Articles by Michael Marchal

Reflection questions for RCIA seekers: Year A – Palm Sunday through the 4th Sunday of Easter

Palm Sunday — Matthew Background: Christian liturgy is not a play reenacting past events but a living celebration of the inner meaning of those events so that it comes alive in us today. As the oldest Palm Sunday hymn says: “To you before your passion they sang their hymns of praise. To you, now high […]

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Reflection questions for RCIA seekers: Year A – Palm Sunday through the 4th Sunday of Easter

Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year A – The 2nd Sunday of Lent through the 5th Sunday of Lent

The 2nd Sunday in Lent Background: We read this week the last of three interconnected episodes in the gospel: Jesus’s baptism, temptation, and now transfiguration. What links them is that they deal with the meaning of his being the beloved Son/Servant. We have seen how he has struggled to understand the meaning of his Sonship;

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Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year A – The 2nd Sunday of Lent through the 5th Sunday of Lent

Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year A – The 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time through the 1st Sunday of Lent

The 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time Background: The Sermon on the Mount continues; we are once again being taught the basics of life in God’s kingdom/reign. And they are not about kosher ordinances or other do’s and don’t’s but about love in action—which is why this selection from Isaiah was chosen to parallel this Gospel.

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Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year A – The 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time through the 1st Sunday of Lent

Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year A – The 2nd through 4th Sundays of Ordinary Time

The 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Background: Ordinary Time gets its name because each year one of the three synoptic gospels is read “in order” starting with the Baptism of the Lord which marks the end of the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany season and going on through 34 Sundays to Christ the King. Only Lent-Easter-Pentecost interrupt the steady

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Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year A – The 2nd through 4th Sundays of Ordinary Time

Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Christmas Season

Christmas Mass During the Day Background: This is the last and oldest set of readings for Christmas in the Roman Rite. It can startle us because there are none of the details about the baby and the manger that we are so used to from the Lucan infancy narrative. Yet a saying from St. Athanasius,

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Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Christmas Season

Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year A – The First Sunday of Advent to the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Cycle A – DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Introduction to Matthew Matthew was writing for a predominantly Jewish audience, and so he occasionally presumes a bit of knowledge about the laws and customs of Judaism that many of us might be unfamiliar with. But it is easy for us to understand his references if we check the footnotes

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Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year A – The First Sunday of Advent to the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time to the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

You can reflect questions for every Sunday of the year by clicking here. Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time Background: The pointless self-righteousness of the Pharisees is a dominant theme in Luke’s Gospel. This Sunday, though, it is the Sadducees’ narrow concept of God which is being portrayed for us. By setting up a rhetorical situation which

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Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time to the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 26th-31st Sundays in Ordinary Time

You can reflect questions for every Sunday of the year by clicking here. Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time Background: Although much of the Old Testament tradition proclaims God’s love and care for the poor and the vulnerable, another strand in the tradition presupposes that wealth is a sign of God’s favor. On the road up

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Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 26th-31st Sundays in Ordinary Time

Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 22nd-25th Sundays in Ordinary Time

You can reflect questions for every Sunday of the year by clicking here. Twenty Second Sunday of Ordinary Time Background: Jesus is still on his journey to Jerusalem and continues to teach us what we need to do to make the journey with him. In this Sunday’s gospel selection, he is warning us to take

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Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 22nd-25th Sundays in Ordinary Time

Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 18th-21st Sundays in Ordinary Time

Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time Background: In contemporary America this Sunday’s set of readings is profoundly countercultural since only two decades ago we had a head of the Federal Reserve consistently assuring us that “Greed is good!” At this stage in his journey to Jerusalem, Jesus is once again calling our attention to the need to

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Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 18th-21st Sundays in Ordinary Time

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