November 6, 2018
by Mike Cherney
Creighton University's Physics Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 486

Philippians 2:5-11
Ps 22:26b-27, 28-30ab, 30e, 31-32
Luke 14:15-24

Praying Ordinary Time

Certain scripture scholars contend that today’s first reading was an early Christian hymn. The first verse of Psalm 22 is yet another ballad; even the melody is given. (For the [musical] leader; [set] to “The deer of the dawn.”- A psalm of David.) The Gospel is a story that we sang in elementary school with the refrain I cannot come. My wife and I just celebrated our “LP” anniversary, that is, thirty-three and a third years. Early on we discovered that our appreciation of songs tends to come from different places. My wife enjoys melodies. I focus on the lyrics.

Today is Election Day in the United States. As a nation of people who are often depicted as divided, I think that we can draw a lot from today’s readings (lyrics). I see these passages showing the gifts that flow when our identities grow less out of what we possess and more out of an imitation of Christ, the ultimate servant-leader.

The parts of Paul’s letter which precede today’s passage hint at the internal discord of the Church in Philippi. He specifically mentions envy, rivalry and selfish ambition. In today’s reading we are encouraged to take Jesus as our role model. Jesus acts out of humility and service. Paul holds this up as a guide for restoring unity and cooperation in the Church.

The verses from the Responsorial Psalm are a hymn of praise, but they only come after earlier passages which depict the Psalmist’s anguish at the hands of enemies. This is the type of challenge that Paul’s letter describes Jesus enduring. (The second verse of Psalm 22 is Jesus’ lament on the cross.) Again, as in Paul’s letter, in spite of suffering, the one laid low is given God’s rewards.

The Gospel Acclimation promises God’s rest to those who are burdened.

Today’s Gospel is the story of a man who holds a banquet but those who are initially invited do not accept the invitation as they are occupied with other things. The master of the house fills his table with people one might not consider to be among those welcomed to a feast. (My youngest son married about two weeks ago. It was interesting to see who chose to be present.)

My prayer today involves shifting my concerns to that which really matters.

Dear Lord,
Forgive me for the times that I put my ego and my worldly treasures before humility and service.
Forgive me for my moments of despair and my failure to trust.
Help me to remember that a community flourishes when it is grounded in service and respect.
Guide me in seeing where I should be heading and how I should be spending my time.

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