles in which Jesus lived, Samaritans were looked down upon because of the differences between the two communities in their observance of Judaism. It is significant, therefore, that Jesus commends the Samaritan for his faith, which has been his salvation. Throughout Luke’s Gospel, faith is found in surprising places.

Another lesson for us in this Gospel has to do with salvation. All 10 of the lepers were given the gift of healing, but in his gratitude to God for this gift, the Samaritan found salvation. Our salvation is found in recognizing the gifts we have been given and knowing to whom we must offer our thanks.-loyolapress.com

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
The patience of the just man shall be rewarded when he sees the vision fulfilled.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 95:1-2,6-7,8-9
Sing joyfully to God, our salvation.

Second Reading
2 Timothy 1:6-8,13-14
Paul urges Timothy to remain strong in the Spirit of faith Timothy received.

Gospel Reading
Luke 17:5-10
Jesus teaches the apostles the importance of faith and service to God.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus teach about faith and service to God. The context is a continuing dialogue between Jesus and his followers about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus has just finished an instruction on sin and forgiveness. There are two related teachings that Jesus offers to his disciples when they cry out for an increase in faith. The first is the familiar reminder that faith, even just a little, will enable the followers of Jesus to do wondrous things. But this uplifting and inspiring teaching is quickly followed by the second teaching, a caution about knowing one’s place in God’s plans. The disciples of Jesus are to understand themselves as servants to God and his plans. Even when God works wonders through us, with our mustard seed-sized faith, we must not seek praise. Our participation in God’s plans is God’s grace to us—nothing more, nothing less. When we are graced enough to cooperate with God, the work we do is nothing more than our obligation to God as faithful stewards. And yet, our faith enables us to believe that what we have offered in service to God, as his servants, can be made to produce a hundredfold. – loyolapress.com

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