Liturgy Reflection

Reflections on the Weekend liturgical readings

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: August 24, 2014

Jesus TeachesThis is the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time: How do we understand authority? What does it mean to lead God’s people? How are leaders chosen? What qualities must a leader have? What role does faith have in choosing a leader? What role does faith have in “being” chosen to lead the people of God? Is authority a “service”? Our readings today will help us reflect on some of these questions.

Readings for this Sunday:

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: August 17, 2014

Cannanite WomanThis is the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Diversity. What a loaded word. We see bumper stickers that say “celebrate diversity.” In our diverse community here at Epiphany we often speak of the value “unity in our diversity.” If we look deeply into this reality, however, the challenges come forth. For diversity is often related to those other words, “division” or “different.”

We sing our psalm today, “let all the nations praise you.” This is a call to celebrate a unity too. And what is that unity that we pray for? The psalmist tells us what it means: All the nations rule their people with equity! All on the earth are guided by God. A pretty bold and laudatory call. For what do we see today but division. Nations at war, persecution of the other, be it from religion, race, fights over resources, debasement of people for their difference, be it tribe, class, status, gender, sexual orientation, or just those differences over who has land, water, money, power or just security.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: August 10, 2014

ElijahThis is the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Where is God? The first reading answers the question in a new way for the Israelites. Elijah is waiting for the fulfilment of the message, “the Lord will pass by.” Believing the message, Elijah seeks God in the grandness of nature. After all, this is the Lord that will be present. Earthquake, strong winds, fire passed in turn. However, it wasn’t until a “tiny whispering sound” that Elijah knew God was present. In response, Elijah “hid his face in his cloak”.

To understand the depth of today’s first reading, let us look at another story of Elijah. As is the norm, Elijah the prophet had a tough time. His message is not popular. He fights the worship of false idols instead of the true worship of God. At one point he offers a test: Two altars are built. Two sacrifices prepared. Prophets of Baal are invited to ask their gods to burn the sacrifice. Nothing happens. Before asking God to send fire on his sacrifice, Elijah saturates the slaughtered animal with water. His prayers bring fire that consumes not only the added water and sacrifice but the stones as well.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: August 3, 2014

Loaves and fishesThis is the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our readings this weekend are rich! We see that the heart of Christianity lies in “relationships”: God’s relationship with us…our relationship with one another…our relationship with God. During our growing season (summer) these readings impact. We can delight ourselves in “rich food,” fruit of the earth which we ourselves can plant and harvest. Through the power and love of God we have the ability to feed those who hunger. (Epiphany’s custom of collecting nonperishables and bringing them to the altar at the Offertory; Epiphany’s ‘grow an extra row of vegetables’ for the poor.) We have the ability to change systems that keep people hungry e.g. working with EACM and other agencies. As God satisfies our needs, we in turn must be ready to satisfy the needs of our neighbor both close by and afar. Our nourishment comes through the ministry of others.

Readings for this Sunday:

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: July 27, 2014

PearlThis is the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The news around the world today is confronting us with images and stories that get to the core of our faith and conscience and lead us to seek out meaning and understanding. Or they should, unless we keep our head in the sand, just look away because it is too much to handle, or perhaps we even let fear or ignorance lead us to justify the violence we see. The invasion of Gaza with the mounting deaths from the violence, the obliteration of 298 passengers over Ukraine by a missile, the tens of thousands of child refugees on our border, the rape of a 6 year old in India, or the police choking to death of an unarmed man in New York City all sear open hearts. These are the stories on one day’s USA Today supplement in the local paper on Sunday.

Our readings from the Old Testament and the Gospel this weekend offer us some insight into how we might see and respond to these realities.

Reflections on Sunday Readings: July 20, 2014

PrayerThis is the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The theme for this Sunday is Prayer. We all know we are supposed to regularly engage in prayer – not just when lives fall apart or a quick “thanks” when all is going well. Of course these are good times to pray and during crisis, it is especially important to do so. Paul, in our second reading, reminds us “we do not know how to pray as we ought” but the Spirit will help us. The great preacher John Chrysostom (347-407) tells us “we ought to yield to the Creator….[since God] knows what steps must be taken for our salvation.” 

Reflections on Sunday Readings: July 13, 2014

SowerThis is the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Receptivity and Openness to the Word of God is the primary theme this weekend. As a child we were so open to learn from others and change our ways. We received from others information, behaviors, how to love and be transformed. This weekend we are challenged to fertilize the “soil of our soul”. We are called to not look but “see”; to hear with “understanding” through listening.

  • How is God calling us to transformation?
  • What do I need to do in my life to be more loving?

During the summer when so many of us love to garden or stroll through a variety of landscapes, let us feed on that which nourishes our life as a Catholic: weekly Eucharist, the Word of God in Scripture, action for the poor.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: July 6, 2014

BurdenThis is the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Here we are, a Christian community that follows Jesus of Nazareth, watching the part of the world where the earliest communities that followed Jesus existed fall apart at the seams. Today this spans from Egypt to Turkey, much of what we call the Middle East. Thousands upon thousands of people are suffering and dying as they are caught in violence and war of competing military might and militant religious and political factions.

In Egypt, a courageous inspiring Arab Spring is now a repressive military state. Peace eludes Israel and Palestine now for decades. Iraq and Syria are in brutal civil war of one type or another. Sunni and Shia militant groups fight for dominance. Iran and Saudi Arabia arm opposite sides. And through it all, there is the U.S., again, taking sides and debating what military action it should or should not pursue.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: June 29, 2014

Peter and Paul with ChristThis is the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. We commemorate Sts. Peter and Paul together on this day because, in the year 258 Pope Sixtus II celebrated them at the St. Sebastian Catacombs. The walls of St. Sebastian Catacombs were carved with prayers by the early Christians. Most prayers began with “Petrus et Paulus” (Peter and Paul). From the beginning and throughout our 2,000+ years of history, these two saints are almost considered as one in terms of their total impact on the Church. Scholars think both were in Rome at the same time. Scholars think both were martyred under Nero, Peter in 64 AD, Paul in 67 AD.

Sts. Peter and Paul lived lives of faith – despite all that happened to them. The Catholic Steward tells us they “exemplify stewardship in their loyalty to Jesus” and “remind us of how we, too, can overcome doubt: Peter denied the Lord but repented; Paul resisted the truth, but came to believe…[and] both spent their lives in service to Jesus.

Reflections on Sunday’s readings: June 22, 2014

Body of ChristThis is the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. (It used to be known by its Latin name: Corpus Christi.) We become what we receive: the Body and Blood of Christ. We recognize Christ present in the Eucharistic bread and wine, yet we are reminded that we cannot live on bread alone but rather “on every word that comes from God’s mouth.” What matters is not simply eating the bread and drinking the cup, but participating in the life and mission of Christ, whose sacramental presence impels us into the world to transform it. We are the body of Christ, and we cannot be joined to Christ without being joined to one another.