The Core of God's Covenant

10-31-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

In today’s First Reading, from Deuteronomy, we hear the great summary of the very core of God’s covenant with Israel, its title taken from its opening word, the Shema (“Hear!”). The Shema is at once a doctrinal summary of Israel’s faith and the personal/corporate prayer of Israel's sons and daughters. To this day, devout Jews inscribe the Shema on parchment and enclose it in the mezuzah that adorns the doorways of so many Jewish homes.


Consolation from God

10-24-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Today's reading from Jeremiah, Israel’s sorrowful and suffering prophet, whose readings usually signal and prepare us to hear Jesus’ Gospel suffering, is from Jeremiah’s “Book of Consolation.” Jeremiah sets aside traditional sorrow and instead bids God’s chosen people – and us, as God's baptized covenant people – to celebrate the Lord’s miraculous “harvest”: “Shout with joy; exult; proclaim your praise” (Jeremiah 31:7). In this “harvest,” God declares Israel already “delivered,” while promising to transform a “remnant” (31:7) into “an immense throng,” “gathered from the ends of the world” (31:8).


Continually Learning from Jesus

10-17-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Today’s Old Testament selection, from Isaiah’s “Fourth Song of the Suffering Servant ofGod,” describes God’s Servant as one who “gives his life as an offering for sin” (Isaiah53:10) and celebrates the mighty power of that self-offering: “through his suffering,my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear” (53:11). As always duringOrdinary Time, this Old Testament reading prepares us for today’s longer form Gospel.Jesus incarnates the redemptive suffering that Isaiah foresaw in the offering of God’sServant, as well as the covenantal restoration that the Servant’s sacrificed achieved.The reading from Hebrews confirms our finding peace in continually learning from Jesus, whatever our deepest flaws and trials: for Jesus, our “great high priest” (Hebrews4:14) is not “unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,” for Jesus was “tested in every way” that we are (4:15).


God Blesses and Heals Us

10-10-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Most of us sincerely desire to grow in wisdom and in faith. Today’s readings explore the challenges we face when we allow God to lead the way. We first hear the author of the book of Wisdom extolling the value of wisdom in our lives. Then in Hebrews we are told that sometimes God exposes difficult truths about ourselves. These readings set up Mark’s story of the wealthy man. In his encounter with Jesus, the man faced a very harsh truth, that his possessions actually possessed him and blocked his path to God. We may have similar “moments of truth” when we have an overwhelming desire to minimize or to run away from truth that God reveals to us. In these moments, may we remember that God always seeks to bless and heal us. In these moments, may God open our hearts to receive truth with faith and courage.


God Does Not Give Up

10-03-2021Weekly Reflection© J. S. Paluch Company

Our readings today point to God’s deep commitment to human relationships. Our passage from Genesis begins with the declaration that God created human persons to be social beings, who can only thrive when they live in deep connection with each other and with God. The author of Hebrews teaches that the coming of Jesus as one of us shows God’s radical commitment to human life. Jesus’ teaching about divorce, described in today’s Gospel, shows God’s deep investment in marriage and, implicitly, all human relationships. When our personal relationships with others are distant or broken, God seeks to heal them.