Thursday, October 27, 2016

Reflection: Luke 13:31-35

Thursday of the Thirtieth 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 don’t like what Jesus was preaching, they also seem 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 26, 2016

Reflection: Luke 13:22-30

Wednesday of the Thirtieth 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? From what does it stem? 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 maybe even turn away from Him 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 trust his love for us? Jesus is waiting! What do we choose to do?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Reflection: Luke 13:18-21

Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time - Luke 13:18-21

Today’s Gospel begins with Jesus teaching in the synagogue.  At one point he asks his listeners: “What is the Kingdom of God like?  To what can I compare it?”  Then Jesus describes the Kingdom of God by using different images. He tells the people: “The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that a man planted in the garden.  When the seed was fully grown, it had many branches and the birds would come and dwell in its branches.”
Jesus then gives them another example to describe the Kingdom of God.  He tells the people: “The Kingdom of God is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”   What was Jesus trying to say to his listeners?
Perhaps today Jesus is reminding us that we are called to be “leaven” in today’s world.  As Christians, we are called to share the love of Jesus with every person we meet.  The gift is there are many ways to be leaven in our world.  It may be by sharing a smile, offering to help someone with their grocery bags, being present to a family member who is struggling, or laughing with a friend who needs more joy in his or her life.
Today Jesus is telling us that the Kingdom of God is in our midst!  Today, will we build up the Kingdom of God or will we ignore it? Only we can decide!  

Monday, October 24, 2016

Reflection: Luke 13:10-17

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time - Luke 13:10-17

As Jesus was teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath, he noticed a woman who was there.  For eighteen years, this woman had been crippled by a spirit.  She was completely bent over and unable to stand erect.  Imagine: for eighteen long years, all this woman could see was the ground and the legs and feet of the people who passed her by.  Her world was horribly small and limited.  The little children must have been a gift to her.  At least, they were in her sight range.

Luke writes: “When Jesus saw the woman he called to her and said: ‘Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.’”  Then he laid his hands on her and immediately she stood up straight.  The woman began praising and glorifying God for the wondrous gift Jesus had given her.

However, the leader of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath.  The leader said to the people: “There are six days when work can be done.  Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath.”  Jesus angrily replied: “Hypocrites!  Do you not untie your ox or ass on the Sabbath and water it?  Yet this woman has been bound for eighteen years!  Ought she not be freed from this bondage simply because it is the Sabbath?  Luke then writes: “All of his adversaries were humiliated.  And the whole crowd rejoiced at the splendid deeds done by Jesus.”
What has “crippled” your spirit?  Is it an illness?  A family situation or stress at work?  Is it financial stress?  Today bring your life challenge to Jesus.  Stand before him.  Trust him to heal you just as he healed this woman.  It may not be an immediate healing but slowly and surely he will heal your spirit and your life.  He will not fail you!  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Reflection: Luke 18:1-8

The 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 18:1-8

In today’s Gospel, we hear the familiar parable about the necessity of praying always.  There are two characters in this parable: a widow and a judge.  Luke writes: “There was a judge who neither feared God nor respected any human being.”  It sounds like this judge was a law unto himself.  The image Luke presents of the judge is not a favorable one.

A widow in the town came to the judge and said to him: “Render a just decision for me against my adversary.”  Luke does not give us any of the details of what had transpired between the widow and her adversary.  However, Luke makes it clear that the judge did not want to render judgment in this case.

The judge put the widow off several times.  However, the woman persisted.  She would not let the judge rest.  Finally the judge realized that if he wanted any peace in his life, he would have to make a just decision in the widow’s case.  He was concerned that if he did not make a fair judgment, the widow might come and strike him.

How persistent are we with God?  If I need or desire a gift, a healing, or a sense of peace from God, how persistent am I?  How persistent are you?  Are we willing to patiently wait for God to act?  We know that God is not a vending machine. However, at times, I approach God as I would a vending machine.  I come and place my petitions before God and then hope I receive an answer. God is not a vending machine; God’s timing is not our timing.

Perhaps the question for us is: Do I truly believe that God is with me?  Do I trust that God hears my prayers and my longings?  Do I trust that God will grace me?  I doubt that anyone of us truly wants a “vending machine God.”  Thus, are we willing to trust and believe in our God who loves us?  Today (and every day) God is gifting us and gracing us!  May we have the eyes, minds, and hearts to recognize the many ways God will grace us today.