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Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
On the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Jesus tells his disciples not to worry about someone driving out evil in his name. He warns about giving scandal, especially to children and calls for a radical avoidance of evil. We are to separate ourselves from it and choose to turn away from sin and its sources as radically as if to cut off our hand or pluck out our eye. It’s about life itself.
Monday is the Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church. Tuesday is the Memorial of the Guardian Angels, with its own special readings. Thursday is the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Our first reading all week offers a look at the Book of Job. We witness his despair and his faithfulness in his most trying times and end with his praise of God's glory.
We continue reading Luke’s Gospel, as the disciples argue about who is the greatest. Jesus points out a young child and asks them to strive to be the “least” not the greatest. Jesus stops his disciples from preventing people, not of their group, from healing, because they are with Jesus, too. He stops the disciples from “calling down fire from heaven” on the Samaritan people who didn't give them a good reception. People come up, offering to follow Jesus, but have excuses for why they can't do it now. Jesus calls them to not “look back” once they have said, “yes.” He sends his disciples to other towns: “The harvest is rich but the workers are few.” Jesus warns the people blessed by the graces of his visits there, but who have not changed their ways. He prays, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”
On the Twenty-seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time the readings speak of marriage and partnership. In the Book of Genesis, Adam does not find a suitable partner until the Lord creates woman. Psalm 128 praises the Lord who blesses home and family. In Mark's Gospel the Pharisees test Jesus asking if it is lawful for a husband to divorce his wife. The question is meant to be a trap for Jesus but he repeats the scripture in Genesis. The gospel ends with Jesus urging us to be like children were in that society - unimportant and with no status. “The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Then he embraced and blessed the children.
Daily Prayer This Week
A regular way of reporting some important news today is to cite the source: “according to a highly placed government official,” even when the source is anonymous. We give the story credibility if it seems to come from an authoritative source, deserving credibility. Jesus tells us clearly that the source of his message and his power is God, the Father, himself.
This week we can experience intimacy with God in the midst of our busy lives if we take brief moments throughout our day, every day, to let the connection between ourselves and God become conscious. We forget who we are. We get distracted by the world around us, even with things that are our duty, or commitment. To become more conscious of the presence of God with us in our busy days takes some practice. It is a matter of desire and choice. If we desire it, we will choose it. And, it takes a “method.”
This week we can wake each morning and let our first thoughts turn to our Lord and our relationship. “Good morning, Lord. Thank you for letting me be your disciple today. Help me to be connected with you throughout this day. With your love, help me to be freer and more grateful, in the midst of the anxiety and tension I experience today.” That takes less than 30 seconds to say. We might object, saying “I am just barely awake when I wake up. How am I supposed to think this clearly immediately?” It just takes practice. The point isn't to focus on the words, but on the relationship that frames our day. Then, in the shower, while getting dressed, getting to work, and at a dozen in between times throughout the day and evening, we can re-connect consciously, in and ongoing conversation - 20 or 30 seconds at a time.
“Be with me in this next challenge, Lord. I often lose my temper here. I can get fairly impatient at this time. I get hooked and slip into judgment and anger. Stay with me and I will rely on your grace to be more patient, gentle and loving.” Or, walking down the hall to the restroom, I might say, in my heart, “Lord, it really helps me to remember that beyond my job description, I'm your disciple. Help me to listen to you. Help me sense I'm here to let your Kingdom enter the world here. Give me the help to bring healing and love in this place today.”
Try to take a brief few moments while getting ready for bed to recall the moments of connection and grace this day and give thanks.
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