God's Laws

08-29-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Today’s readings provide some interesting parallels and contrasts. The first reading is an account of Moses who, having delivered the Law to the Israelites, admonishes them to “observe them [its statutes] carefully.” The author of the Letter of James likewise instructs fellow Christians to “welcome the word” they have received, that they may become “doers of the words and not hearers only.” The psalmist praises “whoever walks blamelessly and does justice” by listing a few examples of what is required for that—descriptions that apply equally to both Jewish and Christian traditions. On the other hand, when the scribes and Pharisees point out that the disciples have not properly washed their hands before eating (which is, as Mark explains, the usual Jewish practice) Jesus scolds them sharply for being too focused on human rules—even ritual ones —instead of God’s laws.


Whom should we follow?

08-22-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Today’s Gospel is the conclusion of the Bread of Life discourse in John. After Jesus’ continued insistence that he is the Bread of Life come down from heaven, and that his words are “Spirit and life,” most of his disciples drift away. The Twelve, however, affirm their faith in Jesus, whom Simon Peter professes to “have the words of eternal life.” In the first reading, Joshua and the Israelites are preparing to enter the Promised Land, and Joshua asks the people to decide which god they will follow, the Lorp their God, or the gods of neighboring peoples. The Responsorial Psalm features Psalm 34, the “taste and see” psalm, that reflects the kinds of struggles the Israelites faced during their sojourn in the wilderness. In the second reading, Paul gives counsel for maintaining domestic peace and happiness.


Pointing the Way

08-15-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Today we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The readingsgive us much to ponder as we reflect on Mary, her special place prepared byGod for eternity, and all that resulted from her “yes” to the angel’s messagethat she was to bear the Christ, the anointed one of God. Mary is “blessedamong women,” the vessel for the life and salvation of Christ for all generations. Mary always points us to her son, Jesus. Through her witness, weare inspired to proclaim the greatness of the Lord with our lives. In her Assumption, we are assured that Mary is in the presence of God, pointing theway to all who live as God’s good and holy people in this life while we awaitultimate fulfillment in the next.


The Bread of Life

08-08-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Chapter 6 in John’s Gospel is often referred to as the Bread of Life discourse, perhaps because this is where Jesus makes his strongest claims for being the bread that has come down from heaven, bringing eternal life for those who believe in him. This is one source of our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In the first reading, the prophet Elijah has come to the brink of despair, but an angel comes with food and tells him to eat, “else the journey will be too long for you.” The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 34; from very early on, the Church has applied the line, “Taste and see how good the Lord is” to the Eucharist. The second reading describes an ideal Christian community characterized by mutual love and service, which is the greatest fruit of its eucharistic celebrations.


God Provides

08-01-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Today’s gospel is a sequel to last weeks account of Jesus feeding a large crowd with five barley loaves and a few fish. Here Jesus is challenging a crowd to see in the bread they have eaten a sign of gods generosity and providing for all the blessings in their lives, as well as the blessing of life itself. The first reading from Exodus recounts how escaped Hebrew slaves were fed in the wilderness, first with quail, then with Nana. The psalm is a later reflection on the mana as the bread from heaven and a blessing from God. The selection from the letter to the Ephesians sketch is the image of putting away “old self“ and putting on the new, emphasizing that a persons life in Christ needs to differ from their previous life, just as the life of a free person differs from that of a slave.