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!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reflection: Luke 12:39-48

29th Week in Ordinary Time –Luke 12:39-48

Today Jesus continues his instruction of his disciples. He reminds me of a Boy Scout leader who is preparing his scouts for a hike or camp out. Jesus’ instruction is very simple: he tells his disciples that they need to “be prepared.” However, the event they need to be prepared for is the hour when the “Son of Man” will come! Jesus tells them that He will come at a time when they do not expect him! Thus, they need to be alert and attentive. They need to have open minds and open hearts.

Jesus also is telling us to “be prepared” today! We don’t know how or when Jesus will come but He will come to us this day! Will having this assurance make a difference in how you go about your day? Will we be looking for Jesus in every person or every situation today? Or will we just “go about our business” as usual?

The reality is that Jesus comes to us every day, not just periodically! The difficulty lies with us. We may not expect Jesus to be present or we may be too busy to notice his coming. Or we may not have the open eyes or heart to recognize him. Jesus often comes to us in a disguise! He will be there with us! Will we recognize him?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Relfection: Luke 12:35-38

29th Week in Ordinary Time –Luke 12:35-38

The Gospel for today opens with Jesus telling his disciples to “gird their loins and light their lamps.” In Jesus’ day, the disciples understood exactly what he meant. These two actions are part of the preparation for the master’s return. These are not words that we would use today. However, the custom of preparing for guests and then waiting for their arrival also is part of our lives today!!

Jesus says that the servants who wait patiently for their master’s return will be blessed for their vigilance and their patience. Every day we also “wait” for the coming of Jesus into our lives. Some days, we clearly know when and how Jesus has been present to us. Other days, we may wait and wait and wait for his coming and we may never tangibly experience his presence. Perhaps what is most important is our “watching and the waiting.” If we don’t open our eyes and hearts to “look” for Jesus throughout our day, we simply may miss his coming! However, if we are watchful and vigilant, we may see Jesus in everyplace we go and more importantly, in each person we encounter!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Reflection: Luke 2:13-21

30th Week in Ordinary Time – Luke 2:13-21  

Every day we receive a multitude of messages that tell us we “need” more: a bigger house, a newer car, more money in the bank, a better job. If we spend any amount of time watching television, listening to the radio or surfing the Internet, we are bombarded with messages that tell us that we “need” more. Or that we need “bigger and better.” This voice of greed is seductive. Most of us do appreciate our “creature comforts” as well as the “tools and toys” that make life a bit easier.

The message in today’s Gospel is a reminder that we need to be intensely mindful. We need to be mindful of the temptations around us and mindful of asking ourselves: “how much do I truly need?” We have lived life long enough to know that “more” doesn’t guarantee happiness! Yet that seductive voice is there no matter where we are or what we are doing!

Today which voice will you listen to: the voice of greed or the voice of God?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Reflection: Matthew 22:15-21

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Matthew 22:15-21

Today’s Gospel begins with the Pharisees plotting against Jesus. They ask Jesus if it is lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar. The Pharisees ask the question only because they hope to trap Jesus by his answer. However, Jesus is well aware that they only want to discredit him in the people’s eyes. Jesus knew that regardless of how he answered the question, it would be wrong in the mind of the Pharisees. Thus he doesn’t answer the question directly.

Jesus decides to take a different approach. He asks for the coin that typically was used for paying the census tax. Then he asks the Pharisees whose picture is on the coin. Naturally they reply that it is Caesar’s picture. Then Jesus responds to their question. His statement is very concise: they should give to Caesar what belongs to him! But then Jesus added a few simple but powerful words: “repay to God what belongs to God!”

All that we have comes from our loving God! Today what can you give to God? What can I give to God? Perhaps we can simply give God some quality time and attention! It may be all that God longs for!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Reflection: Luke: 10:1-9

Luke: 10:1-9 – 28th Week of Ordinary Time

Today the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Luke, one of the four evangelists. In the Gospel Jesus sends 72 of his disciples out into the towns and villages that he intended to visit. These 72 disciples were to inform the people that he was coming. They were to prepare the way for him.

Jesus then gives the disciples instructions for this journey. He tells his disciples to pack lightly for the journey. They should not take any money, luggage or sandals. Now ask yourself: can you imagine leaving on a trip without any money or credit cards? Jesus tells them they are to trust that God will provide for them.

I wonder how the disciples reacted to Jesus’ statement! Ask yourself: if you were sent on a journey and you were told to take nothing with you except the clothes on your back, how would you react? Personally I would be tempted to pack a “little” bag just in case I needed something!

Today Jesus is sending us forth to preach the “Good News.” He gives us the same instructions that he gave the Apostles: “take nothing with you.” All we are to take with us is the “Good News” of Jesus! What is the “good news of Jesus” that you want to share today?