“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
Thirtieth Week of Ordinary Time: Oct. 24-30, 2010
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Thirtieth Week of Ordinary Time
On the Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time we have Jesus' dramatic story of the Pharisee and the tax collector standing in the temple, the Pharisee relieved that “I am not like the rest of humanity” and the tax collector with eyes down, begging for mercy. “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Thursday is the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles, with its own special readings.
Luke's Gospel offers us lessons this week about humility. We see a vivid example of the compassion. Jesus heals a woman on the Sabbath over the protests of the synagogue leaders. “This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the Sabbath day from this bondage?” He compares the Kingdom of God to a tiny mustard seed which flourishes into a large bush and he compares it to yeast a woman uses to make bread, mixing until the whole batch was leavened. He cautions his followers to be humble: “For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” When Pharisees warn Jesus that Herod wants to kill him, he warns the people of Jerusalem: “how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling!” Jesus cures a man with dropsy under the critical eyes of the Pharisees. He turns to those at the table and tells them a story about guests at a banquet scrambling for places of honor. He tells them to take the lowest place, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
On the Thirty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time we have Luke's marvelous account of Jesus' encounter with the wealthy tax collector, Zacchaeus. Watching from a tree, he is invited by Jesus: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”
Daily Prayer This Week
Please, Lord, anything but humility! Our instinctive reaction to humility might be the result of a culture that exalts riches, honors and pride. Yet all this week Jesus teaches that the way to salvation is through humility.
The first step might be simply asking for the desire to be humble. As we move through the simplest of moments in our everyday lives, we can stop and ask God to help us want to be humble. As we sit on the edge of the bed in the morning, as we head to work, sort laundry or do our errands, we can keep a running prayer in the background of our consciousness: “Lord, help me to desire the humility that will make me more aware of your saving grace.”
These same background moments offer ways for us to recognize opportunities to practice humility as we go through our days. Perhaps I can stop myself from correcting my spouse. In a disagreement, I might make an extra effort to listen to the other person's side rather than planning my rebuttal as they speak. I can let a person in line in front of me, hold the door for someone or make an extra effort to recognize and thank those who serve me. In this season of politics and elections, maybe I can even admit that I may not fully understand opinions and that there may be some legitimate points to them. Even these tiny gestures, when done in the spirit of Jesus' teachings this week, offer us a special grace.
All week we can continue to speak to the Lord as we would to a loving friend who listens to us. And always, we can end our day in gratitude, for the merciful God who loves us so compassionately and longs to be in our hearts.
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