do you want me to do for you?”
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Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
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.
Wednesday is the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thurday in the U.S. is Thanksgiving Day with its own readings. For the rest of the world, we remember Saint Cecilia, virgin and martyr. Saturday is the Memorial of the Vietnamese Saint Andrew Düng-Lac, priest and martyr, and his companions, martyrs.
During these last two weeks of Ordinary Time, the first reading is from the Book of Revelation, with its mystic imagery. Written for readers who were familiar with apocalyptic writings, the writings send a hidden message of salvation to the earliest communities of Christians, and to us.
Luke's Gospel continues with the story of the blind man who hails him, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” An unpopular tax collector, Zacchaeus, climbs a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus and is given personal recognition as Jesus says, “Zacchaeus, today I must stay at your house.” Luke's version of the parable of the talents offers praise for the servant who has invested the ten coins and earned another ten. “Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.” In Jerusalem, Jesus weeps over the city, foreseeing the destruction that is coming, “because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” Jesus drives out the sellers from the temple while the chief priests plot against him. Religious leaders try to trap him with a trick question about a woman who marries seven brothers but Jesus refutes them.
On the Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. In the first reading from the Book of Daniel, we read of a vision he has of “one like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven.” In John’s Gospel Jesus tells Pilate, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Daily Prayer This Week
Making changes in our lives and the fear of making those changes are both themes in this week's gospels. Zacchaeus boldly reforms his life after he allows Jesus into it. The servant who is given a gold coin hides it in a handkerchief because he is afraid of his master. He has a chance to be given responsibilities but his fear keeps him from doing anything.
We are often afraid when we consider making a change in our lives. We can see habits that are not healthy, a benign neglect of those we love and patterns that are deeply set in our lives. We may know deep down that we want to change them but we don't have the confidence to believe we can do it. This week we are invited by Jesus to know that while we can't make those changes alone, we can if we allow Jesus to be with us in them.
Where do we start? With a small prayer. In those tiny pockets of time during our week, when we travel, ride to work, do dishes or even in the shower, we can take these reflective moments to ask for help. Just as Jesus asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” he is asking us the same question.
What do we want Jesus to do for us? Where do we want to make changes in the patterns of our lives? What changes are we afraid to make?
Dear Jesus, I ask for your help. Heal my fears. You have asked how you can help me and I am afraid to answer. I know what changes need to be made in my life but it seems overwhelming. Help me to open my heart to what you are asking - and to what I know I need. Be with me when I don't always know how to live in these new patterns and give me the humility to keep asking you for help over and over.
Let me feel your presence in my life and that will give me the strength and courage I need to live my life more faithfully.
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