Category Archives: Reflection

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Cycle C

First Reading
Genesis 14:18-20
Melchizedek, king of Salem, blessed Abram.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 110:1-4
You are a priest forever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Gospel Reading
Luke 9:11b-17
They all ate and were satisfied.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today, the second Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate a second solemnity, which marks our return to Ordinary Time. Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. At one time, this day was called Corpus Christi, Latin for “the Body of Christ.” In the most recent revision of the liturgy, the name for this day is expanded to be a more complete reflection of our Eucharistic theology.

The feeding of the 5,000 is the only one of Jesus’ miracles to appear in all four Gospels. Luke places it between Herod’s question, “Who is this about whom I hear such things?” and Peter’s response to Jesus’ question about who he thought Jesus was: “You are the Messiah of God.” In Luke the feeding is not the result of Jesus’ compassion for the crowd but is instigated by the disciples. They wanted Jesus to send the crowd away to town. Instead Jesus tells the disciples to give them some food on their own.

The passage is meant to remind us of two feedings in the Old Testament: the feeding of the Israelites in the desert and Elisha’s feeding of 100 people with 20 loaves in 2 Kings 4:42-44. It is also connected to the institution of the Eucharist. As in the Last Supper accounts in Matthew, Mark, and Luke and in Paul’s account in 1 Corinthians 11:23-24, Jesus takes bread, looks up to heaven, blesses the bread, breaks it, and then gives it to the disciples. In using this exact language, Luke is reminding his readers that in this miracle Jesus is doing more than feeding hungry people as God did for the Israelites and the prophet Elisha did as well. The bread he gives is his body, which he will continue to give as often as the community breaks bread in remembrance of him in the Eucharist.- loyolapress.com

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Cycle C

First Reading
Proverbs 8:22-31
Wisdom was born before the earth was made.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 8:4-9
O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Second Reading
Romans 5:1-5
We boast of our afflictions.

Gospel Reading
John 16:12-15
Whatever the Father has is mine. The Spirit of truth will guide us.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This week we return to the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. This Sunday and next Sunday, however, are designated as solemnities, special days that call our attention to central mysteries of our faith. Today, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. This feast invites us to consider what we believe about God, who has revealed himself to us in the Trinity—one God in three persons.

The verses of today’s Gospel come near the end of Jesus’ long discourse at the Last Supper. In the early part of this discourse, as we saw last week on Pentecost, Jesus offers assurances to the disciples. Even though he must leave the disciples, he tells them that they will have a future because of the help he will send them in the Holy Spirit. In this section he focuses more on the shape of the future, which will include Jesus’ victory over the world that they will share in. The disciples of Jesus cannot know the future. They can only know that, whatever shape the future takes, they will not have to face it alone. They have the Spirit of Truth, who will continue to provide the teaching of Jesus in the future.

Reading this passage on Trinity Sunday reinforces our understanding of the unity shared by the members of the Trinity. Although the idea of one God in three persons remains a mystery, we have the assurance that, as Jesus and the Father share all, Jesus and the Spirit share all.– loyolapress.com

Pentecost Sunday, Cycle C

First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11
The Holy Spirit descends upon the Apostles gathered in Jerusalem.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 104:1,24,29-31,34
God’s Spirit renews the earth.

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 12:3b-7,12-13 or Romans 8:8-17
We are all one in Christ Jesus.

Gospel Reading
John 20:19-23
Jesus appears to his disciples and gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Background on the Gospel Reading

The season of Easter concludes with today’s celebration, the feast of Pentecost. On Pentecost we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem; this event marks the beginning of the Church. The story of Pentecost is found in the Acts of the Apostles, today’s first reading. The account in today’s Gospel, taken from the Gospel of John, also recounts how Jesus gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples. There is no need to try to reconcile these two accounts to each other. It is enough to know that, after his death, Jesus fulfilled his promise to send to his disciples a helper, an advocate, who would enable them to be his witnesses throughout the world.

