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 10 – Deacon Frank

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Sunday, December 10

The Second Sunday of Advent

Mark 1: 1-8

Gospel:

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.”
John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel’s hair,
with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
And this is what he proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Reflection:

It is with vivid image that Saint Mark chooses to begin his Gospel we will hear at this Sunday’s Mass by describing the coming of Jesus, God’s Son and anointed one. Isaiah’s prophesy that will be proclaimed in the 1st reading is being fulfilled in a new way: one more powerful than John the Baptist is coming to lead God’s people home, to set them free from the tyranny of sin and death to live in the homeland of God’s kingdom, which, Jesus, proclaims, is breaking into the world.

As we light the second candle of our Advent wreath, both within our own homes and here at St. Brigid of Kildare Parish, may we realize that the timeless message of Advent is that our patient God is the God who comes to us not just at Jesus’ birth, and not just at the end of time. God comes to us in our time of need, our time of exile, whenever we are lost in the wilderness of sin, fear or suffering. We are called simply to respond to the Good News that in Jesus Christ we meet the God whose coming sets us free and brings us home to our true selves.

May the Lord, who comes to us set us free, walk with you closely this day and in the days to come, so He may lead you in the paths of holiness.

Deacon Frank

Gospel Reflection Dec 3 – Sister Teresa

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Sunday, December 3

The First Sunday of Advent

Mark 13: 33-37

Gospel:

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore;
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'”

Reflection:

The opening lines of today’s gospel passage reads: “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be watchful! Be alert!” Instantly, I began singing one of my favorite Christmas Santa songs.

You better watch out.
You better not pout.
You better not cry,
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

He’s making a list
and checking it twice,
Going to find out
whose naughty or nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town!

He sees you when you’re sleeping.
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been good or bad
So be good for GOODNESS sake.

Hey – I love this guy! If you sit with this song, you might hear echoes of Psalm 139, or the message of the prophets, maybe even a touch of John the Baptist.

Hey, I love this guy! If you sit with this particular song you might hears echoes of Psalm 139, or the message of the prophets, or maybe even a touch of John the Baptist.

When I was little I thought it was a warning . If I was good, I’d get presents . If I was bad, there would be presents. But that isn’t really what the song says. It urges us to be good for goodness sake. Now that puts a different spin upon the song, at least for me.

To be good … not for what I can get out of it.
To be good … not for what people will think about me.
To be good for one reason … To be good for GOODNESS sake.
To be good because that is how we were created.
To be good because that is what Jesus came to show us in the way he lived.
To be good for GOODNESS sake and who is GOODNESS if not the one we call God? We are urged to be good for GOD’S SAKE.

We begin Advent on December 3rd and Mark urges us to “be watchful; to be alert. You do not know when the time will come.”How often have we heard these words and receive them as vaguely threatening? That when we least expect it, God might call us home through death. Watch out! Be Alert! Don’t be caught unawares. Always be in the state of grace. Why? Is it because we fear eternal punishment? Are we afraid we might be put on the condemned list? Is that why we want to pay attention in life? I can’t live with that kind of threat, any more than I could live with thinking Santa was watching my every move waiting to catch me doing something wrong so he would end up putting me on the naughty list.

The song urged us to be good for Goodness sake and Mark’s words urge us to be watchful and alert because Jesus is coming to town. Jesus is always coming to town. If we are not paying attention, we miss the myriad of ways that God comes to us every single day. Maybe we will find him in a loved one, in a stranger, in ourselves, in prayer, in an unexpected blessing, in a quiet moment or even in a chaotic moment, even in a Christmas Santa song.

Advent reminds us that we wait for the Lord, and if we are not paying attention, we will miss him. How sad that would be!

Sister Teresa Tuite, OP

PS: Tell the truth -did you sing that Christmas Santa song or did you just read it?!

Gospel Reflection Nov 26 – Msgr. Hendricks

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Sunday, November 26

The Solemnity of Christ the King

Matthew 25: 31-46

Gospel:

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”

Reflection:

The gospel for today, the last Sunday of the liturgical year 2017, is a familiar one. The scene is the end of the world when Christ comes in His glory to judge the world and those who have been faithful, and those who have not been. The understanding is about how we have treated others during our time on earth. The Corporal Works of Mercy are used as the measuring stick on how we are chosen for a place next to Jesus Christ or not.

This gospel is stark and frank. We are measured on how we have treated others, because the way we have treated others is the way we have treated Christ. The little ones, the unimportant ones, the poor, the widow, the stranger, all belong to Christ and in showing mercy to them we meet the Christ who will also come as judge for us.

While this gospel can be disconcerting it also calls us to start fresh again and when we have failed in the past to be Christ to others we have an opportunity today to start over and allow those we encounter to see the face of Christ in our face.

