Passion (Palm) Sunday (Year B) March 29 (Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Mark 14:1-15:47)
Receiving instruction directly from God is not a ticket to an easy or conflict-free life. The Suffering Servant of Isaiah is a case in point. This Servant was most likely an unknown prophetic figure in the community of Israelite exiles in mid-sixth century B.C. Babylon. He must have been an exceptional individual, since he was the source of comfort and encouragement for so many.
Third Sunday of Lent (Year B) March 8 (Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-25; John 2:13-25)
The Ten Commandments are often viewed as obsolete and out of touch with the modern world. They are unfortunately treated as if they were the 10 suggestions rather than commandments. Even those who use them as weapons in the culture wars of our times are sometimes hard-pressed to name all of them.
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Feb. 15 (Leviticus 13:1-2, 45-46; Psalm 32; 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1; Mark 1:40-45)
Those whom we despise, fear and exclude often reflect our own fear and lack of love. They show us who we are inside, and that is why we fear them so much. The ancient scourge of leprosy was a perfect example.
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Feb. 8 (Job 7:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 147; 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23; Mark 1:29-39)
When things go reasonably well and we are basically happy, then life itself seems positive and even joyful. But when illness, personal failures, pain and misfortunes make their appearance, our world can change in an instant. Life can seem negative, painful, dreary and futile. Even the things that used to bring us joy lose their lustre.
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Feb. 1 (Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 95; 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35; Mark 1:21-28)
Movements and new organizations often do not survive the death of the founder. Usually something vital is lost and the original charism begins to fade.
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Jan. 18 (1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19; Psalm 40; 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20; John 1:35-42)
How many of us are called upon by God without realizing it? Divine addresses are seldom of the dramatic type portrayed in Hollywood biblical epics. They usually lack the beams of light and angelic choirs. God’s call is often innocuous enough to be overlooked or mistaken for something else. Only its persistence sets it apart.
Baptism of the Lord (Year B) Jan. 11 (Isaiah 55:1-11; Isaiah 12; 1 John 5:1-9; Mark 1:7-11)
God is not like human beings — and we can rejoice in that. In fact, Isaiah went to great lengths to highlight the wide gulf between divine and human reasoning. This is certainly evident in the fact that God offers food and drink in abundance to all those who hunger and thirst absolutely free and without any preconditions.
Epiphany of the Lord (Year B) Jan. 4 (Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72; Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12)
Isaiah painted an inspiring and hope-filled picture of Israel’s future. His words must have been a welcome balm for a dispirited and discouraged people. The day would come when the radiance of God’s light and glory would be so overwhelming that it would stand as a beacon for the whole world. They were to ignore the seeming darkness around them and look to God’s glorious future.