Thursday, October 30, 2014

Reflection: Luke 13:31-35

30th Week in Ordinary Time - Luke 13:31-35

Today several of the Pharisees come to Jesus. They warn him that Herod is planning to kill him. These men seem sincere in their concern for Jesus and his safety. However Jesus does not heed their warning. Rather he tells them that they should go to Herod and report to him all the wonders and signs that Jesus had done.

I wonder how these Pharisees reacted to Jesus’ suggestion. I suspect they did not want to talk to Herod about Jesus! What would Herod think? Would he assume they were followers of Jesus? Most likely they didn’t want Herod to think they had any connection to Jesus!

Even though these Pharisees didn’t like what Jesus was preaching, they also seemed to respect him. Their desire to protect Jesus seems very sincere. Have you ever been in a similar situation? At these times, there is not a clear answer. There often is no certainty about what is “right” and what is “wrong.” All we can do is pray and then choose what seems best for all involved and then act. Jesus will grace us with the wisdom and insight we need!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reflection: Luke 13:22-30

30th Week in Ordinary Time – Luke 13:22-30

The Gospel today begins with someone in the crowd asking Jesus if only select people will be “saved.” In differing situations, we might hear conversation or homilies about “being saved.” Ask yourself: do you worry about “being saved?” If so, what is the source of your anxiety? What does it stem from? Does it come from not being perfect? Or do you worry about some choices you made in the past that were not good for you or for the people you love?

None of us is perfect — as we well know. We are far from it! The good news is Jesus gives us many more chances than we deserve. Jesus is the most loving and forgiving person who ever walked on the face of this earth! He knows that we are human. He knows that at times we will hurt others, berate ourselves, make poor choices and we may even turn away from Jesus for a time. Jesus knows this well and yet he continues to love us! He never stops inviting us to “come home.”

Jesus doesn’t ask us to be perfect. He simply wants us to come to him as we are. Do we, do I, trust his love is for us? Jesus is waiting! What do I choose to do?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Reflection: Luke 6:12-16

Feast of Saints Simon and Jude–Luke 6:12-16

The Gospel today begins with Jesus going up the mountain to pray. St. Luke writes that Jesus spent the whole night in prayer and meditation.

However, when daylight came Jesus called his disciples together. He then chose twelve of them to be his Apostles. Jesus must have known them well. And these men must have known Jesus fairly well. I doubt that it was easy for them to leave their families. Yet they followed their hearts and left their homes and their families to follow Jesus wherever he went! What trust! What generosity!

Today Jesus is calling us to “follow him.” What is our response to his invitation? Will we respond to his invitation as his disciples did? Or will we make excuses that the “time is not right?” May we have the grace to follow Jesus today! He will lead us!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Reflection: Luke 13:10-17

30th Week in Ordinary Time –Luke 13:10-17

Today we have another familiar story. The primary character in this Gospel is a woman who had been crippled and incapacitated for 18 years. She was bent over and she was unable to stand up straight. Her whole world must have been limited by her infirmity. Can you imagine not being able to look into another person’s eyes as you were talking with them?

Yet her infirmity was only one aspect of this woman. Jesus looked deeply at the woman and truly “saw” her. He saw her — not her infirmity. And Jesus had compassion on her: he healed her of her infirmity! She immediately responded to his great gift by praising and glorifying God.

Many in the crowd were astounded by Jesus’ ability to cure her. However, the leader of the local synagogue was extremely upset by Jesus “healing” on the Sabbath. To this man, the law was more important than the life and health of this woman. He bluntly said this to Jesus! Jesus responds to his remark harshly. Jesus says that anyone who owns animals feeds and waters them on the Sabbath. Should this woman not be healed simply because it was the Sabbath? Did she deserve less than the animals?

At times we also become legalistic. And we may judge someone harshly — even though it is not ours to judge. At times the judgment comes so automatically, I am hardly aware of it.

Today as we move through our day may we be mindful of our thoughts and especially of our judgments! If or when we become aware that we are judging another, let us consciously choose to “let go” of the judgment! God will bless us! (And we will feel better about ourselves!)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reflection: Matthew 22:34-40

30th Week in Ordinary Time –Matthew 22:34-40

The Gospel today is a familiar one. The scene opens with a scholar of the law testing Jesus by asking him: “What commandment is the greatest commandment?” Jesus replies with the “correct” answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with all your soul and with all your mind,” and “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

If we were asked this question, it is likely we would give the “correct” answer. The challenge however is living out that “answer” each and every day of our lives. Yes, I have good intentions to love my neighbor, but today this neighbor (spouse, friend, child) is driving me nuts! Or I may be preoccupied with the challenges of the day---and all my good intentions are forgotten. This isn’t wrong or bad. It is natural. The reality is that we won’t always “feel” loving with our spouse, child, friend or neighbor. The challenge is to let go of our frustration or anger and renew my intention to love my neighbor with my whole being---even if my neighbor is driving me nuts!

Today may we ask God to give us the grace to truly “be loving” with each person we encounter today. God will hear our prayer!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Reflection: Luke 13:1-9

29th Week in Ordinary Time –Luke 13:1-9

Each day this week in the Gospels, the intensity of Jesus continues to build. Today’s parable is the story of the fig tree that was not bearing fruit. The owner had been waiting for this fruit for three long years. Finally, the owner told the gardener to cut the tree down. The tree was barren and he wanted it gone.

However, the gardener interceded for the tree. He was not ready to give up on the tree. The gardener asked the owner to give the tree one more year, one more chance. The gardener promised to fertilize and cultivate the tree to the best of his ability. At the next harvest, if the tree still was not bearing fruit, then he would cut it down.

Naturally in this parable God is the gardener. And no matter how “fruitless” we may be, God is not ready to give up on us! We belong to God; God loves us! And God will give us every possible chance to be fruitful! Today may we open our hearts to God’s action in our lives and then trust that we will bear fruit!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Reflection: Luke 12:54-59

29th Week in Ordinary Time –Luke 12:54-59

In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ frustration with the Pharisees comes through loud and clear. He challenges them to think and reflect well and then judge for themselves what seems to be “right.” Jesus wants us to work things out among ourselves rather than running to “mom” or “Father” or whoever is the judge we rely on to tell us what is right.

Rather than running to someone else, it may be good to consult our own heart and mind when we need to “judge” or make a decision. Deep within us we all have a “knowing” of what truly is the right thing to do (the voice of God?)! Sadly, too often we simply do not listen to this voice! We trust other voices rather than the voice of God we hear in our hearts!!

Today may we trust that God does speak to us and God does enlighten us! God will not disappoint!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Reflection: Luke 12:49-53

29th Week in Ordinary Time –Luke 12:49-53

Today’s Gospel is not an easy one to read. Jesus speaks of “setting the earth on fire” and he wants it to be hot and blazing! He also speaks of the anguish and pain and that he anticipates his “baptism” which lies ahead of him.

Jesus speaks of families that will be divided: father against son, mother against daughter, neighbors who are at odds with each other. Too often we experience these divisions in our own families, our local communities, our church and our world.

Will we ever be one truly united “human community?”

For a moment, imagine how our world would be different if all of us on the face of this earth were united? No more war, no more hate, no more violence! In the face of the rampant violence, hate, fear and war, it is extremely tempting to “give up” on our world. Yet without hope we are lost! Without hope we despair!

Today may we be beacons of hope and faith to our families, neighborhoods, country and even to the world. If we join together in this effort, we might be astounded at the impact it has on our family, neighborhood and even our world!