Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Background: Jesus continues his ministry of proclaiming the kingdom/reign of God in Galilee. Today Luke insists that it is the liberating Word of God that draws people to Jesus, not the miracles that he works to support the truth of his preaching. (Even those are not just “magic” but often have a symbolic significance to them. The miraculous catch of fish foreshadows the surprising long-term success of the apostles’ later preaching.)
Today at Jesus’s call his first three disciples hesitate because of their unworthiness, but he insists that they will catch people. As Paul says, “By the grace of God, I am what I am.”
- How has Jesus’s call already begun to change your own life?
- How did the call of God’s grace come to you? In prayer? By reading? Through another person?
- What excuses have you made for not answering Jesus’s call?
- Which people is Jesus sending you to catch?
Practice:The psalm of the day is Ps. 138. Include it in your prayer each day this week.
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Background: Today we hear Luke’s version of the Beatitudes, the core of Jesus’s message of liberation. Because Matthew’s audience was predominantly Jewish, he places this scene on a mountaintop in order to parallel Jesus with Moses on top of Mt. Sinai receiving the Law. Luke, with his predominantly Gentile audience places Jesus on a plain in order to accommodate the crowd not only of Jews from Galilee but from Judaea and Jerusalem but even Gentiles from Tyre and Sidon. The great catch of people has already begun!
Luke’s Beatitudes—and Woes—play with the paradox that the way the world sees and judges people is not the way that God does. As Jeremiah says, it is those who trust and hope in the Lord who, in the long run, are truly blessed—just like Jesus.
- Do you judge success by the short term or the long term?
- What image do you too frequently try to project?
- When did you first realize that Christ’s message is about liberating love and grace?
- How can you bring that message to your community? Your family? Your neighborhood? Your church?
Practice: Look around you, at your family, your friends, your coworkers, your neighbors. How can you bring someone blessedness and not woe this week? What word of liberation and grace, gratitude and support can you speak this week?
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Background: Last week Jesus spoke words of paradox; today he makes clear that God’s kingdom/reign overturns the order of this world. As Paul says, the first Adam was made from the earth or dirt; the second Adam, Jesus, remakes us in the power of his Spirit.
- What is your gut reaction to Jesus’s words today? Why?
- How has Jesus’s Spirit in you already begun to call you to a new way of relating to people?
- Which people have inspired you to be a better Christian? Whom are you called to inspire?
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the death penalty is just as wrong as abortion. How might you put into action a consistent ethic of life?
Practice: Catholic social teaching is very rich and often too little known. Many other people as well are working to bring about a more just and compassionate society. This week take the time to do some research about the Innocence Project or efforts at restorative justice or even victim-criminal encounters which try to bring reconciliation.
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Background:“Who am I to judge?”—unless I have faced my own failings and listened carefully to my sister or brother first. Yet, as Paul says, our toil is not in vain if it is done in the Lord.
- What are you most self-confident about? What are you most sure of?
- How has that self-confidence and assurance gotten in the way of authentic, mutual relationships with others?
- What goodness in your heart does God want you to use for the benefit of others?
- What failing is your church or society blind to? What can you do about that blindness?
Practice: Each day this week, after you pray the Lord’s Prayer, pause and ponder what part of it speaks to you the most that day. Ask God’s help to understand and to live those words more authentically.
See also these related articles:
- Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 18th-21st Sundays in Ordinary Time
- Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 13th-17th Sundays in Ordinary Time
- Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – Pentecost through the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
- Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The Third Sunday of Easter through Ascension Sunday
- Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The Fifth Sunday of Lent through the Second Sunday of Easter