P1000888Gospel Reflections

Our parish sends a weekly Gospel Reflection written by our clergy.

To sign up, either stop in the parish office to let them know you’d like to sign up, or click here and make sure you check the “Gospel Reflections” box.

Scroll below to read our most recent Gospel Reflections.

Gospel Reflection Dec 16 – Fr. Morris

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December 16, 2018

Sunday, December 16

Third Sunday of Advent

Luke 3: 10 – 18

Gospel:
The crowds asked John the Baptist,
“What should we do?”
He said to them in reply,
“Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none.
And whoever has food should do likewise.”
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,
“Teacher, what should we do?”
He answered them,
“Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.”
Soldiers also asked him,
“And what is it that we should do?”
He told them,
“Do not practice extortion,
do not falsely accuse anyone,
and be satisfied with your wages.”

Now the people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Exhorting them in many other ways,
he preached good news to the people.

Reflection:
St John the Baptist is the Forerunner of Christ, the prophet tasked with preparing the way for the Lord and His public ministry. We can see that clearly in the Baptist’s responses today to the repeated question “What should we do?” from three disparate groups. The prophet’s directives are simple and common-sense advice to “be a good person.” If you have extra food or clothing above your needs, you should share it. If you are a tax collector, collect only what is truly owed. If you are a soldier, don’t mistreat civilians for personal gain.

Compare these “conservative” admonitions of the Baptist in the 3rd chapter of Luke to the “radical” admonitions that Jesus gives in the 6th chapter, the Beatitudes. We see the difference between the Forerunner and the Messiah, the preliminary teachings from a prophet and the radical teachings of the Son of God.

I could probably follow St John’s rules if I tried hard; but I don’t have it in me to follow the Lord’s admonitions. I know I can’t live the Beatitudes, exude that level of righteousness, by my own efforts. Talk about setting someone up for failure! Who can be a good person using the measure laid out by Jesus?

But thanks be to God, for He recognizes that to live the Gospel precepts on our own power is impossible. Thanks be to God, who gives us His grace, the supernatural help we need to live out the Beatitudes. Thanks be to God, for the baby Messiah in the crib at that first Christmas proves that God is for us, not against us!

Father Matthew Morris

Gospel Reflection Dec 9 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, December 9

Second Sunday of Advent

Luke 3: 1 – 6

Gospel:
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Reflection:
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” These words of Isaiah foretold the message and the mission of John the Baptist. This call to prepare the way for the Lord was urgent then and is still just as urgent today. God came in the Person of His Son when the Word became flesh. This is what we celebrate at Christmas.

During these weeks of Advent, it is important that we hear the voice of John the Baptist and respond to his appeal for conversion. Likewise, we are invited to open our hearts to receive the Son of God. Unfortunately, we can easily lose the focus of our faith during these weeks before Christmas and fall into the materialistic mindset of our culture. There are many crooked paths that we can be tempted to walk. We can get off track in our Christian lives, falling into sin, walking along roads that deviate from our faith.

This Advent, let us make straight the path of the Lord in our hearts by examining our lives, clearing the way for the Lord to act in us with His grace. It is important to look at our lives and to see where our choices and actions have not been in harmony with the Gospel. The Sacrament of Penance is a great way for us to heed the call of John the Baptist to repentance and conversion. It is also a time of joy as we prepare for the celebration of Our Savior’s birth.

This week we will also celebrate two beautiful feasts of Mary: The Immaculate Conception on December 8th and Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th. Mary awaited and prepared silently and prayerfully for the birth of her Son. May she intercede for us, that we will be ready to receive anew, in our hearts and our whole lives, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Deacon Paul Zemanek

Gospel Reflection Dec 2 – Deacon Alfonso

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Sunday, December 2

First Sunday of Advent

Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36

Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Reflection:
I’m convinced that there is no more satisfying experience than fresh beginnings. Nothing communicates hope and potential like a newly moved in home, a freshly painted room, a new friendship, or a new job. It seems like we all desire for a second chance, we all long for a renewal that will bring out the best in us in order to finally get things right. Many view the new year as just that, as 365 days to start again and work to that place we so long to be in life.

