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Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer
Twenty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time: Sept. 13-19, 2020
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The Twenty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time
Sunday is the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Sirach asks, "Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself, can he seek pardon for his own sins?" Jesus talks about mercy in the gospel. He tells the parable of the unforgiving servant. It's a powerful message for us.
Monday is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Tuesday is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. Wednesday is the Memorial of Saint Cornelius, pope and martyr, and Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr.
In our first reading, Paul's wonderful First Letter to the Corinthians continues to feed us with good community behavior and powerful messages about the Eucharist and the mystery of the Resurrection.
We experience more of the beauty of Luke's Gospel this week. Jesus encounters a widow whose only son had died. "He was moved with pity" and raises the son from the dead. Jesus tells the people how inconsistent their responses are. At a dinner, Jesus encounters a weeping, sinful woman who washes his feet with her tears."So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love." We hear that Jesus is accompanied by a group of women "who provided for them out of their resources." Jesus tells the parable of the sower and breaks it open for a large crowd of listeners.
For the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time we receive the powerful parable about the landlord who represents God's way of caring for us. Though workers go out into his vineyard at various times of the day, he pays them all the same. When they grumble, he simply explains that he desires to be generous. How this can change our view of God and our own sense of justice?
Daily Prayer This Week
This is a good week to imagine how much we are like Jesus' disciples. We clearly want to be his follower, and we do follow him. The humbling reality is that we are inconsistent. At the very time that Jesus is telling us that he wants us to find ourselves by losing ourselves, we are too often being competitive and trying to be on top somehow. Fortunately, he keeps telling us about the real meaning of discipleship. Paul lays it all out in this week's first readings. The parable of the sower is quite helpful this week. We can imagine ourselves as each one of the soils Jesus describes.
Each morning, as soon as we can after waking up, perhaps associated with some automatic behavior like putting on slippers or a robe or getting a cup of coffee, we begin the day in the presence of our Lord. We can get into the habit of greeting our Lord, "Good morning, Lord. Thank you for this day." Even if we didn't have a good night's sleep and we are waking up fairly tired, this habit can part of our routine. Naming our desire for the day can become the way we begin our day with the Lord. Repeating it, with more details, as we encounter the people and responsibilities of our day, will deepen our relationship with the Lord. Brief conversations (what we normally call "prayers") sustain the connection all day.
In one circumstance this week, I might say, "Lord, here I am being that very hard ground. Please get through to me in the part of me that is still 'receptive soil.'" Another day, I might catch myself trying to make myself look good and I can say, "Dear Jesus, your reminder helps me right here. Let me be a servant in this situation, with these people - forgiving, listening, compassion and freer." Sometime this week we might encounter someone who needs us to be like Jesus - healing something that is broken, or even deadly and we can say, "Lord, let me do your will, imitate your faith in God here. Thank you for being with me."
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