Msgr. Hendricks

Gospel Reflection Nov 19 – Deacon Chris

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Sunday, November 19

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25: 14-30

Gospel:
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'”

Reflection:

If it we look at this parable in the larger context, we see the themes of good and bad servants, final division, reward and punishment, and the return of the master after delay. This parable focuses on the time we have here on earth. We do not know when the Lord will return. Our lives could end at any time or Christ could return for the final judgment at any moment. Matthew explains in this gospel what he means by being watchful or ready during this “in between time”.

We hope and desire that heaven will be our final resting place with the Lord. Consequently, our actions must be faithful to God’s instructions. This means we are to use all the abilities that God has entrusted to us in order to fill our time here on earth with deeds of love. Additionally, this parable specifically highlights the qualities of courage and fidelity. Being industrious and courageous with the gifts God has given us, allows us to give back to Him. Fidelity in small things leads to a much greater reward and intimate friendship with the Lord. Our faithful and whole-hearted commitment to the Lord through our actions will not go unseen.

Conversely, inactivity is condemned in this parable. It is clear that the demanding nature of the master and a fear of failure are unacceptable reasons for refusing to make an effort. Each of us can fail to meet Christ’s moral demands when we sin or through a lack of insight. Or, as in the case here, sheer inactivity and laziness are unfaithfulness to the Master. This parable emphasizes the essential aspect of the interaction between God’s free gift and our response. The disciple who “gives himself” fully to the gift God has given him will receive even a great reward. We are called to action within our spiritual lives or else we risk losing what we have. Let us ask God for the grace and strength to be courageous with the gifts he has given us, so that we may be good and faithful servants and enter into the joy of His kingdom when He comes to meet us again.

Deacon Chris Tuttle

Gospel Reflection Nov 12 – Father Morris

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Sunday, November 12

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25: 1 – 13

Gospel:
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Reflection:
The founder of Scouting, retired British Army officer Robert Baden-Powell, was once asked to elaborate on the famous Scout motto: “Be Prepared.” His questioner asked, “Prepared for what, exactly?” According to Scouting legend, the old campaigner quipped, “Why, for any old thing!”

We all know people like the foolish virgins in the parable (perhaps some of us are even married to them!) They aren’t prepared for anything, it seems. They have no extra jacket, their cell phone battery hasn’t been charged, and the gas tank routinely hovers below E. They are always ready to roll their eyes at “the prepared” for their precautions and safety margins. Strangely enough, they are also the ones who are more than ready to ask “the prepared” for help when they encounter troubles! It is only the most saintly of Christians who doesn’t luxuriate in schadenfreude and self-satisfaction in such moments. It feels so good to gloat when our foresight is proven correct!

It would have been “very Christian of them” if the wise virgins had given the foolish virgins some of their oil. But if the “wise virgins” were truly wise, earlier in the day they should have been able to recognize the “foolish virgins” for what they were: fools! So why did such “wise” people allow such “fools” to start out unprepared, and suffer an easily preventable catastrophe?

When we rejoice over the ill-fortune of others, especially as a result of their sins, we should stop a moment. Before we are tempted to pat ourselves on the back for our holiness, for our avoidance of temptation and our lack of vices, perhaps we should ask ourselves an uncomfortable question: If I see a fool in his folly and leave him in it; if I then rejoice over his misfortune from that uncorrected folly… how “wise” am I? How “holy” am I?

Father Morris

Gospel Reflection Nov 5 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, November 5

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 23: 1 – 12

Gospel:
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Reflection:
You have probably heard the old adage: Do as I say, not as I do. Perhaps you have lived it from time-to-time, be it as a parent instructing a child, as a manager to an employee, as a coach to an athlete, or maybe as a Christian to an unbeliever. One of the worst things I think a person can be referred to or labeled is a hypocrite.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus addressed the crowds and His disciples by saying that the scribes and the Pharisees “preach BUT they do not practice.” Jesus took hypocrisy very seriously and He charged them with religious hypocrisy.

Likewise, we need to ask ourselves, are we a Christian, a follower of Christ and have a personal relationship with Him, or are we a Christian by name only? Do we live a life of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, or are we like the Pharisees whose ‘works were performed to be seen,’ and ‘loved places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues?’

The faith of Jesus that was manifest – not in serving Himself, or looking after His own self-preservation or happiness – but the faith of Jesus that was manifest on the cross, just a few days after Jesus said these words in Matthew 23. He didn’t just criticize the faith of the scribes and Pharisees with words; He showed them, and us, what real love, humility and service looks like.

Let us strive then, not to be hypocrites of our faith, but instead be people who “practice” what we preach. The faith of Jesus is about finding ways to serve, and searching for ways to be a servant – to live as a servant. Let us follow the teachings of Jesus, for ‘whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.’

Deacon Paul Zemanek