Categories
Sunday

Parables about the Kingdom of Heaven

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus talks about the Kingdom of Heaven through parables.
(read the readings here)

The first two parables describe the great value of the kingdom of heaven. In the first parable, Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a buried treasure that is worth possessing even if it means giving up everything else. In the second parable, Jesus proposes that the kingdom of heaven is like a pearl of great worth for which one will sell everything else to possess. These parables teach us that we are to place everything we value in the service of the pursuit of the Kingdom of God.
The third parable that Jesus proposes in today’s Gospel is different from the first two, but it is reminiscent of the parable of the sower heard in last week’s Gospel. The kingdom of heaven is compared to fishing with a wide net. After the fish have been collected, the good fish are kept and the bad fish are thrown away; so too, in the final judgment, will the wicked and the righteous be separated.
Today’s Gospel concludes with a curious statement about the scribe who understands the kingdom of heaven. Here a metaphor is offered: this scribe is like the head of a household who “brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” The scribes referred to here are experts of Mosaic law. It is possible that Jesus is here instructing the early Christian community on how to proceed in the interpretation of Jewish law with respect to Jesus’ “new” teaching. Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom of heaven does not replace the Jewish tradition; it interprets it in a different light.

Sunday Connection – LoyolaPress.com

Sunday Resources

Live Mass- https://mass-online.org/daily-holy-mass-live-online/…

Recorded Mass (30min) from St-Edmund’s (Quebec) –https://youtu.be/8uMLVNXiZbU

What Do You Want God to Do for You? – Bishop Barron – https://youtu.be/n56qfPMBRVA

Categories
Sunday

Weeds Among the Wheat

16th Sunday Ordinary Time
Today’s Gospel contains parables from Jesus to His disciples about the Kingdom of Heaven. See readings here

The first parable is longer and more detailed than the next two, and it alerts us to the two-fold reality of the Kingdom of Heaven. The beginnings of the Kingdom of Heaven can be found in this world. The fruition of the Kingdom of Heaven, however, will not be realized until the final judgment. In the meantime, as Jesus’ explanation to the disciples cautions, any effort to judge the progress of the Kingdom of Heaven is premature. Only God, in the final judgment, will distinguish the fruit of the Kingdom of Heaven and offer its reward.
The second and third parables call to our attention the abundance that will result from the small beginnings of the Kingdom of Heaven. Just as a mustard seed—the smallest of all seeds—will become a large bush, so too God will bring his Kingdom to full bloom. As a small amount of yeast will leaven the entire batch of bread, so too God will bring about the expansion of his Kingdom. In each case the image is of the superabundance that God brings out of even the smallest of signs of the Kingdom.

Sunday Connection from LoyolaPress.com

Sunday Resources:

Live Mass- https://mass-online.org/daily-holy-mass-live-online/

Recorded Sunday Mass- https://youtu.be/VX2IG_3TRSw

Mini Sermon with Fr. Goring- https://youtu.be/icEXvatVj8I

Categories
Sunday

The Praise of the Father

Today’s reading from Matthew’s Gospel comes after a discourse in which Jesus reproaches people who have witnessed his mighty deeds yet still lack belief. In this context, today’s Gospel explains the reason for this unbelief and reveals what is necessary for faith. Today’s Gospel also continues to enhance our understanding of discipleship as last week’s Gospel did.

Jesus first prays in thanksgiving to God who has made himself known to Jesus’ disciples. He praises God who has made himself known to the “little ones” and not to the wise and learned. As in other recent readings from Matthew’s Gospel, a contrast is made here between the unbelieving Pharisees, who are wise and learned, and the faithful disciples, tax collectors, and sinners with whom Jesus keeps company.

The second part of this reading calls to our attention the unity between the Father and the Son. God has made himself known through Jesus, and in knowing Jesus, we come to know the Father. In Jesus’ life and in his person, God reveals himself to us.

