|“So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love.
But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
Twenty-fourth Week of Ordinary Time: Sept. 15-21, 2019
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Twenty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time
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.”
Friday is the Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs. Saturday is the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist.
We continue reading from Paul's First Letter to Timothy. It begins this week with the great prayer for our leaders. He then says how bishops and deacons should behave. He urges Timothy to be especially caring for the youth. Paul warns Timothy of the troubles of riches. Finally, Paul encourages Timothy to be faithful.
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus praises the faith of the Roman centurion who understands Jesus' power to heal. Jesus then raises from the dead the son of the widow of Nain. In response to constant criticism from religious authorities, Jesus compares the critics to children taunting their playmates. We read of the woman who entered a dinner Jesus was attending and wept over his feet, washing them with her tears, showing what real love is. Luke, who highlights the role of women in his gospel, tells us of women who accompanied Jesus and his disciples. Finally, Jesus gives us the Parable of the Sower and its interpretation about how temptations and shallow roots can prevent the Word from growing in us or how “the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life” can choke the Word.
On the Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time Jesus tells the parable of the unjust steward who finds out he's been caught squandering his master's property, and goes out and makes deals to make friends for the future. Jesus acknowledges his prudence and calls us to have, at the very least, prudence about our future. “If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?”
Daily Prayer This Week
Who among us hasn't wondered about how much is enough? How many times do we need to forgive? How much of the goods of this earth do I need to have? How generous am I able to be? The parables Jesus uses often shock our attention and give us a rich fruit for reflection.
These days, the news stories are centered on war and conflict, and on financial strain and greed. We are not always aware of the scope of the human tragedy that goes on in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our world. Many people on the earth suffer in so many ways - in the Sudan, in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Middle East. We can see stories of pain and suffering on the other side of the world and we feel it here. We might be filled with horror and compassion and fear. Insecurity, powerlessness can bring us to our knees and to the Lord. This week's readings help us with continuing reflection that can guide our integration of a confidence in God's love and mercy.
One of the great things that any tragedy brings forward is examples of great heroism and generosity. We also know that the human spirit can be tempted to the worst things imaginable. But, when we see people sacrificing their own lives to help others or showing with their generosity and passionate care how deeply they value human life, it lifts our own spirits and helps us be more generous and free.
We could ask the Lord this week to help us assess what we really need. Do riches become a trouble for us? Do anxieties and the pleasures of life choke my reception of the Word? Can we ask for the desire to walk through our days with trust in Jesus' power to heal, to bring what is dead to life? Each of us can make this daily desire request and reflection very concrete. And, as we prepare for the weekend, we can begin reflecting on how happy I am that God is merciful and generous, even toward those that I don't think “deserve” it.
As we begin each day with a desire, we can end each day with gratitude for what we received.
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