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 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

Gospel Reflection Jan 5 – Msgr. Hendricks

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Sunday, January 5

The Epiphany of the Lord

Matthew 2: 1-12

Gospel:
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

Gospel Reflection:
The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord has Matthew the gospel writer compare two kings. Herod, the Roman appointed and elected “ King of the Jews” in Jerusalem and the birth of Jesus who later will be call, The King of The Jews as he hung upon the Cross in the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The contrast is real and has a spiritual meaning for us who celebrate this feast today.

While Herod is seen as King who did everything for himself, Jesus is seen as one who is selfless and offers his life on the Cross for he of the world.

Epiphany is about the great mystery and power of God, who intervenes in human history once and even now to bring hope and redemption to his creatures through the power of the Cross.

As we enter this new year and new decade we are reminded where our destiny resides, and in which kingdom we yearn for.

Happy New Year and may the love of God in Christ bring you the peace you long for and seek, in the name of Jesus the Son of God and Savior of the world!

-Monsignor Hendricks

Gospel Reflection Dec 29 – Fr. Morris

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Sunday, December 29

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Matthew 2: 13-15, 19-23

Gospel:
When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.

Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod had died, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream
to Joseph in Egypt and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel,
for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”
He rose, took the child and his mother,
and went to the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea
in place of his father Herod,
he was afraid to go back there.
And because he had been warned in a dream,
he departed for the region of Galilee.
He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth,
so that what had been spoken through the prophets
might be fulfilled,
He shall be called a Nazorean.

Gospel Reflection:
Biblical archaeology is fascinating precisely because the Bible does not eschew naming precise dates, geography, or important political figures. While erstwhile doubters may opine that ‘the best lie always contains 95% truth,” they cannot deny that the Old and New Testaments are never afraid to contextualize their events in real time and space. Scholars can squabble whether a shrine or church is built over the precise GPS coordinates of an event in David or Jesus’ life, but in the end, pilgrims to the Holy Land can visit actual geographical sites that stretch back to antiquity.

We don’t take seriously people who have no “skin in the game,” who are content to be armchair quarterbacks or anonymous Internet critics. But in the Incarnation, we realize that we have a serious God, who has literally put skin in the game, that the person of the Son not only got his hands dirty, but his head and back bloodied. The Jewish-Christian Scriptures reveal a God who works not in some mythological realm or some primordial ‘land-before-time,’ but rather continually in real historical time and identifiable geographical space.

Let us not doubt that God can intervene in the troubles and circumstances of our own lives in the “here and now”– for He has long experience in unfolding His salvific plan even in the midst of the evil people and tumultuous events of our world’s long recorded history.

-Fr. Matthew Morris

Gospel Reflection Dec 22 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, December 22

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Matthew 1: 18 – 24

Gospel:
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
Gospel Reflection:
In today’s Gospel we heard about the story of the birth of Jesus. You see, Jesus’ birth is the greatest of all of God’s miracles, as it is through His birth that God took on human flesh in order to become Emmanuel…“God is with us.” Why God came in this way is part of the mystery of Christ. However, by Jesus coming as a baby, God fully identified with our lowly being…sharing fully our experiences, including all our suffering. What a beautiful way to show children that God loves them…for He was once a child Himself, just like they are. The Christ child grew up, He became a man, He died, and was resurrected so that we can be with Him and share His joy forever!!
Matthew’s Gospel today narrates the birth of Jesus from the viewpoint of St. Joseph. What especially resonates with me about Joseph is that not a single word of what he ever spoke was recorded. We have heard it said that “actions speak louder than words,” and, if that is indeed the case, then Joseph speaks volumes. We hear that he was a righteous man and that he obeyed the revelation God gave him through the angel and in the dreams.

And so, friends, where are you on this Fourth Sunday of Advent? Are your “actions speaking louder than your words” when it comes to your obedience to what God wants you to do? Are you prepared for Emmanuel – God is with us.”

On behalf of all the clergy here at St. Brigid of Kildare Parish, we want to wish you, your families and friends a very Merry and “Blessed” Christmas!!

-Deacon Paul Zemanek