We previously heard today’s Gospel on the second Sunday of Easter. At that time, we also heard the passage that follows, which describes Jesus’ appearance to Thomas. In that context, we were led to reflect on belief and unbelief.

In the context of the feast of Pentecost, this reading reminds us about the integral connection between the gifts of peace and forgiveness and the action of the Holy Spirit. Jesus greets his disciples with the gift of peace. Jesus then commissions his disciples to continue the work that he has begun, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” As he breathes the Holy Spirit upon them, Jesus sends his disciples to continue his work of reconciliation through the forgiveness of sins.

This Gospel reminds us that the Church is called to be a reconciling presence in the world. This reconciling presence of Christ is celebrated in the Church’s sacramental life. In the Sacrament of Baptism, we are washed clean from sin and become a new creation in Christ. In the Sacrament of Penance, the Church celebrates the mercy of God in forgiving sins. This reconciling presence is also to be a way of life for Christians. In situations of conflict, we are to be agents of peace and harmony among people.- loyolapress.com

Seventh Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 7:55-60
Stephen is martyred as Saul looks on.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 97:1-2,6-7,9
The Lord is king over all the earth.

Second Reading
Revelation 22:12-14,16-17,20
Come, Lord Jesus.

Gospel Reading
John 17:20-26
Jesus prays for his disciples.

Background on the Gospel Reading

On the seventh Sunday of Easter, we always read from the 17th chapter of John’s Gospel. This chapter of John’s Gospel comes at the conclusion of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse delivered to the disciples at the Last Supper. The whole of this chapter is a prayer of Jesus, commending himself to the Father and expressing his care and concern for his disciples. At the end of this prayer, Jesus and his disciples depart for the garden, and Jesus is arrested.

Several important themes appear in this prayer of Jesus. First, Jesus’ prayer reaffirms the complete union between Jesus and the Father. Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus has been presented as the one who pre-existed with the Father and as the one sent by the Father to do his work on earth. In today’s reading, we hear Jesus ask that the unity he experiences with the Father be extended to all who believe in him. He prays that we be one with each other, with him, and with the Father. We are reminded that Christ is the source of Christian unity. Through Christ, we are united with one another and with God our Father.

Belief is a major theme in the Gospel of John. It begins in the prologue and continues in the response to Jesus’ signs. Belief is the reason Jesus performs signs (2:11, 4:53, 6:69, 9:38) and the reason signs have been recorded in the Gospel (20:30-31). Here Jesus prays not only for those who believe in him but for all who will come to believe in him. And he prays that the love of the Father in him may also be in all who believe so that Jesus might be in them as well.loyolapress.com

Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2,22-29
The early Church community determines, with the help of the Holy Spirit, not to impose the requirement of circumcision on Gentile Christians.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 67:2-3,5,6,8
A prayer that all the nations sing praise to God.

Second Reading
Revelation 21:10-14,22-23
The vision of the splendor of the heavenly Jerusalem is described.

Gospel Reading
John 14:23-29
Jesus promises his disciples that the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This portion of John’s Gospel comes near the end of the first of four chapters that make up Jesus’ long farewell discourse at the Last Supper. This section of chapter 14 actually sums up the themes of the opening of the discourse: the Christian’s life is not shaped by Jesus’ absence but by God’s abiding presence; God’s presence overcomes anxiety about God’s absence; and the present holds in it the seeds of a fresh future shaped by love, not fear.

These verses also contain a glimpse of some of the other themes of the farewell discourse: Jesus’ relationship with the Father and the disciples’ relationship to Jesus connect the disciples to the Father as well. Jesus promises to send an Advocate or intercessor who will remind the disciples of everything that Jesus taught them and bring them peace.

Jesus is preparing his disciples in advance for his absence so that they will continue to believe in him and not feel all alone after his return to the Father. After the initial excitement of his Easter appearances, Jesus will remain with his followers in a very different way throughout the centuries.

As our celebration of the Easter season is coming to an end, the liturgy reminds us that Jesus remains with us through the Holy Spirit, who teaches us everything we need to know, reminds us of all that Jesus taught, and brings us peace.-loyolapress.com

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