Sunday, October 23, 2016
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.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Saturday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time - Luke 13:1-9
In today’s reading, Jesus then tells his listeners the parable of the fig tree that a man planted in his orchard. When the man came to pick the fruit, there was none to be found. The tree had not borne any fruit. The owner said to the gardener, “For three years I have waited patiently for this tree to bear fruit. However, it has not produced any fruit at all.” The owner then instructed the gardener to cut down the tree. However, the gardener politely protested. He said to the owner: “Sir, leave it for one more growing season. I will work the ground and fertilize the tree. Then if it does not bear fruit, I will cut it down.”
Today may be a good opportunity to ask ourselves: How am I bearing fruit? Am I producing “tasty” fruit? Or is my fruit small and tasteless? Am I producing an abundant crop or a meager crop? And what are the fruits that I share with the people in my life and with the world?
We may consider “our fruits” small or insignificant. However, often a simple act of kindness may be a loving gift to the individual who receives your kindness. Today, trust that you will bear fruit. And be thankful for the “fruits” other people share with you!
Friday, October 21, 2016
Friday of the 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 “Dad” 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 20, 2016
Thursday of the 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 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 hatred, no more violence. In the face of the rampant violence, hatred, fear, and war, it is very 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 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 19, 2016
Wednesday of the 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?
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?