News Category: In Step with the Readings

Everyday Stewardship ~ Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

Christ Is Anything but Ordinary

We’re about to dive headlong into week two of Ordinary Time, and we need to admit, after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, things are indeed looking more … ordinary, at least in our spiritual lives.

The transcendent highs of the Christmas season are flatlining a bit and the vivid imagery of the Nativity scene has faded. The solemn anticipation of the Advent season is by now a distant memory.

Are you bored yet?

Here’s a secret: I think that Ordinary Time can actually be quite extraordinary, if we’re really living out our baptismal call.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus point-blank asks Andrew, who is following him after hearing John the Baptist’s testimony: “What are you looking for?” He’s asking us the same question.

What are you looking for? Why are you following me? Is it for the Christmas cookies and the Advent carols? Is it for the King’s Cake on the Epiphany? Is it for the feeling we get on Christmas when we just know God has done a wondrous thing?

None of those things are bad, but they are not what Andrew was looking for, and they were not what Christ promised him when he said, “Come, and you will see.” Andrew was looking for the Messiah — the One who makes even Ordinary Time extraordinary. The One who can sanctify the longest and dullest of to-do lists, on the longest and dullest of days. The One whose peace can reign in our homes on January 25, not just December 25.

Remember what you are looking for. Come, and you will see.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

©LPi

LA CORRESPONSABILIDAD DIARIA ~ RECONOCER A DIOS EN LOS MOMENTOS ORDINARIOS (Everyday Stewardship)

Cristo es Cualquier Cosa Menos Ordinario

Estamos a punto de sumergirnos de lleno en la segunda semana del Tiempo Ordinario, y debemos admitir que, después del ajetreo y el bullicio de las vacaciones, las cosas se ven más … ordinarias, al menos en nuestra vida espiritual.

Las alturas trascendentes de la temporada navideña se estancan un poco y las imágenes impresionantes del pesebre se han desvanecido. La solemne anticipación del tiempo de Adviento es ahora un recuerdo lejano.

¿Estás aburrido?

Aquí hay un secreto: creo que el Tiempo Ordinario puede ser realmente extraordinario, si realmente estamos viviendo nuestro llamado bautismal.

En el Evangelio de hoy, Jesús le pregunta sin rodeos a Andrés, que lo sigue después de escuchar el testimonio de Juan el Bautista: “¿Qué estás buscando?” Nos está haciendo la misma pregunta.

¿Qué estás buscando? ¿Por qué me estás siguiendo? ¿Es por las galletas de Navidad y los villancicos de Adviento? ¿Es por la rosca de reyes en la Epifanía? ¿Es por el sentimiento que tenemos en Navidad cuando simplemente sabemos que Dios ha hecho algo maravilloso?

Ninguna de esas cosas es mala, pero no son lo que Andrés estaba buscando, y no era lo que Cristo le prometió cuando dijo: “Ven y verás”. Andrés estaba buscando al Mesías, Aquel que hace que incluso el Tiempo Ordinario sea extraordinario. Aquel que puede santificar las listas de tareas más largas y aburridas, en los días más largos y aburridos. Aquel cuya paz puede reinar en nuestros hogares el 25 de enero, no solo el 25 de diciembre.

Recuerda lo que buscas. Ven y lo verás.

– Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

©LPi

Live the Liturgy ~ Inspiration for the Week

We have often heard it said that God is always calling but we are not always listening. It is not only that we are not listening, but that we are not familiar enough with God to even recognize that it is God who is calling! We can easily mistake God’s voice for someone or something else and miss some profound opportunities for connection. We have to train our minds, hearts, and souls to specifically listen for the voice of God. It is a voice that draws us to deeper places, leading us to moments of grace and more profound God awareness. To look at Jesus and be able to say, “Behold, the Lamb of God,” means that I know something special about this person whom others know as simply a man. I will become more attentive and receptive when he says, “Come, and you will see.” I may even be more willing to set aside what I am doing and actually go.

