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 Aug 12 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, August 12

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6: 41 – 51

The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said,
“I am the bread that came down from heaven, ”
and they said,
“Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph?
Do we not know his father and mother?
Then how can he say,
‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Stop murmuring among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They shall all be taught by God.
Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

The people grumbling in the Gospel showed them to be of the same spirit as that displayed by their fathers in the wilderness who complained before and after the manna was provided to them. Jesus contrasts the bread that he offers, which leads to eternal life, with the bread of their ancestors who died in the wilderness without seeing the Promised Land. Jesus promises that those who eat of the spiritual bread will never die.

In our world today, there is a terrible spiritual poverty in many people and they don’t know what’s wrong in their lives. They are searching to find some kind of meaning, some kind of depth to their lives but they don’t know where to look. Jesus, however, tells us where to look. He tells us that he is the only one who can satisfy this emptiness in us.

Friends, we need to ask ourselves, “What are our hungers?” “Where have we gone to satisfy those hungers and where have those choices led us?” Fortunately for us, Jesus provides us an alternative that is healthier for us both physically and spiritually. Jesus states that he is “the bread of life” and that those who believe in him will have their spiritual hunger satisfied.

When we take part in the breaking of bread during the Eucharist, we receive the spiritual food that is but a small sample of the feast we will have when we eventually sit down and enjoy God’s heavenly banquet. May we always hunger for the bread which comes from heaven and find in it the nourishment and strength we need to love and serve our Lord and Savior.

Deacon Paul Zemanek

Gospel Reflection Aug 5 – Deacon Don

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Sunday, August 5

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6: 24 – 35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
you are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
So they said to him,
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

So they said to him,
“Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Last week we switched from reading Mark’s gospel to that of John. Today, we continue with reading of Jesus as the Bread of Life. Last week, the people’s excitement continued with the people seeking him out in Capernaum not unlike groupies following the latest pop star or politician. Therein lies one of the lessons of today’s Gospel. The people think they are following Jesus because of the wonderful signs he performed in the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Jesus tries to move them toward a hunger to the Bread of Life, which is found in following Jesus Himself.

We experience similar confusions today in our own lives when we may choose to follow leaders – pop, political, economic, or social rather than the one whom God has sent.
How does Jesus nourish us and become our food and drink?
By giving us his Word in the Scriptures
Through his Church and its unwavering truth found in its teachings
Through our human experience in how we help and support others
Through the Eucharist

There are two basic challenges being asked of us to discern and respond. First, to follow Jesus. In our world today, it is becoming more unpopular and even becoming dangerous to acknowledge Jesus openly. Secondly, once you choose Jesus, follow him for the right reasons – that he gives us eternal life in believing in Him. The followers in the Gospel today got the first point right, but missed the reason why. They followed Him for the signs and the food that does not satisfy rather than for the food that does satisfy. This was as difficult for Jesus’ followers then as it is for us today. Nevertheless, it is what is asked of us.

Deacon Don Poirier

Gospel Reflection July 29 – Deacon Frank

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Sunday, July 29

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6: 1 – 15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes
and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip,
“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves
that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

This Sunday we will take a break from St. Mark’s gospel and begin the next few weeks hearing the Bread of Life discourse from St. John gospel where there is plenty of food for everyone.

All who have come to hear Jesus found themselves fed and satisfied. The disciples did not know how Jesus would do it. They panicked at the thought of how much it might cost, and where the money would come from. However, Jesus knew from the start that his Father would answer his prayer. From the meager offering of the small boy with the five loaves and two fish comes an abundance of food with generous leftovers . As the prophet Elisha will say in the first reading, “…God always provides and there is more than enough.”

The feeding of the 5000 explains in symbolic form how God cares for and tends the flock. Jesus wants to demonstrate to the people, by having filled their bellies and still having more leftovers, that God’s providential care extends beyond satisfying physical hunger. God may be the provider of nutritious sustenance, but God is also the one who satisfies the spirit of humankind by pouring out love and mercy on all.

As you reflect once again on this wonderful passage from John’s gospel, ask yourself these two questions:
Are you aware of the abundance of God’s love and mercy?
Are you willing to share this mercy and love – or do you find yourself annoyed at such generosity and the responsibility that goes with recognizing this mercy and love?

The feeding of the 5000, and the revelation of Jesus as the Bread of Life, can help you reflect on where you are in your awareness and appreciation of God’s constant outpouring of grace. May you be grateful for how the bread of life is calling you to deepen your constant awareness of wonder and awe at all God is doing for the whole of creation.

Deacon Frank Iannarino

Gospel Reflection July 22 – Sr. Teresa

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Sunday, July 22

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 6: 30-34

The apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.

