So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom
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Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
On the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear in Mark's Gospel as Jesus tell his disciples about his passion, death and resurrection to come in Jerusalem. Peter tries to prevent him from going there. Jesus rebukes him and tells the disciples and us that to be a disciple is to follow him, not trying to save one's life, but by dying to ourselves and losing ourselves for his sake and that of the Gospel. That is the only path to real life.
Thursday is the Memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Taegŏn, priest and martyr and Saint Paul Chŏng Hasang, martyr, and their companions, martyrs. Friday is the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist, with its own special readings.
In our first reading, Paul's wonderful First Letter to the Corinthians continues to feed us with powerful messages about good community behavior, the Eucharist and the mystery of the Resurrection.
We experience more of the beauty of Luke's Gospel this week. Jesus heals the slave of a Roman officer, praising the officer's faith. He encounters a widow whose only son had died. “He was moved with pity” and raises the son from the dead. Jesus tells the people how inconsistent their responses are. At a dinner, Jesus encounters a weeping, sinful woman who washes his feet with her tears. “So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love.” We hear that Jesus is accompanied by a group of women “who provided for them out of their resources.” Jesus tells the parable of the sower and breaks it open for a large crowd of listeners.
On the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear Jesus tell his disciples about his passion, death and resurrection a second time. It is clear to him that they didn't understand the first time. He knew that, along the way, they had been arguing about who was the greatest. He gathers the Apostles and says to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Daily Prayer This Week
This is a good week to imagine how much we are like Jesus' disciples. We clearly want to be his follower, and we do follow him. The humbling reality is that we are inconsistent. At the very time that Jesus is telling us that he wants us to find ourselves by losing ourselves, we are too often being competitive and trying to be on top somehow. Fortunately, he keeps telling us about the real meaning of discipleship. Paul lays it all out in this week's first readings. The parable of the sower is quite helpful this week. How healthy and rich is the soil of our own souls? Can we feel the longing we have to make our hearts more receptive to the message of Jesus?
Each morning, as soon as we can after waking up, perhaps associated with some automatic behavior like putting on slippers or a robe or getting a cup of coffee, we begin the day in the presence of our Lord. We can get into the habit of greeting our Lord, “Good morning, Lord. Thank you for this day.” Even if we didn't have a good night's sleep and we are waking up fairly tired, this habit can part of our routine. Naming our desire for the day can become the way we begin our day with the Lord. Repeating it, with more details, as we encounter the people and responsibilities of our day, will deepen our relationship with the Lord. Brief “prayers” (which are really just conversations) sustain the connection all day.
In one circumstance this week, I might say, “Lord, here I am being that very hard ground. Please get through to me in the part of me that is still 'receptive soil.'” Another day, I might catch myself trying to make myself look good and I can say, “Dear Jesus, your reminder helps me right here. Let me be a servant in this situation, with these people - forgiving, listening, compassion and freer.” Sometime this week we might encounter someone who needs us to be like Jesus - healing something that is broken, or even deadly and we can say, “Lord, let me do your will, imitate your faith in God here. Thank you for being with me.”
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