seeks to preserve his life will lose it,
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Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
On the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark’s Gospel has us listen to Jesus contrast a scribe (the professional interpreters of the law in his day) who enjoys honors for himself, with a poor widow who donates to the temple poor box the little she has. The woman’s generous heart must have moved him deeply.
Monday is the Memorial of Saint Josaphat, bishop and martyr. Tuesday we remember Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin. Saturday is the Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, religious.
The first readings this week are from the pastoral letters to Titus, Philemon, and the Second and Third Letter to John.
Continuing Luke's Gospel, we hear Jesus talk about scandal and about forgiveness. He calls us to “have faith the size of a mustard seed” in order to do extraordinary things in his name. Jesus tells us to be obedient to what God calls us to do and simply say, “we have done what we were obliged to do.” We learn a lesson about gratitude when Jesus heals ten lepers and only one, “foreigner” returns to give thanks. Jesus tells the confrontational Pharisees that the Kingdom of God's coming can't be “seen” and it won't be announced. “For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” “But first [the Son of Man] must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.” All we can do is to be faithful: “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.” Finally, Jesus tells the parable “about the necessity for [his disciples] to pray always without becoming weary.” God will give justice to those who call out to him with faith.
As we near the end of the Liturgical Year, we have more “end time” readings. On the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, we hear about being ready for the end of time. “In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates.” It is the good news that we can stay alert and will be ready when it is our time to recognize the Lord’s coming in our own life’s challenges today.
Daily Prayer This Week
This is a good week to ask Jesus what his messages are for us. What is he warning us about? What is he asking us to change? How is he encouraging us to place our trust in him? The answer will be different for each of us, but we have to pay attention and listen, in order to hear it. All of us need to hear him say, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.” But each one of us needs to ask “In what ways do I seek to 'preserve my life' and in what ways do I need to 'lose' my life?”
The trouble with this kind of reflection is that we too often let ourselves off the hook by saying, “I just don't have time.” And, on some days, our day is really “booked” from morning to night. Finding intimacy with God in the midst of our everyday life and becoming a contemplative in action provides a very real way to stay in focus and to reflect, even when we are very busy. This practice is meant to make use of the “free” time we have in the background of our consciousness each day.
The key to this kind of prayer is to begin each day with a moment of consciousness of what we desire, need, are asking for. Dear Lord, thank you for this day. Let me begin this day thinking of you and your love for me. Let me simply do whatever we ask me to do as your servant today. This only takes 20 seconds. We all have 20 seconds. However, we all find that it isn't easy to do this because our Lord is not very present in our day to day awareness, and we may never have simply talked with the Lord as the first thing we do when we awake. With practice, it works.
As we prepare for Sunday, we can spend a few more moments each day, simply talking with our Lord at brief in between times during the day. Hopefully, we'll be seeing in all the things around us, that we are being invited by the Lord to accept him, to let him call us and open our hearts to respond generously. To what is he calling us? A great question to ask right up to the time we go into church on Sunday. When there, we can give God thanks and praise for opening our awareness and our readiness for him.
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