In the readings for these weeks leading up to Lent, we see Jesus lay out his mission, announcing good news for the poor, and liberty to captives. He invites us to be part of that mission, to spread his message of love and reconciliation. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis sees a link between how we treat the natural world and how we treat one another, especially the most vulnerable of God’s children. May we heed the call of Jesus to build just relationships with all of our brothers and sisters and with all of God’s creation.
The scripture readings for this month challenge us to enter into a deeper relationship with God, following Jesus Christ with our two feet of discipleship: charity and justice. This is not an optional or peripheral commitment for the Church. Neither can it be reduced to a private dimension of one's life. Action in defense of human dignity and in support of restorative justice and peace are at the core of our faith.
To view the homily helps and other resources for a given Sunday or feast day, click the link for the appropriate date below:
During October, two themes stand out in the readings of the season. First, prophetic promises of redemption imaged in terms of a great feast are echoed in the parables of Jesus that announce that the time of fulfillment is at hand. These parables challenge the listener to respond to God's invitation. A second theme concerns the mounting tension between Jesus and the Jewish authorities. As we reflect on what is happening to our common home, do we witness fulfillment or disillusion?
The Scripture readings throughout September encourage us to expand our vision. The prophets remind us that the poor and those in need are are also members of the community. The parables of Jesus challenge us to see as God sees.
The commentary for the Sundays in this month draws on the themes of the common good and "integral ecology" that Pope Francis stresses in Laudato Si' as one way of explaining our vision in light of the signs of the times.
Our readings for the month of August begin with the account of the Transfiguration, where God reveals to Peter, James, and John that He entrusts His authority to Jesus, who is both the Messiah sent to Israel and the Lord and Savior sent to all humanity. During the Sundays which follow, we then reflect on the authority entrusted by God to human beings and by Christ to the Christian community. How do we exercise the creativity and power entrusted to us in the way we care for our neighbor and for God's creation, our common home?
The scripture readings for this month coalesce around the themes of hospitality and the promise of divine blessing. They also lift up the critical importance of a holistic, sacramental view of God's creation. Such a vision reflects the ancient tradition of the Church. It also highlights our contemporary, moral imperative to act with charity and justice toward all members of earth's community of life. "The Gospel of Creation," chapter two of Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si', provides very helpful insights for the homilist to visit these themes from a new vantage point.
During the season following Easter, the Church gives us the opportunity to deepen our experience of the new life that flows from the Resurrection of Jesus.
- Pentecost: Through Jesus we experience new hope and new life in the Spirit.
- Trinity Sunday: And as a result, we now experience God as Father, Son, and Spirit, the Trinity that is the source of all creation.
While we then return to "ordinary time," nothing is ever the same again.
Easter is the celebration of the new life offered to us in the risen Jesus. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to change our personal lives and confront the collective problems that we face in society. In Chapter VI of Laudato Si', Pope Francis exhorts us to study the world around us and to educate ourselves and others regarding the real state of our world. He calls us to foster a new spirituality that is personally holy, fraternally responsible, and respectful of the Earth.
Lent is our annual opportunity to refresh the spiritual dimension of our existence and to renew our identity as persons baptized in Christ. It starts each year sometime in the dark midst of Winter but ends in Spring, when our seemingly dormant world brightens and again comes to life. During this time we experience the core cycle of our faith in all of our senses – the cycle thru Death to Resurrection. What we see and hear, touch, smell and taste enables us to know that something new is happening.
God summons to be holy, to follow his way, a way of justice to others and righteousness of life. This summons was announced by Moses, by the Prophets, and by Jesus. More than a prophet, Jesus also promises to walk beside us and support us in the Way. In our world many ponderous forces seem to threaten the poor, the weak, and creation itself. With Jesus by our side, let us renew our commitment to travel the path of discipleship.