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 Oct 17 – Deacon Don

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Sunday, October 17

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 10: 35-40

Gospel:

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him,
“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?”
They answered him, “Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”
Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the cup that I drink
or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
They said to him, “We can.”
Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;
but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Gospel Reflection:

Our apostles clearly lack understanding of what Our Lord is asking them. Understandably, when the other ten disciples heard about this exchange, they were angry because they felt left out from assuming the high places on the right and the left apparently offered to James and John. Jealousy happens even among the disciples and clouds their ability to listen and focus on Jesus’ message. Once again, Jesus makes it clear that we are to serve — not be served. This message is repeated throughout the Gospels. We are to assume the lowest place, not the highest.

While we think we cannot be effective by acting from the lowest place, we should consider the great impact and power that Mother Teresa was able to accomplish from her low position. Mother Teresa remains a wonderful example of a missionary bringing the Gospel message of service to the very poorest. This petite Albanian woman working with the poorest of the poor in Calcutta could bring the joy of the Gospel message to those around her, but her work impacted others from way beyond her immediate reach. Like James and John and the other disciples, like Mother Teresa and many others, we are all called to be missionaries. We can do this from the comfort of our own homes and communities. While it may not seem special to us, not spectacular enough to be worthy of our efforts, our family, friends, and neighbors are all in need of this kind of quiet and simple Gospel message of joy. To be good missionaries we have to hear Jesus’ words about where real greatness lies. It is a message that is not always easy to hear in a society like ours. We should be prepared to be distrusted, and even met with rejection.

Our Real Presence Real Future initiative in the diocese asks each of us to become Missionary Disciples. While we may not know what this means or how to proceed with such a broadly designed initiative, we can begin by sharing our witness to the Gospels through our own example of how we have internalized the Gospel message of hope by sharing that hope with others. This does not suggest standing on a corner and preaching the Gospels to others, but it does require that we share and witness that hope to others in our routine daily interactions — with caring, understanding, and sincere optimism for the good of others.

Deacon Don Poirier

Gospel Reflection – Oct 10

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Sunday, October 10

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 10: 17-30

Gospel:

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
Peter began to say to him,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”

Gospel Reflection:

Many of us may be aware of – or know – that there are verses of scripture used to “greet” us on a coffee cup, bumper sticker, or wall poster. Sometimes these verses keep us going and lift our spirits. However, there is a pretty good chance that we never see the verses of this weekend’s gospel used that way. No one ever buys a cup with verse 21 on it: “Jesus looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’” Even with the promise of treasure in heaven, we don’t find this passage inspiring. We want to hurry past it, to get to the coffee cup verses. We don’t want to read this story, and when we do read it, we want to find a way to wiggle out of it.

Jesus calls the rich young man in today’s gospel – and us – to invest in the kingdom of God. The more we give, the more sacrifices we make, and the more involved we become – then the more joy we will experience when we enter the kingdom of God. Not that God will love anyone more, but that the experience of joy will well up in the one who has made the biggest investment. When we volunteer, when we work among the poor, when we put in “sweat equity” and give sacrificially, we reflect God’s love for us.

Maybe Jesus tells us that we also build treasure in heaven. Investing time to work among those who suffer may break our hearts for now. We may see and experience things that grieve us. That sets us up for the joy when we see those who suffer find healing and love in the Resurrection.

We can’t give everything away. We couldn’t live like that. However, we can take risks; we can invest in God’s ministry among the poor and hurting. We can build treasure in heaven.

-Deacon Frank Iannarino

Gospel Reflection Oct 3 – Sr. Teresa

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Sunday, October 3

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 10: 2-12

Gospel:

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”

Gospel Reflection:

When I looked at the readings for this week, I tried to envision who would be listening to this gospel passage. In any congregation you have single and unmarried, engaged, married for a short time or for a long time. There will be people who are feeling the loss of their spouse; divorced and remarried with an annulment or divorced and remarried without going through the annulment process. There will be those who are married to a person of the same gender. Those whose marriage is on solid footing and those whose marriage is faltering. So, I wondered what could I say to help people navigate the waters of marriage or to reflect on what their marriage means? I decided the best way was to ask people who have lived through married life: through good times and difficult times, through births and deaths and for some divorce. Growing together in married life is hard work as well as an act of unconditional and mutual love. I invited several of my friends and they responded with such generosity and honesty that I want to share their words with you. I was inspired by their reflections; I pray that you will be too. You might want to spread them over the week and give yourself time to reflect, pray and talk with your spouse about your marriage. If you are not married pray for all married couples that you know. – Sister Teresa Tuite, OP

