A Valuable Time

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home 

March 6th, 2022 – First Sunday of Lent - Luke 4:1-13

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

We are now moving into a very special season of the year for Christians. It’s called Lent, an old word meaning “springtime.” In general, it is a season reminding us that the world of nature has a pattern which includes a time for life to be renewed. Or to start anew.

For Jesus this was a time of self-reflection that came right after his baptism by John. Jesus decided that the best setting for him to examine the direction of his own life would be to go by himself into the desert. He would set aside his usual activities and prepare himself for the challenges ahead. It was to be a time of honest assessment – something we all need from time to time.

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Judge Yourself

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

February 27th, 2022 – Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 6:39-45

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

I cannot imagine what it would be like to have a large piece of wood stuck in one’s eye. But Jesus could (remember he was once a carpenter) and he used this image to remind us that the first responsibility we have in matters of spirituality and religion is to first, take care of our own lives first. Not others. He knew that sometimes religious people can become quite judgmental, focusing on and judging those around them rather than themselves.

In that sense, it is not inappropriate to place oneself first when it comes to life with God. That’s what it means to be responsible before God. Examine your own life, your thoughts and values, your judgments and your actions. Don’t worry about others. Let them deal with their own lives. In other words, judge yourself first and don’t judge others.

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Boundless Love

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

February 20th, 2022, Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 6:27-38

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

I’m no economist, but I do know what a balanced sheet is. Basically, it is an accounting way that is based on principles of justice, fairness and equality. They help one spend only as much as one can afford. They encourage paying bills in time. And if possible, save a little for the inevitable rainy day. This approach is not only sound economics, but it’s also a good and virtuous way to live.

So let’s ask whether Jesus would support this approach to life, i. e., one based on financial justice. In reading today’s gospel, it seems he would not. He calls us to do more than simple justice would require. He wants of us boundless generosity and a kind of love for others that some might judge foolish, excessive, even unrealistic.

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Source of Happiness

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

February 13th, 2022 – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 6:17, 20-26

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

My friendly pastor had a smile on his face when I entered his office. Ever curious about why people smile, I had to inquire as to the source of his delight. He said he had just been visited by a sign salesman. I asked him, “What kind of signs?” He replied, “Church signs. You know, the ones you see with the ten commandments on them.”

I then asked if he brought one. He said that he didn’t, but he was still interested. He had asked the sign salesman if he had one with the eight beatitudes. He’d be interested in that. No, the man replied. No one is really interested in them. Too negative.

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We Are All Connected

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home 

February 6th, 2022 – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 2:1-11

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

I recently heard a politician expound on a new insight of his. Roughly, he announced that everything is related to everything else. Not to dismiss the importance of his idea, but scientists have been saying this for years, especially after Albert Einstein formulated his theory of relativity. And even further back, St. Paul wrote that we are all relational beings. He taught that we all are connected in Christ’s body, the Church. That body, to expand on this view, has many parts, each with a purpose in God’s plan.

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Knowing Jesus Truly

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

January 30th, 2022, Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 4:21-30

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

For a long time, I found today’s gospel account a bit strange. Until I experienced something like Jesus did in my own life. It related to my professional career as a university professor.

First, let’s focus on the experience of Jesus, which happened early in his public life. The gospels mostly agree on the fact that he started preaching and doing works of wonder in Capernaum, a town about twenty miles from his hometown of Nazareth. When he finally visited his hometown, initially he was welcomed and received fitting respect. He had lived there at least thirty years. Everyone knew him. They knew his family. His relatives and friends.

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Meeting Jesus Anew

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

January 23rd, 2022 – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-24

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

We are reminded right at the beginning of Luke’s Gospel that he is writing this gospel to give an accurate historical account of the words, the deeds and the life of Jesus Christ. And how blessed are we and how grateful we should be that he has done so. Along with the other gospel writers. How many of us have based our lives on what’s written in the four gospels? As a Catholic and Christian, and as a professional theologian, professor and author, I cannot even imagine my life without the gospels. So, I begin this reflection by thanking Luke, Mark, Matthew and John (and whoever assisted them) for their efforts in creating the gospels.

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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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