The themes of the Readings for this Sunday focus on the gratitude for God’s salvation. Gratitude is an important psychological and spiritual disposition. Dr. Daniel G. Amen, the popular brain researcher and public health spokesman, identifies gratitude as a key character quality of persons with physiologically healthy brains. That’s right: gratitude affects your physical health, including the shape and functioning of your brain. This Sunday’s Readings focus particularly on gratitude to God, and how it should be expressed.
Does it matter how we treat others? What does my neighbor’s suffering have to do with me? Can I continue living in comfort while bypassing those around me who are in misery?
As Jesus continues his “death march” to Jerusalem in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 9–19), he challenges us this Sunday to choose, in a clear and conscious way, our goal in life: God or money. The First Reading reminds us that wealth was a seductive trap for the people of God throughout salvation history.
This upcoming Sunday marks one of only two times in the main Lectionary cycle that we hear the Parable of the Prodigal Son proclaimed (the other being the 4th Sunday of Lent [C]). The Readings are marked by the theme of repentance and forgiveness.
In recent decades, the term “family values” has almost become a code word for “Christian culture” in American society. Influential Christian organizations have adopted names like “Focus on the Family” and the “Family Research Council,” and on the Catholic side of things we have “Catholic Family Land” or The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, better known as “C-FAM.” The natural family unit—based on a husband and wife who have made an exclusive, permanent, public commitment to share a common life and raise children together—has been under such political and social pressure that at times we almost identify Christianity as a social movement to promote family life.
“How I long for a poor Church for the poor!”
As the Church reads through the Gospel of Luke this year, we reach a transition point in this Sunday’s text (Luke 9:18-24) where the focus of the Gospel begins to shift toward Christ’s coming passion and death. Sorrowful though his suffering will be, ironically it shall serve as the source of the life-giving “water” about which the other Readings speak.
The Readings for this Sunday revolve around a constellation of fundamental issues in our relationship with God: sin, repentance, forgiveness, faith, and love. Two of the passages used in this liturgy have been battlegrounds in the theological polemic between Protestants and Catholics, but ought not to be so.
Let’s take a look at the Readings for Pentecost Sunday Mass during the Day.
In the Northeast and Nebraska, today is Ascension Day. In the Diocese of Steubenville, as well as in most of the USA, Ascension Day is observed this Sunday. I wish the traditional observance on Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter was retained, but reality is what it is.
This upcoming Lord’s Day is often known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” since each year the Gospel reading is taken from John 10, the “Good Shepherd Discourse.” It’s also often observed as a day of prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, since priests and religious are visible manifestations to us of Christ in his role as the Good Shepherd.
This week is the Third Sunday of Easter, and our readings highlight the primacy of Peter among the Apostles, and the primacy of love in following Jesus.
This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday of the Octave of Easter, also known as “Divine Mercy Sunday.” The theme of God’s mercy runs through the readings.
A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view …
In this third week of our spiritual journey through Lent, the Scripture readings remind us of what we might call the “Moses stage” of salvation history, and also drive home the theme of repentance during this holy season.
Slavery is not a good thing.
God’s liberation of the people of Israel from the condition of slavery—an event we call “the Exodus,” literally, “the road out”—is one of the most important events and motifs in the the whole Bible.
At the beginning of Lent, the Church reads to us the account of Jesus doing spiritual combat with the devil in the wilderness, reminding us that Lent is a time of warfare. Through our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we do battle with the power of the devil in our lives, and with God’s grace, defeat him decisively.
As we start the second week of Advent, the Church turns her attention from the second coming of Christ to his first coming, and in particular to the figure of John the Baptist, the forerunner or herald of Jesus Christ.
The Readings for this upcoming Sunday revolve around the themes of love of God and perfect priesthood.
The readings for this Sunday revolve around the theme of return from exile for God’s people. In the Old Testament, we read about God’s people Israel being exiled from their land because of their violations of their covenant with God. The great Isrealite prophets, however, predicted that God would bring his people back from the places they were exiled, just as he brought them out of Egypt by the hand of Moses long ago. This is often called the “New Exodus” theme in the prophets.
The Readings for this upcoming Lord’s Day focus on the themes of suffering and leadership: in particular, how Christ, our definitive leader, embraced suffering on our behalf, and so modeled true leadership for all who would follow him.
October 4th, this past Thursday, was the Feast of St. Francis of Assissi, and as you might imagine it was a big deal here at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. The all-campus Mass was reverent and moving, and the festivities over the weekend, including the annual Medieval Festival, were full of good-natured merry-making.
The Readings for this Sunday provide the homilist with an ideal opportunity to teach Christian doctrine concerning marriage and children. The opportunity is timely, too, as one of our political parties has taken an official stand supporting “same-sex marriage,” an arrangement that is not intrinsically related to the birth and rearing of children, does not provide the same benefit to society as true marriage, and can never be as optimal for the well-being of children as to be raised by their own biological father and mother. In the midst of the confusion about the very nature of marriage and its purpose, these Readings shed the light of God’s revelation on how we should live this most intimate aspect of our lives.
Our Readings for this Sunday may seem dour at first, dominated by discussion of going to hell and the merits of self-amputation, but the First Reading actually points us in the right direction to overcome sin and hell and live in joy. We will see how as the Readings unfold:
Looking over the readings for this week, I was reminded of a classic scene from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, when Han Solo and Luke Skywalker find themselves, after a long separation, suddenly reunited—but as prisoners of their common enemy, Jabba the Hutt:
We have been getting a number of rousing challenges from Jesus in the past several weeks, as our Readings have followed the progress of his ministry, and Jesus repeatedly makes clear that following him is not going to be easy in any way.
“Reverse Psychology” describes the attempt to motivate individuals to action by telling them to do the opposite of what is actually desired. The method is based on the assumption of the perversity of human nature. Since we tend to do disobey whatever commands we receive, why not command what is wrong, and then our natural “disobedience” will result in good?
The Readings for Mass this week call us to purify our walk with God, and make an examination of conscience: are my “religious” practices helpful, or are they distracting me from what is central in my relationship with God?
What does it mean to be a human being? What are we really?
The answer our children are taught in school is that we are just animals, the result of a long process of accidents in which an amoeba became a fish, became a lizard, became a monkey, became us. So all we are is a material body, a fluke of the universe, a “selfish gene,” and when we die, that’s it.
Of course, virtually no one can or does live consistently with this “materialist” view of human beings. Even radical atheists like Richard Dawkins get “mad” at Christians for the supposed “wrong” things they do. But getting “mad” and moral concepts like “right” and “wrong” make no sense if we are simply material beings, biological robots.
The readings for this upcoming Sunday are united by the theme of God’s choice of his messengers. And, as is typical for God, he chooses some unlikely candidates.
1. Our first reading is from the prophet Amos 7:12-15:
Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos,
“Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah!
There earn your bread by prophesying,
but never again prophesy in Bethel;
for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.”
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”
Today is the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, a very great feast day in the Church, and it doesn’t seem right to allow the occasion to pass without some comment.
Saints Peter and Paul represent, respectively, the leaders of the Church’s mission to the Jews and to the Gentiles (Gal 2:7). The Church celebrates their feasts on the same day, because the Church’s proclamation of the gospel is founded on their dual mission: “the gospel … is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (i.e. the Gentile)” (Rom 1:16).