By Fr. Bill Nordenbrock, C.PP.S.

For the past couple of weeks our Gospel passages has come from a section of Luke’s Gospel referred to as the Sermon on the Plains. Immediately after Luke’s account of the calling of the apostles, Jesus begins to form them and teach them how to be disciples. Let’s look at Jesus’ lesson plan.

Two weeks ago, in a favorite passage on the Beatitudes, Jesus surely got everyone’s attention by preaching that being poor, hungry, sad and weeping, and being despised are blessings. And being rich, having a full belly, being liked and well respected is a curse. Can’t you just imagine the apostles starting to feel restless and uneasy?

Last week the discipleship lesson continued with a list of seemingly impossible commandments: Love our enemy. Turning the other cheek. Be generous beyond reason. Forgive without any measure of judgement. Can’t you imagine Simon Peter giving Andrew a look that says: What have you gotten me into?

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus shifts the focus of his disciples. Instead of just looking at their actions, Jesus wants them (and us) to look deeper into the source of those actions—their hearts. He tells them that a person can produce good only if they have a store of goodness in their heart. He says that when a disciple is fully trained, then they will be like the teacher; they will have the heart of the teacher and their actions will be like the actions of the teacher. Discipleship is only possible if it can flow out of a heart that is one with Jesus; a heart that is in communion with the heart of the Christ. The preparation for being a disciple, the preparation to be able to accept the Beatitudes and to live according to these seemingly impossible commandments, is to have a heart that is one with the heart of Jesus.

When we celebrate Eucharist as a community, we are celebrating our communion with God and one another. Each time, at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, the presider elevates the Body and Blood of Christ, declares our communion and leads a hymn of praise:

Through him, with him and in him,

O God, almighty Father,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all glory and honor is yours,

forever and ever.


And the congregation responds with its affirmation: Amen!

Maybe today our prayer can be:

Through him, with him and in him

O God, almighty Father,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

I will love my enemy. I will turn the other cheek.


Through him, with him and in him,

I will not judge and condemn. I will forgive and

be as merciful to others as you are to me.

 May the Church say: Amen!

To view the full scripture reading, click here.



A former moderator general of the worldwide congregation, Fr. Bill Nordenbrock, C.PP.S., continues to minister in service to the Community. Currently he resides in Chicago and is the interim director of advanced formation.

Missionaries of the Precious Blood