January 31, 2023
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
Jesus can be approached through faith. Jairus and the woman in today’s Gospel both come to Jesus because they believe that he can help them. When things become difficult for them, Jesus encourages them to have even more faith. Jesus is the one who inspires faith, encourages faith, and demands faith.
January 30, 2023
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
Jesus is someone who upsets our plans. He has a plan for our lives and for our salvation but often we have plans of our own. His plan is the best because he is the Savior. But sometimes, we can be like the people in today’s Gospel who begged Jesus to leave their district when he destroyed their security.
January 28, 2023
“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
Jesus is the Lord of creation. All things obey him… except for us. Why do we not obey him? Is it because we fail to believe in his great power? Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac because he believed “that God was able to raise even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19). Perhaps Jesus might say, “Do you not yet have faith?”
January 27, 2023
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
Jesus is someone who cares about little things. He sees every action that we do as if it were a seed buried in the ground and he waits for the fruit that will come from this seed.
January 26, 2023
“For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible, nothing is secret except to come to light.”
Jesus is the light who reveals things that are hidden. If we come into this light, we will find out many things about God and about ourselves. We can see the generous measure that Jesus gives here on earth and we can see our own measure as well. Then we can ask Jesus our light to help us use a generous measure like his.
January 25, 2023
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
Jesus is the one who brings Good News; in fact, he is the Good News. He wants us to be so filled with himself that our very being speaks of him to every person that we meet. And if there were no human beings near, we would proclaim this news even to the animals, the plants, and the whole inanimate creation. This news is so great that the whole world can not contain it.
January 24, 2023
“For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
For Jesus, the will of God is so important that the person who fulfills it becomes a part of his family. In the first reading, we hear these words, “I come to do your will”. What is this will? It is that we will be made holy and return to our Father through his Son Jesus Christ.
January 23, 2023
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
Jesus is the one who “brings salvation to those who eagerly await him”. (Hebrews 9:28) But in order to eagerly await him, we have to know him. If we do not know him, we could become like the scribes in today’s Gospel who opposed him.
January 22, 2023
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen.
Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies. In today’s Gospel, he is fulfilling one of the prophecies of Isaiah. He will dispel darkness and gloom. He will be light and joy and relieve the people of their burdens. When he called the apostles, he united them to this work. When he calls us, he also unites us to this same mission.
January 21, 2023
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Jesus is someone who appears crazy to those who do not understand or accept his message. Forgiving enemies, serving the poor, and giving up everything to do God’s will might seem crazy but they are the only way to truly love.
January 20, 2023
Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.
Why does Jesus call people that he knows will betray him? The Gospel of today ends with the words “who betrayed him”. But it wasn’t only Judas who betrayed him. Peter denied him and the other apostles fled from him. It is the same today. Jesus calls us and we betray him, deny him and flee from him. Yet he keeps calling us. Jesus is the one who wants to save us more than we want to be saved.
January 19, 2023
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.
When Jesus was here on earth, people came from many places to see him. The crowd grew so large that Jesus had to get into a boat to avoid being crushed. In the first reading of today, we hear that Jesus lives forever to make intercession for us. Think of what this means. The mission of Jesus goes on. He is our intercessor in Heaven.
January 18, 2023
“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Why is Jesus angry with the Pharisees? They have hardened their hearts and they do not want to understand who Jesus is. We don’t want to make this same mistake. In today’s Gospel, we can see Jesus in many different ways. Today I’d like to consider three: Lawgiver, Sabbath Rest, and Temple. Why do we have laws like the Ten Commandments? These laws are meant to help us to become like the Lawgiver who does good and not evil. Why was there a Sabbath Rest and why do we celebrate Sunday? Both of these foreshadow our heavenly home which is Jesus. Finally, why do we have temples, synagogues, and churches? These are meant to be places where we encounter the Holy One. For us, Jesus is both the place where we worship and the person that we worship.
January 17, 2023
“That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. When he tells us what to do, it is for our good. He doesn’t make rules just for the sake of making rules. He is like a good father who decides what his children need at each stage of their life. His wise rules help them to grow and to love.
January 16, 2023
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?”
Jesus says that he is the Bridegroom. What is the perfect bridegroom like? He has chosen the one he loves to live with him always. He is faithful, attentive, and loving. Jesus fulfills all of this and more. He is right when he asks, “How can the wedding guests be sad when the Bridegroom is with them?”
January 15, 2023
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
Jesus is the Lamb of God. What does this mean? How can Jesus be both the Shepherd and the Lamb? It is similar to the way that he is God and Man. As God, he is our Shepherd who guides us and protects us but as Man, he is our Teacher, our Example and our Offering. What does the name Lamb teach us? That it is okay to be weak, to be little, to be able to be carried. Jesus gives us an example of how to live this humble way in which we make our life an offering.
January 14, 2023
While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him.
The Gospels often tell us that Jesus interacted with sinners, that he ate with them and that he talked to them. We might think, as the Pharisees thought, “Why does Jesus hang around with sinners?” But in the eyes of God, we all are sinners. As St. Paul says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Jesus comes and dwells with us sinners and invites us to friendship with God.
January 13, 2023
“Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus is the one who forgive us our sins. When he forgives them, he wipes them out entirely and they no longer exist for him. This gives us the opportunity to start over. Jesus shows us the way to forgive others by offering them a chance to change.
