|“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Twenty-third Week of Ordinary Time: Sept. 8-14, 2019
U Online Ministries Home Page | Daily Reflections
Praying Ordinary Time | Online Retreat | Weekly Guide to Daily Prayer Home
Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time
On the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear Wisdom marvel at God's ways. Paul writes to his friend, Philemon, about Philemon's slave, Onesimus, who is now a convert and in prison with Paul. Paul asks that he be taken back as a son or a brother. In Luke's Gospel, Jesus tells the crowd that following him will involve radical conversion and requires that each us discern if we can prepare for the self-denial required.
Monday is the Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest. Friday is the Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Saturday is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, with its own special readings.
The first part of the week, the first readings are from the Letter to the Colossians. Paul is in prison, encouraging this community to put their trust in Christ, not mystical teachings and powers. He challenges them to live their baptism and to walk in the union they have with and in Jesus. Friday we begin reading Paul's First Letter to Timothy. On Saturday Paul boldly proclaims that he is the “foremost” among sinners and a sign of God's mercy.
In the first part of this week, following Luke’s Gospel, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand, on the Sabbath, in front of his religious critics. Then Jesus goes up on a mountain to pray and comes down to name his twelve apostles - all of whom seem to be unknown or questionable at best. When people come to him from all over, he heals them. Jesus announces that the poor, the hungry, those who weep, and those hated or excluded or denounced because of him are the blessed. He warns those who are rich, filled, laughing and spoken well of, for their fates will be reversed. He cautions not to be quick to see the splinter in someone else's eye when we do not notice the "wooden beam" in our own eyes. Jesus says that we will be known by our fruit. It is only by building our lives upon him, as a firm foundation, can we hope to survive crises.
God's loving mercy and forgiveness to us is the central message in Luke's Gospel for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Knowing that his audience includes not only the sinners but also the judgmental religious leaders, Jesus offers three parables about mercy, ending with the powerful story of the Prodigal Son. The father says to the jealous older son, “You are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”
Daily Prayer This Week
When we place Jesus at the center of our lives, as Paul calls the Colossians to do, two marvelous graces are given us. We experience God's love for us in the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus. As grateful sinners, we then are able to forgive others.
As we begin each day this week, we can let these two graces be part of our reflection. We can ask our Lord to show us his love. We can fearlessly ask to understand who we are as sinners, in the concrete ways each of us falls short, gets distracted, becomes uncentered and makes very unfree choices. We can ask to be forgiven and healed. We can beg for the grace to forgive others. This journey each day might take us into specific patterns, habits, ruts we're in. We may even want to prepare to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week, in preparation for celebrating the upcoming Sunday's readings.
We can choose to focus carefully this week on those people we ask for the grace to forgive. Whose faults do I pay most attention to? Whom do I judge harshly? From whom do I withhold forgiveness? If we begin each day, asking our Lord to reveal the answers to these questions, throughout our day, our days this week will show us deeper places where the Lord can forgive us and where we can share that mercy.
From the beginning of the week, we might ask Mary to gently guide us to trust her Son's love and to be more tender in loving those people her Son invites us to forgive and be a source of healing.
Throughout this week, we can also give thanks for the ways we are called to be Jesus' followers - not because we are extremely talented or because we are perfect, but because he saw in us something that he could heal and then send us to heal others. We can be especially attentive to the ways we are blessed in our poverty and in the ways we sometimes experience rejection as his disciples.
Send us an e-mail
Creighton U Online Ministries | Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer | Tell a Friend about these Weekly Guides
Visit the Daily Reflections Each Day This Week