Sunday Gospels 2018: Readings & Reflections

Sr Veronica's weekly one page reflections on the Sunday Gospel Readings have a global circulation. Each month the next four reflections are published here on our website in reverse chronological order so that the most current reflection is always at the top of the list. 

Veronica Lawson is an Australian Sister of Mercy. She studied Scripture at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem and at Trinity College, Dublin. For many years, she lectured in Biblical Studies at the Australian Catholic University and its predecessor institutions before spending seven years as leader of her congregation. She regularly presents biblical workshops and lectures within Australia and throughout the world. Sr Veronica writes from an eco-feminist perspective.

You are welcome to circulate these reflections. Please acknowledge the author, Veronica Lawson rsm.

Fr Eamonn O'Connor presents the Sunday Gospel on the Irish radio show Side by Side, a Religious and Social Affairs programme with a difference. Broadcast every Sunday morning on Shannonside FM from 10.00 – 11.00, ‘Side by Side’ communicates the Christian message in the context of contemporary Irish society. It does so in a manner that is ecumenical and informative.

28 January 2018. 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 1:21-28

'Today’s gospel reading recounts the first episode in a section of Mark’s gospel that focusses on a typical day in the ministry of Jesus as authoritative teacher and prophetic healer (1:21-38)...'

21 January 2018. 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 1:14-20

'Most of the gospel readings for this year are from Mark's story of Jesus. As with any story, it is best to read it from beginning to end, attending to the story line, to indications of place and time, to all the actors or characters in the story, human and other-than-human...'

14 January 2018. 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

John 1:35-42

'A personal call to a particular a way of life is not always easy to explain, even to oneself. At my religious profession, I chose the challenging motto “To give without counting the cost”. I have taken that motto seriously, even if I have often wanted to change it...'

7 January 2018. Feast of the Epiphany Year B

Matthew 2:1-12

'God’s presence is revealed to us in diverse ways: we can read the book of God’s vast creation; we can search out the meaning of our dreams; we can learn from our own and others’ experience; and we can listen to the voice of our sacred scriptures...'

25 February 2018. 2nd Sunday of Lent Year B

Mark 9:2-10

'The wilderness was the geographical and key symbolic focus of last week’s gospel story. This week, the focus is a mountain. Wilderness and mountain remind us that God’s Earth itself is the locus of mystery and grace, the place of Earth-divine encounter...'

18 February 2018. 1st Sunday in Lent Year B

Mark 1:12-15

'Lent comes around each year and presents us with its usual challenge to take stock of our lives, to see more clearly what is in our hearts, and to discover what might be calling us out of our comfort zones...'

11 February 2018 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 1:40-45

'We all seek to be part of family and community because we are social beings who need to engage with others and with our environment...'

4 February 2018. 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 1:21-28

'In the Mediterranean world of the first century, sickness was attributed to social rather than physical causes. The corollary of this was that healing focussed principally on restoration of the person to her or his place or status in the society or community rather than on the person’s bodily affliction or dysfunction. In a very real sense, the healing of an individual brought not only the person but the community itself to wholeness...'

25 March 2018. Passion/Palm Sunday Year B

Mark 11:1-10; Mark 14:1-15:47

'Mark's account of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem is more restrained and less victorious in tone than the other gospel accounts. In keeping with Mark's gospel as a whole, it forms part of the relentless journey of Jesus, the suffering Messiah, towards Jerusalem the place of his death...'

18 March 2018. 5th Sunday of Lent Year B

John 12:20-33

'Today’s gospel tells us that among those who go up to Jerusalem to worship at the feast of Passover are some “Greeks”. The reference is probably to a group known in the early church as “God-fearers”, although that designation is found only in Luke’s second volume, the Acts of the Apostles...'

11 March 2018. 4th Sunday of Lent Year B

John 3:14-21

'The gospel for today is the concluding section of Jesus’ conversation with a Pharisee called Nicodemus, who comes to him “by night”. It features a number of typically Johannine themes: life, eternal life, believing, seeing, God’s love, salvation, judgment, light, darkness, the world, truth...'

4 March 2018. 3rd Sunday of Lent Year B

John 2:13-25

'Today’s gospel passage foreshadows the death of Jesus. As a devout Jew, Jesus goes up to Jerusalem at Passover. His final going-up will be the occasion of his death and resurrection...'

29 April 2018. 5th Sunday of Easter Year B

John 15:1-8

'Again and again, life's experiences teach us that, as members of the Earth community, we cannot make it on our own. We need one another, other living beings, the sun, the soil, the water and everything else that formed from exploding stars in the distant past...'

22 April 2018. 4th Sunday of Easter Year B

John 10:11-18

This year we celebrate World Earth Day on Good Shepherd Sunday. The liturgy invites us to reflect on Jesus as the noble or good shepherd of the believing community.

15 April 2018. 3rd Sunday of Easter Year B

Luke 24:35-48

'Extraordinary things can happen if we open ourselves to the presence of a stranger on the road of life. That is one of the elements in today’s gospel that forms the conclusion to the Emmaus story...'

