1 Kings 17:7-16; Matthew 5:13-16
Today’s readings truly show us God’s goodness. The story of Elijah and the widow is sort of the Old Testament’s version of the loaves and the fishes with God ensuring that the just do not go hungry. The Gospel reading contains one of my favorite passages about putting lights on top of bushel baskets rather than underneath them so that the light will shine.
Although Barnabas was not one of “the twelve apostles” the New Testament, the Church honor him as an apostle. We are grateful for him, if for no other reason than he recognized the talent of the brilliant young Saul of Tarsus and led him into the inner circle of the Church. Barnabas may be a John the Baptist to Saint Paul’s Jesus. The Baptist’s concluding remark was, “He must increase and I must decrease.” In the same way, Barnabas took Paul in hand, instructed him in the new way, mentored him on their missionary journey, and then stepped out of the way as Paul took charge of the venture.In the Acts of the Apostles we can see this development in Saint Luke’s careful language. The group was led first by Barnabas, and then by Barnabas and Paul, next by Paul and Barnabas, and finally by Paul.
Genesis 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 4:13--5:1; Mark 3:20-35
Pope Francis has often noted that the first words of God to the human family are from this passage where God's asks Adam, "Where are you?" Francis suggests that it is a good question for us today. Where do we find ourselves today? What is the situation around us? What is our purpose? What is our relationship with others? What is it we are being called to be and to do?
Paul reminds the Corintians that we are not discouraged because the resurrection of Jesus has already given us new life and "our inner self is being renewed day by day." The good news is what gives us hope and courage. Our faith is what allows us to be bold and to live our lives for others without holding back.
By Stephen B. Whatley
In celebrating Mary’s immaculate heart, we celebrate her single-heartedness. Sin divides our heart between self and God, making us no longer single-hearted, no longer immaculate of heart. But, as with any other time when we honor Mary, we run the risk of making her distant and inimitable, precisely as we mean to exalt her: congratulations, Mary, but we are not in the same league.
Before the beginning of time, before creation, God existed all alone. The love of God was the only love there was then. The love of God is the only love there is now. And the love of God is the only love there will ever be. We are not creators we are only receivers and transmitters of the love of God. And we can transmit only as much as we receive. To tell us of His love, God sent his only Son. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus is the greatest expression of the love of God for us and the greatest expression of the human response to that love.
We often seek clear and straightforward guidelines that help us to know what is important and to decide what to do. At the same time we are also aware that such guidelines do not exist, because of the complexity of the human experience and of diverse Christian beliefs and values that address the human experience. We know that simple guidelines are usually simplistic and can do more harm than good. Throughout human history and the history of Christian communities, individuals and groups, who took certain beliefs and values very seriously, caused immense human suffering because they did not consider the wider context of these beliefs and values as well as of their actions.
2 Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12 ; Mark 12:18-27
Text by Kello Tadeo Obik
Coming to this week, with the memories of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost still vivid, I am as Paul begins in his letter today, grateful to God.
Pentecost is truly one of my favorite celebrations of the year. The images of the Holy Spirit are impossible to be confined- wind, fire, a dove, and breath. These images are a gift to me throughout the year as I try to enliven my faith and my actions each day.
2 Peter 3:12-15a, 17-18; Mark 12:13-17
Today’s scripture readings seem to be about opportunities and priorities. In 2 Peter, Peter says, “To him be glory now and to the day of eternity.” He encourages his listeners to grow in grace and knowledge of Christ. The psalmist proclaims, “Let your work be seen by your servants and your glory by their children.” And in Mark, Jesus encounters Pharisees and Herodians who attempt to ensnare him with a question about money. Jesus responds, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
2 Peter 1:2-7; Mark 12:1-12
I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time with the Gospel reading about the vineyard tenants. It seems to me that if the vineyard tenants had the benefit of Peter’s words, or internalized the words of Psalm 91, they would have treated the owner’s servants and son not only decently, but kindly. Peter’s words about the interdependence of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, devotion, mutual affection, and love are a summary of how to do faith-based community living well. If we all also place our trust in God, surely things will be well.