Jeremiah 18:18-20; Matthew 20:17-28
One of my favorite things about today’s Gospel is the mother of the sons of Zebedee asking Jesus to give her sons prominent places in his kingdom. There’s a mom for you, willing to take matters into her own hands to make sure her sons have an equal chance, no matter the mutterings of the indignant apostles at the scene. Jesus says it’s his father’s decision, but he also warns all of them that his kingdom won’t be like what has gone before.
Isaiah 1:10, 16-20; Matthew 23:1-12
Lent is a season for listening, as it is a time of renewing and re-greening one’s interior life. Six weeks is a long time to have one’s ear cocked for the slightest whisper or the loudest sound which suggests that God is afoot in your life and in your relationships. One of the central challenges of Lent is discerning and identifying the voice of God in the cacophonous sounds and competing slogans that surround each of us.
Daniel 9:4b-10; Luke 6:36-38
Today’s gospel is from St. Luke’s “sermon on the plain” a parallel to St. Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount. In these sermons, or collections of Jesus’ sayings, the Lord summarizes how he wants his followers to live their lives. The beatitudes contained in both these collections of sayings set the standard for discipleship, service of God, and love of the neighbor.
Genesis 22:1-2,9-13,15-18|Romans 8:31-34|Mark 9:2-10
Mountaineering is a transcendent experience. On a human level, we transcend the limitation of our fears, and discover the tenacity of the human spirit. As Edmund Hillary put it, 'It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.' But mountains have also long had a religious significance and have been regarded as places where God is encountered. From mountaintops, God reveals to Man that his human limitations and mortal fears can be transcended, and Man discovers the divine heights to which the human spirit can soar
Deuteronomy 26:16-19; Matthew 5:43-48
The reading from Matthew challenges us even beyond the faithfulness owed to those we love. Jesus speaks about a love that must go further than that involving those we love. He seems to be saying that loving those who love us is the easy part. We are called to do more. This last part makes me more mindful of how much I need God's love because I often find it hard to "lay in for the stay" even with those I love deeply.
Ezekiel 18:21-28; Matthew 5:20-26
I’m always a little taken aback when I read scripture readings like today…. The reading from Ezekiel seems so harsh and scary and yet the message is clear, “do what is right and just.” I am reminded of my need to pay attention to what God has told us and not to confuse civil law with God’s law(s). I thought about the death penalty when reading Ezekiel and how imposing this civil law defies God’s call for allowing people, who have committed grave acts of violence, to come to accept responsibility for their actions; to ask for forgiveness and then to choose to live according to God’s laws.
Jesus asks us to pray, “Ask … Seek … Knock …” There is a persistence in this request of Jesus. But we frankly reflect on the distraction that many times we have prayed and our prayers do not seem to be answered!
Firstly, sometimes our prayers are answered by a heavenly reason as a “NO!” Reflect on what parents need to do when adolescents ask for permission for something that the parents know will not be good for them. Perhaps God is answering our prayers with a ‘no’ in that same sense.
Jonah 3:1-10; Luke 11:29-32
"When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do them; he did not carry it out." -- Jonah 3 10.
What an extraordinary sentence! It did not hit me until I had read the passage from Jonah six or seven times. Then it stopped me cold.
God . . . repented!
I have never, ever thought of God repentant. I always associated repentance with one in need of God's forgiveness and grace. The notion of God considering his love for the Ninevites, their response to Jonah and deciding that no, after all, he would not punish them somehow brings me closer to the Lord.
Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 6:7-15
The Lord’s Prayer is a practical “how to” of living in Love. This Love, who is God, is continually poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. If we remain receptive to Love and let it permeate our being it will radiate out from us and overflow to others. Then this Love who is God can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. The essence of all of Jesus’ teaching and how he asks us to pray is to be receivers and transmitters of Love.
1 Peter 5:1-4; Matthew 16:13-19
As with the feast of the Lateran Basilica, today’s feast is actually a papal feast. We are celebrating the church’s unity in the bishop of Rome, the pope. The Latin word for chair is cathedra, from which we draw the English word cathedral. A cathedral is a bishop’s church in which the bishop sits in his capacity as shepherd of a local diocese. When he sits on his cathedra in his cathedral the bishop symbolically presents and protects the unity of the local church over which he presides.
Genesis 9:8-15|1 Peter 3:18-22|Mark 1:12-15
What's in a name? In Spanish, the name for the season of Lent is, prosaically enough, derived from the number forty – a period of forty days. In French and modern German the name of the season comes from the word for 'fasting' – what you do; Northern Europeans are ever pragmatic. In English, a surprising strain of poetry breaks through – our name for the season being derived from the season of the year, spring. Which last, as it happens, better captures the theological sense of the season, for Lent is a time of hope.