In this prologue to the Gospel of John, we also hear the main themes that will be developed in his Gospel. These are often presented as dualities: light and dark, truth and falsehood, life and death, and belief and unbelief. We also hear in this prologue a unique aspect of John’s Gospel, the theme of testimony. John the Baptist was sent by God to testify to Jesus, the light. Others in this Gospel will also offer testimony about Jesus. The reader is invited to accept this testimony, which bears witnesses to Jesus, the Son of God. But even more directly, Jesus’ action and words will testify to Jesus’ identity as God’s Incarnate Word.READ MORE
Finally, on this the Fourth Sunday of Advent, our Gospel Reading permits us to begin our contemplation of the mystery of the Incarnation we celebrate at Christmas: “Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about”
The Gospel of Matthew tells the story of the birth of Jesus from Joseph's perspective. Today's Gospel passage is the second movement in this story. In the preceding verses of the first chapter of Matthew's Gospel, the Evangelist has listed the genealogy of Jesus, tracing his lineage through King David to Abraham. In the chapter to follow, Matthew tells of the visit from the Magi, the Holy Family's flight into Egypt, and Herod's massacre of the infants in Bethlehem. (The other stories which we associate with Christmas, the Annunciation, the Visitation, the angel and the shepherds, are found in the Gospel of Luke).READ MORE
The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is the Latin word meaning “rejoice.” This Sunday is so named because “Rejoice” is the first word in the entrance antiphon for today's Mass taken from Philippians 4:4,5: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.” Some people mark this Sunday on their Advent wreath with a pink candle instead of a purple candle. This Sunday is a joyful reminder that our salvation is near.READ MORE
The work of the Spirit whereby a sinner sorrowfully turns away from their sin and casts themselves upon the mercy of a loving God.
CONVICTION — CONTRITION CONFESSION— CONVERSION
In this week's Gospel Reading and next week's, our Advent preparation for Christmas invites us to consider John the Baptist and his relationship to Jesus. In this week's Gospel, Matthew describes the work and preaching of John the Baptist.READ MORE
Today is the first Sunday of Advent, which is also the first Sunday of a new liturgical year for the Church. The Advent season includes the four Sundays that precede Christmas. It is a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord. In this season, we recall two central elements of our faith: the final coming of the Lord in glory and the incarnation of the Lord in the birth of Jesus. Key themes of the Advent season are watchful waiting, preparation, and justice. In this new liturgical year, the Gospel of Matthew will be the primary Gospel proclaimed (Lectionary Cycle A). In today's Gospel, we hear Jesus speak about the need for wakefulness, for watchful waiting, for the coming of the Son of Man.READ MORE
“You say I am a king.” So Jesus responds to Pilate, when Pilate presses him on his kingship.
“Are you then a king?” asks Pilate.
“You say I am a king.” So Jesus admonishes Pilate, with this half-affirmation at best, because he knows what kind of king Pilate has in mind: the beastly kind, the prophet Daniel’s tyrant of ten horns, who rules by the lie that might makes right. The kind of king whose reign begins and ends steeped in others’ blood. As Jesus stands before Pilate, he stands ready to shed his own blood for a different kind of reign. He’s not Pilate’s kind of king at all.READ MORE
In the context of Luke, today's Gospel appears near the end of Jesus' teaching in Jerusalem, just prior to the events that will lead to his crucifixion. His warnings and predictions are ominous but can be read in many ways.
To those who first heard Luke's Gospel, those may have been words of encouragement. The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans was history (70 A.D.); Luke's Gospel, Catholic scholars propose, was written between 80 and 90 A.D. His audience was probably Gentile Christians. Luke here tries to interpret the fall of Jerusalem for them and to locate it in God's plans for humankind (salvation history).READ MORE
In today's Gospel, we hear about an encounter between Jesus and some Sadducees. The Sadducees were a party of Judaism active in Jesus' time, descended from the priestly family of Zadok. They were literal interpreters of the written Law of Moses, which means that they were in disagreement with the position of the Pharisees, who offered an oral interpretation of the Law of Moses.READ MORE
In Jesus’ day, tax collectors were not popular people. They were collaborators with the Romans and were despised by many Jewish people. The tax system allowed them to charge more than what was required so that they could make a profit for themselves. Thus, they were considered sinners by their countrymen. Observers in the crowd that day grumble because Jesus dines with a sinner. Throughout scripture, Jesus’ choice of dinner companions set him apart from other observant Jews of his time.READ MORE
The second parable that Jesus tells in Luke 18 addresses attitude in prayer. In contrasting the prayer of the Pharisee with the prayer of the tax collector, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray in humility before God. Jesus again surprises his listeners by showing the tax collector as the example of faith, rather than the Pharisee. Remember that Pharisees were members of a sect of Judaism active in Jesus' time. They taught an oral interpretation of the Law of Moses as the basis for Jewish piety. If anyone would be a model for prayer, a Pharisee was a likely candidate.READ MORE
This is the first of two parables that Jesus tells in Luke 18 about prayer. (The second will be read at Mass next Sunday.) This first parable is a lesson in persistence in prayer. (Next Sunday's parable will address attitude in prayer.) While the parable seems to present prayer as nagging God for what we want, such a reading misses the point. God is not like the judge in the parable, worn down by requests and coerced to respond. The key is found in the description of the judge as corrupt and unjust.READ MORE
Today we hear about how Jesus, continuing on his journey to Jerusalem, heals 10 lepers. This story is a lesson about faith and reminds us that faith is sometimes found in unlikely places. Ten people afflicted with leprosy cry out to Jesus. Struck with pity, Jesus heals all 10. However, only one is described as glorifying God and returning to thank Jesus. The one who returns is a Samaritan, a foreigner.READ MORE
In today's Gospel we hear Jesus teach about faith and service to God. The context is a continuing dialogue between Jesus and his followers about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus has just finished an instruction on sin and forgiveness. There are two related teachings that Jesus offers to his disciples when they cry out for an increase in faith. The first is the familiar reminder that faith, even just a little, will enable the followers of Jesus to do wondrous things. But this uplifting and inspiring teaching is quickly followed by the second teaching, a caution about knowing one's place in God's plans.READ MORE