Last week we were offered something of an attitude assessment, or even an attitude adjustment. God has given us everything; as we the readings told us last week, we are truly blessed. God tells us, very clearly, that if we want to bring light and healing to our own lives, that we have to share our love for God with others. Sharing our love means caring for those who can’t care for themselves. Our own healing starts there.
Tag archive: Gospel
Ever since the Solemnity of Christ the King became Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe; I can’t help but thing of He-Man, Master of the Universe whenever I hear it. But, Jesus is more powerful than any superhero and his authority is perfect. We are reminded of this as we close out the liturgical year, and prepare ourselves for Jesus’ coming throughout the season of Advent.
God’s extravagant love for us is on display in this week’s readings. From the first reading to the Gospel, God’s tenderness and mercy are brought in a personal way to Zacchaeus . . . and to all of us.
This is the second week in a row that our readings focus on prayer. Why? Because it’s that important. The readings focus on three aspects of prayer: God’s response to them, God’s faithfulness to us when we call out to God, and the posture that we should take when approaching God—absolute openness and truth.
The Good News is certainly good, but it isn’t easy. Our mission—and our faith is fruitless without mission—brings us joy and also brings challenge. We are given comfort along the way, particularly when things seem their bleakest.
The first reading’s account of the first Christians in the Acts of the Apostles reminds us that the Resurrection is only the beginning of our Christian story.
Throughout the Easter Season, our first reading comes from the Acts of the Apostles instead of the Hebrew Scriptures because it tells the story of the first Christian Community—the continuation of the story of the Resurrection. Because, our story doesn’t end with the Resurrection, but only just begins.
Today begins Holy Week—the most solemn and important week of our liturgical year. It is the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, and the entrance of the Church into the Paschal Mystery. We have two Gospels that express two natures of our relationship with God.
Today’s celebration of the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord comes with options for the first and second readings. The first readings are from different parts of the Prophet Isaiah. One echoes the words that the Father speaks at Jesus’ baptism and the other echoes the Gospel (quoting Isaiah) from the second Sunday of Advent—make straight the paths of the Lord. The second readings include a speech from Peter as he is about to baptize the household of a pagan who received the Holy Spirit and a teaching on the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers each of us—not through our own earning, but through our acceptance of Christ’s charitable love toward us. The Gospel is Luke’s version of the Baptism, in which we see Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all present together at once—the Trinity revealed. It is the moment that a symbolic ritual became reality. It is the moment that God chooses to introduce himself to each of us personally—that we become adopted children of God and receive our vocation to be priest, prophet and king.
When we talk about Christmas, or sing about it in carols, we always use peaceful and charming words—idyllic, really—to tell the story about how Jesus came into the world. It’s nice how our memory heals the reality of a situation… For us, looking back at that moment we see a peaceful, happy and really joyful scene. And it is—but maybe not so much for Mary and Joseph when they were going through it. Instead of being what we would consider an ideal setting for the birth of any one of our own children, it was God bringing good to a very wrong situation.
We’ve heard it all before about what a risk Mary took with her “yes,” we hear in the Gospel about how Joseph wasn’t sure what to do with the info he’d been given about the condition his brand new bride was in, we know there was no room at the inn, and how the holy couple had to make a crazy long journey at the very end of Mary’s pregnancy. I’ve been pregnant, and I can’t think of anything that would make me take a long ride on a donkey right before giving birth. When you put all of that together, and add in the turmoil of the time, it’s a terrible story—except that it’s how God chose to enter into the terrible circumstances of the human condition. Then, it’s a really cool story…
In today’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah shows us the suffering servant of God. He would know this figure personally, as most of the prophets were rejected, abused and killed. When we experience suffering in our lives, we are comforted by a God who experienced suffering first hand—Jesus. There is no pain, no sadness, no disappointment that Jesus doesn’t understand. And, his suffering brings meaning to ours. He is the High Priest—the sacrifice of His suffering means salvation for us all. Our suffering can bring healing to others, too.
In the Gospel, James and John think it a good idea to ask Jesus for places of honor when he comes into his glory. Jesus responds that they don’t know what they’re asking for—that kind of honor comes with a price. He does not want us to think of our personal glory, our status, our honor. He wants us to lift up one another instead. We will have authority—serious authority—but it’s only useful if we use it for the service of others. In fact, if we try to “lord it over” others and “make our authority felt,” we forfeit it. Jesus gave everything up for us and we have to do the same for one another.