In the concluding sentences of today’s Gospel, Jesus’ teaching is again contrasted to the teaching of the Pharisees. This common theme of Matthew’s Gospel probably reflects tension that existed between Jesus and the Pharisees and between the Pharisees and the community of Christians for whom Matthew wrote. Pharisaic Judaism became the predominant form of Judaism after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem about 70 A.D. Here that tension is expressed as alternative paths of holiness. The careful observance of the Mosaic law taught by the Pharisees could be experienced by some as difficult and burdensome. In contrast, Jesus’ way of holiness is presented as uncomplicated and even restful.

Visit LoyolaPress.com for today’s readings and connections for different grade levels

Categories
Sunday

The Conditions of Discipleship

Sunday Connection – LoyolaPress.com

Today’s Gospel is the conclusion of the instructions and consolations that we have heard Jesus offering to his disciples during the past few weeks. In this passage, Jesus summarizes both the costs of discipleship and its rewards. Once again our understanding of the Gospel is strengthened by considering the context in which it was written and the perspective of Matthew’s audience.

The conditions of discipleship outlined in Matthew’s Gospel may appear harsh. Yet they underline for us a truth—choosing anything with one’s whole heart has consequences. Choosing life with Christ means that every relationship we have must be understood from a new perspective. For many in Matthew’s community, this choice brought division to their family.

It also highlights for us the importance of hospitality in the Christian life. To welcome another in Jesus’ name is to extend hospitality to Jesus himself. We have many opportunities in our daily life to reach out to others, to be a welcoming presence and a sign of God’s love.

Read more connections for today’s readings with sections for different age groups on LoyolaPress.com

Also check out Bishop Barron’s sermon for today here

Categories
Sunday

Courage Under Persecution

Sunday Connection – Loyola Press –

We read today’s Gospel in the context of last week’s Gospel in which Jesus sent the twelve disciples to proclaim the kingdom of heaven. In between last week’s reading and today’s reading, Jesus has predicted that the disciples will face difficulties in their mission. Many people will not receive them well, even within the land of Israel. Even family members will turn away from the disciples because of the disciples’ commitment to Jesus and the kingdom. Today’s Gospel offers the disciples consolation against this difficult truth.

This section of Matthew’s Gospel should be read in the context of Matthew’s intended audience, a Jewish-Christian community. The Gospel alludes to the dangers and persecutions that this community has most likely already faced and will continue to face. To reassure this community, Matthew recalls for them the encouraging words of Jesus that we read today.

In this Gospel passage, Jesus might be understood as putting suffering in perspective. The disciples of Jesus are called upon to keep their focus on God. Those who can harm the body do not have ultimate power; God does. Still persecution and suffering can not be avoided or prevented. But Jesus reassures his disciples that God knows and cares about what happens to his children.

We might not face the same type of persecution, but we do experience difficulties as we endeavor to live a Christian life. Sometimes we let the opinions of others prevent us from doing what we know to be right. We need the reminder that what God thinks about us is more important. We are reassured by the promise that God cares for us and protects us.

Sunday connections for different age levels on LoyolaPress.com

Categories
Sunday

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. This day was once called Corpus Christi, which is Latin for “Body of Christ.” In the revised Lectionary the name for this day is expanded to reflect more completely our Eucharistic theology.

Jesus’ words are not well understood by the crowd; they argue that Jesus is not from heaven but born of Mary and Joseph. The crowd also has trouble understanding how Jesus could give them his flesh to eat. Jesus tells them that when they eat his flesh and drink his blood, they will remain forever connected to him. These are difficult words, but they are important because they seek to show us our intimate connection with Jesus.

This is the mystery that is at the heart of our Eucharistic theology. In the elements of bread and wine, Jesus’ Body and Blood are truly present. When we share in the Body and Blood of Christ, Jesus himself comes to dwell within us. This communion with the Lord makes us one body, brings us eternal life, and sends us forth to be Christ’s Body in the world.

