Heads Up!

Reflections on the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent -- Mark 13: 33-37 Christmas star

Advent blesses us with the reminder that we must be always watching out for God’s saving activity in the world. With all the negative events we see or experience every day, we need to stay on our toes if we are to stay hopeful. Jesus told his disciples “You do not know when the time will come,” when God will do a great work in the world—and a great work in each of us. Jesus helps us understand what he means by telling the parable of the servants left in charge during their master’s absence.

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Here Come the Judge

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Jesus Prepares to Wash Feet
November 26th, 2017 – Jesus Christ, King of the Universe 
Matthew 25:31-46

One of our sons recently told me that he was interested in becoming a football referee. He was disgusted with what he called “terrible officiating” that he witnessed as a fan. As he saw it, the players and the fans deserved better. Accurate judgment on the part of umpires and referees is an important part of the world of sports. Nothing angers a fan more than “a bad call.”

In today’s gospel we are given the rules that will be applied to what we might call “the final game!” It’s also called “the Last Judgment.” It’s worth our close attention because we will be among those judged.

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Serve Everyone in Humility

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Soup kitchen
November 19th, 2017 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 25:14-30

“Use it or lose it!” I am not sure where this saying originated but it could have been drawn from today’s gospel. It’s one that is familiar to most of us. Mention “the parable of the talents” and many will recall it. It is especially popular with accountants and financial managers. It touches on the world of investments and taking risks. It may even appeal to gamblers, now that I think of it.

It’s a story of success and failure. To those who used the talents given to them by God, especially “for others,” their goodness (and reward) doubled. To those who buried their talent and failed to use it for others, they lost it all. 

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Be Prepared

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Hikers
November 12th, 2017 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 25:1-13

The Boy Scouts of America were recently in the news because they are soon to allow girls into their organization. But that’s not what we are going to discuss here. Rather, we are going to discuss what may be the most remembered motto of the boy scouts. “Be prepared.” That’s at the heart of the parable Jesus taught about the Wise Virgins.

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Treat Everyone As Christ

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Group with trees
November 5th, 2017 – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 23:1-12

At times Jesus uses what scholars call “reversal language.” Today’s gospel is a good example of this. If you want to be first, then, take the last place. If you want to be a true leader, then serve everyone. This certainly sounds like a reversal of what most would think about the correct order of things.

In today’s competitive society, most seem to want to be first, to be given top-billing, recognition, privileges, a first-class seat. Most people would say that they would rather lead than follow.

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The Most Demanding Commandment

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Couples talking
By Dr. David M. Thomas for CFM

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 22:34-40

Today we hear one of the shortest gospels of the year. But don’t be fooled by its brevity. Its message is very large. And extremely important.

It seems that Jesus attracted people with questions. Or more precisely, with disputed questions. Maybe they were hoping for an argument. People do that sort of thing, even today. Their question had to do with right and wrong, with commands and laws. 

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What Does God Want from You?

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Actions image
By Dr. David M. Thomas for CFM
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 22:15-21

Is there any connection between politics and religion? This is a major topic of debate in most countries. Fifty years ago, social philosophers noted a general decrease in religious activity and observance and predicted that as the years passed, the connection between religion and politics would disappear. They were wrong. The rise of radical religious fervour around the world is evident.

In the time of Jesus, Rome ruled his part of the world and levied heavy taxes on the people. When Jesus was asked about a possible conflict in obligations to the state (Rome) and to God, he was being led into a kind of trap. If he said, pay taxes only to Rome, he would lose his religious reputation. If he said the opposite, he could be accused of treason.

This gospel records a scene in the gospels where Biblical commentators mention the brilliance of Jesus. He came up with the perfect answer. Pay to Caesar what is his (which was a tax) and to God, what was due God. This basically meant everything else. It was the kind of response that quieted his questioners.

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God Invites All People

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Inclusion
By Dr. David M. Thomas for CFM
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 22:1-14

We are being treated to a series of parables about God’s Kingdom during the last few weeks. To say that they are far from clear is an understatement. They are gripping stories (lots of action and sometimes even killing) and oftentimes difficult to understand.

Today we’re told of a king who arranged a wedding feast for his son. Invitations went out and you would think that all those invited would surely come. The food and drink would be abundant, there would be wonderful music and dance, and all the important people would be there. This would be one wedding no one would want to miss. Except that’s not how it went.

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Don't Quit

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home by Dr. David M. Thomas for CFM Family Tree
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 21:33-43

Today’s gospel is R-rated for violence. Lots of killing in this parable of Jesus. It’s hard to give an exact number of how many die in it. Clearly, quite a few. In fact, at the end, even the owner of the vineyard gets the last word by killing his tenants, who had killed his son. So, what’s the point? Here’s what I think.

Jesus initiated the beginning of God’s Kingdom on earth. And he was quite serious about making this central to his message. And God will do all that God can do to make it successful. God will never cease working on this “project”, no matter what. Even if opposition arises, in the end, God will remain faithful. God doesn’t quit.

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Your Actions Speak

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home by Dr. David M. Thomas woman and man consoling

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 21:28-32

We start with a Catholic quiz about the saints. First question: After Jesus, Mary and Joseph, who is the most popular Catholic saint? (Answer: St. Francis of Assisi) Next question: What are the most famous words said by St. Francis? (Answer: “Preach the Gospel at all times and only when necessary, use words.”) Third question: Where did Jesus express this same idea? (Answer: In today’s gospel!)

If you were not able to answer all these questions correctly, don’t worry. Most can’t. Including the writer of this mediation until I read today’s gospel and thought about it as connected with Pope Francis.

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