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Gospel Reflections

Gospel Reflection Mar 15 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, March 15

Third Sunday of Lent

John 4: 5 – 42

Gospel:
Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her,
“Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him,
“I do not have a husband.”
Jesus answered her,
“You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands,
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.”

At that moment his disciples returned,
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman,
but still no one said, “What are you looking for?”
or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar
and went into the town and said to the people,
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another,
“Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment
and gathering crops for eternal life,
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for;
others have done the work,
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him
because of the word of the woman who testified,
“He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”
Gospel Reflection:
The story of Jesus speaking with the Samaritan Woman at the well is one of the most well known in the Bible. Saint Brigid has an image of the Samaritan Woman hanging by the main doors to the church just outside the bell tower.

The unnamed Samaritan woman was surprised that Jesus was speaking with her because during that time men did not publicly speak to women and the Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus told the woman he could give her “living water” that would truly quench her thirst and become in her “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Jesus knew the woman had many disappointments in her life. She was thirsty for meaning in her life. She was thirsty for love. Her life-thirst was not being satisfied. She was unhappy. She didn’t find anyone or anything to satisfy the deep longing of her heart until she met Jesus.

Friends, Lent is a time for us to quench our thirst, to rediscover the meaning of our lives in Christ. This is a special time for us to encounter Jesus like the Samaritan Woman at the well, and to be transformed by our encounter with Jesus, like she was. The Lord wants to give us this living water too. This is why He came to earth, that we might have life and have it abundantly. Sin is an obstacle to the full life in Christ, so let us take this opportunity during Lent to establish a deeper conversion to the Lord. Please remember that Jesus also thirsts for us to surrender our lives to Him, to entrust ourselves to Him. And so, today, let the woman’s prayer be our prayer: “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty.”

-Deacon Paul Zemanek

OPERATION RICE BOWL STORIES OF HOPE: WEEK 2

Home is often our place of comfort and safety—something we take care of, where we sleep, eat, and spend time with our family. As you read these stories, think about your home and how it is similar to the girls’ homes.

For Trinh, home is where her family gathers—to play, to eat, to rest. “My family is the most important thing to me,” she says.

One way she shows her family love is by doing chores around the house. She helps her family by bathing her little sister, Trang, showing her how to wash her hands and helping her with schoolwork. Trinh likes washing the teapot and cups and collecting eggs from the ducks. Often, Trinh will ride her bike to get medicine for her parents when they are sick.

Trinh likes to catch dragonflies and crickets with her sister. Since her house is surrounded by rice fields, and coconut and bamboo trees, there’s plenty of places for the sisters to play. But the house is also near a river, and when storms pass through, Trinh’s home often fills with water. “I wish I would have a house that is not wet or leaky and would not flood anymore,” says Trinh.

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Gospel Reflection Mar 8 – Deacon Don

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Sunday, March 8

Second Sunday of Lent

Matthew 17: 1 – 9

Gospel:
Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Gospel Reflection:
We hear in today’s Gospel the recounting of Jesus’ Transfiguration. Jesus appears in a glorified state along with Moses, who represents the law, and Elijah, who represents the prophets. God gave Moses the law to bring to the Chosen People. Over time, they rejected the law. God then brought forth the prophets to restore the Chosen People to holiness and the law, and they rejected the prophets, including Elijah. Now God brings forth his Son and places him with Moses and Elijah on the mountain. Jesus’ presence goes beyond any previous Jewish leader — no mere priest, prophet, or king appears before Peter, James, and John, but the God/Man. Who else could possibly fulfill the law and exceed the wisdom of the prophets, but God with us!

In typical characteristic way, Peter acts and wishes to make three tents in recognition of the sacred moment they are experiencing. Just before this incident in the Gospel, Peter had declared to Jesus and the other disciples that, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This moment validates that confession of Peter.

We all need morale boosts from time to time. We need to experience something deeply meaningful in our lives that heals our spirit and brings us peace. When our eyes are opened, our hearts soon follow. The voice in the gospel says, “…listen to him.” This is directed at Peter and the others — but to us as well. Our Lenten journey is short, but long enough to experience one moment of illumination from God to listen to his Son. Give a moment to listen, to hear what he says, to accept what we hear, and to own what we accept.

-Deacon Don Poirier

Gospel Reflection Mar 1 – Deacon Frank

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Sunday, March 1

First Sunday of Lent

Matthew 4: 1 – 11

Gospel:
At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply,
“It is written:
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you
and with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered him,
“Again it is written,
You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him,
“Get away, Satan!
It is written:
The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.”

Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him.
Gospel Reflection:
A woman was shopping for a new dress and found the most stunning creation she had ever seen. But is was very expensive: $750. She knew she couldn’t afford it, but she had to at least see how she looked in it. So she tried it on and she looked beautiful. She knew someone else would see it and buy it before she could save up for it and she knew she had to have it so she bought it. That evening as she showed her husband how beautiful it was and how stunning she looked with it on, he asked the inevitable question: “how much did it cost?” When she told him he had a fit. She explained the temptation was more than she could resist. He told her that when she is tempted she needs to tell the devil: “get behind me, Satan!” She pleaded, “that’s what I did, and the devil told me it looks fantastic from the back too.”

Temptations always attract us to something that looks good, even though it will not be good for us in the long run — that is the nature of temptation. And we are all tempted, even Jesus who was perfect, for he was also human like us in every way except sin.

The familiar story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert is always put before us on this first Sunday of Lent to encourage us to follow Jesus’ example, to set aside time for prayer and self-sacrifice so we can have the strength to overpower the temptations that come to all of us. In all three of our readings this weekend, we are told that evil finds its source in our decision to give in to temptation, in our attempt to make our own rules, and to use our free will to say “no” to God. As we begin this season of Lent may we look to Jesus, who has come to save us from evil and has shown us how to resist temptation.

-Deacon Frank Iannarino

Gospel Reflection Feb 23 – Sr. Teresa

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Sunday, February 23

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 5: 38 – 48

Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Gospel Reflection:
These past few weeks we have been hearing passages from the Sermon on the Mount and they may have made us uncomfortable and called us to do a little soul-searching. Jesus used a typical rabbinical practice of presenting another opinion. He begins with, “You have heard that it was said….” then he gives an alternate way of thinking, acting and believing, that is not easy to hear or accept. “You have heard that it was said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” This was a law called lex talionis. This law was given to scale back the types of extreme retaliation and revenge that existed. In its day, it was a compassionate teaching against inordinate revenge on a mass scale. “Just an eye for an eye. Just a tooth for a tooth,” we might have said the punishment should match the crime.

This passage seems to be out of sync with the world in which we are living. “Hit me – I hit you back.” “Get them before they get us!” “Strike them before they strike us.” Except none of that is in sync with the teachings and life of Jesus. None of that is in accord with this Gospel passage today. “You have heard it said…” then Jesus comes in with a little word, a simple conjunction and everything changes. He says “BUT – I say to you.”

Jesus tells us not to offer resistance or take revenge — to turn the other cheek, to lend what we have, to go even further than people ask us to go with them. He seems to invite us to be passive and stupid.

He seems to invite us to be meek, humble, and naïve. What Jesus is demanding is tough.

I like to think of myself as a non-violent person. I don’t know that I am all the time. When I use this gospel passage as a backdrop to look at my life, I wonder if I am as non-violent as I like to think I am. Am I non-violent in the ways I respond or treat others?

I can name the ways in my own life where I am resistant to the reading today. I can also look at my own life and identify the times in my life when I have been the victim of violence. There is also the institutional violence of which I am sometimes a part both in society and in the church because of complacency, complicity or indifference.

What about this reading? Is Jesus telling us to just ignore violence and injustice, or ignore the violence done to us or the violence done to others or the violence done to the planet or the violence done to God? To be non-violent is not to be blind, it is just the opposite — to be non-violent is to be acutely aware of the violence, the injustice, the sin around us but to respond to these in ways that will bring about change. Respond to violence and injustice in ways that will bring peace and restore harmony.

Jesus is saying “you have heard it said, to return violence with violence but I say to you love your enemies do good to those who persecute you.” I think he is saying to recognize that we are brother and sister to each other and cultivate an attitude of peace and love for our brothers and sisters. History teaches us that a cycle of violence for violence can continue for thousands of years and until one side decides not to respond with violence that cycle will not end.

Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you … these words today are so hard to hear and so hard to do … sometimes it is hard enough to just keep on loving the people we love but Jesus insists that we love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. Pray for our enemies? Yes, it is the bedrock of discipleship. It is core to being a follower of Jesus. Jesus does not make this a matter for negotiation or half-hearted acceptance. He is very clear on how we are to treat each other.