FIFTY-FOUR YEARS OF MARRIED LIFE
…through Kathy’s eyes
To me, our marriage is my ministry, my spiritual calling. After I got my degree and I began teaching, I soon realized a career wasn’t enough. I prayed that, if it’s God’s will, I would find a soul mate. Bingo, God sent me Vince. After the whirlwind of dating and wedding plans, we settled into a scary life of a married couple. Neither of us had a job nor much furniture, but we said that together, we were complete and would be ok. We have been gifted with 4 healthy children and 11 grandchildren. Through those young children’s years, we’ve leaned on each other’s wisdom and strength. Amazingly, our children grew into parents themselves. Our relationship has changed over the years as our lives have evolved from a married couple to grandparents.

Our relationship has grown to a greater understanding and value of each other. We have been blessed with our marriage. We haven’t had huge tragic events: the death of a child, natural disasters, unfaithfulness, or substance abuse. We value each other’s conclusions even if we don’t agree, and we respect and care for each other. After 54 yrs. we’re still learning from each other, still growing together, still respectful of each other’s needs and desires. Lately, we have had health concerns and the fear of losing each other is terrifying and makes each day a gift. –Kathy

…through Vince’s eyes Kathy and I have been married for 54 years and have four children and eleven grandchildren. I consider our marriage a huge blessing in my life. There are many aspects of our marriage that have contributed to our love and respect for each other but, one thing in particular stands out, and that is communication. I recall early in our marriage, when our family was young, we often took walks together after I got home from work and the kids were settled. On one occasion, our daughter Susan suddenly said something like “oh my, you two actually talk to each other on your walks after dinner.” Obviously I referred to something I could not have known any other way and Susan put two and two together. It reminds me of how important talking is in our marriage. Talking helps to make sure little pebbles do not turn into boulders.

Kathy and I are both introverts although I consider myself the extreme ‘mute’, at least this was the case more so in our early years together. In my case, I would listen to Kathy or the kids, think about what was said, come to a conclusion in my head, and that was that. Few knew what I was thinking because I kept my thoughts mostly private and unspoken. I was an introvert who didn’t know at the time that I was so introverted. I mention all of this to call attention to the importance talking has been in our marriage. I mean talking that really communicates how you feel, what you think, and gives your spouse a constant reminder that he/she is worth sharing your ideas with. I find myself getting better as the years pass by.
I often refer to what I call the ‘black box on the table’. Imagine there is a black box on the table, and no one knows what is inside. You could assume and be right or, in many cases, make the wrong assumption. This is very much like unspoken conclusions. If I don’t say them out loud I leave too much to chance. –Vince

ANCHORED IN OUR FAITH
We will be married 36 years 10/26/21. Both of our parents taught us to live by the Golden Rule – treat people the way you want to be treated. Our values and Catholic faith gave each of us a strong foundation to build upon in our marriage. Our marriage has been a journey of friendship, love, faith, adventures, and joy of raising our Craig and our Emily. Also, along the way were challenges, hard work, sadness, and a broken heart when we loss Craig so tragically 10/23/19. Our Catholic Faith and daily prayers have been the glue that has held our marriage together. We have both struggled with the loss of Craig – our Faith and strong family and friend connections has helped to carry us through our difficult days. We have both grieved in different ways and continue to support each other so we can be the best version of ourselves. The pain of Craig’s death is always with us, but we are learning to live with it one day at a time. Staying close to Emily and Bates and becoming grandparents to Weber 1/1/21 has been pure joy and gives us hope for the future! –Nancy and Mark

LOVE AND RESPECT IN THE SAMENESS AND DIFFERENCES OF EACH OTHER
In today’s readings the Pharisees are quizzing Jesus about marriage and divorce. In the Catholic tradition marriage holds a special place as one of the seven Sacraments. A Sacrament is defined as an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. Marriage, therefore, is a gift of God given as a way for two people to be living examples of his love. As anyone who has been married for a long time can tell you marriage doesn’t always feel “full of grace”. Any two humans sharing a life are bound to encounter differences of opinions, hurt feelings and perhaps even doubts. Marriage can be hard work! In today’s Gospel Jesus is telling us that marriage is worth the work. Our marriage is in many ways a fairy tale and the happiness we have shared passed down to our three well-adjusted children and now on to their own families. We always felt that our marriage and our role as parents were sacramental ones blest by God. We had fights and down moments like every couple but those were dwarfed by the tremendous happiness we enjoyed as partners in everything. I can honestly say that Susan is the love of my life, the mother of our three beloved children, and my very best friend. But one of the components of a healthy marriage is overcoming our natural selfishness, and also believing you have entered into a lifetime commitment. Too many couples expect a movie like enchantment 24/7, and at the first argument give up trying to find the middle ground, the greater good.

