Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary Time: September 4 - 10, 2005
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Collaborative Ministry Office
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The Twenty-Third Week of Ordinary TimeFor the Twenty-Third week in Ordinary Time we are encouraged to "love one another." Ezekiel tells us that we are responsible for each other and Paul's letter to the Romans offers: "Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another." In the Matthew's Gospel, Jesus tells us to challenge each other on our behavior and to pray, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."Thursday is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Friday is the Memorial of St. Peter Claver, S.J., a truly great Jesuit saint..The first part of the week, the first readings are from the Letter to the Colossians. Paul is in prison, encouraging this community to put their trust in Christ, not mystical teachings and powers. He challenges them to live their baptism and to walk in the union they have with and in Jesus. Saturday we begin reading for Paul's First Letter to Timothy. The opening words boldly proclaim that Paul is the "foremost" among sinners and a sign of God's mercy.In the first part of this week, following Luke's Gospel, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand, on the Sabbath, in front of his religious critics. Then Jesus goes up on a mountain to pray and comes down to name his twelve apostles - all of whom seem to be unknown or questionable at best. The people bring all their sick to hear him and to be healed. Jesus tells them of their blessedness and warns them of the dangers. We can't be blind guides. We must have the humility to acknowledge and be forgiven our own sins before we can help others. Jesus tells us that our goodness will be seen in what we do and that our only security is in building our lives on him.For the Twenty-Fourth week in Ordinary Time we are invited to reflect on how we forgive. Peter asks Jesus "how often" we must forgive, asking the extent of Jesus' call for mercy. The parable of the forgiven servant who can't forgive is meant to give us clear guidance for our lives as followers of Jesus: if we are forgiven, we must forgive others.