The Gospel Truth

Excerpt from The Gospel Truth by Kenneth Ogorek


Note: This book consists of about 150 brief installments corresponding to the 3-year cycle of Sunday gospel readings. Each installment is about 2 1/2 pages long. The book totals 432 pages. Below is a sample of four weekly installments—


A – 1st Sunday of Advent

The Gospel

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Matthew 24:37-44

Truths of our Catholic Faith

It is significant that Jesus mentions Noah. Noah isn’t just some make-believe person in a fairy tale about a flood. Regardless of any specific details about the Great Flood, Noah is a real person, a person to whom—after the flood—God made a promise. God promised never again to wreak such havoc directly on the entire human race. Not until the world as we know it ends will the life of every person be abruptly, profoundly, permanently affected.

God made an everlasting covenant with Noah and with all living beings (cf. Gen 9:16). It will remain in force as long as the world lasts. CCC 71

Life as we know it will in fact end at some point unknown to us. Every person simultaneously will stand before Jesus, our loving and fair Judge, when this world passes away and eternity proceeds in earnest for every person ever to have lived. And although God’s mercy alone ultimately makes heaven a possibility for each person, we must also be mindful of our deeds, of our actions, of how we spend our time. We should, in a sense, live each day as if it were our last—being prepared, staying awake.

"The holy Roman Church firmly believes and confesses that on the Day of Judgment all men will appear in their own bodies before Christ's tribunal to render an account of their own deeds" (Council of Lyons II [1274]: DS 859; cf. DS 1549). CCC 1059

A Question for Me

Without obsessing over it, am I mindful of the fact that one day I will stand before the judgment seat of Jesus?

For a Child in My Life

“What did God promise Noah after the Flood?”

My Role in the Community

What kind of example do I set for those with whom I work in the field or grind at the mill? If the Lord comes soon, will my example have helped so that my companions as well as I enter eternal life?

For Depth and Further Life Application

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122
Romans 13:11-14
United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, preface, pages ix-xii

Show us, Lord, your love; and grant us your salvation. cf. Psalm 85:8


A – 2nd Sunday of Advent

The Gospel

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
John wore clothing made of camel’s hair
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves,
‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you,
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Matthew 3:1-12

Truths of our Catholic Faith

Saint John the Baptist called people to repent and told their leaders to show evidence of repentance. What is repentance exactly? It is returning to God. It’s also known as conversion. You feel sorry about sins you’ve committed—detesting them, actually. You resolve to cooperate with God’s grace better so as to avoid sin.

The Baptizer points out our need constantly to turn away from sinful thoughts, words, deeds and omissions. His call was, and is, urgent.

The movement of return to God, called conversion and repentance, entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future. Conversion touches the past and the future and is nourished by hope in God's mercy. CCC 1490

Baptism in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit admits us to the family of faith, to the People of God. Jesus wants all people to be united with Him and with each other in His Church. Unity doesn’t have to mean uniformity in all things. But the call to be a united family is unmistakable, and Baptism joins us with all God’s new People.

One enters into the People of God by faith and Baptism. "All men are called to belong to the new People of God" (LG 13), so that, in Christ, "men may form one family and one People of God" (AG 1). CCC 804

A Question for Me

Do I think of conversion as a once-and-for-all change, or do I acknowledge it as a process needing persistent attention on my part?

For a Child in My Life

“When did you become a member of God’s family?”

My Role in the Community

Does my treatment of all fellow Christians show that I consider them as family members? Do I treat all members of my family as I would Jesus Himself?

For Depth and Further Life Application

Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72
Romans 15:4-9
United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, introduction, pages xv-xxiv

Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths: all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Luke 3:4, 6


A – 3rd Sunday of Advent

The Gospel

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ,
he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question,
“Are you the one who is to come,
or should we look for another?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Go and tell John what you hear and see:
the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised,
and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
As they were going off,
Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John,
“What did you go out to the desert to see?
A reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see?
Someone dressed in fine clothing?
Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out? To see a prophet?
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way before you.

Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Matthew 11:2-11

Truths of our Catholic Faith

The one who is to come. How do we know that Jesus is the one who is to come? Jesus had a reply for his cousin John; plus we know what many, many others have seen and heard about Jesus of Nazareth—the Son of God. God sent His only Son to reveal what is needed for our salvation from sin and death.

God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant for ever. The Son is his Father's definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him. CCC 73

Jesus’ reply pointed out signs of God’s reign. God’s Son went on to teach the crowds a bit about the Kingdom of Heaven. God’s Kingdom burst onto the scene when Jesus began His public life and ministry. Like yeast in a loaf of bread the Kingdom of God has been affecting reality ever since.
We know that the Reign of God will not be fully realized until the end times. As sure as the loaf will rise when everything is in place, though, His Kingdom will indeed come.

At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. Then the just will reign with Christ for ever, glorified in body and soul, and the material universe itself will be transformed. God will then be "all in all" (1 Cor 15:28), in eternal life. CCC 1060

A Question for Me

Although knowing about someone isn’t exactly the same as knowing the person, it certainly helps. How extensively do I try to learn about Jesus?

For a Child in My Life

“Who did Saint John the Baptist prepare the people to receive?”

My Role in the Community

What role do I play in helping the blind, the lame, the deaf, the poor? In addition to what I might do directly, do I financially support effective efforts to help people with various, very legitimate, needs?

For Depth and Further Life Application

Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10
Psalm 146
James 5:7-10
United States Catholic Catechism for Adults pages 151-152

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. Isaiah 61:1 (cited in Luke 4:18)


A – 4th Sunday of Advent

The Gospel

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.

Matthew 1:18-24

Truths of our Catholic Faith

Have you ever wondered where Jesus gets His name? What does “Jesus” mean? In this Gospel reading is the answer.

Incidentally, to a person who doesn’t believe that she or he needs to be saved from anything—especially sin—neither Jesus or His name probably mean all that much. To those who know that salvation is a most basic human need, though, Jesus literally means everything.

The name Jesus means "God saves." The child born of the Virgin Mary is called Jesus, "for he will save his people from their sins" (Mt 1:21): "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). CCC 452

Jesus, Mary and Joseph are prominent in this Gospel reading. Notice, though, that the Holy Spirit too is a major presence. The uniquely Christian perception of God—as the Holy Trinity—is held out for us to grasp often throughout the Gospels, as Jesus and the Spirit often are mentioned in the same breath.

From the beginning to the end of time, whenever God sends his Son, he always sends his Spirit: their mission is conjoined and inseparable. CCC 743

A Question for Me

How do I treat the Most Holy Name of Jesus? Could my use of Jesus’ name use a bit of extra attention?

For a Child in My Life

“What does the name Jesus mean? Why do you think the Son of God’s name is Jesus?”

My Role in the Community

Mary could have been exposed to shame. Am I prone to gossip about people or at least jump to negative conclusions about them? Can I be a person who puts a stop to others’ attempts to spread information they consider shameful?

For Depth and Further Life Application

Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 24
Romans 1:1-7
United States Catholic Catechism for Adults pages 101-102
The virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel. Matthew 1:23


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