Liturgy Reflection

Reflections on the Weekend liturgical readings

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?”

Reflections on Sunday’s Reading: September 14, 2014

CrossThis is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. As Catholic Christians, the cross plays a prominent role in our prayer life. As we enter Church, we dip our fingers in the holy water from the baptismal font and make the sign of the cross. Eucharistic liturgies (the Mass), communal and devotional prayers always begin with the sign of the cross. Infants, children and adults being initiated into our Catholic faith are always signed with the cross by their parents/godparents/sponsors. Why? The sign of the cross is our sign of victory. Jesus is exalted on the cross, raised up. Our entrance antiphon of today says it well: “We should glory in the Cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered.”

Readings for this Sunday:

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: September 7, 2014

WatchmanThis is the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. Think of a time when you saw something happening that you knew was not right, where your conscience tugged at you. Maybe it was a child being treated roughly or abusively - maybe on the street, in a grocery store, or even in your family or church. Maybe at work, a coworker was being harassed and put down, or someone lied about what happened and another person was getting the blame. Maybe you are out with friends and one of them makes a racist statement or treats someone less than human.

It could be a bigger issue where a school policy was unkind or even cruel, or as a veteran, you discovered the war you were asked to fight in was not right, or the boss tells you that the way to get ahead was do deceive others. Maybe you are a nurse who knows policies are being made at the hospital that were bad for care of the patient, but good for the bottom dollar. Or maybe we are the one being wronged.

Reflections on Sunday’s Readings: August 31, 2014

Carry crossThis is the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time. Today’s gospel makes it clear: We who wish to be disciples of Christ will suffer. Jesus suffered. The disciples suffered. Early Christians suffered. Christians today suffer.

Rather than escaping the unpleasant parts of our lives, we are called to “deny [ourselves], take up [our] cross[es] and follow.” Follow whom? Jesus Christ, our savior who promises that lives lived this way will be repaid with everlasting life. What a gift for temporary suffering!

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: