|“Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.”
Twenty-fifth Week of Ordinary Time: Sept. 22-28, 2019
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Twenty-Fifth Week of Ordinary Time
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 the steward's 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?”
Monday is the Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest. Friday is the Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest.
The first reading this week comes from the Book of Ezra, one of the first chroniclers of the post-exile period of Judaism. He is responsible for helping hold the restored people together. We finish the week with brief selecktions from the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, who were prophets during this period. “Consider your ways!” “My spirit continues in your midst; do not fear!”
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus urges us to use our gifts: “No one lights a lamp and hides it under a bushel basket.” When his family comes looking for him, Jesus uses the occasion to tell us that we are family to him, if we hear his Word and act on it. Herod is wondering who Jesus really is. He encourages his Apostles to freedom, sending them out to teach and heal, taking nothing with them. Jesus asks his disciples who they think he is. Peter replies for them all, “The Christ of God.” Jesus doesn't want them to announce he’s the type of Messiah they were looking for. Instead, he tells them of his upcoming passion and death.
The story of the rich man and Lazarus is the focus of the Luke's Gospel on the Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time. This is a classic story of how the tables are turned in the afterlife. The rich man has it good in this life and ignores the plight of poor Lazarus. In the afterlife, it is the rich man who is in torment and Lazarus is the one who is enjoying heaven. The double irony comes when the rich man asks that Lazarus be sent to warn his brothers. Jesus responds: “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” Will we listen to the one who has risen from the dead?
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.
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