3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

01-22-2020Gospel Meditation

It begins! Jesus is doing something new. “He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea.” Jesus leaves his family, his profession of carpentry, and everything he has known and loved for the previous 30 years. He goes because it is time. Something new is beginning, and Jesus will not begin it alone. “As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers … he walked along from there and saw two other brothers.” What does he say to these men? “Come after me.” These words are for Peter and Andrew, for James and for John. They are also for all of us.

“Come after me.” The adventure of discipleship will be strange, wild, and unexpected. The Apostles surely didn’t know what they were getting into. But the invitation is accompanied by a promise. “I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus tells the first Apostles. No more will their priorities be limited to this particular village, to the square miles of the Sea of Galilee. Their eyes will be open to the kingdom of God, and their priorities will shift.

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2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

01-19-2020Gospel Meditation

On the cusp of fame, power, or influence, would you turn it down? Today’s Gospel again features John the Baptist. Controversial but popular, John has gathered quite a group of followers. He has disciples. People come from near and far to be baptized by him. Pharisees and government leaders are drawn to his preaching. If John was another man, a lesser man, he would have claimed his own greatness. Instead, John the Baptist is a witness to humility.

“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God … he is the one of whom I said, “A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me.”… the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known.’” Rather than point to himself, John points to Christ. John could have grasped at what he had accumulated. He could have seen Jesus as a Messianic competitor. Instead, John knows who he is. He knows his place as forerunner. Because John knows who Jesus is. “I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

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The Word of God Sunday: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

01-19-2020Weekly ReflectionVatican News

Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio "Aperuit illis", published on 30 September, establishes that "the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God". The timing of the document is significant: 30 September is the Feast of Saint Jerome, the man who translated most of the Bible into Latin, and who famously said: "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ". The title of the document, “Aperuit illis”, is equally important. They are its opening words, taken from St Luke’s Gospel, where the Evangelist describes how the Risen Jesus appeared to His disciples, and how “He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

Recalling the importance given by the Second Vatican Council to rediscovering Sacred Scripture for the life of the Church, Pope Francis says he wrote this Apostolic Letter in response to requests from the faithful around the world to celebrate the Sunday of the Word of God.

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The Baptism of the Lord

01-12-2020Gospel Meditation

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives four reasons for the Incarnation, why God became man in Jesus Christ. The third reason is “to be our model of holiness.” All of Jesus’ words and actions model for us what we ought to do. He also shows us how we’re meant to be. Jesus’ baptism ought to remind us of our own baptism and of the importance of baptism in the Christian life.

The Baptism of the Lord reminds us of our Trinitarian identity. When we are baptized, we stand in solidarity with Christ, bathed in the waters he sanctified. There, the Father proclaims our adoption into the family of God. “‘This is my beloved son [this is my beloved daughter], with whom I am well pleased.’” And the Spirit, too, descends. We are filled with the Spirit’s grace and power to continue Christ’s mission on earth. We received these gifts in the sacrament, and they continue to dwell within us through sanctifying grace. We can and should invite God to stir up these graces of our baptism and consider them in our own lives.

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Me vicit

01-12-2020Weekly Reflection

In the baptism of Jesus, John was heard saying look “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” The following scene, as John was with two of his disciples, Jesus passed by and John again alluded to Him, “Behold the Lamb of God.”

Hearing John saying this for the second time about Jesus, something clicked in the minds of his two disciples. It was as if John was pointing and leading them to Jesus, and they started following Jesus, they started their journey as disciples of Jesus. Jesus noticed them and asked, the first words that Jesus uttered in the Gospel of John, “What are you looking for? The same question that probably each disciple, and would be disciple, should confront. Thinking that he was simply like one of the teachers of the Law, and not the awaited Messiah they said, Rabbi, which means teacher, where are you staying? The calling of the first two disciples then happened, Jesus' answer to their question was both an invitation and a promise, “come and you will see.” The disciples of John “stayed” with Jesus the entire day until four in the afternoon. And they experienced a “veni, vidi, me vicit” moment (I came, I saw, I was conquered).

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Besides the Wise Men, what is significant about the Epiphany?

01-05-2020Weekly Reflection

Epiphany means "manifestation," or public display. The feast is usually celebrated January 6. In the US, it is celebrated on the Sunday nearest to January 6. It originates from a story unique to Matthew (2:1-12). Magi from the East come to offer homage to the newborn King, presenting him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

This part of Matthew's infancy narrative differs from Luke's account of the birth of Jesus. In Luke there are no Magi, star, nor gifts. Luke has Jesus being born in a stable after Mary and Joseph's long travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Matthew seems to have the family living in a house in Bethlehem, where the Magi find them.

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