Go to LoyolaPress.com for a more complete summary of today’s gospel with information for all age groups

Categories
Sunday

Trinity Sunday

John XXII (1316-1334) ordered the feast for the entire Church on the first Sunday after Pentecost. A new Office had been made by the Franciscan John Peckham, Canon of Lyons, later Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1292). The feast ranked as a double of the second class but was raised to the dignity of a primary of the first class, 24 July 1911, by Pius X. The Greeks have no special feast. Since it was after the first great Pentecost that the doctrine of the Trinity was proclaimed to the world, the feast becomingly follows that of Pentecost. (Catholic Encyclopedia)

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 3:16-18
Bishop Robert Barron preaches on the God who is love, explaining why this massively important fact leads to the conclusion that God is trinitarian in nature.
Father Ken Lao’s homily on Trinity Sunday from St. Mary’s Parish in Ottawa, Ontario
Categories
Sunday

Pentecost Sunday

The Season of Easter concludes with today’s celebration, the Feast of Pentecost. On Pentecost we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem; this event marks the beginning of the Church. The story of Pentecost is found in the Acts of the Apostles, today’s first reading. The account in today’s Gospel, John 20:19-23, also recounts how Jesus gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples. Yet the event in John’s Gospel takes place on Easter Sunday. There is no need to try to reconcile these two accounts. It is enough that we know that after his death, Jesus fulfilled his promise to send to his disciples a helper, an advocate, who would enable them to be his witnesses throughout the world.

This Gospel reminds us that the Church is called to be a reconciling presence in the world. The reconciling presence of Christ is celebrated in the Church’s sacramental life. In the Sacrament of Baptism, we are cleansed of sin and become a new creation in Christ. In the Sacrament of Penance, the Church celebrates the mercy of God through the forgiving of sins. This reconciling presence is also to be a way of life for Christians. In situations of conflict, we are to be agents of peace and harmony among people.

Read the full Sunday Connection from Loyola Press

Bishop Barron’s Homily for today is here

Categories
Sunday

Sunday Connection: The Ascension

Depending on your diocese, there are two options for the readings. If your parish celebrated the Ascension on Thursday then the gospel reading will be about Jesus praying for his disciples at the end of the Last Supper discourse. After the prayer, Jesus is arrested in the garden.

Jesus’ prayer reaffirms the complete union between Jesus and the Father. Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus has been presented as the Word, who pre-existed with the Father and was sent to do the Father’s work on earth. In this prayer we learn that Jesus’ life and ministry have been directed toward one purpose, revealing the Father. When this work is accomplished, Jesus is to return to the Father to be glorified. Regardless of what happens to Jesus, in John’s Gospel, Jesus and the Father are in charge. Even in the description of Jesus’ death, Jesus does not simply die but instead hands over his spirit.

Loyola Press Sunday Connection – Seventh Sunday of Easter

If the Ascension is being celebrated then the gospel reading is from Matthew 28. Jesus tells his disciples to go out to baptize and teach in all nations.

Jesus commissions his disciples to baptize in the name of the Trinity, one of the clearest attestations found in Scripture for baptism in the name of the Trinity. In the Acts of the Apostles and in the Letters of Paul, baptism is more frequently offered “in the name of Jesus.”
The ending of Matthew’s Gospel can be understood as the beginning of the Church. Jesus commissions his disciples to continue to teach in his name and to bring others into the community of disciples through baptism. The Gospel ends, as it had begun, with the promise that Jesus will continue to be Emmanuel, “God with us” (cf. Matthew 1:23), for all eternity.

Loyola Press Sunday Connection – The Ascension of the Lord
Categories
Sunday

Sunday Connection: The Advocate

“In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” (John. 14:19-21).

Today’s Gospel is a continuation of last week’s Gospel: Jesus is speaking to his disciples at the Last Supper. In today’s reading Jesus offers encouragement to his disciples, who will soon see him crucified. He reassures them that even though he will leave them, he will not abandon them. Instead he will send them the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, through whom the disciples will continue to live in union with Jesus.

Jesus uses the term Advocate to describe the Holy Spirit, whom the disciples will receive. Another word used to describe the Holy Spirit is Paraclete, a legal term meaning “one who offers defense for another.” Note that Jesus says that he will send “another Advocate.” Jesus himself is the first advocate, interceding for his disciples with the Father.

Continue reading the background on this Gospel on LoyolaPress.com