September 26, 2023
by Cindy Murphy McMahon
Creighton University - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 450

Ezra 6:7-8, 12b, 14-20
Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5
Luke 8:19-21

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

In today’s first reading from Ezra, for the dedication of the house of God, the people offered “100 bulls, 200 rams and 400 lambs, together with 12 he-goats as a sin-offering for all Israel.”

I don’t know that I’ve read of, or at least noticed, such a large offering before as this one so dramatically presented in Ezra. The larger and more significant the celebration, the more the sacrifices called for. This makes me think of the magnanimous shift in thinking that Jesus represented. No more sacrificing of animals. Done. Finished. Not necessary. All those centuries – millennia – of the religious tradition. Over. With Jesus, it was time for the completion, the final sacrifice. As the Lamb of God, he truly brought a new way of thinking, believing, and acting. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”

But that newness was not just for the people of that time. He wants to bring new things into our lives as well. For example, in the gospel of Luke, Mary and other family members came to see Jesus. In the past when I read or heard this passage, I was drawn to the fact that Jesus seemed annoyed with the person who told him his family wanted to see him, or maybe he was annoyed with his family members.

But this time, in light of the first reading and thinking about the end to animal sacrifice that he brought, I saw his response (“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it”) as an example of teaching something brand new. I saw that he was primarily making the point that anyone who listens to him and follows him is as important to him as his immediate family.

Even today, do we really think we could be as important to Jesus as Mary and his other beloved family members? That’s a surprising concept to ponder. That’s why it’s important to be open to the Holy Spirit in our lives. Surprising things sometimes break through to us, things that depart from the way we used to think. His word is just as alive and true today, so we need to stay close to him, listen to his words, and act on them. We will find newness, and change, but salvation.

I also see another message in his response. He was challenging the folks in the room with him to broaden their thinking about who would constitute his family. And likewise he is challenging us to broaden our thinking as well today.

Are there certain groups or types of people or individuals that I mentally exclude from the family of God, whether consciously or unconsciously? Are there certain groups or types of people or individuals that I refuse to treat with the love I reserve for my own family? If so, I need to ask the Spirit to bring that into my consciousness so I can bring my thinking into conformity with the will of God. I need to pray, listen, and then act.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Sharing this reflection with others by Email, on Facebook or Twitter:

Email this pageFacebookTwitter

Print Friendly

See all the Resources we offer on our Online Ministries Home Page

Daily Reflection Home

Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook