Signs of Love

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

January 16th, 2022, Second Sunday in Ordinary Time - John 2:1-11

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

We live in a world filled with signs. Most of them are sent to us via our computers, laptops, iPads, cell phones and television sets. It has been estimated that a typical person who uses these communicative devices will view more than a thousand signs and messages each day. And these signs are important, especially for companies selling things, but also for movements and groups and individuals selling ideas.

The first part of John’s Gospel is called the Book of Signs. Most of the signs are accounts of things Jesus did that communicated or illustrated his ideas and values. His actions embodied his thoughts. In today’s gospel, we have described for us in wonderful detail, the first of the signs mentioned by John, the Evangelist. Most of us are familiar with its general details. Just mention “the wedding feast at Cana” and images of worried hosts, an observant mom (Mary), a reluctant Jesus, a bunch of large earthen pots filled with water and a surprised headwaiter come to mind. I also like to imagine the grateful guests.

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Reassured of God's Love

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

January 9th, 2022 – The Baptism of the Lord - Luke 3:15-22

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

Why was Jesus baptized by John? I think there’s a likely simple answer. Jesus was a good person. He wanted to do the right thing. He wanted to improve himself. John was offering to all who came to him a water ritual that was common among these seeking to better their lives.

The pouring of water or being lowered into water denoted a cleansing, a purification, a sign that the baptized person wanted to change to a life more in accord with God’s Law. John’s baptism also had a special aspect to it. It was for Jews. Previously, only gentile converts to Judaism were baptized. John’s baptism also carried the note of making those receiving it more prepared for the coming of the Messiah. Hope like this was strong at that time.

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God's Surprising Way

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

January 2nd, 2022 – The Epiphany of the Lord - Matthew 2:1-12

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

The curtain parts (or lifts) and the performance begins. We all know the feeling, whether it be for a grand symphony, a sparkling musical, a profound drama or a spectacular movie. Or the Christmas performance by first graders. We sit up in our seats, sharpen our vision, attune our hearing as we await the Grand Beginning of the show. A performance designed to impress us. Give us a thrill.

This Sunday we celebrate what might be called the Grand Beginning of the Life of Jesus. The most important life ever lived on Earth. God taking human form as a human person, an event that should capture the full attention of everyone. Fittingly, it might have been staged as a mighty event before thousands assembled and standing in awe. Maybe a specular cosmic event. A supernova fully visible in the night sky. Or at least, the call, “Let the show begin!” That’s enough about possibilities, especially since nothing like that actually happened.

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Christmas Reflections

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

December 25th, 2021 – The Nativity of the Lord - Luke 2:1-14

 The Church offers some options for Christmas Mass readings. I have chosen for our consideration the gospel that most closely resembles the crib set that sits on the mantle of our fireplace. It’s the gospel by Luke that mentions the manger with the Christ child, Mary his mother and Joseph his father, with other parts in this divine drama played by angels overhead and shepherds on the ground. It’s an account that could amaze us and give us increased hope in our troubled times. If we pay full attention.

 

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Your Messy Family is Holy!

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

December 26th, 2021 – The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - Luke:41-52

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

In was during my lifetime that a special feast was created by the Catholic Church for recalling and celebrated the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It was to be a special day for thinking about family life, theirs and ours, as it participates in our lives with God and as part of the life of the church. I had dedicated my professional career of close to fifty years as a theologian, professor and writer on the life of the family. This seemed quite worthwhile given that most of us would list family life as a major part of our life history. We were born in a family, we live in family settings (which often change) and so many die in the presence of other family members. Just like Jesus did.

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A Joyful Meeting

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

December 19th, Fourth Sunday of Advent - Luke 1:39-45

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

It was one of the great meetings in human history. But it was not between kings or heads of state or leaders in any usual sense of that category. Rather it was between two pregnant women, members of the same extended family. Mary travelled from her home in Nazareth to Elizabeth who lived in the hill country to the south. Mary came to help her older relative in need, as happens in caring families. Especially among women.

Their encounter created a moment of joy, not just for the two women, but also for the child being carried by Elizabeth. As Luke described it, he leaped for joy. Why not? Was not Mary pregnant with the coming Messiah? God was becoming flesh in her womb.

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Love Aflame

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

December 12th, 2021 – Third Sunday of Advent - Luke 3:10-18

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

When I was a kid, I loved fires. Each fall our family would rake piles of leaves and set them afire along the front curb of our street. (This was before people even thought of air pollution.) There were also vacant lots scattered around our neighborhood, and as the grass and brush dried after summer, small fires were often started by mischievous boys as a way to cause some local excitement. I must admit to participating in these pranks. One of the stupid thing I did back then was start a fire in a pile of old cardboard boxes in our family’s basement. Fires fascinated me and they still do. We have a small gas fireplace in our home and hardly a day passes when I don’t sit before it, fascinated by the dancing flames.

 

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What Are You Waiting For?

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home 

December 5th, 2021 – Second Sunday of Advent  - Luke 3:1-6

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

Now that we are well into the Advent season, we can ask ourselves what exactly are we waiting for? The coming of whom or what? That’s the meaning of the word, Advent. A coming of something special. Many think of this as the coming of Christmas Day.  Perhaps, we look forward to seeing family and friends, the exchange of gifts, the sharing that often takes place around Christmas. But we can also focus on a deeper meaning of the feast, the coming of Christ into our world.

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What Time Is It?

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

November 28th, 2021 – First Sunday of Advent - Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

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

Two weeks ago, the Sunday gospel described ‘the end of the world.” This was fitting because we were about to conclude the Church’s year. So, it might appear odd that on this Sunday, the first Sunday of the Church’s new year, we are again offered a description about the end of it all. We might ask, “What’s going on?”

I begin this reflection with a few lines from the brilliant British poet, William Blake.

To see the world in a grain of sand.
And heaven in a wildflower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand.
And eternity in an hour.

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Our Servant King

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

November 21st - 2021 – Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe - John 18:33b-37

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

Today’s gospel is about leadership. Using the political arrangements in the time of Jesus, the teaching is about kingship. Although the number of kings these days may be decreasing, in days of old, they were quite common.

The “King of the Jews” is a reference to King David, someone many hoped would be the role played by the messiah – someone many Jews were expecting. When the feast of Christ the King was created by the Church, many kings were known to rule countries in Europe. So, the Church was saying that it had its king. But it was not the pope, but Jesus.

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