An old rabbi once asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended, and day had begun. “Could it be,” asked one student, “when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it is a sheep or a dog?” “No,” answered the rabbi. Another asked, “Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it is a fig tree or a peach tree?” “No,” responded the rabbi. “Then when is it? When will we know that the night has ended, and the day has begun.?” The old rabbi responded, “It is when you can look on the face of any woman or man, any boy or girl and see your sister or brother. Because if you cannot see this, it is still night.”

Perhaps our night will end when we will come to recognize that those who are the victims and perpetrators of what is called the war on terrorism, are seen as our brothers and sisters.

Perhaps our night will end when we draw the circle wider so that it will include those who have shut us out and those whom we have shut out.

Perhaps our night will end when we dare not give in to the sirens of cowardice and greed and hate and fear. When we strive to heal wounds not create new ones. When we strive to lift people up and not put them down. When we try to create beauty where there is ugliness, peace where there is hostility, freedom where there is oppression, acceptance where there is rejection, new life where there seem to be only dead ends. When there is no “me and mine” but only “we and ours.” When there is no “us and them” but only brothers and sisters.

Perhaps our night will end when we not only pray for our enemies, but we begin to love them as our brother or our sister.

Perhaps our night will end when we take the words of Jesus and live them.

For we are not defined by Lex Talionis – an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. We have been defined by Jesus … and we have been anointed and appointed chosen and set apart to bring that spirit to others and it is the spirit of non-violence and non-retaliation. It is the spirit that lives in us because God lives in us.

-Sr. Teresa Tuite, OP

Gospel Reflection Feb 16 – Msgr. Hendricks

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Sunday, February 16

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 5: 17-37

Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses
that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment;
and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin;
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’
will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.

“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife – unless the marriage is unlawful –
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
Do not take a false oath,
but make good to the Lord all that you vow.
But I say to you, do not swear at all;
not by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
nor by the earth, for it is his footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
Do not swear by your head,
for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more is from the evil one.”

Gospel Reflection:
In the first reading for this Sunday we learn that for the people of Old Testament to Keep the Commandments of God and to live faithfully would be to insure the blessing of God. Not to do so would bring loss of their relationship with God.

In the gospel for today, we see Jesus quoting from the 10 Commandments of God that were given to Moses as His Holy Word. Then Jesus does something unheard of. He moves beyond the literal interpretation of the words and extends them to how people are asked to live in the new kingdom, the one He was sent to bring and to have flourish. In short one must to go beyond the literal interpretation of what they have heard in the 10, and make them come alive by the way they live them out each day. The social aspect of the 10 commandments is the proof of their devotion to Jesus in the new kingdom he was sent to bring. The higher standards that Jesus brings in the gospel today are a challenge and an invitation to us. We are asked to simply live fully in and for Christ Jesus because of the light he brings to the human situation and because he wants us so badly to be with Him in the Kingdom of God.

Think about how His words today come alive in your heart and in your daily life.

-Msgr. Hendricks

Gospel Reflection Feb 9 – Fr. Morris

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Sunday, February 9

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 5: 13 -16

Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.”

Gospel Reflection:
Our Sr. Teresa Tuite is the native Bay Stater on our parish staff, but I’m sure she won’t mind if I turn your attention for just a moment to that Commonwealth. In 1630, as the English Puritans prepared to set sail for their new home, the first governor of Massachusetts, John Winthrop, gave a famous sermon entitled “A Model of Christian Charity” to his followers. He quoted today’s Gospel and declared that their new American colony “shall be as a ‘city upon a hill.’ For the eyes of all people are upon us.” Many political scientists point to this Puritan ideal of the “exceptional society” as a foundational element of all future American political thought.

As Catholics, our dogmatic theology is far from the stark and uncompromising Calvinism of those first English settlers. We can smile at the naivete that could believe the Atlantic Ocean would be for the Elect a sufficient barrier against the intrusion of the Unregenerate masses’ brokenness and sin. But while as Catholics the Puritans may not be our theological forebears, perhaps as Americans we can draw strength from their example of courageous optimism and hope. It was an earnest optimism, a true belief in the possibility of a better world, conformed completely to Jesus Christ. That ideal led them to leave behind hearth and country, to cross a perilous sea, and to carve out a new home on the shores of a vast wilderness.