©LPi

VIVIR LA LITURGIA ~ INSPIRACIÓN DE LA SEMANA (Live the Liturgy)

A menudo hemos escuchado decir que Dios siempre está llamando, pero no siempre estamos escuchando. No es solo que no estamos escuchando, sino que no estamos lo suficientemente familiarizados con Dios para reconocer que es Dios quien esta llamando. Podemos confundir fácilmente la voz de Dios con alguien o algo más y perder algunas oportunidades profundas de conexión. Tenemos que entrenar nuestras mentes, corazones y almas para escuchar específicamente la voz de Dios. Es una voz que nos lleva a lugares más profundos, llevándonos a momentos de gracia y una conciencia más profunda de Dios. Mirar a Jesús y poder decir: “He aquí el Cordero de Dios,” significa que yo sé algo especial acerca de esta persona a quien otros conocen simplemente como un hombre. Me volveré más atento y receptivo cuando Él diga: “Ven y verás.” Incluso puedo estar más dispuesto a dejar de lado lo que estoy haciendo e ir.

©LPi

Gospel Meditation

January 17, 2021
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our faith is not just about ideas. It’s really about having an encounter with God and, in particular, the Risen Christ! Once we give ourselves over to the notion of God’s presence, we have to train ourselves to listen for God’s voice and be attentive to God’s call. Having companions on our faith journeys is so incredibly important as they can help us fine-tune our listening skills and discern God’s voice from others we may be hearing. Faith is all about having these profound encounters not only with God but with our brothers and sisters, and creation itself. Anyone or anything that is alive with God’s presence becomes an occasion for God to speak and call us to deeper graces and experiences. “Come, and you will see.”

The example and teaching of Jesus, the lives of the saints, those living among us and those glorified in heaven, and the wonder and beauty of creation can all serve to help us listen more clearly and assist in positioning ourselves for this profound God meeting. It is an encounter that can quickly and easily lead to a friendship and intimate intertwining of our souls to their Maker, making a claim on us like no other. Then, the Word of God moves from being just a body of ideas to something we simply accept and do. The person of Jesus Christ swiftly moves from being just a good prophet in word and deed to the incarnate presence of God Himself, the Lamb of God. The voice leads us to the Person behind it.

The Gospel is hard to follow. We can intellectually debate whether what Jesus said is really what we are asked to do. The Gospel ideas do not always make sense in our practical, secular world. The person of God always does. We can debate the practicality and sense of ideas and doing so often keeps the more difficult ones at a safe distance away from us. Jesus said to love our enemy, but we really don’t need to do that, our minds try to convince us. It just doesn’t make sense. Yet, if we are truly in love with the God who is behind the voice of those words, they make perfect sense. Our deep and intimate love of this God would even find us laying down our lives for Him if necessary. Speak Lord, your servant is listening.

©LPi

MEDITACIÓN EVANGÉLICO (Gospel Meditation)

17 de enero de 2021
2º Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario

En este relato del Evangelio, se dice que Juan estaba con sus discípulos y, que, en ese momento, Jesús pasaba por ahí. Juan, ve a Jesús y dice a sus discípulos: “Ese es el Cordero de Dios” (Juan 1:36). Desde ese momento, Juan deja de ser importante y sede el lugar al Cordero de Dios. Por lo tanto, los discípulos, sin ningún retraso ni pregunta, siguieron a Jesús. Era el momento del encuentro, de la intimidad, de pasar un buen rato con él.  El Papa Francisco lo describe de la siguiente manera: “Verdaderamente cada uno tiene su encuentro con Jesús. Pensemos en los primeros discípulos que seguían a Jesús y permanecieron con Él toda la tarde – Juan y Andrés, el primer encuentro – y fueron felices por esto”.

El Papa continúa su reflexión diciendo: “Todos nosotros hemos tenido en nuestra vida algún encuentro con Él, un encuentro verdadero, en el que sentí que Jesús me miraba. No es una experiencia sólo para santos. Y si no recordamos, será bonito hacer un poco de memoria y pedir al Señor que nos dé la memoria, porque Él se acuerda, Él recuerda el encuentro. Una buena tarea para hacer en casa, sería precisamente volver a pensar cuando sentí verdaderamente al Señor cerca de mí, cuando sentí que tenía que cambiar de vida y ser mejor o perdonar a una persona, cuando sentí al Señor que me pedía algo y, por ello, cuando me encontré al Señor (Homilía en Santa Marta, 24 de abril de 2015). Para nosotros ahora, cabe la siguiente pregunta. ¿Dónde, dónde, encontraré al Señor?

