Monday, September 22, 2014

Reflection: Luke 8:16-18

Monday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time – Luke 8:16-18

Today’s Gospel is very short. It is just a few verses. In this Gospel, Jesus is instructing his disciples that the purpose of the light is to illuminate the room that it is placed in. Thus the lamp should be well placed so that the entire space is illuminated.

Then Jesus shifts his direction. He says that nothing will be hidden and everything will be visible. As he continues he says that all will be revealed: all secrets will be revealed and become known by others. Those words are intimidating to me! Personally I don’t want my life laid out for everyone to see! Would you? Most of my life is pretty normal. However, I still would not want everything about me revealed! If others did know everything about me, they might judge me or think of me differently!

I don’t think Jesus expects us to take these words literally. Perhaps these words are an invitation to us. He may simply be inviting us to pause and ask ourselves: Is there some area in my life that I truly would like to change? Is there something I want to stop doing? This week may we take the time to ponder Jesus’s words and ask: what is Jesus inviting you (and me) to do?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Reflection: Matthew 20:1-16a

Sunday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time – Matthew 20:1-16a

“The kingdom of heaven is like. . . .” Jesus is into parables! Today we have another parable that tells us about the kingdom of heaven. Today’s parable is the story of a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. The landowner and the workers negotiated a fair wage that both parties were content with. And the workers began to pick the grapes.

Several times during the day the landowner went back to the marketplace. Each time he went he hired more laborers to work in the vineyard. At the end of the day the landowner began to pay them. The men who were hired last were paid first. Surprisingly, they were given the usual daily wage! They must have been astounded. Some of them had only worked an hour or so! What a generous man the landowner was!

The workers who had been there all day then naturally expected that they would receive more than the amount they had agreed upon. After all, they had worked all day long! When they only received the amount they had agreed upon they were not happy. They complained that they were not paid more than had been negotiated. It seems like a reasonable expectation. However, the landowner simply paid them what he said he would! He paid them a just and fair wage. It was the workers’ expectations that changed!

The issue in this Gospel is not about fairness. It is about the generosity of the landowner. We appreciate it when God or someone else is generous to us. However, if someone else receives unexpected generosity, we may be a bit jealous. Yet, God gifts us abundantly every day. We just may not recognize it and give thanks for our abundance! Today may we open our eyes and hearts to recognize the many ways that God does gift us throughout our day.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Reflection: Luke 8:4-15

Saturday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time – Luke 8:4-15

“A sower went out to sow. . . .” Just hearing those first few words, we know the “rest of the story.” Today’s Gospel is the parable of the seed being sown in various types of ground. Naturally, the crops were most abundant where the seed was sown in fertile ground. If the ground was rocky, naturally it could not produce a good crop.

For any plant, tree or crop to grow well, the ground it is planted in has to be fairly good ground. If the ground is not good, most likely, the crop will not be good. Jesus constantly is sowing his seed in our hearts. What is the “ground of our hearts” like? Do we ever ask ourselves that question? Today may be a good day to check in with our “inner” ground! Is it prepared and ready to receive the seed Jesus is sowing in me today? If not, what can I do to prepare it?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Reflection: Luke 8:1-3

Friday of the 24th Week of Ordinary Time – Luke 8:1-3

Today’s Gospel speaks of Jesus being on the road again. Luke chronicles Jesus’s journey from one village to another. In each town Jesus went to, he preached and shared the good news of the kingdom. Jesus is not the only one who is to preach and share the good news of the gospel. As Christians, all of us are called to imitate Jesus!

Today may we ask ourselves: what is the good news that I will share with each person I encounter today? It may be as simple as giving them a smile or a cheerful word! Little things can mean more than we can imagine!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Reflection: Luke 7:36-50

Thursday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time – Luke 7:36-50

The Gospel for today is one that is very familiar. It is the story of the “sinful” woman who took an enormous risk by entering the house of a Pharisee. She came to anoint Jesus. She not only anointed Jesus but then she had the audacity to dry his feet with her hair! Just imagine the consternation this action must have caused!

Imagine the stares that must have been directed toward her and toward Jesus. Imagine the comments that were made by the men at table with Jesus. Undoubtedly her actions were scandalous in their eyes. However, to these men, Jesus’ actions were just as scandalous. Why would Jesus allow this sinful woman to touch him and to minister to him? Didn’t he know who she was? Didn’t he realize what her reputation was?

Jesus sees the heart of this woman. Jesus sees a woman who is truly repentant, a woman who desires to begin anew! And Jesus had the compassion and openness to accept her and forgive her!

Today may we let go of judgments! Today may we have the eyes as Jesus sees and strive to see the people we meet as Jesus sees them!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Reflection: Luke 7:31-35

Wednesday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time – Luke 7:31-35

Today’s Gospel is a story that we all are familiar with. It is the story of the “sinful” woman who interrupted Jesus’ meal and began to bathe his feet. What a spectacle that must have been! It is no wonder that all the people around the table were talking about it, wondering how Jesus would handle it. How dare this “sinful” woman interrupt their meal!

Yet Jesus seems to take it in stride. He simply lets the scene unfold. Her actions and the tender care she took in bathing his feet must have touched him deeply. Her care said more than any words could have expressed. Jesus “heard” her unspoken thoughts and he loved her! At times, we also come to Jesus needing his care, his touch, his forgiveness! Can we trust that Jesus looks at us with the same love he showed this woman? I hope so!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Reflection: Luke 7:11-17

Tuesday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time – Luke 7:11-17

The scene for today’s Gospel is the gate of the city of Nain. Jesus, his disciples and a crowd of his followers had just arrived in the city. As they came to the city gate, a man who had died was being carried out. This young man was his mother’s only son and she also was a widow. His death left her all alone. What sorrow the mother must have felt!

I doubt that the woman even saw Jesus. She was focused on her son and her great loss. But Jesus saw her pain and the Scripture says: “he was moved with pity.” Jesus didn’t just “notice” the woman. He truly “saw” her; he reached out to her and he literally “returned” her son to her! When did the woman realize the miracle that had happened? Did she think she was losing her mind? Was this really happening? Or did she simply trust?

At times, we too are in great pain and experiencing great loss. Do we trust that Jesus truly is with us? Do we believe that Jesus not only sees our pain but can we trust that he is reaching out to us, helping us get through the pain, the loss? At these times in our lives, it may be very difficult to trust Jesus. We even may begin to question what God is doing in our lives! Why is God letting this happening? Can I truly trust Jesus? At these painful times, may we pray for the grace to believe and trust that Jesus is right there with us, helping us get through this difficult time!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Reflection: John 19:25-27

Monday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time – John 19:25-27

 Today is the feast of “Our Lady of Sorrows.” This devotion to Mary dates from the 14th century. The Gospel today depicts Mary standing at the foot of the cross watching her son die a horrible death. How many parents and family members have stood “at the foot of the cross” watching someone they love die? Watching, waiting, knowing what the end will be but faithfully staying with the one they love, journeying with them to end!

Mary went through so much in her lifetime: a visit from an angel announcing that she would give birth to a son even though she had never been with a man! What was it like when she had to face Joseph? She watched her son grow up and become a teacher. And she watched her son die a horrible death — and for what purpose? Yet Mary never lost her faith and her trust in God! She must have questioned at times. (She was human!) Yet she must have had a very real, a very deep relationship with the God who called her.

At times, we also stand at the foot of the cross. How do I — how do we — respond? Do we trust that God is with us? Today may we ask Mary to grant us a share of her faith and her trust in God!