The Gospel reading for today is more challenging and terrifying than many others in the Bible. Jesus turns our entire way of thinking upside down. The Beatitudes would have had the same effect at the time as they do today, which is to strike at the heart of our humanness and our fears. The Beatitudes could be called “radical” in any age. They contradict what society teaches.
Mission on the Margins
What strikes me most about the readings for this Sunday’s liturgy — the gospel from Matthew in particular — is the way mission is to be carried out following the example of Jesus. He begins his OUTREACH to the people on the margins, the people in Capernaum. These people seem to be on the outskirts of Jewish (mainstream) society and bear a history of marginalization.
In this re-issued 2017 reflection, Sr. Roni Schweyen, MM, reflects on the readings in relation to her mission work in Tanzania
Debbie Northern, Maryknoll Lay Missioner in El Paso Texas reflects on the many epiphanies that stemmed from her mission work
The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace (shalom).
The prophet Isaiah proclaims that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. He was talking about his own time, some 700 years before the birth of Jesus, when Israel/Judea was oppressed first by the Assyrians and then the Babylonians. The destruction of the Israeli capital of Samaria in 721 BCE was one of the most devastating in the annals of that era. Where was the light to be found?
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him ‘Emmanuel,’ which means ‘God is with us.’
“Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”
MATTHEW 11: 4-5
For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’
“Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”
Maryknoll Fr. Larry Lewis reflects on the life and death of Jesus on the cross, connecting with all our sufferings, hopes, fears and dreams.
Steve Veryser, a Maryknoll lay missioner in Tanzania, reflects on how the Scriptures relate to a student march at a school function: who are these signs for anyways?