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 18 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, August 18

Twentienth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 12: 49 – 53

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Gospel Reflection:
Fire? Division? Families set against one another? Was Jesus having a bad day? Was He depressed, rundown, moody because all He could see was suffering and death in his future?

No, I don’t believe Jesus was having a bad day. He was simply telling us a very important truth. For you see, Jesus knew that in the future the disciple’s faith in their Lord and their Christian discipleship would be severely tested. It would even mean that families would be divided – those who follow Christ and those who ignore and reject the hope and true peace that He is offering. He is providing His followers this warning now so they will not be shocked when following Jesus will mean some very tough choices. And what can be tougher than choosing between loyalty to family and loyalty to Jesus?

In our society today, there is opposition to the values of Jesus in situations like abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, sexuality, family, and many others. But friends, we must be disciples of Christ before all of society, even when it means rejection.

There is no doubt that this text contains uncomfortable words, but Jesus’ words are still true today. Remember this, that Jesus brings a different kind of peace. He brings us a peace with God through the forgiveness of sins purchased by His Holy, Precious Blood. That peace divides us from those who do not believe. To compromise is to forsake Jesus and join them.

Deacon Paul Zemanek

Gospel Reflection Aug 11 – Deacon Frank

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Sunday, August 11

Ninteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 12: 32 – 48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have the servants recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Gospel Reflection:
El Paso, Dayton, Las Vegas, Columbine, Amish children, and so many other mass shootings in recent years — the world seems to have lost its reference point. In so many ways we just live through these tragedies. One shooting begins to run into the next and becomes nameless to us as we numb ourselves to all of it in order to simply cope. The flag nows flies at half mast seemingly perpetually.

This week’s Gospel is a continuation of last week’s. Refer back to Deacon Frank’s reflection from last week about the man who had plenty and planned for a cushy future not realizing that his life would be forfeited that very day. Installing and operating home security systems are meant to guard us when we don’t want or cannot be constantly vigilant. Security is an illusion. We cannot buy our security. Today’s Gospel passage is yet a further reminder that we must not be like that man in last week’s Gospel.

Jesus tells us today to be ready for when the Master comes. For all our efforts, there is no way we can know when or how the Master will call on us. So what is one to do? First, we must keep in mind that God loves us completely and perpetually in ways it is impossible for us to comprehend — regardless of who we are and what we have done. It is inconceivable for us to understand this — but there in lies the rub. While that projection of God’s love is automatic and constant, to receive that love, we must be in relationship with Him, to desire and work toward knowing Him by spending time with Him — in the Mass, in the Eucharist, in prayer — all the while living in relationship with Him. He will call on us, not as a thief in the night, but it is hoped as an old friend someone who knows us and we know Him. Are we ready?

Gospel Reflection Aug 4 – Deacon Frank

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Sunday, August 4

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 12: 13 – 21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”

Gospel Reflection:
Three modern day parables…

A sign outside a church announced: “Don’t wait for the hearse to take you to church”.
The famous preacher Rev. Billy Graham once said, “You never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer”
When the richest man in a town died, the local news reporter asked his pastor, “How much did he leave?” The pastor replied, “all of it!”

This weekend’s gospel has Jesus sharing the parable of the rich farmer who stored up all his goods and wealth. The farmer thought he was set for life, he had all he needed. Yes, Jesus calls him a fool. The farmer was wealthy in worldly goods but he did not grow rich in the sight of God. The word “fool” simply means someone with limited thinking – someone without good sense.

The parable Jesus tells will follow a few comments he made about greed and how dangerous it is. Greed is one of the capital sins and gives rise to actions like cheating, stealing, lying, quarreling, fighting and even war. It doesn’t sound as if the farmer did any of these bad things. It sounds as if he made his fortune by good weather, and good old fashioned hard work.

So, is Jesus saying it is a sin to be rich and successful? Hardly! Jesus seems to be saying it is a sin if that is our main focus in life, if we build our security only on the things this world can give us, if we forget where our blessings come from. It is also a sin to be rich if our hearts are cold to the sufferings of those less fortunate than we are.

Giving away some of our money or sharing our goods reminds us that it is not all ours. It keeps us aware that all we have has been given to us. People like to say “I earned it.” Maybe so, but where did we get the health, the talent, the energy, the education and the opportunities to earn it. That was all given to us. We do have to provide for ourselves and our families and we have to save for that proverbial rainy day, but we can’t become totally selfish either. That’s greed. May we do our best to keep things in balance and loving God and our neighbor is part of the balance.

-Deacon Frank Iannarino

Gospel Reflection July 28 – Sr. Teresa

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Sunday, July 28

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 11: 1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you,
if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

Gospel Reflection:
The passage chosen for today’s liturgy seems rather straightforward. “Teach us how to pray,” was the request of the early disciples but is not the desire to know how to pray stirring in our heart, too? The passage contains my favorite prayer. It is a prayer known and offered by so many through the centuries. Sometimes, this can be comforting, but, at times, it can be so familiar that I pray it as if I were a “robo-caller.” The underlying truths and constant challenge of the prayer can be lost. When I began to pray and reflect with the passage for today, I felt a certain pushing and pulling from the Holy Spirit. How do I dare to say, “Our Father?”

