He will Give You Everything You Need

02-26-2017Weekly Reflections

Pope Francis called us to join in a revolution of tenderness during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. One word for mercy in Hebrew is rahamin, which means a nurturing, life-giving womb. God's merciful, tender, loving care flows from this womb in the imagination of the prophet. Like a loving mother, God watches over us. Then Jesus tells us not to worry about what we are to eat, drink or wear. "Your heavenly Father knows what you need" (Matthew 6:32). This vision challenges us , especially when refugees are drowning trying to reach a place to live in peace, and immigrants live in fear of deportation. God is depending on us to do all we can. Seeking first the kingdom of God means working to bring it about by caring for the weak and powerless. We will not hear the end of the Sermon on the Mount this year, but take a look at Matthew 7:21-27, where Jesus calls his disciples to build their lives on His word so they will have a house that will not collapse.

What efforts are you making to build your life on His word?

—We Celebrate Worship Resource, Vol. 42, No. 1

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Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Overcoming fear

02-26-2017Question of the Week

Reading I: Isaiah 49:14-15 (restoration of Zion)
Reading II: 1 1 Corinthians 4:1-6 (Christ judges his ministers)
Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34 (dependence on God)
Key Passage: Jesus said, "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?" (Matthew 6:30)

Adult: What things do you worry about most frequently? How do you deal with your worry?
Child: What can help you worry less about something that might happen?

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The Spirit of God Dwells in YOU

02-19-2017Weekly Reflections

Paul’s question today provides the foundation on which the other readings can stand: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). Paul is writing to the community at Corinth, one characterized by factions, bickering, jealousies, even arguing about whose “spiritual parentage” is greatest. And Paul asks, “Don’t you know who you are? Don’t you know to whom you belong?” by their baptism into the saving mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection, Paul argues, the Spirit has been given and dwells in them. God has taken residence in them, individually and communally. We too have to accept and live out of this truth, so we can take in the rest of today’s scriptures, starting with “Be holy, for I the Lord, your God, am holy” and “You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart” (Leviticus 19:2, 17). We then move on to the seemingly impossible teaching of Jesus not even to resist one who is evil, but to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. How is this possible? Go back to Paul’s question: “Do you not know?”

Do you know this? Do you believe it?

—We Celebrate Worship Resource, Vol. 42, No. 1

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Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Love of enemies

02-19-2017Question of the Week

Reading I: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18 (various rules of conduct)
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 3:16-23 (the work of God's ministers)
Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48 (new law of retaliation; love of enemies)
Key Passage: Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:43–44a)

Adult: What is the point of "turning the other cheek" in an argument, and why is it so hard to do?
Child: Who are the people you find it most difficult to forgive?

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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Implications of the new law

02-12-2017Question of the Week

Reading I: Sirach 15:15-20 (our free will)
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10 (true wisdom)
Gospel: Matthew 5:17-37 (the old Law and the new)
Key Passage: Jesus said, "So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:23–24)

Adult: How do you reconcile with those who have offended or hurt you?
Child: When have you taken the first step to make up with someone who has hurt you or whom you have offended?

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Keep the Commandments and they will SAVE YOU

02-12-2017Weekly Reflections

Jesus' program for becoming children of the kingdom of heaven is presented in a series of contrasts between what the law of Moses commands and how Jesus' teaching brings that law to fulfillment. We hear four such contrasts today. Jesus makes it clear that he has come not to abolish but to fulfill the Mosaic law and the prophets. He challenges us to have our righteousness, that is, our right relationship with God and others, exceed that of the teacher of his day. Today's Gospel contrasts what the law says about murder, adultery, divorce, and taking oaths with Jesus' teaching on these matters. In a world of preemptive strikes, Jesus forbids even anger. For Jesus, reconciliation has priority even over worship; adultery includes yielding to lust for another; and speaking with simplicity and integrity renders oath-taking unnecessary. Sirach encourages us: If we choose, we can keep the commandments and they will save us; if we trust in God, we shall live. Paul refers to God's wisdom as not identified with that of this age.

How is the Spirit calling you to trust that God's wisdom and strength will become yours?

—We Celebrate Worship Resource, Vol. 42, No. 1

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Spreading the light of Christ

02-05-2017Question of the Week

Reading I: Isaiah 58:7-10 (true fasting)
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (preaching on Christ crucified)
Gospel: Matthew 5:13-16 (the similes of salt and light)
Key Passage: Jesus said, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

Adult: In what way might you be hiding the light of Christ from others? What could you do to improve this?
Child: How can you let the light of Christ in you shine for others this week?

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Let Your Light Shine Before Men

02-05-2017Weekly Reflections

Matthew’s Gospel has been called the gospel of the church. His five great discourses are especially aimed at community formation. Matthew’s Jesus sets out how the Christian community is to live with each other and in the world. Today’s two images, following immediately after the Beatitudes, appeal to our imagination, challenging us to be salt and light. Salt both preserves and gives flavor to what it touches. If salt loses its savor, it is useless. Also, the community is light for the world when it does the corporal works of mercy: feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and oppressed, clothing the naked. Isaiah promises, “You shall cry for help, and [the Lord] will say: Here I am!” (58:9). Being communities of salt and light is the social mission of the Church. Pope Francis reminds us that as the baptized, we must be missionary disciples. We are called to live the gospel in the world. Just as salt gives flavor and preserves, our holiness flavors society and preserves it from corruption. We must bring the light of Christ; we cannot hide our light under a bushel basket.

Do you want to live like a light that is on or off?

—We Celebrate Worship Resource, Vol. 42, No. 1

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