For the Christian, the longing for renewal is achieved not so much by us, but by Jesus Christ who “Makes All Things New” (Rev. 21:5). Advent is one of my favorite times of the year and to be honest I probably get just as excited about Advent as I do about Christmas. The reason is because Advent presents for us Christians a time to anticipate that so long renewal, that hope for the promise of change, of relief, of freedom and of new beginnings that is fulfilled with the arrival of Christ on Christmas Day.

The Church’s liturgy in this time points us to the promise of God, of the arrival of his divine son, not as some time constrained event that has occurred in history, but as a promise that continues to manifest itself in our lives in the present, and that will ultimately be fulfilled in his second coming. In this time of Advent, the Church calls us to recognize our deep desire for renewal, our weakness and our need for our savior and in so to truly expect the arrival of Christ in our hearts on Christmas. May you be filled with that deep sense of Hope for Him who so longs to be born in stable of your heart this Christmas Season.

Deacon Alfonso Gamez

Gospel Reflection Nov 25 – Deacon Frank

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Gospel Reflection
November 25, 2018

Sunday, November 25

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

John 18:33 B-37

Gospel:
Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Reflection:
Because this is the last Sunday of the church year and the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, we are asked to reflect on the last things in our lives – on life, death, and the promise of eternal life in the reign of God. I realize that for some this is a hard topic to reflect on, however, God’s word this weekend sheds a ray of light of the world to come.

So, what is the point of calling Christ “the king”? After all, we gave up on kings a long time ago. In the United States we fought a revolution to get rid of kings. It can seem an antiquated image. But did you know that the feast itself was instituted less than 100 years ago? Pope Pius XI formalized is in 1925. With the rise of secularism, nationalism, and global strife, he sought to remind us that Christ is the true sovereign of all. It is in Christ that peace shall reign.

This last Sunday appropriately comes after our own wonderful national celebration of Thanksgiving so it is an important time for giving thanks for what we have received throughout this past year and throughout our lives. May all of us:

– Give thanks for the gift of life and the gift of new life in baptism.
– Give thanks for each of us being unique and special…the very best of creation.
– Give thanks for our families, communities and friends.
– Give thanks for the faith by which we are drawn out of darkness into God’s marvelous light and promise of eternal life.
– Give thanks by our particular calling in life by which we bear fruit.
– Give thanks for those around us…for all those who are easy to love … those in need of our love…and even those not so easy to love.
– Give thanks for Christ, our loving and merciful sovereign.

As we gather for Mass this weekend may our faith point to a God who does care, who is Almighty, who is ruler, and who invites us to be part of God’s everlasting reign. May we always honor our king, listening to the voice of Christ, in our worship and through our service to one another.

Deacon Frank Iannarino

Gospel Reflection Nov 18 – Sr. Teresa

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Gospel Reflection
November 18, 2018

Sunday, November 18

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 13: 24 – 32

Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

“And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’
with great power and glory,
and then he will send out the angels
and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

“Learn a lesson from the fig tree.
When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,
you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to you,
this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.

“But of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Reflection:
We are coming to the end of the liturgical year. It will end on November 25th, the Feast of Christ the King. Whenever things are drawing to a close we look at the things that need to be tended to and the things that need to end. It is a time to step back, stand still, rethink and re-prioritize. It is a time for “new resolutions.” Keeping that ending in mind, this weekend and next weekend the readings remind us that the world is passing away; it must pass away. It is also a time, at least in our part of the world, when darkness has overtaken the light – despite our effort of “daylight savings time.”

The readings for the next two weekends are examples of apocalyptic literary genre. It is very evident in the reading from Daniel and from the Gospel according to Mark. The word “apocalypse” comes from the Greek language and means “to lift the veil.” A friend of mine put it this way: “Apocalyptic literature suggests what we think we see as true and as reality, in fact, may be obscured by veils. We think we see – but we don’t. We think we know the truth and the way things are – but we don’t. We need vision; we need the veil over our own eyes lifted so we can clearly perceive God’s presence and God’s future coming into our world.”

