pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay
no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have
done, without overlooking the others.
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Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
The powerful story of the rich young man will be repeated in the gospel in the Twenty-eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time. He asks Jesus what he can do to inherit eternal life and already keeps the commandments. Jesus offers him the challenge of the gospel: “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor ... then come, follow me.” Mark's gospel tells us that the young man “went away sad, for he had many possessions.” When Jesus tells his followers how hard it will be for a rich person to be saved they are astonished - and worried. They wondered how they could ever be saved. “All things are possible for God,” was Jesus' response.
Monday we remember Teresa of Avila, formally known as Saint Teresa of Jesus. Wednesday is the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr. Thursday we celebrate the Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist, with its own special readings. Friday is the Memorial of Saint John de Brébeuf and Saint Isaac Jogues, priests and martyrs, and their companions, martyrs.
This week we end our look at the Letter to the Galatians and begin two weeks of Paul's Letter to the Ephesians. The letters emphasize the universal church and the unity of this church that brings together Gentiles and Jews.
In Luke's Gospel this week, Jesus seems frustrated that some of the people won't listen to him. When a Pharisee invited Jesus for dinner, the fellow was shocked that Jesus didn't do the required ritual washing of his hands. Jesus uses this as an opportunity to talk about real purity. He recommends they give money to the poor and tells the Pharisees, “You impose on people burdens hard to carry,” As Jesus continues to challenge the Pharisees, they hatch a plot to get rid of him. Jesus tells his disciples to beware of the “leaven” or “hypocrisy” of the Pharisees. “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” Jesus wants us to acknowledge him, in the face of persecution. Even when we sin, we simply can't give up on the work of the Spirit among us. It is the Spirit who will guide us in what to say or do.
For the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear the story from Mark’s Gospel about two of Jesus’ closest friends, James and John, who want seats of honor in “the Kingdom” they envision for Jesus. We can almost see Jesus shake his head in dismay that they have missed his point once again. He does not let his disciples get sidetracked into jealousy but calls them together again to give them his message: “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Daily Prayer This Week
On Sunday we hear about the rich young man. He wants to “inherit eternal life” but has no real interest in changing his life. Don't we all feel that way? Isn't there something we can just read? Some money we can donate? We go away sad because Jesus asks a lot of us - to really follow him.
Whether or not we have a clear picture of where we are being called by Jesus, we can feel the invitation, the call to our hearts, in the silence. We can take just a few minutes each morning as we awaken to sit by the side of the bed and open our hands and hearts and pray, “Jesus, in this quiet moment, I feel my heart being drawn to you. Help me to see this day where you are calling me.”
We can repeat this small act on our way to work, taking our children to school and walking to the store. “I know you are in my heart, Jesus. I know you are calling me this day, but my heart is not always open to listen. Help me to answer your call today. At the end of this day, help me to be joyful in answering your call through those in my life.”
So many of the stories this week are clashes between Jesus and the Pharisees. We can ask ourselves: Where in my life do I worry more about appearances than I do the poor who are in front of me? Who are “the poor” in my life? Who are the outcasts, the unpopular or the rejected people I see each day? How can I minister to those people and be a leaven in this world?
At the end of each day this week, we can be grateful for the many opportunities we were given to follow along with Jesus. We can ask the Holy Spirit to help us see the invitation in our lives every day and ask for the clarity to recognize “the poor.” When I see the poor, the outcasts, those whose health or habits make them unappealing, do I love them the way Jesus would? Can I look at the brusque and rude people in my life as people Jesus would have gravitated toward, sensing how much they need love?
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