For the 20th Sunday in ordinary time, the Church gives us three readings about the Gentiles. Our first two readings give us a positive image of the relationship between God and the Gentiles, and I especially like the first reading, Isaiah’s prophecy about “the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord.” But I find the Gospel challenging because I am a Gentile, and so Christ’s interaction with the Canaanite (Gentile) woman is personally disturbing because he seems unwilling to minister to her and, by analogy, to us.
The three parables we hear in this Sunday’s Gospel point to the kingdom of heaven growing here on earth. However, there is tension because the world is not ready to accept the kingdom growing in its midst.
In casting himself as the second, greater Moses, Jesus is saying that his own flesh is that eternal, life-giving bread promised to Israel in the desert.
It can certainly seem like the event of the Resurrection is the “end of a season.” But Jesus explicitly says: “It is better for you that I am going away” (John 16:7). What does he mean? He means Pentecost! The Holy Spirit is coming!
Faith enables us to “see” what otherwise could not be seen. Jesus is no longer physically present on Earth, but he promises to always be spiritually present to us. Though we cannot see his spiritual presence with the eyes of the body, we see him with the eyes of faith.
This Second Sunday of Easter ought to be a time of great happiness as we celebrate the day Jesus Christ overcame sin and death and invited us to share in that victory.
With the beginning of Holy Week, we focus intently on the mystery of our salvation. The Palm Sunday liturgy paints the picture of joy, and at the same time invites us to meditate on Jesus’ sufferings. By identifying with the mystery of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, we experience a great liberation, a pass-over from various sins and enslavement to a life of joy and freedom.
Have you ever been somewhere, and you didn’t want to leave? That is how St. Peter felt at the Transfiguration, which we hear in this Sunday’s Gospel.
Just recently, the winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, concluded, and the victors went home with their medals. I’m always riveted by the level of power, agility and endurance these athletes display on the ice and snow. I’m even more impressed, however, by their stories. Many of them discovered their talents at an early age and then committed their entire lives to the perfection of their physical and mental abilities. They trained every day, they sought the best coaches, and they sacrificed myriads of other opportunities, interests and pleasures for the pursuit of one single goal — Olympic glory.