“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time: Nov. 6 - 12, 2011
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The Thirty-Second Week of Ordinary Time
Being prepared for the coming of the Lord is the nugget in the gospel for the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. We hear in Matthew's Gospel the story of the foolish maidens who are not ready for their master's coming, and miss the wedding feast.
Wednesday is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilicawith its own special readings. Thursday is the Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, pope and doctor of the Church. Friday is the Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, bishop. Saturday is the Memorial of Saint Josaphat, bishop and martyr.
As we draw toward the end of the liturgical year, our first reading this week is taken from Wisdom, a book written to encourage a downtrodden Jewish community. The vivid imagery offers us a view of the glory and justice of the Lord. “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.”
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus turns his focus away from the Pharisees and back to his followers. “If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.” He tells them the duties of discipleship, asking if a master should be grateful to a servant who does what is commanded. “So should it be with you.” We read of the curing the ten lepers - yet only one returns to give thanks. “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” He also tells us that we should not spend our lives looking for the coming of the Kingdom “for behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” The Kingdom of God is coming, when we least expect it and, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.” We must “pray always without becoming weary.”
The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time brings us the familiar and powerful parable from Matthew's Gospel about the servants who are each given sums of money to invest. We are all called upon to use the gifts we have received as gifts, and to return them, fully developed and utilized.
Daily Prayer This Week
In this process of becoming “Contemplatives in Action” by finding intimacy with God in the background of our everyday busy lives, we are seeing more and more clearly that Prayer is not really “saying prayers” but is a relationship that needs to be nourished in an ongoing way. No matter how hectic our week is, it is easy to think about our daily relationship with Our Father, with Jesus, in the Holy Spirit.
As we look ahead to the landscape of our week - with a few big things coming up, a host of ordinary responsibilities, and perhaps several bruised or difficult relationships that trouble us - we can begin to locate and formulate into words, the desires in our hearts for our Lord’s help along the way. Perhaps we will have time to review a Daily Reflection each day or just the readings of the day. We may only have time to have a general sense of the Word of God addressed to us - from last Sunday and what is coming up this coming Sunday. That Word will further inform and shape how we will be in an ongoing dialogue with our Lord this week.
The rest is about developing the habit of focusing more intentionally on our relationship with our Lord, anticipating the events of our day, preparing for them, and letting our Lord be there in it with us. This is what it is to keep enough oil in our lamps. This is what it is to know that the presence of God is in our midst. This is what it takes to be good stewards of all that our Lord has entrusted to us.
So, we ask for what we need and desire, each morning, as soon as we can. We return to that desire, in brief moments, throughout the day. At the end of our day, we give thanks for this gifted relationship that sustained us and allowed us to be his disciples this day.
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