“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
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Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
A vision of comfort and healing is offered for the Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time. In Jeremiah, we see the Lord gathering “his people” - the blind, the lame and the helpless innocents, bringing them together to console and guide them. In Mark’s Gospel, Bartimaeus, the blind beggar has the courage to beg for healing from Jesus. He is hushed by the crowd but continues to call loudly for Jesus, who hears him and heals him. “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Thursday is the Solemnity of All Saints. Friday we remember All the Faithful Departed (All Souls). Both days have special readings.
The Gospel of Luke offers a glimpse of Jesus healing and teaching the people, even as he continues to clash with religious leaders. He cures the “bent woman” on a Sabbath and tells of the tiny mustard seed which develops to become a full grown bush. He repeats that it will not be easy to enter the Kingdom: “For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” He defies those who bring word of threats on his life and defies the silent Pharisees who watch as he cures a man on the Sabbath. Jesus encourages us to be humble: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
On the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, in Mark's Gospel a scribe asks Jesus, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus tells him to love the Lord with all of his heart. The second commandment is: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The scribe agreed with Jesus, saying, “to love your neighbor as yourself' is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Jesus replied, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Daily Prayer This Week
Please, Lord, anything but humility! Our instinctive reaction to humility might be the result of a culture that exalts riches, honors and pride. Yet all this week Jesus teaches that the way to salvation is through humility.
The first step might be simply asking for the desire to be humble. As we move through the simplest of moments in our everyday lives, we can stop and ask God to help us want to be humble. As we sit on the edge of the bed in the morning, as we head to work, sort laundry or do our errands, we can keep a running prayer in the background of our consciousness: “Lord, help me to desire the humility that will make me more aware of your saving grace.”
These same background moments offer ways for us to recognize opportunities to practice humility as we go through our days. Perhaps I can stop myself from correcting my spouse. In a disagreement, I might make an extra effort to listen to the other person's side rather than planning my rebuttal as they speak. I can let a person in line in front of me, hold the door for someone or make an extra effort to recognize and thank those who serve me. Here in the US, it is the season of politics and elections. Maybe I can even admit that I may not fully understand the opinions of others and that there may be some legitimate points to them. Even these tiny gestures, when done in the spirit of Jesus' teachings this week, offer us a special grace.
All week we can continue to speak to the Lord as we would to a loving friend who listens to us. And always, we can end our day in gratitude, for the merciful God who loves us so compassionately and longs to be in our hearts.
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