Tag Archives: sundayreflection

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Exodus 32:7-11,13-14
Moses stands up to God, recalling all of God’s great promises.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 51:3-4,12-13,17,19
Once we are forgiven, we can hope for a new heart and a fresh start.

Second Reading
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Paul proves it’s never too late to repent and serve God.

Gospel Reading
Luke 15:1-32
Jesus responds to those who criticize him for keeping company with the unworthy.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells three parables about losing, finding, and rejoicing. The outcasts of society, the taxpayers, and the sinners approach Jesus eager to hear what he has to say. In Luke’s Gospel, hearing is a sign of conversion. The Pharisees and scribes, still suspicious of Jesus, complain about him associating with sinners. So he tells them these three parables.

In the first story, the parable of The Lost Sheep, the shepherd leaves behind the 99 sheep to search for the 1 lost sheep. When he finds it, the shepherd rejoices not alone as in Matthew’s version, but with friends and neighbors. In the same way, God rejoices more over 1 sinner who repents—like the outcasts who have come to hear Jesus—than over the 99 righteous like the Pharisees and scribes.

The second story, about a poor woman who will not stop searching until she finds her lost coin, makes the same point. Why are the Pharisees complaining? They should rejoice when the lost are found.

Finally we come to what is probably the most memorable parable in the Gospels, the story we know as The Prodigal Son. Just as in The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin, this story (found only in Luke) is really about the seeker. The loving father is at the center of this parable. Even though his son runs off with his father’s inheritance and squanders the money, the father waits for him, hoping for his return. Upon his son’s return, the father, “full of compassion,” runs out to embrace and forgive him before the son can utter one word of repentance. At this point the rejoicing begins.

The parable does not end there. Rather, it makes one more point about the older son’s reaction. This son who never left, just like the Pharisees and scribes who feel they are righteous, refuses to enter his father’s house to join in the rejoicing. He has served his father. He has obeyed him. Perhaps it was not out of love. The father’s response teaches us that God’s care and compassion extend to the righteous and sinner alike. When we are lost, God doesn’t wait for our return. He actively seeks us out. And when the lost are found, how could we not celebrate and rejoice?-loyolapress.com

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Wisdom 9:13-18b
Knowledge alone has limits. We also need wisdom to understand the ways of God.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 90:3-4,5-6,12-13,14-17
God’s power has no boundaries; it is not limited by space and time.

Second Reading
Philemon 9-10, 12-17
Paul encourages one of his converts to consider his former slave a brother in Christ Jesus.

Gospel Reading
Luke 14:25-33
Jesus teaches about the demands of discipleship.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In chapter 14 of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is speaking to people gathered at the table about the difficulties of following him. This group of people is suspicious about Jesus, looking to catch him doing something wrong. Jesus speaks to them in parables, emphasizing that although there is a right way to be a disciple and enter into the kingdom of his Father, it is a difficult path to follow. Many, even some of the guests at the table, reject the invitation. So Jesus turns to the crowds and speaks to them of discipleship. Jesus explains that, when it comes to making a choice for the Kingdom of God, nothing can get in the way. When Jesus describes “hating” one’s father and mother, he is not talking about feelings. Rather, he is emphasizing very strongly that choosing to be a disciple means that everything else—family, money, your own life—must come second. In Matthew’s version of this story (Matthew 10:37), Jesus refers not to “hating” father or mother, but to loving them more than Jesus. Jesus makes it very clear that being a disciple is not easy. It means to bear one’s own cross. These difficult sayings of Jesus are followed by two brief parables (a person constructing a tower and a king marching into battle) that make an obvious point—don’t start what you cannot finish. Discipleship is difficult and is something we can commit to only if we are prepared to put the Kingdom of God before everything else.-loyolapress.com

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Sirach 3:17-18,20,28-29
Humble yourself and you will find favor with God

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 68:4-7,10-11
The just rejoice and exult before God.

Second Reading
Hebrews 12:18-19,22-24
You have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.

Gospel Reading
Luke 14:1,7-14
When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Meals played an important role in the society in which Jesus lived. More than a time for sharing nourishment, they were a time to share ideas and to model different aspects of social relationships. In Luke’s Gospel, the places that a person ate (at the home of a tax collector, 5:29), the people with whom a person ate (sinners, 5:30), whether a person washed before eating (11:38), and, as is the case here, the place that a person sits while eating are all important. The narrator says Jesus tells a parable, but it is really wise advice to both guests and hosts about finding true happiness at the heavenly banquet.

Jesus warns guests to wait before taking their places at the table lest they be asked to move if someone more important arrives. This is more than just a lesson about dinner etiquette. It is advice on how to find your true place in the Kingdom of God. Jesus advises hosts not to invite people who would be expected to repay them to dinner but to invite those who could not repay: the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. This is where real blessings can be found.

