Claim the Treasure

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

July 26, 2020 – Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 13:44-52

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

I begin this reflection by quoting the first lines of today’s gospel where Jesus gives one of his many images of what the Kingdom of God is like. It is a passage many will be familiar with. It’s one of those “images” that can stick in one’s memory. Not so much because it’s meaning is clear. In fact, the opposite. It’s like a puzzle that defies an easy explanation.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Mt. 13:44)

The passage starts with the “treasure” that’s buried in a field. Someone discovers it, reburies it and then buys the whole field. Then leaves the treasure buried. On one level this does not make sense. If one acquires a treasure, doesn’t it make sense to use it and enjoy it? That’s what most of us would do. I would.

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Everything Counts

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

July 19, 2020 – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 10:26-33

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
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Most of what most of us do each day is small. Our daily deeds are usually unnoticed. Our accomplishments never get into the pages of a newspaper, nor are they posted online. We pick up a discarded sock on the floor that was dropped by one of our children. We add a special touch to a salad for dinner. We empty the dishwasher or take out the garbage. We say “thanks you” to the check-out person as we leave the store. We always wear a mask in public to protect others and ourselves from Covid-19. Little things. Hardly anything. Easily overlooked.

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Keep On Planting Seeds

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

July 12, 2020 – Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 13:1-23

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

I have never been a farmer, but in my two primary jobs, that of being a parent and a teacher, I tried to do what farmers did. Be a good sower. Plant seeds, and hope that something results that is alive and grows to maturity. Today’s gospel is for anyone who tries to accomplish this goal.

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Respite with God

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

July 5, 2020 – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 11:25-30

I really needed to hear the words from this Sunday’s gospel. I felt they were written just for me. Maybe you will think the same. Here are those words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

These are not only timely words that connect with what we learn from the daily news, but even more to our personal lives. It’s fairly easy these days to list burdensome items from the world around us. Like the pandemic that we are now suffering through, which leaves us with so much uncertainty and worries about what’s ahead. We cannot forget the suffering of families around the globe. Or the fears faced by minorities, not only in the United States, but in so many countries. There are the challenges related to improving police protection, which have no easy answers. And we ought not ignore increasing climate change and global warming that affect us in many ways.

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We Are Neighbors

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

June 28, 2020 – Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 10:37-42

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

Today’s gospel is complicated and one that I think is easily misunderstood. Some might think it is anti-family because it seems to say that our love for God (and Jesus) is in competition with our love of family. Or even that love of family is not important. I write these gospel reflections to help readers appreciate the importance of interpersonal life, especially as it exists in marriage, family life and friendship. I want to place those important relationships in the context of a vital Christian life. I try to show the importance of connecting our love of God with our love of neighbor.

 

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Divine Attention to Detail

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

June 21, 2020 – Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 10:26-33

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

In my early twenties I noticed that my forehead seemed to be growing. Friends might comment that I should do something. I was unconcerned about this, mostly because I didn’t think I could fight the forces of nature. I had uncles who were mostly bald, so I figured I likely shared some of their genes. And sure enough, as I approached middle age, I became part of those very good-looking bald men in the world. I would smile whenever I heard this Sunday’s gospel when it mentioned that God knew the number of hairs on our heads. I thought that in my case this was no great accomplishment. It was my private joke with God.

 

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We Are Christ's Body

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

June 14, 2020 – Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) - John 6:51-58

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

Much of the bread I ate as a youngster was store-bought. It was white and soft and tasteless. Mostly it was used to hold a slice or two of American cheese or baloney. It was not considered unhealthy, although it wasn’t sold as a health food either. To call bread “the staff of life” would raise eyebrows. Such a designation would be considered inaccurate to say the least.

Yet historians often note that civilization was partly based on the invention of bread. That’s because humans needed the nourishment of grains and one of the best ways to preserve grain was to bake it into bread. In that sense, for many cultures bread was not only nutritious, it also kept people healthy and alive.

And that’s how it was at the time when Jesus lived. So, when he talked about how he would use bread to connect believers with him, they easily understood his point. They knew that the eating of bread was directly related to their personal survival.

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When Faith Is Tested

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

June 7, 2020 The Most Holy Trinity - John 3:116-18

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

Our faith and trust in God are tested in difficult times – like what we are living through these days. We are all growing restless and tired as we continue to live during the limitations placed on us during the Covid-19 pandemic. We mourn for those who have been taken from our midst. We worry about our own health and that of others, particularly those we know who are frail. Many of us are also struggling because of lost jobs or reduced employment. We are not accustomed to the many limits imposed on us these days. Still, we try to do our best.

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Live in the Spirit

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

May 31, 2020 Pentecost Sunday - John 20:19-23

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

Many of us have recently learned a bit about the importance of our respiratory activity. That’s because our system of breathing is the primary target of the coronavirus. Most who die from the virus lose the capacity to breath. And what’s more central and essential to human life than breathing?       

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Coming to Terms with Mortality

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

May 24, 2020 Seventh Sunday of Easter - John 17:1-11

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

Our awareness of life and death has increased dramatically over the last few weeks. Thousands and thousands have tragically died during the coronavirus pandemic. So, it is almost impossible not to think of those who have died and to think about our own life in terms of our own eventual death.

From this Sunday’s gospel we recall that Jesus himself carried similar thoughts, especially as he neared the end of his own life. He thanked God for his life, a reminder that besides being divine himself, he was also human. Yet he fully believed that the end of his earthly life was not the end of him. He spoke of returning to the Father. He mentioned in his prayer toward the end that he had completed what he was sent to do, which was to offer to us an incredible gift from God. Eternal life!

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