Full of Glory

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

May 15th, 2022 – Fifth Sunday of Easter - John 13:31-35

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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Today’s gospel reading is perhaps the shortest of the year. Only a handful of verses. Yet it contains the only commandment that comes directly from Jesus himself. It states that we are to love one another as he has loved us. He is our model for deep and lasting love. We may not ever achieve the depth and degree of his love, but it remains our goal.

Here, however, I want to comment on another part of this gospel, the part that mentions “the glory of God.” Especially in the way Jesus showed forth God’s glory.

A few years back I researched how the Bible understands this phrase, “the glory of God.” For most of my life I have heard these words. They are often included in common prayers, and they are sung in countless hymns. They are often mentioned in Sacred Scripture. But what is the meaning of “God’s glory?”

Here's what I learned.

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Lending Our Hands

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

May 8th, 2022 – Fourth Sunday of Easter - John 10:27-30

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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We are extraordinarily complex beings. And current science tells us that our brains might well be the most complex structures in the Universe. Certainly, they are when we compare them with all the variety of things that make up our planet. Our brains contain billions of cells. If we lined up all the neurological pathways of one brain in a row, they would encircle the earth. And nothing is more interesting to investigate and study than the nature of our brain.

But what would you consider as the second most amazing part of our bodies? Many scientists would say that would be our hands. Over thousands of years their shape and functions have evolved in countless ways.

 

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What's Cooking?

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

May 1st, 2022 – Third Sunday of Easter - John 21:1-19

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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Today’s gospel is loaded! A full meal of possible messages. There is the appearance of the Risen Christ (although not initially recognized.). Then there’s the frustrated fishermen (Peter and his crew) who can’t seem to land a single fish after a whole day of fishing. Then being told by Jesus (who may have never fished in his whole life) that they were fishing on the wrong side of the boat. Try the other side, he tells them, and see what happens. In no time they hauled in 153 fish. (More about that below.)

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Seeing and Believing

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

April 24th, 2022 – Second Sunday of Easter - John 20:19-31

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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I am a history buff. And the scope of history that interests me the most is what I would call “Big History.” The history that extends all the way back to the origin of our Universe, a mere 13.8 billion years ago. I also try to learn as much as I can about the Earth’s history which, if you want to know, goes back a mere 4.7 billion years ago when trillions of specs of dust, originally created as a result of a giant exploding star, gradually, due to the force of gravity, formed a planet on which you and I live. Then there’s the history of plants, of animals and fish, all leading up to the history of humans, beginning a brief 200,000 years back. As time unfolds, we learn that rather remarkable things were happening, day by day, year by year.

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Feast of Life

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

April 17th, 2022 – Easter Sunday - John 20:1-9

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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A blessed Easter to all of you. For two-thousand years this day, Easter Sunday, has been thought of as the most important day of the year. And for very good reason. It recalls and celebrates God’s response to the most important question we humans ask. We know that we all die, but then what? We have recently recalled the death of Jesus and his burial in a borrowed tomb. It was above ground, somewhat like a cave. We were also given other interesting details about this event in John’s gospel.

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Facing What Comes

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

April 10th, 2022 – Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord - Luke 22:14 – 23:56

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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We now enter the holiest week of the year. And placed at the center of that week is our remembering the death of Jesus. And not just any kind of death, but one involving great suffering for him, a suffering, as it is told, that he in no way deserved. Yet his death is not described in the gospel account as a mistake or as an unfortune twist of fate. Rather, it all happened according to God’s will. As something willed by God. And good. The actual day of his death we call Good Friday.

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Rewriting Judgment

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

April 3rd, 2022 – Fifth Sunday of Lent - John 8:1-11

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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There are two places in the Bible where we have accounts of someone writing with a finger. The first one describes God using a finger to inscribe on stone tablets the Ten Commandments. What was written became the covenant law for God’s Chosen People, the Jews. And they remain in effect for all. Some churches like to list them on large signs on church property so they can be read by passers-by. (Perhaps because it was felt that some people needed reminders or maybe had never heard of them.)

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God's Enduring Love

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

March 27th, 2022 – Fourth Sunday of Lent - Luke 15:1-3,11-32

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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Todays’ gospel offers one of the most well-known of the parables of Jesus. With the mere mention of its beginning, many will know what follows in this narrative. The line I’m thinking of begins, “A man had two sons.” Ah yes, we are going to hear once again about the prodigal son.

That’s the son who asked for his inheritance even before his father died (a bad move already) and then later wasted or squandered his “inheritance” on a life of dissipation. (Some translations say, “dissolute living.” or “a life of debauchery.” We are left to wonder exactly what he did while in that far off country. But, of course, that’s not the end of the story. Real surprises follow.

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Cultivate Good Fruit

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

March 20th, 2022 - Third Sunday of Lent - John 4:5-42

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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I am fascinated by trees. There’s hardly a tree anywhere that I don’t notice. And long ago I learned that trees are very important for the survival of life. In part, it has something to do with the air we breathe. They are also one of nature’s best signs of a healthy environment. I live in a part of the world where forest fires are common. Burning forests sadden me. I know they can sometimes be helpful for the survival of a species. But still …

Today’s gospel recalls how Jesus used a certain fig tree as a teaching device. Jesus was a great teacher and he liked to use common examples to illustrate his deeper messages. Also, most of his listeners knew about fig trees.  

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Our Mountaintops

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

March 13th, 2022 – Second Sunday of Lent - Luke 9:28-36

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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Today’s gospel is familiar to most of us. It’s commonly referred to as “the Transfiguration.” My guess is that the disciples of Jesus who witnessed it would never forget that experience. It was not in any way an ordinary event as it’s described in Luke’s Gospel. Not only was Jesus “transfigured” before their very eyes atop the mountain, but there stood beside him two of the greatest historical figures of Jewish history, Moses and Elijah. It’s not surprising that Peter, James and John wanted this event to continue indefinitely. They suggested that tents be built to allow for a more lasting event.

But that was not to be. In fact, we might add that Jesus did not want this transfigured moment to continue because that’s not the way life is. Yes, there are good times. But there are also difficult and challenging times. History, both global and personal, witnesses to the mix of both. Their mountaintop experience was good, and should not be forgotten, but they had to descend to the reality of life’s everyday challenges. That is also part of life.

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