Fire of Love

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

August 14th, 2022 – Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 12:49-53

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

My initial reaction to reading today’s gospel was not a positive one. It is mid-summer and there are wildfires raging in many places, especially in the West where I live. I can see and smell smoke in the air. And there are warnings that more danger may be ahead.

Then I read in Luke’s gospel for the day that Jesus has come to set fire on the earth. Not where I live, I thought. Still, I must ask how can I harvest some wisdom from the words of the Master?

Readers of my gospel reflections might know that I have great interest in the history of the cosmos, especially our home planet Earth. These days I visit the James Webb Space Telescope website for the latest findings of this astounding scientific instrument.

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Eternal Treasure

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home 

August 7th, 2022 – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 12:32-48

 REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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 Almost every daily newscast will have some mention of what is called “the economy.” Reports often include such matters as the daily results of the Wall Street Market, employment figures, cost of living estimates and more recently, “the price at the pump.” These reports of dollars and cents, goods and services can stimulate some to make a personal assessment of their personal worth through consulting their bank account balance, their savings and investments and let’s not forget their debts. All these calculations may result in something called “net worth.” In in other words, their “treasure.”

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Riches That Last

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

July 31st, 2022 – Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 12:13-21

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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There are some who say the gospels are mostly about spiritual matters like personal salvation, forgiveness of sins and the state of our souls. They are correct in claiming that the gospels (and the message of Jesus) is about those matters, but much more, too.

Take today’s gospel from Luke. It deals with family financial matters. Even in the time of Jesus, people were concerned about matters of personal wealth, and in this situation, family inheritance. It seems there were two sons who were disputing the distribution of the recently departed father’s estate. Religious figures, like Jesus, were occasionally brought in to settle disputes. Even among family members. One brother felt he did not receive his proper allotment.

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Our Father

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

July 24th, 2022 – Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 11:1-13

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

Much of what we say to others is determined by how we view and judge them. If we are talking with a friend whom we have known and liked for many years, the words we share flow easily. If we are talking with someone we hardly know, we are likely to carefully measure our words.

Thus, when the disciples asked Jesus for a suggestion on how to pray to God, Jesus began by reminding them of God’s goodness and generosity. He wanted them to have the right idea of God and their relationship to God.  And that would influence how they should address God in prayer. They knew it was a good idea to ask Jesus about this matter because they saw him as being very close to God. Even familiar. They had seen him pray and they were impressed.

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Women for Jesus

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

July 17th, 2022 – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 10:38-42

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

One of my students when I directed a graduate program in lay ministry in Colorado was a woman who was part of the first class of undergraduate women students at the University of Notre Dame. Previously, the school only admitted males to undergraduate studies. She told me that there was only a small group of women. And while they experienced general acceptance, she told me it was still quite challenging as they entered an all-male academic setting.

I thought of her when I read today’s gospel that features close friends of Jesus, namely Mary and Martha. Most are familiar with this account, especially since it is readily understood, especially by most women. One sister, Martha, works hard to fulfil traditional duties of women -- both then and now. And while Martha responsibly toils in serving the needs of others, including Jesus, Mary relaxes next to Jesus, listening as he shares his wisdom. As the gospel describes the scene, Mary sits in the typical position of a student at that time, at the feet of the teacher.

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Being Your Neighbor

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

July 10h, 2022 – Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 10:25-37

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

Certainly, one of the most recognized figures in the gospels is one who has no name. Still, we easily bring him to mind when we simply say, “The Good …  .” We fill in the blank. The Good Samaritan.

Jesus used an account of what this nameless Samaritan did as an example of someone who truly loved his neighbor.  Every time I think of the challenge implied in the story, I become a little uneasy because the good Samaritan was exceedingly good! I ask myself, “Would I do something like what he did?” I also recall the many good Samaritans who have helped me during my own life. There are many.

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Sharing Good News

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

July 3rd, 2022– Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

 Imagine the surprise of Jesus’s disciples when, after having followed him for weeks, or even months, after listening to his inspired words and even having witnessed a few miracles. Then they were told, “Okay, it’s now your turn. Continue what I have begun. Go out on the highways and byways. Spread the word.”

Then he gave them a few tips. Just stop and describe what I have said and done with whoever you meet along your way. Share my message of the Good News and welcome their reply. If they accept what you communicate to them, stick around and take time to get to know each other. If they object to what you are telling them, bid them adieu and continue on your way. The important thing is that you are sharing yourself and your time with them concerning something that is important to you.

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Living Our Calling

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

June 26, 2022 – Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 9:51-62

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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We all live in a world where the passage of time and the movement of our lives is often on our minds. Jesus spent most of his life in one place, the small village of Nazareth. But then he went on the move. In today’s gospel he is departing his hometown to the main city of his time, Jerusalem. He set aside his carpenter’s tools and began his public life as a traveling rabbi. He eventually believed that it would be in Jerusalem that the main events of his life would happen. So, he left his familiar surroundings to fulfil what he believed to be his calling from God.

We often think of our lives as a journey from one place to another. Sometimes the places are geographical. They can be marked on a map. Sometimes our journey in life takes us through events that are more personal, like entering certain career, beginning a marriage or having children. Some interpret a spiritual or religious meaning to their decisions in life. Like Jesus, they felt that they are called to a certain way of life. In Catholic circles this was sometimes called “a vocation.”

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Nourished for Mission

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

June 19th, 2022 – Body and Blood of Christ - Luke 9:11-17

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

When reading today’s gospel, I thought about the old saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” In point of fact, there was a free lunch when Jesus provided one, featuring fish and bread. Food from the land and food from the sea. Very basic fare in the time of Jesus. I’ll bet that it was delicious, too. Out of generosity, he offered them nourishment for their minds through his words, and food for their bodies.

Today we take time to reflect of the continued presence of Jesus in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ. In sacramental form, Jesus remains personally present to us. One important question remains: Are we present to him?

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Walking Toward Love

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

May 29th, 2022 – Seventh Sunday of Easter - John 17:20-26

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

Today’s gospel describes Jesus praying that all of us be one, as he and his father (God) are one. This is a wonderful goal and hopefully, we can echo that same prayer. And follow our praying with action. But what might that mean in the concrete? What should we do in a world that seems at times much more divided than united?

In my dictionary there are thirteen definitions of “one.” It’s a complicated word. Historically, the pursuit of “oneness” has mixed results. It seems that the pursuit of oneness can draw us together seeking a common good, or it can split us apart by an autocratic situation where being one only means doing what the one in charge demands.

 

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