Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Reflection: Luke 9:57-62

Wednesday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time - Luke 9:57-62

In today’s Gospel we see the enthusiastic response of an individual to Jesus’ preaching. This person was so enraptured by Jesus that he or she was ready to immediately leave home and family and become Jesus’ disciple. However, when Jesus tells the person what “following him” would entail (leaving home and family), the individual responds with many reasons why it would be impossible for him or her to follow Jesus. The reasons and responsibilities they had were very real. They had families to support and other responsibilities to take care of.

Think back: can you remember a time in your life when you were so “on fire” for Jesus and his message that you were ready to “give your all” to Jesus? At these times, our desire and plan to “give our all” to follow Jesus is very real. Then the reality of life intrudes. There is not enough time and we have too many responsibilities! Guess what happens?

Often it is impossible for us to follow Jesus as we initially thought we would do. It doesn’t mean that we have changed our minds and hearts. Perhaps we need to think of it differently. Jesus might be asking us to follow him by going about our regular daily responsibilities with greater love and care. Or we may find ourselves ministering to someone who needs a friend to listen to them. There are many different ways to follow Jesus and all of them are good! Today how is Jesus calling you?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Reflection: Luke 9:51-56

Tuesday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time - Luke 9:51-56

Today’s Gospel reading is a foreshadowing of Jesus’s crucifixion and death. Jesus knew his arrest and death were likely, yet he held fast to his decision to travel to Jerusalem. He knew it was likely that he would be arrested. He also suspected that he might even die. Can you imagine the storm of emotions that must have been whirling around in Jesus’s mind and heart? Yet he decided to make the journey to Jerusalem.

Throughout the Gospels we see evidence of Jesus’s faith and trust in God. Today’s reading is a clear example of the depth of trust Jesus had in God. Do we have such faith? I hope so. We have to nurture our faith and trust in God each and every day. This creates a foundation and a relationship with God that will support and sustain us whenever we are in need. Today and every day let’s ask Jesus to deepen our trust and faith in him!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Reflection: Luke 9:46-50

Monday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time - Luke 9:46-50

Today’s Gospel presents a scene that likely is familiar to us. The disciples were arguing about which of them was the greatest. Sound familiar? Jesus was listening to them. Luke writes: “Jesus realized the intention of their hearts.” Was Jesus disappointed or frustrated with his disciples? After all, these men had been chosen to be servants to one another and to the people. Yet, here they were having a petty argument about who among them was the greatest.

Power! Throughout history, power and acclaim have dominated politics, religion and social status. It is natural and healthy that all human beings desire a certain amount of power. We all need a moderate amount of power in order to make choices for ourselves. This enables us to choose to have loving, healthy, and productive lives. Yet, as we know, the desire for power often corrupts – be that in the family, the Church, institutions, business or politics. The intense desire for power often is the downfall of someone who has great potential.

Today Jesus is disturbed that his disciples are so concerned about who is the greatest among them, which could be translated as the one who “has the most power.” Jesus does not directly confront his disciples. Rather he brings a child into their midst and says to them: “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me also receives the One who sent me.” Jesus then continues: “The one who is least among you is the one who is the greatest.”

Today may be a good day to ask ourselves: Are we content with being among the least? Or do we strive for power or influence? Can we be satisfied to be “one with the people” rather than a star or a leader? Today I also invite you to be attentive to those individuals you encounter who truly embody Jesus’ call to be the “least” (in a healthy way).  They can be a living example for us.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Reflection: Luke 16:19-31

The 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 16:19-31

Today’s Gospel is the story of Lazarus and the rich man. This is another story we are very familiar with. Lazarus is a poor man whose body was covered with sores. Lazarus begged right outside the door of a rich man’s house. The rich man always dressed in fine clothing and ate only the finest food. And even though Lazarus was present outside the rich man’s house, day in and day out, the rich man ignored Lazarus.

These two men died within a few days of each other. When Lazarus died, he was immediately taken to heaven by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. Shortly after this, the rich man also died and was buried. The rich man, however, did not go the heaven. Rather he went to the netherworld, where he suffered great torment. By some means, the rich man was able to see Abraham in heaven and surprisingly he saw the poor man at Abraham’s side. The rich man was stunned! How could this be? Shouldn’t he be the one at Abraham’s side?

The rich man called out to Abraham and begged him to send Lazarus to him with some water. He was suffering great torment. However, Abraham reminded the rich man that he had received many gifts and graces while he was on earth while Lazarus suffered. Now however, their positions were reversed: Lazarus was receiving many graces and much comfort while the rich man was the one in torment. Lazarus was reaping the gifts and blessings that had come from living a good life, while the rich man was reaping the results of the selfish choices he had made in his life.

Today may be a good time to ask ourselves: what are we sowing in our daily lives? Is it love, care, concern, peace, joy, and generosity? Or is it negativity, self-centeredness, greed, and criticism? We all will reap what we sow. Today (and tomorrow) what will we choose to sow?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Reflection: Luke 9:43b-45

Saturday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time - Luke 9:43b-45

The Gospel today is the continuation of the conversation that Jesus had with his disciples in yesterday’s reading. Jesus tells the apostles to listen up. He knows that the road ahead of him is going to be very difficult and also troubling for them.  They had been with Jesus on the journey for a long time so they had to be aware of the conflict between Jesus and the Sanhedrin. I wonder what the apostles’ conversation was like after Jesus told them that he would be handed over. Did they have any idea of what would come? Luke says that the meaning was “hidden” from the apostles and that the apostles didn’t want to ask Jesus what he meant.

Jesus must have felt very alone on this journey. I am sure that there have been times in your life when you also felt very alone. At these times let us turn to Jesus who always is with us.  Jesus will be there! May we also have the courage to open our hearts to someone we trust. God works through them also!