The Bible and our Church leaders offer us some advice on marriage. In 1st Corinthians, St. Paul wrote “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous … it does not seek its own interests.” And ultimately, “Love never fails.” In Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians he writes, “each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.” Pope Francis tells us that marriage is a lifelong commitment to be worked at day by day. “Don’t give up!” When married couples love and respect one another in their sameness and their differences and pray together, they are rewarded not with worldly goods but with the everlasting grace of God. – Peter and Susan

DIVORCED AND REMARRIED
I am a divorced and a remarried Catholic. Dave and I married right out of high school. In the late fifties that was the common thing to do. We had a baby ten months later. Neither one of us was ready to be married and certainly not ready to be parents. It was a mistake from the very beginning. We both were so young and caught up with the “idea of marriage” but not the reality. We tried everything to “make it work.” We were miserable and we were passing that on to our little girl. We were both raised Catholic so getting a divorce seemed so sinful. We had been taught that it was a mortal sin. We did go see a priest, but his advice was to stay married because divorce is wrong and the annulment process long and tedious. That advice was not going to work for either of us. Staying married and living the way we were seemed to be a more deadly sin. We did divorce. Some of our family “disowned us.” Dave left the Church. I was able to get a job transfer and finally moved out of state to begin again. Dave and I never saw each other again. When I look back, it seems strange that I never stopped going to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day. I was an active parishioner, even taught CCD but never received Holy Communion for nearly 35 years. Looking back, I wish Dave and I had gone to another priest for a second opinion, but we did not. Dave and I both remarried. I was married to my second husband for over 50 years. He died just short of our 56th anniversary. Dave was married to his second wife for over 25 years until he died from cancer. We believed in marriage and the sacredness of marriage just not to each other. Because of a near-death situation I was able to obtain an emergency annulment from the Church and our marriage was “blessed.” I didn’t like that idea but that was the process we had to go through. John and I felt that our marriage was already holy and that we had been greatly blessed throughout our marriage. –Dora

MARRIAGE WHEN MY SPOUSE DIES
One of the most profound remnants of my husband’s death is the deep love that remains. In the first few months after his death, I kept asking myself ‘what do I do with this love?’, ‘where do I put it?’ The cancer diagnosis and treatment had provided us the time to discuss our life together. When those last moments of his life on earth were evident, there was no pleading with God for a different outcome. There was the reality that the covenant we shared for 33 years was coming true for one of us – being led towards Eternal Life, and into the arms of the Lord. The blessings of the Sacrament of Marriage filled me with the grace to endure the goodbye, to give thanks, to assure him of the bliss he was about to experience and that I and our adult children would be ok. So, in those last moments there was prayer, there was thanksgiving and there was gratitude for a life well lived together in service to one another. The questions I asked myself in the first few months remain and through prayer and receiving the Eucharist I have learned the love never ends, and neither does the grace to endure the present day. –Jackie

Thank you to all my friends who responded so generously, when I asked them to share a slice of their married life with all of us. – Sister Teresa

Gospel Reflection Sept 26 – Msgr. Hendricks

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Sunday, September 26

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

Gospel:

At that time, John said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.”
Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.
Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'”

Gospel Reflection:

The gospel reminds us that the kingdom of God is all-embracing and universal, and that the Spirit of God works where it wills and is not subject to human limits or boundaries. The gospel today goes on to face us with the harsh realities of sin and the consequences of human decisions. The choices of the gospel are clear, we are to conform our lives to Jesus Christ, follow His teachings, and enjoy His benefits. To do less places us in a precarious position where sin can take away the things we value most — our hands, our eyes, and in the end our hearts and very existence in the kingdom prepared for us.

While the gospel holds out to us a pathway for the future life with God in Christ, there are consequences to our decisions if we go in a direction apart from God.