8 April 2018. 2nd Sunday of Easter B

John 20:19-31

'Some of us may remember when we spoke of the Sundays after Easter. The terminology has changed and we now speak of the Sundays of Easter. In other words, we now recognise that the liturgical readings and prayers for each Sunday between Easter and Pentecost invite us into a different movement of the one great symphony of resurrection faith...'

1 April 2018. Easter Vigil Year B

Mark 16:1-8

'At the foot of Mt Macedon, where I spent the first sixteen years of my life, stands the lovely Anglican Church of the Resurrection, built in the aftermath of the devastating 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires...'

20 May 2018. Pentecost Sunday Year B

John 20:19-23

'As we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, let us gather into our hearts all the distressed members of our Earth community and pray with greater urgency than ever: “Come Holy Spirit, renew the face of the Earth...”

13 May 2018. Feast of the Ascension Year B

Mark 16:15-20

'The feast of the Ascension invites us to face the universal experience of the loss of a loved one, and to face it in a transformative way...'

6 May 2018. 6th Sunday of Easter Year B

John 15:9-17

'The constitutions of my religious institute remind me that “the tender mercy of our God has given us one another”. The implications of this profoundly beautiful truth are spelt out thus: “In our communities, we try to live in the friendship of Christ’s disciples [Jn 15:15]...'

24 June 2018. Birthday of John the Baptizer

Luke 1:57-66, 80

'Today’s gospel is a good news story. Most of us respond with joy to the birth of a child, especially when the odds are stacked against the parents conceiving. As the child grows to maturity, friends and family might look back and interpret later achievements in the light of childhood expectation and promise...'

17 June 2018. 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 4:26-34

'The first of the parables in today’s gospel reading has no parallel in the other gospels. It compares God’s kin-dom to a trusting sower who scatters the seed by day, sleeps by night, and simply observes the “earth produce of itself” until it is time to harvest the grain...'

10 June 2018. 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 3:20-35

'Name calling is an age old device used to discredit enemies. Politicians are adept at finding labels with which to discredit their opponents. Sometimes the labels stick and often have the effect of destroying good people...'

3 June 2018. The Body and Blood of Christ Year B

Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

'The Gospel for today reminds us that we are in a “covenant” relationship with our God. We renew that covenant in every celebration of the Eucharist...'

29 July 2018. 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

John 6:1-15

'The gospel readings for the next five weeks are taken from John 6, a section of the gospel that focuses on food and related themes: on hungry people; on the need for food/bread; on food/bread as metaphors for life...'

22 July 2018. 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 6:30-34

'In every life, there is need for a balanced rhythm of work and re-creation. With so much pain and suffering in our world, the demands of living a gospel way of life can overwhelm us and cause us to act as though everything depends on us...'

15 July 2018. 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 6:7-13

'To be a disciple of Jesus is to experience a call. It is also to be sent on a mission in partnership with others, a mission invariably expressed in terms of preaching, teaching, healing, and/or driving out of demons or unclean spirits. In other words, it is to be authorised to do what Jesus did and to proclaim what he proclaimed...'

8 July 2018. 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 6:1-6

'Most of us have known the experience of feeling powerless in the face of rejection, especially when it is rejection from those who are closest to us, from those who might normally be expected to understand and affirm us...'

1 July 2018. 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 5:21-43

'As noted in relation to Mark 3:21-35, Mark’s gospel often has a story within a story. Some scholars refer to this technique as the making of a Markan sandwich, others as a framing device...'

26 August 2018. 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

John 6:60-69

'If we have trouble understanding and coming to terms with the teachings of Jesus in the gospel, then we can take some comfort from the reaction of the disciples in John’s community some decades after the death of Jesus...'

19th August 2018. 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

John 6:51-58

'In this week’s gospel passage, we continue our reflection on John 6. John’s gospel was written towards the end of the first century. The Bread of Life discourse probably reflects the interpretation of the gospel writer rather than the actual words of Jesus...'

12 August 2018. 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

John 6:41-51

'We sometimes forget that Jesus was a Jew, as was John, the author of the gospel. It may seem strange, therefore, that John has the “Jews” complaining about Jesus. It is indeed strange, and it has caused many a reader to wonder...'

5 August 2018. 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

John 6:24-35

'We have become so familiar with the sayings of Jesus that we can easily fail to notice the earth elements in the text or the constructed environment and treat them simply as backdrop for human activity rather than as having value in themselves...'

30 September 2018. 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 9:38-48

'Sometimes we act and speak as though we have the monopoly on access to the power of God although we have no such monopoly. In today’s gospel Jesus seems to be telling his disciples that God works through people of good will, irrespective of whether they are on the edge (“not one of us”) or at the centre of the kin-dom of God movement...'

23 September 2018. 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 9:30-37

'Most of us have to admit to being like the disciples whom Jesus was trying to bring from blindness and ignorance to insight and understanding. Like them, we are often afraid to ask for explanations when we fear that we may not be able to deal with the responses we receive...'

16 September 2018. 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 8:27-35

'Today’s gospel reading leads us into a section of Mark’s gospel that explores challenges confronting all disciples on their journey of faith. The first challenge is to clarify the nature of our commitment as disciples of Jesus...'