The opening of this gospel continues from last week. In that gospel passage we heard that the disciples had been sent out two by two to preach repentance. They are back now and have reported to Jesus all that they had done and taught. Jesus is going to take them off to a deserted place for what was to be for some R& R. It did not work out that way. Lots of people found out where Jesus had gone, and they hastened to follow on foot, hoping to get to the place before the boat that Jesus had taken arrived on the shore. They were successful, and they were waiting when Jesus arrived.

The last sentence in today’s passage is what drew me in to this story. When Jesus saw the vast crowd, Mark tells us that “his heart was moved with compassion for them.” Jesus was not just moved with compassion; he did something. Today we might call this consequential compassion. As I reflected on this, a line from Psalm 95 came into my mind: “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart.” Disciples of Jesus must keep a soft heart, if they are to see and hear the needs of their brothers and sisters. Disciples of Jesus need a soft heart if it is to be moved by compassion. I wondered, in the past few months, have I had a hard heart, blinded to the needs of our brothers and sisters, or has my heart been moved with compassion? Did the compassion urge me to do something in response?

The Ash Wednesday shooting in Parkland, FL in February moved my heart with compassion. That led me to participate in the March for Our Lives in downtown Columbus and to write to Ohio senators and representatives to plead for changes in our gun policies, especially to abolish the easy availability of assault weapons. What else has moved my heart these past months? I, like millions of others, waited anxiously as the story of the twelve boys and their leader trapped in a Thai cave began to unfold before our eyes. So many people were moved by compassion and came from across the world to rescue them. We experienced the sadness as one of our Navy Seals gave his life trying to rescue the boys, and then, we all shared in the rejoicing when all the boys were pulled to safety. My heart was moved with compassion when I heard of the story of the thousands of children separated from their parents at our border. My heart was moved with compassion by a four-year-old girl who was born with cerebral palsy. Then, after her surgery, Maya screamed in joyous delight, “I am walking! I am walking!” My heart was moved with compassion as I sat with so many of our parish families this month and grieved with them over the loss of a loved one. Jesus was teaching the crowds in the gospel today, but he was teaching us as well. With so much happening in our world today and at such a rapid pace, we might be tempted to slip into “compassion fatigue” and be numb to the people and events around us. That is not an option for a disciple. That is not what Jesus is teaching us in today’s Gospel. Jesus was tired, the disciples were tired. They had gone away hoping for a rest. That was not to be. Following Jesus’ example, we must always be open to seeing our brothers and sisters and allowing our heart to be moved with compassion. Take time today to look back over the past months to identify the places where your heart was moved by compassion and then ask, “What did I do about it?” The second part is the hardest. It is not enough to be moved by compassion, we must be open to doing something about it. We cannot do everything nor respond to everything, but what we can do, we must do.

Sister Teresa Tuite, OP

Gospel Reflection July 15 – Msgr Hendricks

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Sunday, July 15

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 6: 7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey
but a walking stick-
no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals
but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

When Jesus sends his twelve friends out to be his hands and voice to the people of Israel, he does so by making sure that they are fully committed to Him, and the mission that he bears.

One must note that he did not have them pack for a long trip nor make provisions for their personal comfort. The rules are strict: no food, no sack, no money in their belts, the only companion is a walking stick.

Why is this? What does it mean for us? Perhaps Jesus is reminding us that when we accept Him as the Christ, then we give all we have and are to Him and leave everything else that might distract us behind. The radical message is that the kingdom of God is at hand and to be a part of it means you must be “all in”.

This week perhaps we can ponder this gospel and understand as the apostles went out they are still preaching to us also.

Monsignor Hendricks

Gospel Reflection July 6 – Fr. Morris

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Sunday, July 8

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 6: 1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.

It is “amazed” in both the New American Bible translation used at Mass and the New International Version favored by American Evangelicals. It is “marveled” in the 20th century Revised Standard Version and the hoary 17th century King James Version.  The Douay-Rheims prefers “wondered,” while the highly-idiomatic American slang version The Message says Jesus “couldn’t get over it.” No matter how we translate the Greek, Jesus is shocked at his hometown’s lack of faith.

It is rather astonishing to us that Jesus could be so affected. Shouldn’t the Son of God be the very last person in the universe to be taken by surprise? But Jesus is surprised and amazed at his hometown’s lack of faith. Nothing he does can convince them to see beyond the most superficial aspects of his human nature.

Yes, the Nazarenes know his extended family tree; yes, they saw his father and mother at synagogue, and maybe they even own an item or two from the woodshop. But they cannot see beyond these superficial truths and realities to the deeper Truth and the hidden Divinity pointed to by Christ’s words and deeds. Amazingly, even in the face of Jesus’ innumerous miracles and works and mind-blowing teaching, the townspeople still see only what they want to see.

Father Matthew Morris