Actively living out our Catholic faith can be challenging. The Bridge Between Sundays is our way of preparing you for Mass each week through our Know Before You Go video series, and supporting your day to day spiritual life with Dominican Homilies throughout the Central Province. We invite you to join us here every week and invite your friends and family!
August 21, 2016
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Entering through the narrow gate
Reading 1 (IS 66:18-21)
Reading 2 (HEB 12:5-7, 11-13)
Gospel (LK 13:22-30)
In the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Jesus talk about entering through the narrow gate. In fact, it may seem like He is saying it will be difficult to get into heaven. As Fr. Mike Ford, OP explains in this week’s Know Before You Go video, Jesus is only saying it may not be easy, which is an important difference.
While it’s may seem difficult to live up to the life Jesus gave us, He did not leave us alone to do that. He left us the sacraments, the body and blood of His sacrifice, and for those times when we make mistakes, he gave us the sacrament of Reconciliation. He also gave us the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, for when we are ill and need healing.
In order to find our way through the narrow gate, all we need to do is the two things Jesus asked us to do: Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself. If we can do that, we don’t need to worry about how narrow that gate is, because it’ll be wide enough for each and every one of us to enter.
July 17, 2016
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Is it better to be like Martha, like Mary, or like both?
Reading 1 (GN 18:1-10A)
Reading 2 (COL 1:24-28)
Gospel (LK 10:38-42)
As Br. Brent Bowen, OP explains in this week’s Know Before You Go video, the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time tells us the Gospel story of Martha and Mary.
Jesus encounters many people on his journey, and many of them invite Him into their homes to care for Him. In this story, we hear how Martha is preparing the dinner and Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening. Many of us misunderstand this reading, particularly when we hear Jesus say that Mary has chosen the better part. Many of us even sympathize with Martha’s concerns, because at first glance, she is the one who seems to be doing all the work while Mary is not. But, we often get so focused on the small details of the passage that we lose sight of the larger picture. The evangelist Luke places this story between two other very important stories—the Good Samaritan story, which we heard last week, and Jesus’ teachings on prayer. That is an important clue as to how we can interpret this story.
This placement is not accidental. On the one hand the story of the Good Samaritan is Martha’s story – the story of the person who works hard to spread God’s love in a tangible way by serving others. On the other hand Jesus’ teachings on prayer reflect Mary’s story – the story of a woman who takes the time to know Jesus intimately.
How does this apply to our lives here today? The mere placement of this passage between these two stories tells us something: Jesus does not prefer for us to choose one over the other (active service on the one hand or contemplative prayer on the other). However I believe we do disservice to this Gospel passage by placing Martha and Mary in opposition to one another. In fact, He wants us to choose both. The message that Luke wants to tell us in this Gospel story is that there is a time for everything – a time to serve God, and a time to pray. These two aspects of the Christian life are never in opposition to one another. Rather they are complimentary; both aspects require us to continually be in tune with how God is working – both in our lives and through our work to build up the Kingdom.
As you prepare to hear these readings on Sunday, I invite you to take some time to read this Gospel passage. As you do, I invite you to reflect upon where Christ may be challenging you to grow both in your life of prayer and in your life of service. God Bless you.
July 10, 2016
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Are we moved with compassion more than we sit in judgement?
Reading 1 (DT 30:10-14)
Reading 2 (COL 1:15-20)
Gospel (LK 10:25-37)
In the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, we see how the first reading from Deuteronomy (DT 30:10-14) and the Gospel of St. Luke (LK 10:25-37) parallel each other. In the first reading, we hear the Word of God saying, “If only you would heed the voice of the Lord…” It says, “Return to the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your soul.” It’s a perfect set-up for the Gospel of Luke, in which a scholar of the law approaches Jesus and asks, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Instead of giving the man a simple answer, Jesus challenges him to recall what the law says. The man replies, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Searching for clarity, the man asks, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan. In it, a man fell victim to robbers on his way to Jericho. He was robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the side of the road. A priest sees him, and walks by, as does a Levite. Then, a man from the hated community of Samaria sees him and is moved with compassion. He takes him to an inn and assures he is taken care of. Jesus tells us that is the meaning of neighbor.
So, we are challenged to ask, “Who are our neighbors?” Are we moved with compassion constantly and consistently for people we don’t even know, for people we don’t understand, for those with whom we might disagree, for those who frighten us, for those who we would rather avoid, or for those who we simply do not like?
Are we moved with compassion more than we sit in judgement?
If not, we have not yet understood this Gospel.
Even if we love God with all our heart, all our being, all our strength, and with all our mind, but we do not love our neighbors, then we risk loving God with only half our heart, half our being, half our strength, and half our mind. We risk loving God half-heartedly.
The 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time invites us to measure our love of God by our love of neighbor. It is not new or novel. We have heard it in the Gospel from the very beginning.
God bless you.
This Know Before You Go video series is a place to come each week as you prepare for the weekend’s Mass readings. This week, Fr. Jim Marchionda, OP reminds us that Sunday’s readings should be understood in the context of a larger story.