The readings for this Sunday, April 29, show us that sometimes our past can follow us. Paul, who had been Saul the oppressor of Christians, needed to show the disciples in Jerusalem that he had changed. His past scared them, and the proof of his change was the way he lived his life. He now spoke boldly for Jesus, and modeled his life after Jesus’. The second reading backs up the experience of the early Christian community–it says that words aren’t enough–we need to live in our words and our deeds. And our deeds should be loving. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that to be part of him is like belonging to a vine. The main body of the vine is where the strength is, where the nutrients come from; where the life comes from. Branches grow out from there and grow fruit.
Tag archive: Faith Sharing
The readings for this Sunday, April 8, tell the story of the early Christian community. They were of one mind, all having received the Holy Spirit, are allowing themselves to be led by it. Their priorities were right; everyone who needed anything got what they needed because everyone was willing to share what they had without reservation. In John’s letter, we’re reminded that to love Jesus is to keep his commandments, which were to love God with your whole self and loving your neighbor the same way. The early Christians did just that. Jesus alone gives us the ability to do that, and if we open ourselves to him, we can do it, too. Then, when Thomas was out, Jesus appeared to the other Apostles, gave them the Holy Spirit, and told them to accept their mission of being “sent out” (that’s what “apostle” means). Thomas didn’t get any of that, so when they told him about it, how could he have understood it? They didn’t without that divine assistance. But, when Thomas is given the same as everyone else, he’s ready to run with it, too. We’re given a challenge–to accept Jesus’ help without being able to see him the way the Apostles did. Can you do it?
In the readings for this Sunday, March 18, God fleshes out for us what he intended his covenant with us to be. To be God’s people is to live God’s law, and to live God’s law is to put love above all other things. Jesus did this for us, even when he was afraid and stressed out, and we’re called to do it for one another. Throughout our history, all of God’s actions on earth were meant to draw us closer to him. Even now, God is calling to us, dreaming of a time when we will respond to that call together and bring peace to this broken world.
In the readings for this Sunday, March 4, we see God’s unbalanced mercy (unbalanced in our favor) as we’re given the Ten Commandments. Only people who care about you will give instruction and boundaries for relationship; and the Ten Commandments are just that. Three are how to relate to God, seven are how to relate to one another. All of them together are how we live out our gratitude to God for all that we’ve been given, and to show respect to God and all the things God loves.
When we step out of those boundaries, we step into sin — sin that makes us forget who we are. Jesus, when he visited the temple, came face to face with people who forgot they were in service to God and God’s people, and forgot the purpose of the temple. They forgot to put their relationship with God first, and made a mockery of God’s invitation to relationship. Jesus, rightly angry, made a point to correct them so that they could change their ways and return to God. Jesus also foreshadowed that an event was coming that would make the Jerusalem Temple obsolete — that Jesus would become the place of sacrifice once and for all.
In the readings for this Sunday, Feb. 25, we move from the desert to high places. The ancient people would always go up to the mountains to find God. Today we travel with Abraham, when his relationship with God was still pretty new, up to the mountain to sacrifice his son. This is where God reveals that human sacrifice isn’t cool. Then we go with Jesus who is revealed to Peter, James and John, by the Father as having God’s authority. Naturally, they don’t understand what they see and hear, but that’s okay — it wasn’t time yet. It was enough that Peter realized that what he was witnessing was important and that it was an honor to be there. Paul reminds us that we have God on our side — a loving father who is willing to do anything for us, even give us his only Son.
In the readings for this Sunday, Feb. 18, God gives us a preview of baptism via Noah, and invites us into the desert with Jesus — both for 40 days. There were many “40’s” in the Bible; all of them were times of preparation for something big. Jesus tells us in the Gospel that this is the time of fulfillment, but to be fulfilled we first have to recognize what’s not working in our lives, let go of it, and live the Gospel values more completely. We’re offered this 40 days to really pray, remove distractions, and give of ourselves to make those things more clear.
In the readings for this Sunday, Jan. 28, from Moses to Jesus, we find out what happens when a person accepts the vocation of prophet for God. Moses was a member of the Hebrew community chosen by God to bring his fellow people God’s message. Paul warns us to not get caught up in the normalcy of life: the distractions, the busyness, and anything else that makes us forget to listen to and speak for God. When Jesus began to teach people who longed to know God better, they experienced teaching from someone who knew God firsthand, and therefore, spoke with true authority. His teaching was so effective that the devil wanted to stop him, because if people knew the truth about God’s love and what God knows we can do, we would live such radical lives of love that we would change the world.
In the readings for this Sunday, Jan. 21, we get a small preview of Lent. “Forty days more and Nineveh will be destroyed,” says God. Jonah is charged to bring that message to his enemies helping them (reluctantly) to come to God, all the while moving away from God himself in his unwillingness to forgive. He’s not keen on extending the forgiveness that he had received from God to others. Paul urges us to stop whatever we’re doing and check our relationship with God. It’s also a call to make sure that we have given everyone in our lives an opportunity to hear the Gospel — that’s our mission. To live an authentic relationship with God means to extend that relationship to others — especially our enemies. Jesus tells us in the Gospel that this is the time of fulfillment. It’s the time for God’s purpose to be fulfilled in the world and in each of us.
In the readings for this Sunday, Jan. 14, God continues the theme of invitation that was begun in the readings from last week’s Epiphany readings. Our first reading shows how God calls even the young, like Samuel, and how important it is to have good mentors like Eli to help discern what is being asked of us. Our second reading is a wonderful reminder that our bodies are good and holy, and made for God’s glory. God chooses to live in us, making us temples of God’s Holy Spirit. This means that we have a great responsibility to care for ourselves and to use our lives in God’s service. The Gospel recalls the falling back of John the Baptist, and the coming forward of Jesus’ ministry. Andrew recognized Jesus’ specialness right away, and responded immediately to his invitation to “come and see.” After spending just a little time with Jesus, Andrew began to gather others to share in what he had found — the Messiah — the hope of Israel. Every time we hear God’s invitation and answer it, we are drawn deeper into greatness and become more fully human, and more fully alive.
The readings for this Sunday, Dec. 24, prepare us for what we celebrate later in the evening, or the next morning —that God pitched his tent and dwelt among us. The Scriptures offer us a view of God’s unfolding promise to come and save his people — from the promise made to King David that the Messiah would come from his line, to the prophets and wisdom literature reassuring God’s people that God was coming and to hold tight, to Mary and Elizabeth experiencing God’s coming to them specially in the babies that they would bear — the promise of fruitfulness to Elizabeth in her old age, and the promise of salvation for all people through Mary. Each carried God’s promise more fully to the present moment, and each of us are invited to be Temple’s of God’s presence in our lives.