Branching-Out

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: Fifth Sunday of Lent

Posted by Bill Ayres on Apr 2, 2022 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the prophecy of Isaiah

(Chapter 43:16-21)

“Remember not the things of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new. Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers.” “I put water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland for my chosen people to drink.”

Isaiah is writing this toward the end of the exile in Babylon to give people hope amid great suffering. Through the prophet, God reminds the Israelites that he had the power over the waters as they escaped from Egypt, that he opened a path for the chosen people to pass and then closed it on the Egyptian army, destroying it. Now, as the people hope to return from exile, he will produce another miracle, putting water in the desert for the people to drink.

To understand this wonderful gift, we need to realize that the desert-like Mideast region that includes Israel today was a desert thousands of years ago when all these events happened. Without water there is no life. God, who is the source of all life, promises this gift of life to his people.

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6)

“The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” What has God done for you or your loved ones that has filled you with joy? Sometimes, it is too easy to take God’s gifts for granted. How do you give thanks to God for these gifts?

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Topics: woman found in adultery, Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, God's forgiveness, RENEW International, Fifth Sunday of Lent

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: Fifth Sunday of Lent

Posted by Bill Ayres on Feb 20, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the prophecy of Jeremiah

(Chapter 31:31-34)

“The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah…. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God and, they shall be my people. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the Lord. All, from the least to the greatest, shall know me, says the Lord, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more.”

This is an important moment in the history of the Jewish people and their relationship to God. The original Ten Commandments were inscribed in stone, something apart from living men and women. Now, God says he will “place my law within them and write it upon their hearts.“ God will “forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.” The Law of God is no longer only external but internal, in their very own hearts.

Can you feel the Law of God in your heart? Yes! Because the very Spirit of God lives within us.

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 51)

“Create a clean heart in me, O God.” This is a prayer of renewal for us when our hearts feel broken or heavily burdened. It is a response to God’s ever-present invitation for us to start anew.

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Topics: Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, Jesus Christ, RENEW International, Fifth Sunday of Lent, Crucifxion, Dying to new life

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