©LPi

The Role of Invitation in Evangelization

For Sunday, January 17, 2021
2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Come and See

1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
John 1:35-42

“What are you looking for?” Jesus asked, which he follows with an invitation to “come and see,” in response to the disciples’ question about where he is staying. Of course, Jesus knew what they were seeking; is it not what we all seek — peace, hope, salvation? Jesus calls them, and indeed us as well, to accept his invitation to find those things, and so much more, in him.

Regardless of where Jesus resides physically, we know from his teaching later in John’s Gospel, what he longs to show us is where he abides. In John 15:4-16, Jesus shares the blessing of abiding with him; there, we can bear much fruit in our faith, receive what we, and most importantly, know the Father’s glory.

Jesus’ invitations present an opportunity for us to contemplate what we are looking for and to take stock of our current situation. Do you know what it is you seek in this world? Are you open to truly be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Can you leave behind your expectations, trusting the goodness of Jesus’ invitation, and follow God’s perfect will for your life?

Without waiting for the early disciples to respond, knowing their hearts and that the Kingdom of Heaven holds everything they seek, he invites them to come and see. Some of Jesus’ disciples came and stayed with him because they had heard him preach. Moved by the promise, hope, mercy, and life he offered, they directly accepted the invitation from him. However, like Peter, others came to follow Jesus after someone else extended an invitation to “come and see” themselves.

Peter’s brother Andrew’s willingness to evangelize brought Peter to become a disciple of the Lord. Andrew’s love for Peter moved him to share the truth and joy he had found. How blessed to have someone care enough to step out in faith and share the life found only in Jesus — no matter how uncomfortable they may feel or how their testimony may be received.

Those who believe inspire others to believe. John’s Gospel also introduces us to the Samaritan woman Jesus meets at the well. Her encounter with Christ spurs a conversion so dramatic, she cannot keep it to herself. Transformed by his love, mercy, and hope of a life where she no longer has to thirst for acceptance and redemption, she leaves her past behind and becomes an unlikely evangelist. Moved by her transformation from accepting Jesus’ invitation to come and see — she goes out immediately to share the Good News — causing a ripple effect of discipleship.

The lives of the people she encounters and invites, are never the same once they accept the invitation to follow and abide in the truth and love offered by Jesus. One of the most powerful moments in John’s Gospel (4:41-42) occurs when we learn many more have come to believe. And those she has testified to come back saying, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One truly is the Savior of the world.”

The power and beauty of evangelization manifests in the conversion of hearts when an invitation leads to a personal encounter with Christ and the choice to remain and abide with him. We may recognize our journey within these many roads to discipleship; which of these paths is yours? Will we pay forward what we have received? Do we have the courage and strength to follow Jesus’ example and invite others to come and see? When we, like Andrew and the woman at the well, tell others about finding the Messiah, we become part of the hope of discipleship present in John’s Gospel. We become conduits for others to encounter the truth and grace found only in Jesus Christ.

Allison Gingras

Why do we do that? Catholic Life Explained

Question: Why do parishes have the Blessed Sacrament in a separate room?

Answer: While many Catholics of a certain age have memories of the Blessed Sacrament being housed in the tabernacle on the high altar of the church, many parishes in the decades since the Second Vatican Council have chosen to build a separate space — a reservation chapel — where the Blessed Sacrament is kept. Although this practice is not universal, it is in keeping with the guidance offered by the US Bishops in their document Built of Living Stones (see nos 77-78). The goal is to create a space that is separated from the nave and sanctuary, but which is “integrally connected with the church” which can foster “reverence and can provide the quiet and focus needed for personal prayer.” This can be especially important for communities that have continuous eucharistic adoration, allowing people to come and pray in a space separate from the normal activities of parish life.

The practice of reserving the Eucharist in a separate space — or in a dignified location away from the altar where Mass is celebrated — is that it emphasizes the importance of the liturgy itself, which is the “source and summit” of the life of the Church.

As with many things in the Church, the practice of placing the tabernacle in the sanctuary or in a separate chapel is not universal (as can be seen in visits to historic churches in Rome and other places). The important thing is that as communities question where to place the tabernacle, they listen to the voice of the Church, explore the ancient and varied liturgical tradition of the Church, consider the needs and life of the community, and also take into account the architecture and limits of the spaces they might already have.

©LPi