will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
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Twenty-Ninth Week of Ordinary Time
For the Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time, through the parable of the persistent widow wearing down the unjust judge, Jesus urges us to have faith. “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them?”
Monday is the Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Tuesday is the Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist, with its own special readings. Wednesday we remember Saint John de Brébeuf and Saint Isaac Jogues, priests and martyrs, and their companions.
Paul's Letter to the Ephesians speaks about God's mercy and grace, calling us “members of the household of God” and saying that as a community we “are being built together into a dwelling place” of the Spirit. Paul, who was probably a prisoner at the time he wrote this letter, urges us to live “in a manner worthy of the call you have received” and calling us to patience and humility.
This week in Luke's Gospel we hear Jesus giving us his challenging message: be prepared for the coming of the Kingdom, be unencumbered enough to follow Jesus freely. He says, "“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Our faith and calling as Christians means we are called to go beyond what our world and culture requires: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Jesus envisions his mission on earth as a purifying fire, “and how I wish it were already blazing!” He tells us, “If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way.” The weekday gospels end with the parable of the gardener who saves the barren fig tree from being cut down, saying to his owner “Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.”
On the Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time we have Jesus' dramatic story of the Pharisee and the tax collector standing in the temple, the Pharisee relieved that “I am not like the rest of humanity” and the tax collector with eyes down, begging for mercy. “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Daily Prayer This Week:
As Jesus continues to head toward Jerusalem in this week’s readings, it can be easy to pray, if we can focus. For simple thoughts and feelings to make their way into the background of our reflections this week we have to make a conscious choice to do it. Once we choose to let ourselves be reflective in this way, we can let this week’s readings into our consciousness.
It becomes real when I realize that I am on the road with Jesus to Jerusalem in my life. I can sense the resistance in me to face all that it means. I resist the call to greatness that Jesus offers – to be a servant for others. Greed can take a serious role in my life – unconscious, of course, but once I experience how many things I “want,” I’ll sense the role of greed within me.
I see the potential for my fruitfully connecting with my Lord throughout this busy week when I hear the call to be “vigilant” and to be aware of the “signs” of times today. Some days we can begin our days like getting on a treadmill and going all day. If I’m only attentive to what is immediately in front of me, I start to lose perspective. With reflection, I can see the “big picture” again and why I’m here and for whom I am responsible. Sometimes I’ll have the courage not to be a “peace at all costs” person, but will actually take steps, say things, come together with others to “set the earth on fire.”
Finally, perhaps this week I can simply get back in touch with being “called” and respond in a dozen simple ways, to thank the Lord for calling me and asking for the grace to be faithful.
We can prepare for Sunday later this week by begging our Lord to heal our blindness – our blindness to who we are and to the needs of those around us – and to follow him on the road to Jerusalem.
Dear Lord, sometimes I can be so dense. Thanks so much for getting through to me now and again. When I “get it,” it seems that I want to be your disciple with every ounce of being within me. I really get the “fire” image you use. At other times, all I see is my needs and the ways I seem to be unfulfilled or falling short in some way. Release me from myself, that I might be free to give myself to my brothers and sisters who need my love and care. Then, I’ll follow you into the toughest of situations with courage and hope.
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