pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay
no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have
done, without overlooking the others.
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Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time
For the Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time we have the powerful story about Jesus healing ten lepers and only one of them coming back to give thanks, and that one was the foreigner. It reminds us of the importance of gratitude.
Saturday is the Memorial of Teresa of Avila, known as Saint Teresa of Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church.
This week we end our look at the Letter to the Galatians and begin two weeks of Paul's Letter to the Ephesians. The letters emphasize the universal church and the unity of this church that brings together Gentiles and Jews.
In Luke's Gospel this week, Jesus seems frustrated that some of the people won't listen to him. They seek a sign. When a Pharisee invited Jesus for dinner, the fellow was shocked that Jesus didn't do the required ritual washing of his hands. Jesus uses this as an opportunity to talk about real purity. He recommends they give money to the poor and tells the Pharisees, “You impose on people burdens hard to carry,” As Jesus continues to challenge the Pharisees, they hatch a plot to get rid of him. Jesus tells his disciples to beware of the “leaven” or “hypocrisy” of the Pharisees. “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” Jesus wants us to acknowledge him, in the face of persecution. Even when we sin, we simply can't give up on the work of the Spirit among us. It is the Spirit who will guide us in what to say or do.
For the Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time, through the parable of the persistent widow wearing down the unjust judge, Jesus urges us to have faith. “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them?”
Daily Prayer This Week:
On Sunday we have the story of the ten lepers who beg for healing. These outcasts cannot be a part of society without being cured. Jesus heals them, but they seem to forget about what Jesus did for them. Only the foreigner returns to thank him. This is a good moment for us to reflect on what God has given us this week and to thank God for those gifts.
Whether or not we have a clear picture of where we are being called by Jesus, we can feel the invitation, the call to our hearts, in the silence. We can take just a few minutes each morning as we awaken to sit by the side of the bed and open our hands and hearts and pray, “Jesus, in this quiet moment, I feel my heart being drawn to you. Help me to see this day where you are calling me.”
We can repeat this small act on our way to work, taking our children to school and walking to the store. “I know you are in my heart, Jesus. I know you are calling me this day, but my heart is not always open to listen. Help me to answer your call today. At the end of this day, help me to be joyful in answering your call through those in my life.”
So many of the stories this week are clashes between Jesus and the Pharisees. We can ask ourselves: Where in my life do I worry more about appearances than I do the poor who are in front of me? Who are “the poor” in my life? Who are the outcasts, the unpopular or the rejected people I see each day? How can I minister to those people and be a leaven in this world?
At the end of each day this week, we can be grateful for the many opportunities we were given to follow along with Jesus. We can ask the Holy Spirit to help us see the invitation in our lives every day and ask for the clarity to recognize “the poor.” When I see the poor, the outcasts, those whose health or habits make them unappealing, do I love them the way Jesus would? Can I look at the brusque and rude people in my life as people Jesus would have gravitated toward, sensing how much they need love?
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