These readings convey a sense of the “end times.” In the past few months, after hurricanes, tsunamis, uncontrolled fires, volcanoes erupting, mass shootings, etc., I have heard people say, “these are all signs that the end is near.” It is a time when groups we sometimes refer to as Doomsayers come forward to proclaim that the end of the world is imminent.

Apocalyptic writing was never meant to be taken literally. It does not contain secret codes that only a few people know, nor is it meant to predict the future. It is meant to convey hope for people. If we look back over our lives, we will see times when we thought our world was coming to an end. It could have been the death of a loved one, loss of a job, diagnosis of a very serious illness. All kinds of situations when it seemed as if our life was nothing but chaos and it seemed as if God has abandoned us or forgotten us. Most of us, if not all, have experienced dark times in our life and may have wondered if there would ever be any light again. The times when it seems as if everything we trusted in was falling apart. Those times feel very much like the “end times” for us. Times when we wondered if God would live up to God’s promise to be with us always. Or if trusting in God is actually possible? It is so hard to live through the dark times of life; the times when we can see no signs of God’s presence. It is hard to hold onto hope.

Some may feel that way as you read this … maybe things are falling apart in your personal life; some feel that the political situation and climate in our country or in our church seems dismal and in total chaos, feel that that their lives have no signs of light and are surrounded only by darkness. Some may feel that they have hit rock bottom and there is no hope.
The writers using apocalyptic writing style are saying – WAIT! WAIT! God is in charge and goodness and life will win. Hope is always possible. Trusting in God is possible. Believing that God is always faithful is real. God is always in charge. Gradually, we will begin to feel the glimmer of hope begin to burn within us. It might take a lot of fanning for it to get going and we may need others to help us, but hope will prevail. We will begin to see new life, we will begin to move out of the darkness of chaos into the light.

If you have time, go to YouTube and put in Dare Not Fear to Hope – a video reflection. Just sit quietly and listen to the words. One of my favorite verses goes like this: “Do not fear to hope, for though the night be long, the race shall not be to the swift; the fight not to the strong. Look to God when victory seems out of justice’s sight. Look to God whose mighty hand brought forth the day from the chaos of the night.”

Apocalyptic writing is not meant to scare the begeebers out of us (even though some preachers use it that way). It is to give us reason to hope. It “lifts the veil” so that we can see for certain that God is in charge. “In the end everything will be alright. If it is not alright, then it is not the end.” John Lennon

Today we gather, as a faith community and we celebrate God’s constant presence among us – in each other, in the Word and in the Gift of God’s Body and Blood. We gather to be given the food we need to go forth and believe that whatever endings we face, the Spirit will be with us. We gather to lean on each other, to be signs of hope to each other. Don’t worry about the “end of the world” that is God’s prerogative. The world is always coming to an end. We only have today. God is always here and at the same time always coming. Today is the only day we have to “dare to hope.” Today is the only day we have to be faithful.

Sister Teresa Tuite, OP

Gospel Reflection Nov 11 – Msgr. Hendricks

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Gospel Reflection
November 11, 2018

Sunday, November 11

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 12: 41 – 44

Gospel:
Jesus sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”

Reflection:
In the readings this Sunday, there are two widows. Both are poor and struggling to survive. The widow in the first reading has prepared to die and her son with her. The widow in the gospel while only able to give a few pennies is willing to part with all she has because she has placed her whole heart in the hands of God. For St. Mark this widow becomes a model of how to live fully for the Lord. The two women in the readings remain nameless because they are the lowest of the society of that time, with no one to care for them and without a future. They do what is necessary to empty themselves of everything for the sake of a higher calling, the one sees in the prophet Elijah, the messenger of God. The widow in the gospel today becomes a Christ figure, anticipating the self-emptying of Jesus on the Cross for our salvation.

The message for those who hear the word of God today is one of trust and self-emptying. Trust in the God who saves us regardless of our circumstances and self-emptying, of how we owe all we have to the one who created and then saved us.

We reflect on these two women and ask ourselves if we to can become a sign of hope and self-emptying in our world, our towns, our homes. What is it that we have to give, because of our faith in Christ, and will we give our all because of what has been given to us?

Monsignor Hendricks