Holy Mother Church gives us her Social Doctrine, whereby we are given the tools and outlook to start working to bring about a more just, merciful, and equitable world–a more Christian world. What if we American Catholics took to heart the Puritans’ example of heroic optimism and fortitude and applied it to our living out of the Gospel and efforts to ensure the dignity of every human being? Just imagine how a vibrant and outspoken Catholic Church could help guide and lead America to live up to its loftiest Christian ideals!

God often works in ironic ways. What could be more ironic than if it was the faithful implementation of Catholic Social Doctrine which helped to create that just and exemplary “City upon a Hill” first envisioned by Calvinist refugees four centuries ago?

-Fr. Morris

Gospel Reflection Feb 2 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, February 2

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Luke 2: 22 – 40

Gospel:
When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
–and you yourself a sword will pierce–
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

Gospel Reflection:
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and we hear about two individuals, Simeon and Anna. The story of Jesus’ presentation in Jerusalem is one of the few stories in the gospels that have to do with Jesus’ childhood.

There is an old saying that “Good things come to those who wait.” If this is true, the story of Simeon, Anna, and the baby Jesus in the temple is a great example. The coming of Christ involved all manner of waiting on God. A young maiden, a dying man and an old widow are all models of hearts yielding to God.

As a firstborn son, Jesus was expected to be consecrated to God. This was in memory of God sparing the firstborn sons of Israel at the beginning of their Exodus from Egypt. Both Simeon and Anna had dedicated their lives to God and lived to see the Messiah before they died. So, when they encountered the baby Jesus in the temple, they rejoiced because they had seen salvation. Simeon showed that he understood that Christ was coming, not to deliver the Jews from their enemies, but instead, that this salvation was for all people and will bring revelation to the Gentiles. He would do this through suffering as a servant, dying on the cross, and then rising from the dead.
All who believe God’s promise for Jesus’ return believe He will come back one day and are waiting for that promise to come true. How are you and I going to wait for that promise? Are we living our lives in a way that is pleasing to God?

Friends let us be like Simeon and Anna and live with an attitude of worship and obeying God every day. Knowing that Jesus can come today, or tomorrow, should cause us to live with the right priorities. It should cause us to do things that will matter for eternity, rather than just for next week. With that in mind, let’s have an attitude of praising Him and thanking Him for all that He has done and will do for us as we believe Him by our faith.

-Deacon Paul Zemanek

Gospel Reflection Jan 26 – Deacon Don

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Sunday, January 26

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 4: 12 – 23

Gospel:
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.

Gospel Reflection:
The Gospel in its opening line states that John (the Baptist) has been handed over. He is in prison and will be killed. The Gospel writer is making it clear that John is no longer leading a movement. The fact that Jesus “heard” of John’s imprisonment implies that Jesus was not actually following John, otherwise he would have known of the handing over first hand. Jesus has been on his own in Nazareth, but now he departs for Capernaum in Galilee. This action taken by Jesus would have fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. Yet, as with John, Jesus announces the coming of the kingdom of heaven through repentance.

All of this introduction sets up the recruiting of Jesus’ first followers. We know them later as apostles, but for now, they are not clued in to what their futures may hold. Jesus calls us all and he takes us where we are. Like the apostles, we may not be ready to hear all that Jesus has in mind for us. He does, however, draw us to himself. While the metaphor of “fishers of men (and women)” may give us a positive nostalgic image of this Gospel, we can easily come to a misunderstanding as it could be misinterpreted as being manipulative or trapping. After all, the purpose of a fishing net was for commercial gain. Jesus does not seek gain, but gives — and as we will see, he gives us all he has through his suffering, death, and resurrection. In this instance, Jesus’ call requires a response from us. There is no manipulation involved in his call and there is always a way for us to escape, if we wish. If after seeing what is asked of us in this call, we can always walk away. The “mending their nets” comment suggests that some fish had escaped through their own will and industry.

These first responders bravely responded to the call and experienced the beauty and completeness of Jesus’ message of salvation that the kingdom of heaven is here and now. It is significant that Jesus’ call takes place right in their work place. The call comes directly from Jesus. “I chose you, you did not choose me.”

At the same time, there is no evidence that they lived a life destitute or wanting. Leaving the tools of the only way of life they had known and choosing a simpler lifestyle for the new work we are called to do is the path to inner joy. Hopefully, we can remain open to that call when it comes.

