This is the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Change: It is something we are not always comfortable with. Big change: now that is more than uncomfortable. It is scary. The fear we may lead us to resist a change that we know is good for us. And yet change is considered to be what conversion is about. Change is one characteristic of the Spirit. It is good but it may not be easy.
The Israelites in our reading from Exodus have found out that the freedom from the slavery of Egypt is scary. They are following Moses, hence God, and are free, but the fear they feel makes them wish they were slaves back in Egypt. So they grumble and whine. The difficulties and challenges are too much. They would rather have the security of oppression.
Today is the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This is the first of five weekends of John’s gospel focusing on the “Bread of Life,” beginning with the feeding of the multitude. God certainly seems to value nourishing meals. They are among the actions performed by the prophets and they are Jesus’ favorite events for teaching and transformation; they are signs of the presence of the reign of God. Are we receiving the abundance of life God desires for us? Are we sharing Christ’s nourishing love with those around us, especially with those most in need?
This is the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time. As you read this, decide if, at this moment, you are one of God’s sheep or a shepherd. Most of us have been both. Whichever description we choose to name for ourselves may depend upon the happenings of the week, the life stage in which we find ourselves, or the people we encounter. Today’s readings speak to both sheep and shepherds.
Our psalm response reminds sheep that no matter what is going on in our lives, the Lord is with us. We therefore have nothing to fear. A sheep’s challenge is to recognize the Lord’s presence and the never-ending goodness and kindness that are the Lords.
Jeremiah’s passage begins with a woe to the shepherds of the Lord’s sheep since they were scattered, driven away by the shepherds. Jeremiah continues with the Lord’s promise to gather his flock and send new shepherds. In Mark’s gospel Jesus tells his apostles, the shepherds he sent, to rest in a deserted place. The shepherd’s challenges? Follow the teaching and example of Jesus and remember to take time for prayer.
Today is the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We hear and read about the violence and inhumanity of people across the globe, and of people, governments, corporations, who tear up the earth, our home and the home for those to come. The numbers of those who are poor seem endless.
Hundreds of thousands are displaced from their homes and homeland in refugee camps, surviving in the woods, some sold into slavery.
The parade of unjust wars is killing far more civilians than ever before.
Women and girls are debased, abused, and murdered worldwide at alarming rates.
Our mother Earth itself is feeling the effects of climate change already and the disasters that come will hurt the poor first and most. Bank on it.
What “reading of the signs of the times” must do to all of us who pay attention? Leo Tolstoy once said as he witnessed the immense overwhelming poverty around him, “What then must we do?”
This is the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today’s Scriptures remind us that God raises up prophets among us. Just as our ancestors in faith, we can have trouble getting things right. We can be obstinate, and not very receptive to those who call us back to God’s way. But God calls us to heed prophets, and to answer Christ’s call to love, serve and speak the truth.
This is the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time. In today’s gospel, we have a story within a story. Both are requests for healing. Both require faith – one publically expressed, the other quietly. Jesus is publically asked to come heal a synagogue leader’s daughter. On the way, a woman reaches out quietly to touch Jesus’ garment. Both the girl and the woman are healed.
Jesus heals. No question. But what is our response? Paul offers a strong suggestion in his letter to the Corinthians. He reminds them of Jesus the Christ’s overwhelming love and pushes for a response. The Corinthians are asked to financially help poorer Christians.
This is the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time: In our Scriptures today we are assured of God’s presence and power in the midst of life’s storms. How good are we at reading the signs of the times and finding indicators of God’s presence in nature? Are we willing to trust God in difficult circumstances?
St. Paul reminds us that faith in Christ transforms the way we see other people. May the love we know through Christ impel us to recognize, respect and care for all of God’s children, our brothers and sisters, near and far.
This is the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Today’s scriptures remind us of all God does to bring forth life – and isn’t it wonderful that God invites us to cooperate in this great work! God’s dominion is like seeds mysteriously growing, a shoot from an old tree becoming a new creation; we, too, become new creations in Christ. It is our life-long journey of living the gospel that makes the reign of God present in our time. The reign of God comes about through the intersection of our own work with God’s work…and the scattered seed will yield a harvest!
Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). Today we who are church, Christ’s body, celebrate with great solemnity the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Yes, we partake during each Eucharistic Liturgy, each Mass in which we fully participate, but today is special. Today we are offered an opportunity to consider the amazing gift that is core to who we are and how we are in the world.
The scriptures speak of sacrifice. Moses told his people how they are supposed to act in their new home. They responded to these commands with “We will do everything that the Lord has told us.” God’s covenant was sealed through an animal sacrifice, pouring blood on the altar (representing the holiness of God), sprinkling blood on the people (to represent their agreeing to what they heard).
This is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, the first Sunday after Pentecost. The very essence of our triune God is relational and communal – and this God calls us to love and relate in the same way. By doing as Jesus did, we enter into the mystery of Trinity and learn more and more who God is, through the power of the Spirit. May the communion of Creator, Christ and Consoler help us to find unity in the midst of our diversity, and to be more fully Epiphany, a manifestation of God in our time.
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40. Moses solemnly evokes the memory of who God has been for Israel: the one who chose them liberated them, lived with them and formed them into a people.
Romans 8:14-17. We are more than God’s chosen people. By the power of the Spirit working within us, we have been made children of God and joint heirs with Christ.
Matthew 28:16-20. We are baptized into the Trinity. Jesus reminds us that he is with us always.