Liturgy Reflection

Reflections on the Weekend liturgical readings

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: November 23, 2014

Christ the KingToday is the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. With our readings this Sunday, we come to the end (or is it a summation?) of the life and revelation of Jesus, the Christ, in our liturgical year and it ends with the image of the King of all - of all people - of all the universe - talking about whether we humans have gotten the point of it all. With today’s Gospel, this talk is taking place at the end of our time when the Son of Man comes.

Let’s talk first of the prophet Ezekiel, who sets up the whole issue of who is getting the point. In Ezekiel, it is God who speaks and claims the role of the good shepherd, the one who will rescue the sheep, pasture the sheep, seek the lost, bring back the strayed, bind the injured and heal the sick. And why is God proclaiming this role? Because the leaders in charge of the day, the other proclaimed “shepherds,” simply, and to the point, were not taking care of the sheep.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: November 16, 2014

TreasureThis is the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: The readings for this Sunday are excellent readings to ponder as we immerse ourselves in “stewardship”. How and why are we called to share our talents within and without our parish community of Epiphany? When we use our talents we are investing in the here and now. There is some risk involved. Often we do not see the fruit of our work but we trust that the good we do will bear fruit in God’s time. As disciples of Christ we must be about planting seeds of hope and love.

Readings for this Sunday:

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: November 9, 2014

St. John Lateran - RomeToday is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. In today’s readings, St. Paul tells the Corinthians, and us as well, the astonishing reality that we Christians are temples of God. Think about it the next time you use a mirror: God dwells in us! We are holy! What dignity we have!

This amazing fact brings with it a challenge: How deeply do we accept this truth? In other words, can others tell by our lives that God resides within us? That we are filled with God’s grace?

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: November 2, 2014

All SoulsToday’s celebration is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed: “Let us remember lest we forget.”

Each Sunday at liturgy we celebrate the dying and rising of Christ. Today we remember all those who have gone before us. We commend all (family members, friends, coworkers etc.) to the mercy and graciousness of God. Knowledge of and belief in God’s love for all keeps us hopeful that our faithful departed are on their way to a life of eternity in God’s embrace.

Readings for this Sunday:

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: October 26, 2014

LoveThis is the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In other words, laws found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are dependent upon these two.

What about us? Catholic stewards, living in the 21st century who are Epiphany parishioners? We are challenged with the same truth Jesus gave the Pharisees – put God first above all with our whole selves, then reflect upon our love of others and ourselves.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: October 19, 2014

Roman CoinThis is the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We have all heard sayings that warn us about the power of money and that we cannot serve both God and money. Since Pope Francis began leading the church, he has had a lot to say about money, whether it is about rising income inequality, the devastation of unbridled capitalism, or our disposable culture, which disposes people in many ways.

Money appears as a topic in Matthew’s gospel today. Jesus is confronted by two powerful, and wealthy, groups who form an unlikely alliance to try and trap Jesus in his teaching. The Pharisees, who represent the nationalistic Jews who do not want to pay taxes, join with the Herodians, who are the custodians of, and collaborators with, the Roman Emperor, and therefore traitors to the people, holding them in a repressive occupation. So why would they join forces against Jesus?

Jesus has been preaching the Reign of God to the poor, who are to play a part in that reign, in fact who are to be an essential part of it. The Pharisees are threatened by this and would like to see trap Jesus before the tyranny of the empire. The Herodians are threatened because they do not want to have any kind of trouble with the movement Jesus seems to have stirred.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: October 12, 2014

Wedding FeastThis is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In today’s gospel, Jesus tells another parable which, as is Jesus’ norm, is an odd one, even unsettling. Ignoring the messengers is bad enough but murder?! What is Jesus saying? Asking? Trying to explain?

Jesus gives us the context when he begins, “The kingdom of God may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast…” God offers Gods self to us – in many, many ways. One of the feasts to which we are invited is Sacred Scripture. Another of course, is the Eucharistic liturgy, Mass. One way to look at this parable is to place ourselves among those invited to the wedding feast. How do we embrace God’s gifts? Do we eagerly partake, savoring each moment of communion or is apathy and convenience our norm? Do we respond angrily, perhaps because we expected something different from God?

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: October 5, 2014

VineyardThis is the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: The vineyard is the image that appears in both the 1st  reading from Isaiah and in the Gospel. It is a metaphor for the reign of God. Its meaning, however, differs in these two readings. How do you seek God? How do you nourish your relationship with God? How do your build up the kin(g)dom of God? Have your experienced the God of peace spoken about in our second reading?

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: September 28, 2014

Jesus and sinnersThis is the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Just this past Sunday, people from around the globe in 156 countries joined over 2600 events and rallies, including an estimated 400,000 marchers in New York City all participating in the People’s Climate March. Even Louisville had a rally at Memorial Park. The messages were: climate change, pollution, greed, political corruption all are harming the earth dramatically and the people on earth to be hurt the most will be the most vulnerable.

With overwhelming documented evidence that we have a true crisis, from lung disease from coal dust, to loss of land of indigenous people, to forecasts that gloom the future of generations of children, the need to act now is clear.

Many, if not most, of the thousands of organizations and groups giving voice to this call to do the right thing are made up of people of faith, here in Louisville as well, including the work of many of our women religious communities.

Among those in power and influence, who hears and who cares? And what message do we get from our readings this week that might give us insight?

Reflections on Sunday’s Reading: September 21, 2014

PaymentThis is the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. What employer would pay the same salary to one who worked 2-3 hours as the one who worked 8 or more? The answer is easy: None. Not if they want to remain in business. However, today’s gospel is not about business practices. It’s about the abundance of God’s love. It’s a crazy, upside down, backwards kind of love. It’s a love that takes us where we are and gifts us with a lavishness of grace that can draw us ever closer to God.

We who are children of God are blessed. We are invited, constantly, to enter into relationship with God. God calls us to himself at every moment of our lives. Yet, we get to choose: Will we work in God’s vineyard, providing fruitful labor for others or not? There are no promises of easy labor. Today’s second reading comes from Paul while in prison. Paul, who worked mightily for the gospel, suffered much. If asked “why” I can almost hear him say, “Because the rewards are beyond anything I could imagine. I live with God’s everlasting love. Nothing is more important than that.” Might Paul not then turn and ask his questioner, “How are you responding to Jesus’ gift and call?”