January 12, 2023
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”
This Gospel that we are so used to hearing is actually rather strange. What can it tell us about Jesus? Why was his pity so strong that he healed this leper even when he knew that once cured this man would disobey him? Who is God? He creates us even when he knows that we will disobey him, that we will squander his gifts. He created us even when he knew that to save us, he would have to change places with us and become the outcast, the leper.
January 11, 2023
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Part of the deepest identity of Jesus is his relationship with his Father. Therefore when he could, he withdrew to a quiet place to pray. But when he was called back to the needs of others, he went immediately to their service because he knew that his food was to do the will of his Father.
January 10, 2023
All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority.”
What type of authority did Jesus show the people? It was the authority to preach, drive out evil and heal the sick. This authority came from his complete union with his Father and from his knowledge of his Father’s will. It expressed itself in a life lived entirely in the service of the Heavenly plan for the salvation of the world. When the people saw this type of authority, they were drawn to Jesus. Jesus wants to share this gift of authority with us so that we help others to love him. This authority is not the authority of power or riches but an authority that comes from prayer, reflection, and a life that shows forth the love of God.
January 9, 2023
Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
Jesus is our teacher. Everything he did and said was done for us. Today he wants to teach us two lessons that are very difficult for willful and proud human beings to hear. So he teaches us by his actions how to give up our own will and how to overcome our pride. Jesus does the Father’s will even when it doesn’t seem to make sense for him to be baptized and even when other people might think less of him. When we do the will of the Father in humility, we become one with Jesus. Then the Father is well pleased with us and the Holy Spirit makes us his dwelling place.
January 8, 2023
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.
The first people to come to see Jesus were shepherds and the Wise Men whom we often refer to as kings. It’s interesting to think that Jesus is both a shepherd and a wise king. Perhaps the people who are like Jesus are drawn to him. Shepherds are often seen as poor and lowly but they also are the supreme rulers over their kingdoms of sheep. They guide, protect and lead their sheep. Kings are often seen as powerful and mighty, but wise kings are also servants of their people, helping them to live good and worthy lives in the kingdom.
January 7, 2023
Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.”
Jesus is our mysterious friend. There have been many beautiful reflections written about the Wedding Feast of Cana. But today I found myself wondering: Why did Jesus perform his first miracle in this way? Why did he put the servants to so much trouble? Why didn’t he just make wine appear? We often ask questions about things that happen in our lives. Why did it happen this way?
We are children in God’s sight. Children often do not understand why their father does the things that he does. But they know that their father loves them. We do not have all the answers about why Jesus does or doesn’t do things but we know that he loves us.
January 6, 2023
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
What kind of baptism was John performing? It was a baptism for sinners. Why would a person who had no sin choose to receive this baptism? Anyone who saw Jesus being baptized would probably think that he was a sinner. Jesus shows us that he wants to be with us in all the difficulties of our lives. And when he humbles himself out of love for us, the Holy Spirit descends upon him and the Father is pleased.
January 5, 2023
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see the sky opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Did you notice something interesting about the titles used in today’s Gospel? Nathaniel calls Jesus the Son of God but Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man. We know that Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Man. Yet in the Gospels, Jesus calls himself the Son of Man over 80 times. Why do you think that Jesus uses this title so often? There are many possible answers to this question. I think that Jesus so fully embraced his mission of being one of us and coming to save us that the title Son of Man was very dear to his heart.
January 4, 2023
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,“What are you looking for?”—Jn 1:35-42
Jesus is the one who truly knows us. He gives us our true name that only he knows. He wants to encounter us at every moment of our lives whether that be 4:00 in the afternoon or dawn or midnight. If we try to follow him, he will turn to ask us, “What are you looking for?” I hope that each one of us will answer, “You, Jesus.”
January 3, 2023
Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.—Jn 1:29-34
What if you had to carry a heavy sack and every day it got heavier? And what if everyone else in the world also was carrying a heavy sack? And no one could get rid of their sack or help anyone else get rid of theirs? Everyone would feel sad and tired and hopeless. Then imagine what it would be like if suddenly someone appeared and said, “Give me those sacks. I am taking them away from you.” This is who Jesus is. He takes away the heavy burden of our sins.
January 2, 2023
There is one among you whom you do not recognize.—Jn 1:19-28
Jesus is both the one among us whom we do not recognize and also the one whom we are not worthy to serve. It can be so easy to fail to recognize Jesus hidden in our lives. On the other hand, it is also easy to recognize his greatness and to feel that we do not dare to approach him. Both of these attitudes are lacking. Who is Jesus? He is the one who is greater than all and yet makes himself smaller than all so that we unworthy as we are can approach him.
January 1, 2023
And Mary kept all these things reflecting on them in her heart.—Lk 2:16-21
This year, we’re beginning a new series called Who is Jesus? This is perhaps the most important question in the world. Many people in different places and times have asked this question. It isn’t a question with just one simple answer. It sin’t aa question that only needs to be answered once. It is a question that all Christians should reflect
The most perfect non-divine person is Mary. She was immaculately conceived, she is the Mother of God, she stayed at the foot of the cross. Yet even Mary pondered and reflected on the mystery of Jesus. If Mary had to think deeply about these things, how much more should we take the time to reflect on who Jesus is and what he means in our lives.
Each day, our family plans to use the Gospel reading to help us to know Jesus better. We want to share our thoughts with each other and also with our 5Sparrows family. Please join us by reflecting on the Gospel yourself and then sharing your thoughts through our contact form. We’ll post a brief reflection every evening.
Now, this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.—John 17:3