The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
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Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time
The story of the rich man and Lazarus is the focus of the Luke's Gospel on the Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time. This is a classic story of how the tables are turned in the afterlife. The rich man has it good in this life and ignores the plight of poor Lazarus. In the afterlife, it is the rich man who is in torment and Lazarus is the one who is enjoying heaven. The double irony comes when the rich man asks that Lazarus be sent to warn his brothers. Jesus responds: “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” Will we listen to the one who has risen from the dead?
Tuesday is the Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, priest. Thursday is the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels, with its own special readings. Friday is the Memorial of Saint Jerome, priest and doctor of the Church. Saturday is the Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church.
Our first reading for the week offers a look at the Book of Job. We witness his despair and his faithfulness in his most trying times and end with his praise of God's glory.
Luke's Gospel continues to offer us stories of Jesus “resolutely” on the way to Jerusalem and the suffering that faces him there. Jesus points out a young child and asks them to strive to be the “least” not the greatest. He is not welcomed in a Samaritan village but rebukes the disciples who want revenge on the village. He encourages his followers: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” He sends 72 of his disciples out with nothing but their faith: “no money bag, no sack, no sandals.” He holds the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida accountable for ignoring his message despite “mighty deeds done in your midst” saying “whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” As the 72 followers returned to Jesus, they marveled at the power given them in his name as he praises his father for revealing wisdom “to the childlike.”
We read from Luke's Gospel on the Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time about the apostles asking Jesus, “Increase our faith.” Jesus assures them they only need faith the size of a mustard seed. Then, Jesus makes it clear that as disciples our role is that of servants.
Daily Prayer This Week:
A regular way of reporting some important news today is to cite the source: “according to a highly placed government official,” even when the source is anonymous. We give the story credibility if it seems to come from an authoritative source, deserving credibility. Jesus tells us clearly that the source of his message and his power is God, the Father, himself.
This week we can experience intimacy with God in the midst of our busy lives if we take brief moments throughout our day, every day, to let the connection between ourselves and God become conscious. We forget who we are. We get distracted by the world around us, even with things that are our duty, or commitment. To become more conscious of the presence of God with us in our busy days takes some practice. It is a matter of desire and choice. If we desire it, we will choose it. And, it takes a “method.”
This week we can wake each morning and let our first thoughts turn to our Lord and our relationship. “Good morning, Lord. Thank you for letting me be your disciple today. Help me to be connected with you throughout this day. With your love, help me to be freer and more grateful, in the midst of the anxiety and tension I experience today.” That takes less than 30 seconds to say. We might object, saying “I am just barely awake when I wake up. How am I supposed to think this clearly immediately?” It just takes practice. The point isn't to focus on the words, but on the relationship that frames our day. Then, in the shower, while getting dressed, getting to work, and at a dozen in between times throughout the day and evening, we can re-connect consciously, in and ongoing conversation - 20 or 30 seconds at a time.
“Be with me in this next challenge, Lord. I often lose my temper here. I can get fairly impatient at this time. I get hooked and slip into judgment and anger. Stay with me and I will rely on your grace to be more patient, gentle and loving.” Or, walking down the hall to the restroom, I might say, in my heart, “Lord, it really helps me to remember that beyond my job description, I'm your disciple. Help me to listen to you. Help me sense I'm here to let your Kingdom enter the world here. Give me the help to bring healing and love in this place today.”
Try to take a brief few moments while getting ready for bed to recall the moments of connection and grace this day and give thanks.
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