Creighton University Online Ministries

I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you....
For if you love those who love you,
what recompense will you have?

Matthew 5

Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time: June 16 - 22, 2013

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Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

On the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time in Luke's Gospel we hear of the Pharisees who criticize Jesus for allowing a sinful woman to wash his feet. He tells them of two debtors who are forgiven. “Which of them will love him more?” Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Friday we celebrate the Memorial of the young Jesuit saint, Aloysius Gonzaga.

In the Second Letter to the Corinthians, Paul is defending himself. He tells the people of Corinth -- and us -- not to receive the grace of God in vain. Paul reminds them about generosity and cheerful giving. He begs the community not to dismiss him because of his poor speaking abilities saying, “Even if I am untrained in speaking, I am not so in knowledge.”  He boasts about his weakness, which he had at first begged to be freed from by the Lord, who said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus calls us beyond simply being moral. His message is not an “eye for an eye,” but turning the other cheek, loving our enemies and praying for them. Jesus cautions us about performing good deeds for others to see. He teaches us to pray simply, because our Father knows what we need. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.... For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Focus on God, not the world: “No one can serve two masters... You cannot serve God and mammon.”

On the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we have Luke's Gospel with powerful words of sacrifice and focus for our lives: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”



Daily Prayer This Week

There is nothing like the Sermon on the Mount to help us hear the message of Jesus, and to let ourselves be addressed by those words. All of us can ask for the graces Jesus promises us - with real people and real daily circumstances in mind. We know with whom we need to “turn the other cheek” and to love more. We know the situations in which we are tempted to “be religious” in those circumstances only.

Upon reflection, each of us can take the time to “locate” our hearts, by discovering what we tend to treasure. How can we really know what we treasure? We can make a list of the “five most important things” in our lives. Then we make a list of the five things we spend most of our time on. Comparing the lists will help us get concrete about asking the Lord for the grace we need to put our lives back in balance. All of us can name what we worry about. And so we can all ask for the graces to “seek first” the Kingdom of God.

All of this reflection can happen throughout the week in the background of our daily life, if we get into the habit of focusing for a few moments each morning. If we take just 30 seconds, at the edge of our bed each morning, it will begin to establish a habit of living more reflectively.

Thank you for this day, Lord. Help me to be focused today on not getting so hooked by Mary's ways or Chris' harsh words. I need your grace to place my trust in you. Help me especially before I have to talk with Mary on the phone and let me stay focused before Chris comes home from work.

This version of a brief moment with the Lord - friend to friend - can be repeated and made more specific, while we are going about our days. Some days, we might have 20 such moments of prayerful conversation with our Lord - guided by the Word, the desires that are surfacing, and the events of our daily lives. And, each night, we can give thanks for this deeper relationship with the Lord that is developing in our hearts.

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