9 September 2018. 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 7:31-37

'Those who are profoundly deaf frequently find themselves on the edge of the human and Earth communities. Without access to birdsong, to spoken discourse, to music and to the vast range of media communication, they often struggle to understand and to be understood...'

2 September 2018. 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

'After a lengthy detour over the past six weeks into the gospel of John with its focus on Jesus as the Bread of Life and the Bread of Wisdom, we return to Mark’s gospel and a legal dispute about ritual purity...'

28 October 2018. 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 10: 46-52

‘What is it that we fail to see? Today’s gospel reading brings to closure a long section of Mark’s gospel that focuses on the journey of Jesus and his disciples from Caesarea Philippi in the north to Jericho in the south…’

01. 28 October 2018. 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 10: 46-52

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21 October 2018. 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 10:35-45

‘In the kindom of God movement established by Jesus, there is no place for domination or for any exercise of power over others. In today’s gospel story, this is a lesson that James and John, the sons of Zebedee, clearly need to learn…’

01. 21 October 2018. 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 10:35-45

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14 October 2018. 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 10:17-30

‘Not too many of us commit murder or adultery. Not too many take hostages or give false testimony in a court of law. Most are ready to honour and care for their parents in their old age. In other words, most of us are basically decent and honest…’

01. 14 October 2018. 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 10:17-30

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7 October 2018. 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 10:2-16

‘The question of gender inclusivity in decision-making has been much in the news of late…Since the creation of patriarchy in the Bronze Age, some 3000 years ago, lack of gender inclusivity has posed a challenge, particularly for those who find themselves excluded…’

01. 7 October 2018. 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 10:2-16

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25 November 2018. Feast of Christ the King Year B

John 18:33-37

'The liturgical year always ends with the celebration of the Feast of Christ the King. The gospel reading for Year B is from John's gospel where the notion of God's kin-dom or reign or empire features only twice in contrast with its frequent appearance in the other gospels, especially Matthew....'

01. 25 November 2018. Feast of Christ the King Year B

John 18:33-37

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18 November 2018. 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 13: 24-32

'In the opening lines of today’s gospel reading, there are clear echoes of two passages from the prophecy of Isaiah. The first passage reads, “For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light” (Isaiah 13:10)...'

01. 18 November 2018. 33rd Sunday in ordinary Time

Mark 13:24-32

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11 November 2018. 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 12:38-44

'Whether the longer or shorter gospel reading is selected for today’s liturgy, the literary context deserves attention. Jesus is teaching the crowds in the Jerusalem Temple...'

01. 11 November 2018. 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 12:38-44

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4 November 2018. 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 12:28-34

'In today’s gospel reading we encounter a good scribe, while in next week’s we find some not so good scribes. This seems to fit the pattern of the Markan gospel. There are faithful disciples and not so faithful disciples...'

01. 4 November 2018. 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Mark 12:28-34

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30 December 2018. Feast of the Holy Family Year C

Luke 2:41-52

'The time between Christmas and New Year is often family time, a good time to think about what family means. For many, it is a challenge to juggle the various family commitments. We do our best, and trust that everyone will understand the difficult choices that sometimes have to be made...'

01. 30 December 2018. Feast of the Holy Family Year C

Luke 2:41-52

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01. 25 December 2018. Christmas Day Year C. Prologue of John

John 1:1-18

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23 December 2018. 4th Sunday of Advent Year C

Luke 1:39-44

'The fourth Sunday of Advent draws us closer to the celebration of the Christmas mysteries...Advent is not a time of passive waiting. It is a time to ponder the various ways that God sustains life in its diverse forms. It is a time to become householders, like Elizabeth, who clear the paths and open our doors for the God of life to enter in..'

01. 23 December 2018. 4th Sunday of Advent Year C

Luke 1:39-44

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16 December 2018. 3rd Sunday of Advent Year C

Luke 3:10-18

'The third Sunday of Advent used to be called Gaudete (be joyful) Sunday. It provided a mid-term break within a period of austerity or penance in preparation for Christmas. Advent is no longer celebrated as a penitential period, but rather as a reflective time of expectation and hope. The invitation to rejoice nonetheless remains part of the Advent liturgy...'

01. 16 December 2018. 3rd Sunday of Advent Year C

Luke 3:10-18

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9 December 2018. 2nd Sunday of Advent Year C

Luke 3:1-6

'Pope Francis has called us to look into our hearts, to let go of all that is harsh or cruel and to bring the compassion and mercy of God to our troubled planetary home...Like Luke, author of the third gospel, Pope Francis recognises that this message is for the whole world and not simply for the Church community...'

01. 9 December 2018. 2nd Sunday of Advent Year C

Luke 3:1-6

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2 December 2018.1st Sunday of Advent Year C

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

'Today’s gospel passage, with its vivid description of the end-time signs, may seem a strange choice of reading for Advent and the beginning of the Church year. Its depiction of global devastation has a particular resonance in a post-industrial world faced with the effects of climate change...'

01. 2 December 2018. 1st Sunday of Advent Year C

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

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