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Weekly Gospel Readings

Gospel January 24, 2021

The First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Jonah. The purpose of the book of Jonah, written after the Israelites have returned from exile, is to teach the people that God loves all people, even Israel’s greatest enemies. Here we have the familiar story of Jonah who is commanded by God to preach to the people of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, which devastated the Kingdom of Judah and Israel, a message of repentance for their sinful ways. Repentance is the intentional decision to turn from evil and all things that could lead us to evil. So, the Ninevites got the message. They repented and did penance and they were saved. For this Sunday’s Mass, the Jonah reading is used to teach the kind of repentance that Jesus is calling people to as he begins his public ministry.

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Gospel January 17, 2021

The First Reading is from the First Book of Samuel. The child Samuel was dedicated to the service of the sanctuary. One night he woke up thinking that he heard a voice call out to him.  Samuel has not had any experience in listening for God and so he thinks that it is Eli, his teacher, calling. Eli, the priest in charge of the sanctuary, understood that the voice Samuel heard might just be the voice of God trying to break into his consciousness. After Samuel called Eli a second time, Eli advises Samuel to respond with the now-famous reply, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." Therefore, God blessed him in the mission entrusted to him, and Samuel became an illustrious figure, ranking with Moses and David as a man of God.

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Gospel January 10, 2021

The readings for today are all connected with the Baptism of Jesus. The First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. This reading is the first of four of Isaiah’s four Suffering Servant songs. This first poem introduces the Messiah as the one who pleases God. He will work tirelessly for the dawning of justice and will not be discouraged. In verses six and seven, God is speaking directly to his servant and commissioning him to be a “light for the Gentiles.” This servant, governed by the Spirit, will be one to heal and overturn the evil of this world, such as giving sight to the blind, setting captives free, and illuminating the way of those trapped in darkness. This gentle Servant will be empowered by God to carry out his mission. In and through Baptism, each of us is called to imitate the Servant spoken about in this reading.

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Gospel January 3, 2021

 
In the solemnity of the Epiphany (an appearance or a showing) of Christ to all humanity, the First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. Because of the epiphany of the Lord within it, Israel would itself become the manifestation of God’s presence and goodness for the nations. What God did for the Israel of the old covenant, he has done for all of humankind, the new clouds, sin and separation have been dispelled. With Christ and with his church, light illuminates and warms an alienated world, so that all people can walk in the freedom and healing of that light.
 
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Gospel December 27, 2020

 

In the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the First Reading is taken from the Book of Sirach. Sirach gives us his concept of the ideal family with all the responsibilities, as well as the honors and benefits that are bestowed on each member. Sirach’s basic intent is to strengthen everyday relationships between husband and wife, parents and children, the young and the old, the rich and the poor. In other words, a father is to be honored by his children, and a mother is to have authority over her son. That is why, Sirach calls each member of the household to develop concern, respect, honor, and kindness within the relationships that constitute the family.
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Gospel December 20, 2020

“Where does God dwell?” is a question on the minds of many as we continue to adjust to the pandemic. David wanted to build an ornate dwelling for the Ark of the Covenant, but God said, “No, that’s not what I had in mind!” The reading from Romans teaches us that God is present in the Word, and in Luke’s Gospel passage today, Jesus is residing in the womb of Mary. We know that Jesus is present in the assembly gathered, the Koinonia, as well as within the Eucharistic species. But no matter how one experiences the presence of Jesus, these days are challenging. In many places, only limited numbers continue to be allowed in church, while others are only able to worship via live stream. None of the pat answers to where God dwells really fit. We need to try and answer this with new eyes and ears and heart. 

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Gospel December 13, 2020

The readings this week bear a certain similarity to those of last week—we hear a prophecy from Isaiah that is reiterated by John the Baptist in Mark’s Gospel—but today the focus is different. Last week John told us to repent. Today he is the light leading us to God.

Today is also known as "Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday," as the reading from First Thessalonians commands us to "Rejoice in the Lord always." We are to rejoice. Right now. Combined with last Sunday, this seems like a mixed message. "Which is it? Repenting or Rejoicing?" But John is telling us that one leads to the other. As we prepare for the coming of our Savior we must first repent and then rejoice.

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Gospel November 29, 2020

Today, we begin the First Sunday of Advent which is the beginning of a new liturgical year. Today’s first reading from “Third Isaiah” deals with a very difficult time in Israel’s history: their return from the Babylonian exile. When the exiles return, they find their land has been stolen, and Jerusalem, including the Temple, has been destroyed. The Israelites struggled to rebuild their lives and Temple. The prophet Isaiah lamenting a prayer of frustration directed to God. Let us listen to what Isaiah has to say to his grieving and struggling people. 

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Gospel November 22, 2020

Today the whole Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The first reading from the Prophet Ezekiel images God as a Good Shepherd caring for his sheep. After the fall of Jerusalem, those still alive are taken into exile in Babylon. During their time in exile, the people had no shepherds, no leaders. Ezekiel, a prophet also in exile, tells his people that God alone is personally responsible to take care of his flock. God will tend to them, rescue them, pasture them, and give them rest. God will find the sheep that are lost and bring them back. God will bring order to God’s flock. Therefore, the Good Shepherd protects his sheep with strength, compassion, discipline, and love.  

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Gospel November 15, 2020

The First Reading is from the Book of Proverbs. These verses give us an example of a prudent, competent, and faithful wife who is well known and praised for her abilities in serving her family and others. A worthy wife, Proverbs says, “is far beyond the price of pearls”. She is hardworking, mainly for her family, but “she also reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.” Her value is not in her charm or her beauty but in her wisdom, in her awareness of where the real priorities in life lie.

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Gospel November 8, 2020

The First Reading is from the Book of Wisdom, which is one of the seven books of the Old Testament and only found in Catholic Bibles. It was written about 100 BC. For the Wisdom author, true wisdom is right relationship with God. Therefore, the Book of Wisdom is full of good advice for those seeking a deeper relationship with the Lord. Today’s reading describes how accessible wisdom is to all who seek her. “She is readily perceived by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her.” The Book of wisdom encourages us to seek this gift of wisdom to be “prudent and keep vigil,” in other words, be prepared.

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Gospel November 1, 2020

Today the Church honors all the Saints who have allowed the face of God to be seen in them. The First Reading is from the Book of Revelation. The Book of Revelation was written to give hope to the early Christians who were suffering persecution under the Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) for their belief in the Lamb, the Risen Christ. Today’s reading contains two visions portraying in vivid imagery the salvation of the just. In the first vision, John has a glimpse of the last terrible days when a final assault on the earth is brought on by every evil power.

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Gospel October 25, 2020

The First Reading is from the Book of Exodus. This passage illustrates that there is an integral connection between love of God and love of neighbor. It especially underlines the call of the men in Israel to care for three groups of vulnerable people: women, orphans, and aliens. The words “I will kill you with the sword” are not to be taken literally. Rather, they are intended to convey how abominable it is in God’s eyes to fail to care for the most vulnerable in their midst. Therefore, "Neighbor" is anyone with whom we come in contact. "Love" in this usage is meant to include all the components of that word: Respect, Helpfulness, Forgiveness, etc. Finally, Love of God and love of neighbor, especially the needy, are intimately connected.

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