The world is living in times of struggle and what seems like impenetrable impasse. Living in these times and trying to hold the tensions of what we believe, or want to believe, or hope that we believe, or actually living what we believe, calls forth a hope and courage that has lived deep within us from all eternity. Could really daring to pray the Our Father be the grace that will unlock that hope and courage?

How do we dare to pray as Jesus taught us, Our Father? How do we look at each other, especially those who are poor, marginalized or discounted, and see with the eyes of Jesus? How do we enter the lives and hearts, the hopes and fears, the joys and sorrows, the anxieties and questions of this world and dare to say, Our Father?

Over the past few weeks I tried to pray the Our Father not from where I stand, but by standing in the shoes of others.

I prayed Our Father as the young mother with one child and pregnant with twins who was also grieving the death of her young husband.

I prayed the Our Father as the families who lost their homes and material possessions in the recent swath of destructive tornadoes and floods.

I prayed the Our Father as the person who is financially secure, healthy and happy and filled with great joy.

I prayed the Our Father as a child who searched for his “daily bread” in dumpsters.

I prayed the Our Father as one of the thousands of people who are being held in detention camps on or near our borders.

I prayed the Our Father as a border guard and member of border patrol groups.

I prayed the Our Father as a man on death row for murder. I prayed as the brother of the man he killed.

I prayed the Our Father as the young couple who stared in awe and wonder at the miracle of their newborn baby girl.

I prayed the Our Father as the man whose political and religious views are polar opposites of mine and the man whose religious and political views are so like mine.

I prayed the Our Father as a woman from a different faith tradition than mine and as a young adult who professes no faith tradition.

I prayed the Our Father as a member of the community of St. Brigid of Kildare.

I prayed Our Father as a Dominican Sister of Peace.

Each time my prayer was so different, so difficult at times (sometimes impossible) and so easy at other times. Praying in the shoes of another stretched the boundaries of my heart, opened my eyes, and challenged my attitudes and professed beliefs. It gave me new understandings of what it means to dare to say, “Our Father.”

The situations and questions in our world today are so complex and often seem totally overwhelming. In times such as these, how do we dare to say, “Our Father?” How do we do our part in helping Jesus’ deepest desire, ”that all may be one,” be realized in our time and in our place?

Earlier this month New York City hosted a ticker tape parade to welcome back the USA Soccer Team. During the parade Megan Rapine offered these words: “This is my charge to everyone. We have to be better,” she said, “we have to love more, hate less. We gotta listen more and talk less. We gotta know that this is everybody’s responsibility. It is our responsibility to make this world a better place.” When we dare to say “Our Father” we are acknowledging that responsibility.

Our responsibilities to the world, that is so deeply and wondrously loved by God, are vast and complex but not hopeless. In times such as these, how do face those responsibilities and be guided by the wisdom that comes from daring to say, “Our Father?”

Philip Simmons, who at the age of 35 was diagnosed with ALS, wrote a very powerful book entitled Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life. In his book, he notes our responsibilities “seem to begin here, in the simple and arduous act of seeing the world and responding—renewing our promise to it.” So important to him, in facing his life, is mindful living that he wonders if we could summarize all of scripture into two words: “Pay attention!” Did Jesus summarize it by teaching us how to pray by choosing two words, “Our Father?” Do we, in turn, dare to pray as Jesus prayed and dare to say, “Our Father?”

-Sister Teresa Tuite

Gospel Reflection July 21 – Fr. Morris

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Sunday, July 21

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 10: 38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

Gospel Reflection:
One thing we often gloss over in this familiar Gospel is that Martha and Mary are sisters. So while we can easily read this Gospel as condemning Martha’s activism and praising Mary’s contemplative languor, we should also notice that this a classic case of both/and. Because they are sisters–a duo, a team, a partnership–Mary’s attentive entertaining of their honored guests can only exist alongside Martha’s diligence in the finer points of hosting.

If only one sister was present… then Martha would probably have well-fed but bored guests, while Mary’s guests would be having a swell time but with growling stomachs.

These two sisters are the patron saints of “balance” in Christian discipleship. Sure, “faith without works is dead” but “works without faith” is also a big problem.

Prayer and then action, listening and then doing, waiting patiently and then engaging fervently: this symbiosis is necessary for a follower of Jesus Christ.

Father Morris

Gospel Reflection July 14 – Msgr. Hendricks

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Sunday, July 14

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 10: 25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Gospel Reflection:
The lines we want to remember form the gospel today are, “Which in your opinion was neighbor to the robbers’ victim? He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

It is here in the words of Jesus where we get the commission to do as Jesus did. And who was it that did just that in the gospel? The one who was an outcast of the Jewish community, the Samaritan. This would have shaken up the ones who were listening to this story that Jesus told them. The point being that it is not the ones who are recognized as the leaders in the Jewish community whose actions should have spoken louder than words, but the very one who had no voice, went beyond the call of mercy and gave of himself and his resources to help the stranger.

The message of the gospel is always clear and sometimes frightening, for it points the finger at us. How is it that we can be like that good Samaritan and perform even the smallest acts of kindness and compassion to the stranger, the outcast, the person who is depending of us to help in their need?

I love this gospel because it melds faith and action. It causes us to bring our faith into action to the ones who cry out to us in their need.

Find someone today to show mercy and compassion towards, even if it is a small act of kindness. It might change and brighten their day and their world.

Monsignor Hendricks