-Deacon Don Poirier

Gospel Reflection Jan 19 – Deacon Frank

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Sunday, January 19

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 1: 29 – 34

Gospel:
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

Gospel Reflection:
A bedraggled little man once walked the streets of an Italian town 100 years ago. Many of the townspeople saw his pallid face, often tearful, as he stumbled along the cobblestone streets and narrow alleys. One day a kind soul, witnessing the man’s misery, came up to him, hoping to lift his sad spirits. “Hello” the kind person began. “You know what you need? I have a ticket to the circus that arrived this week. I want you to take it and go see a clown named Grimaldi. I don’t know just how sad you are – but no matter what, Grimaldi puts everyone in a jolly mood. “The sad stranger replied, “Thanks. But, you see, I am Grimaldi.”

In today’s Gospel, we hear John the Baptist clarifying what he meant when he told the priests and Levites, “…there is one among you whom you do not recognize.” Lo and behold, the very next day Jesus himself walks up to the Baptist and his followers. John cries out in recognition, “Here comes the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” The Gospel reveals John the Baptist bearing witness to Jesus, helping all around him recognize that he is the Chosen one of God, he is eternal, he is the Messiah. Later, John would sum up his own recognition of Jesus in these humble words, “…he (Jesus) must increase and I must decrease.”

The first commandment is to love God. Seeing “the Lamb of God” – as John the Baptist did – can take our love of God to a whole new level. We will receive this martyred Lamb when we go to communion at this weekend’s Mass even though we declare we are not worthy to enter under his roof. Yet blessed – very blessed – are we who are called to the supper of the Lamb. Will you recognize him?

-Deacon Frank Iannarino

Gospel Reflection Jan 12 – Sr. Teresa

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Sunday, January 12

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Matthew 3: 13 – 17

Gospel:
Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying,
“I need to be baptized by you,
and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized,
he came up from the water and behold,
the heavens were opened for him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Gospel Reflection:
The Baptism of Jesus. Two phrases drew me into this week’s Gospel passage. Jesus came up from the water and he heard the voice, “This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” He came up from the waters of baptism. He was called beloved. He was told that God was well pleased even though he had not done anything yet. He rose up from the waters of baptism and he knew his identity.

NOTE TO SELF: Everyone single one of us is a beloved child of God. We have been from the time God formed us in our mother’s womb and that relationship is forever. God has been pleased with us from the beginning. Msgr. Hendricks says, “God is crazy in love with us.” God calls us beloved. That is so overwhelmingly important to us and sadly, we often find hard to believe. Sometimes we forget it. Sometimes we take it for granted. Sometimes we try to earn it. Sometimes we reject it. It’s not about us, folks. It is about God’s eternal love for us. You are the beloved child of God – that is it. It is non-negotiable and eternal. It is a pure gift.

How does this Gospel passage speak to us? We, too, came up from the waters of Baptism and we were reminded of our truest identity. You are a beloved son or daughter of God, in whom God is well pleased. Know who you are! Claim who you are! Embrace who you are! Live who you are! Who are you?

I recently used the picture shown to introduce a Bible Study Program. I think this should be on your bathroom mirror or in the car visor, or any place where you would see it frequently during the day. When you see it say it: “I am a beloved child of God.” What does the beloved do? The beloved does what Jesus did: forgives, includes others, reaches out to others, embraces and welcomes those on the margins, has mercy, works for peace and justice for everyone, works to reconcile not divide and brings God to everyone they meet.

Today, so many clamoring voices today try to define who we are — resist those voices (even if it is your own voice). Come up from the waters of Baptism and claim your identity. You are a child of God and have been defined by God.

When you are tempted to hate others come up from the waters of your baptism and claim your true identity, “I am a child of God.” Make another choice and love others. When you are tempted by the rumors of war and violence, come up from the waters of your baptism and claim your true identity, “I am a beloved child of God.” Make another choice and be a peace maker and justice-seeker. When you are tempted to lie, cut corners, be dishonest, be a gossip spreader or gossip gatherer, or judger of others – come up from the waters of your baptism and claim your truest identity: “I am a beloved child of God.” Make another choice and choose what is right, kind and good. When I am tempted to (fill in your temptation) ________________, come up from the waters of Baptism and make another choice. Note to Self: You are a beloved child of God. This is what defines you and identifies you, not your faults, sins or accomplishments. God defined you as beloved.

Print out that Note to Self and put it somewhere where you will see it frequently. Mine is on my car visor. “I am a beloved child of God! and God is well pleased.” Say it repeatedly. Say it many times a day, until your heart is convinced and your actions with and towards others shows it. You might also want to pray Psalm 139.

-Sr. Teresa Tuite, OP