Rely on God

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

October 2, 2021 – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time  - Luke 17:5-10

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

Recently I received one of those uninvited emails which caught my eye, especially since I am living in my retirement years. It asked me (and who knows how many others) how much money do you need in your possession to retire with peace and happiness, without fears or worries. Given the tenor of our times, it’s a question many, no doubt, struggle with. They want a number. A specific one. A sum that will put their worries and concerns to rest. And guarantee a wonderful future without financially related fears. I’m not going to share the figure that was given because for some, it would be too much, and for others too little. Besides, everyone knows that the so-called science of economics is mostly speculative and filled with much more opinion than with hard science. Still, economic concerns capture our attention. It’s a large part of the times we live in.

Now to today’s gospel. The disciples of Jesus were worried about a similar concern in their lives.

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See, Judge, Act

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

September 25th, 2022 – Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 16:19-31

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

We had “religion class” every day in the Catholic school I attended. But I can remember very little of what we were taught. Although I vividly still remember the story of the rich man and poor Lazarus, who are recalled in today’s gospel. It’s one of those stories that is hard to forget. It is vivid in detail and clearly an account where good eventually triumphs over evil. It is a story of great contrast.  

The Gospel of Luke is often called the gospel of social justice. And the challenge it presents was as valid in the time of Jesus as it is today. In fact, the story actually makes reference to the time of Abraham, the Father of the Jewish religion. In other words, the moral teaching encased in this story is timeless.

What I notice most is that the rich man, who uses his riches solely for his personal satisfaction, lives in the immediate presence of poverty, especially as it is embodied in the condition of poor Lazarus, who is described as destitute, sickly and starving. Lazarus is lying right as his door! He had to be noticed by the rich man, perhaps daily.

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Eternal Financial Planning

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

September 18th, 2022 – Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 16:1-13

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

During my lifetime, new professions have been created. They have names like IT specialist, astronaut or website designer. I even recall the first time I heard about someone becoming a financial planner. These were all professions that didn’t even exist when my parents brought me into the world.

Which leads me to wonder at the role Jesus took on when he gave “financial advice” to his disciples in today’s gospel. (He was always a bit ahead of his time.) This story is likely familiar to some, as it is read at Mass every four years. It is sometimes called the gospel of the deceptive steward. It’s about how an employee used his master’s money for his personal advantage.

Before saying something about the gospel, allow me to share a personal story.

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Finding the Lost

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

September 11th, 2022 – Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 15:1-32

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

 Here is a contemporary account of “lost and found.” While mostly retired, I still devote some of my time to research and writing. I occasionally write book chapters, articles for publication, and each month, a set of reflections on the Sunday gospels called “The Nazareth Page.” I do all this aided by a recent invention called the laptop. (Although I doubt that many users work with it as it sits on their laps.)

Unlike some of our grandchildren, I am no expert on this relatively new technology. I suspect it has about a thousand functions, but I use only a few. I compose words and sentences and paragraphs and then I either “send” or “print.” That is the extent of my usage. And it’s enough.

The most trying and terrifying moment for me in this writing process is when I have written something, saved it, and when I returned to add to or modify what I had written, I can’t find it.

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Eternal Benefits

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

September 4th, 2022 – Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 14:25-33

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

 Perhaps it is due to my age, but I have recently received quite a few unsolicited calls offering me “end of life care.” My wife and I have discussed this matter, so I am not interested in what’s being offered on these calls. But being reminded that some day I will die is not a bad thing.

The highly respected Catholic theologian, Karl Rahner, said that we all do well to think about our eventual deaths because such a thought can make us more serious about each passing moment and more fully care about our lives. And that’s always a good thing.

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All Brothers and Sisters

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

August 28th, 2022 – Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 14:1,7-14

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

There seems to be a kind of immoral virus in some people that causes them to think that they are inherently better than others. Or that they deserve greater respect or be treated better than others. In today’s gospel, Jesus describes them as wanting to sit at the higher places at the banquet table. In a sense, they are self-promoters. They might be said to have a superiority complex.

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Trusting God's Ways

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

August 21st, 2022 – Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 13:22-30

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

I am the product of Catholic education. What I valued most about that in my early years was that I received a set of directions on how to live now so that I would eventually end up in heaven after I died. Gaining entrance to the final Kingdom of God was up to me. In early adulthood, I entered vowed religious life and one of the first things I learned was this: “If you keep the rule, the rule will keep you.” Again, it was all up to me. And all along the way, I kept a kind of scorecard on how I was doing. I did not want to fail in the life I was given.

 

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

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

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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