This is a good time to take stock of where we are in our life with God and others and to make the internal corrections needed so that we can come to the life beyond the grave to the eternal life promised by the gospel.

-Monsignor Hendricks

Gospel Reflection Sep 19 – Fr. Lynch

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Sunday, September 19

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 9: 30 – 37

Gospel:

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
They had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

Gospel Reflection:

We are celebrating the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time and are well into the month of September. As the seasons begin to change from the summer months of heat and humidity to the cool dampness that the fall season offers, we hear today a powerful reminder of who God is and how the wicked thoughts and actions of anyone opposed or skeptical of the Lord remain.

The book of Wisdom is full of inciteful content that we are often challenged to accept. The reading from Wisdom today reminds us of our old way of thinking, fear, and need of proof beyond a reasonable doubt as to the certainty of God. People often claim that they want to be challenged, they want to learn new things, that is no different today or thousands of years ago…well at least until what they are challenged in or what new things they learn, call for them to change, or to accept that their way of thinking or living is flawed. The truth is most people do not like change, but change is the only constant thing that occurs. One consistent reason people do not like change is because it happens beyond their control, or they are blown out of the water by realizing in an instant that their way of thinking or living is wrong and needs to change; so rather than accept change, they reject it.

This is exactly what Jesus tells us will happen to Him (and his followers for that matter), but rather than just change, Jesus is Truth itself and the change the world really needs. This Truth sets the world free from the fear that lack of control holds in this world. Some people are drawn to Truth until it requires them to change, then rather than accept the Truth, they reject it, even to the point of silencing it by death, because it does not fit into whatever self-driven narrative people have for themselves. Jesus shows us how to rid ourselves of any anxieties by teaching us that He is the cornerstone that the builders have rejected.

Our responsorial song is a powerful reminder of what God does for us and who He is. He is our Savior, defender, helper, sustainer, upholder and He is Goodness itself. This is how the letter of James fits so perfectly then into the Sunday readings to remind us how to differentiate the True from the False, the Good from the bad and anything that comes from God or not. If it is jealous or selfishly ambitious then it is not from God; if it is peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of Mercy, produces good fruits, constant and sincere then it is from God. James is reminding us that God is love and we are called to live and respond in the Love of God with our actions, which often speak louder than our words.

The Gospel shows us that Truth and Love have come down from Heaven and are Jesus Christ. It is His words and actions that we are shown that the ultimate call to Love in a way that is sacrificial. We have so much to truly be thankful for. This is the Good News we hear today. St. Brigid of Kildare…Pray for us!

-Father Tim Lynch

Gospel Reflection Sep 12 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, September 12

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 8: 27-35

Gospel:

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.”

Gospel Reflection:

“You are the Christ.” In today’s Gospel, Peter makes this powerful declaration of faith when Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am.” However, while Peter got the answer right, he still didn’t totally understand Jesus. Jesus began to explain what the true meaning of being God’s anointed one means: that He would suffer greatly, be put to death on a cross, but would rise again. Peter could not comprehend a suffering Messiah and so he rebuked Jesus for teaching them this. However, Jesus came right back at him, and he said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Peter was allowing Satan to cloud his understanding and impede God’s will. So, not only would the Son of Man suffer and die, but those who wanted to follow Jesus, truly follow Him, they too must suffer and die. This is not exactly an easy plan or the best recruitment slogan to be a disciple of Jesus. Any of us who wish to follow Jesus must take up the cross and share in Jesus’ struggles and sufferings.

In order to be a follower of Jesus we need to change our entire life, dying to who we used to be, and becoming a new person. So, is your heart ready for this kind of commitment? Are you ready to give it your all? Jesus tells us the reward will be great… for “whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.”

This weekend, we commemorate the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. On this anniversary we pay tribute to the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the worst attacks on the United States soil since the Pearl Harbor attack. These attacks changed America, and the world, forever.

Though two decades ago, the memory of this tragedy remains fresh in our minds. We continue to mourn the loss of the Americans who lost their lives and honor the heroic acts of our first responders.

Friends, let us reflect on the words of Franciscan Father Joseph Bayne, Chief Chaplain of New York’s Eric County Emergency Services who was there that day: “I did not see the devil’s face at Ground Zero. I saw the face of God in the people working, caring, sweating, crying, rescuing, recovering and being very spiritual in their very humanness.”

-Deacon Paul Zemanek