In these sayings, Luke gives us not only advice on how to approach the end times but also on how to live according to Jesus’ vision of a good society. Luke’s Gospel also advises us how the Church must be part of bringing about this society. It is yet another example in Luke’s Gospel of the reversal the kingdom brings about.- loyolapress.com

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Isaiah 66:18-21
Nations of every language shall come to see my glory.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 117:1-2
Praise the Lord, all you nations.

Second Reading
Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13
Whom the Lord loves, he disciplines.

Gospel Reading
Luke 13:22-30
People will come from north and south, east and west, and take their place in the Kingdom of God.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today’s Gospel reading is the third of three parables in chapter 13 that deal with the theme of the unexpected reversals brought by the Kingdom of God. The other two parables are about the tiny mustard seed that grows into a large tree and the small amount of yeast that makes a large batch of dough rise. All three are about the few and the many and the Kingdom of God.

As this parable opens, Luke reminds us that Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem. This journey, this exodus as Luke refers to it, makes up the entire middle of the Gospel. He is teaching as he goes. A question from the crowd gives Jesus the chance to make a prophetic statement. Luke uses this question device a number of times in his Gospel. A few weeks ago, the question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” led to the parable of the Good Samaritan. The question about will only a few be saved uses typical Christian language about salvation but also expresses the Jewish concern about whether everyone who calls himself a Jew is actually faithful to the covenant. This was a concern of the Pharisees.

Jesus answers that they must strive in the time remaining to enter through the narrow door because many will be trying to get in but won’t be strong enough. He then moves to a parable about another door. (The translation says “gate” then “door,” but the same Greek word is used.) Once all those entering the master’s house are in and he locks the door, there will be no way for others to get in. Those left outside may knock, but the master will say he doesn’t know them. Unlike the Gospel reading from a few weeks ago where Jesus was teaching about prayer, and we were told to knock and the door would be opened, in this parable, the master will not open and say he does not know us. People from the north, south, east, and west will take our place inside. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets will take our place in the Kingdom of God. Those who do not make it through the narrow door will be cast out to where there is wailing and grinding of teeth.

The image of the door is replaced in the final verses of the parable with the image of the heavenly banquet. Two passages from the Book of Isaiah influence the conclusion. Isaiah 43:5-6 speaks of God bringing Israel’s descendents back from the east and from the west, the north and the south. And Isaiah 25:6 speaks of the Lord providing a feast of rich foods and choice wines for all peoples on his holy mountain. The answer to the question if only a few will be saved is no. In the end, many will be saved, but many who thought they would be saved will not be saved. The parable is a prophetic warning to repentance in order to enter the kingdom.-loyolapress.com

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

First Reading
Jeremiah 38:4-6,8-10 
Jeremiah is punished for criticizing the wealthy for their corruption and their injustice to the poor.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 40:2-4,18
A prayer for God’s help

Second Reading
Hebrews 12:1-4
Let us persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Gospel Reading
Luke 12:49-53
Jesus has come not only to bring peace but also division.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Having reminded the apostles and the crowd that facing the coming judgment takes patience, Jesus now goes on to speak of how difficult it will be to wait. He tells them that he has come to set the earth on fire. Recall that in chapter 3 of Luke’s Gospel, John the Baptist tells the crowd that he is baptizing with water, but someone mightier is coming who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. The fire Jesus speaks of here is the distress caused by the coming judgment. It is also the fire of the Spirit that Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, will describe descending on the disciples on Pentecost. That fire will strengthen them to go out to the whole world to preach the good news of Jesus’ Resurrection.

Jesus will be the first to experience the distress of the coming judgment. His baptism will be the conflict into which he will be immersed as he approaches Jerusalem and his death on the cross. His followers will not be spared that distress. The angels at Jesus’ birth proclaimed peace on earth, and Simeon, holding the baby Jesus in the Temple, said to God: “Master, now you may let your servant go in peace.” Here Jesus tells the crowd not to think he has come to bring peace; he has come to bring division. Simeon said as much when he turned to Mary and said that the child was destined for the rise and fall of many and to be a sign that will be contradicted. Peace is the ultimate end of the Kingdom of God, but peace has a price. Jesus is warning the crowd that wherever the Word of God is heard and acted upon, division occurs. Fathers will be divided against sons and mothers against daughters.

The coming judgment forces us to look at the implications of our commitments. As Jesus warned in last Sunday’s Gospel, a commitment of faith requires us to change our attitude toward material possessions and to take even more seriously our moral responsibilities. Here he reminds the crowd that those who commit to him will find it affects the way they relate to friends and family members. The angel who announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah said John would go before Jesus to turn the hearts of fathers toward their children. But a commitment to Jesus forces us to change the way we live our lives, and this can put strains on relationships.

We don’t expect to hear such difficult words from Jesus in the Gospel. But it is good to be reminded once in a while that the decision to do the right thing, the good thing, is not always easy and without conflict. Jesus himself did not make easy decisions and avoid conflict. In today’s reading, he reminds his followers to be prepared for difficult decisions and conflict as well.-loyolapress.com

Copyright © 2019. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.