“Rather, when you are invited,
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Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time
On the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. From the Book of Revelation we read of “a great multitude” that stood before God. “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress...” Matthew’s Gospel offers us the Beatitudes: simple words but challenging teachings.
Monday is the Solemnity of All Saints, Tuesday is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls), and Thursday is the Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop.
During the regular readings this week, we conclude a four-week series of first readings from Paul's Letter to the Romans. He reminds us, “Who has known the mind of the Lord?”
In the Gospel according to Luke we see Jesus living out his daily life with challenging honesty. He calls us to extend an invitation out of our hearts, not with an eye on an invitation in return: “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” Then Jesus tells the parable of the invited guests who made excuses to decline the invitation. He sends his servants to invite everyone. Jesus tells a crowd that they have to renounce their possessions to be his disciple and that to do something really important, we have to prepare and be ready. When the religious leaders complain, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them,” Jesus tells parables of the man who finds his lost sheep and the woman with the lost coin, both of whom rejoice in finding what was lost. A steward protects himself by pardoning those who owe his master. We end the week with Jesus asking which is more important, God or money? “No servant can serve two masters.”
On the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark’s Gospel has us listen to Jesus contrast a scribe (the professional interpreters of the law in his day) who enjoys honors for himself, with a poor widow who donates to the temple poor box the little she has. The woman’s generous heart must have moved him deeply.
Daily Prayer This Week
This week guides us deep into our faith in several ways. With the Solemnity of All Saints, we are reminded of all the women and men whose faithful living of the Gospel is so clear that we are sure we can imitate their lives. These are all the named saints. It would be great to name the saints whose example we desire to shape our lives. All Souls day gives us the opportunity to remember and pray for all our brothers and sisters who have died. We confidently hope and pray that they may be embraced by the love and mercy of God, poured forth in the life giving death and resurrection of Jesus. This is a wonderful day to name all those we want to pray for, and to include in our prayer those who have no one to pray for them.
As we go about our very busy lives this week, we can continue to practice focusing our attention on an ongoing conversation with our Lord throughout the day. Our desires - for union with our Lord, to know God's love for us, to become more aware of our failings, to become more generous with our family and friends, to be more patient and forgiving, to love as we have been loved - can be expressed in these simple expressions. These expressed desires will naturally interact with the real events of our day.
The gospels this week will draw us into desiring to be more merciful and to not let money or pride dominate our behavior. We won't be “unprepared” if we keep making openings for our Lord to enter the ordinary moments of our days. In repeated momenets, we can simply open our hearts and ask God for the desire to have our lives focus on God's desires for us, rather than what our culture wants us to focus on so constantly.
Each night, let's look back over the day briefly, and give thanks for a God who listens to our desires.
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