Monday, October 1, 2012

THE MISSINARY JOURNEY OF THE LORD TO JERRUSALEM< TUESDAY OF THE TWENTY- SIXTH WEEK OF THE YEAR ( Luke 9:51-5 The great journey has begun. Jesus looks to Jerusalem the place where He will die. In one translation Jesus “sets His face like flint”. Determined to fulfill what His Father wants.....the Cross is before Him He does not take this journey alone. He brings His disciples. The disciples of Christ must walk with Christ. It is the new exodus. This journey which Jesus begins is the great teaching journey. It is His last chance to tell his followers what it means to walk with Him. We must listen very attentively to His words...make them our own, and remember to have the Cross before our eyes as we listen. Jesus first meets rejection. The Samaritans refuse to give Him hospitality. James and John are outraged...Jesus reprimands them for their desire for revenge. Things change. These very Samaritans, who James and John wanted to do away with, are those who will become open listeners to the Word after the Resurrection. If rejection had been responded to in the way James and John wanted the Samaritans would not have been given the chance to listen to and respond to the word. Jesus was patient. He did not like rejection any more than we do. Because He bore it great things happened. REFLECTIN QUESTION: 1: What does it mean to walk with the Lord? WEDNESDAY OF THE TWENTY- SIXTH WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 9:57-62) The radical change Jesus wants from his disciples. Even the ordinary things of life, burying the dead, saying good-bye become challenges to show that we follow Him. Some are called to live these words heroically. But there are the lesser heroes. Those who have not been given the grace to live these words to the highest. They have a home, bury the dead and take care of the ordinary things of life. But they do these things with love, and faith and hope. These lesser heroes will find their sanctity in the daily lives which they are called upon to live REFLECTION QUESTION: In our relationship to the Lord do we let the perrfect become an enemy of the good? THURSDAY OF THE TWENTY- SIXTH WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 10:1-12“I am sending you as lambs in the midst of wolves”. To understand these words we have to go to the prophet Isaiah. In the days of the Messiah a great reconciliation will take place. The lions, lambs, wolves and children will no longer be at odds with one another but will be at peace. When Jesus uses these words in describing how the disciples will go about the world He is saying that they will, in their lives, make present the great reconciliation which will happen in the fullness of time. The mission of the disciple is to bring peace, healing, reconciliation to the broken world with which they come into contact. REFLECTION QUESTION: Do we see, judge, and act on the broken things we see around us? e.g. violence of any sort… FRIDAY OF THE TWENTY- SIXTH WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 10: 13-16) There are two parts to this passage. The first part has to do with being thankful and the second part with identification with Christ. The first part is a call to reflection. To reflect on the good things, the miracles, which the Lord has worked within us. Sometimes these miracles are hidden under the things which we take for granted. Is there a greater miracle than life itself. Just to say” I am alive” professes a faith in God. To look at the world around us, the moon, sun, stars and be overwhelmed at what we see. I think that the call of this passage is to see in the ordinary things of life the extraordinary. My life is made up of a million moments of grace. The sunshine, the rain, the cold the is made up of smiles and tears, hopes and disappointments it is made up of moments of high exhilaration and times of emotional blanks...inside of these ordinary things, these things which I encounter every day I have to see the power and hand of God. The second part of the passage tells us that the disciple does not speak on his own but with the presence of Christ. When we read and re-read this passage what Christ is telling us is truly an amazing thing. He is saying that the disciple is Christ’s presence to the world. He is saying that as disciples not only do the work of Christ but at that moment are Christ. There is an identification with Christ to such an extent that the acceptance or rejection of the disciple is also the rejection or acceptance of the Lord. REFLECTION QUESTIOON: How often we go through life not thinking of the marvelous things which are happening around us? SATURDAY OF THE TWENTY- SIXTH WEEK OF THE YEAR( Luke 10, 17-24) Sometimes we can be intimidated by “big things”. Today’s gospel is at once a joy and something to be cautious of. The “big things”, casting out devils, treading on snakes, which the disciples did may give rise to the temptation of either looking for the amazing or worse yet, because I do not accomplish these big things my ministry is not fruitful. Everyone sent by the Lord and working in His name brings about a change in the world. This is what the message of today is. The power of the word of God. For most of us it will be manifested in many little things, at times when we are least aware of it. Once a young lady asked me a question about prayer. It was one of those situations where many things were happening and I did not have the time nor did she expect a lot of time. My answer was almost shot out of my mouth: be quiet and listen. Her eyes lit up. “That is the answer” she said. No devils were cast out, no “amazing thing” thing happened...but a life changed. My point is that the Lord will use us to bring His kingdom into the world. We have to be patient, accept our vocation as disciples with hope and most importantly to realize it is not our work but the Lord’s. Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit. The image of the Lord singing a song to His Father....a song of joy, thanksgiving and yes even amazement. In His human nature Jesus must have been surprised sometimes at how the Father worked. Under the words of Our Lord’s beautiful hymn is hidden His sense of not only thanksgiving but also surprise. Isn’t surprise part and parcel of thanksgiving? Children love surprises, adults love be open to the overwhelming surprise of God’s love in our lives. A disciple is one who is open to be being surprised. A world so tightly ordered, planned gives no room for God’s intrusion. The protection which we seek in having everything well mapped out can be a roadblock to what the Lord wants us to do. Someone once said: if I want to make God laugh just tell Him my plans. REFLECTIOON QUESTIOON: God does not expect us to be successful but He does expect us to be faithful TWENTY-SEVENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR MONDAY OF THE TWENTY- SEVENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 10:25-37) The parable of the Good Samaritan, is one of those passages in Scripture which are etched into the psyche of all who read the Word. There is something about this parable which touches the heart strings of all who read it...inside of it we see ourselves. Why did the priest and Levite pass the man? Was it because they were indifferent to the suffering, was it because they felt we have nothing to do with this man, because of just cold heartiness....I think not. I think the reason they passed by was because of fear. The wounded man was bleeding. If the priest or Levite, according the law, came into contact with this blood they would become ritually unclean. This they did not want, so they chose the safe way. The Samaritan, on the other hand, did not have to worry about this, he was free. This parable is about much more than doing good, it is about the freedom we must have to do that good. Work, things that we are responsible for, some good plans that we may be working on, an assignment given us by a superior....these are all good or at least indifferent. To be a good Samaritan does not merely mean did we help someone...this can as a matter of fact be a rather simple thing to do. A good Samaritan is one who is called on to make a judgment about the norms by which he or she acts. Is there the freedom to be present to and respond to those who are in need. TUESDAY OF THE TWENTY- SEVENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 10:38-42) The story of Martha and Mary. The teaching of Our Lord on prayer begins here. We will be going , in the following days , into the Our Father , trust and some basic attitudes towards prayer. In this passage Our Lord is telling us about listening in prayer. How necessary it is just at times to sit at his feet and quietly open the ears of our hearts and let His word come in. In that silence He reveals Himself to us. If I may there is another aspect of this story which has always attracted me. It is the fact that a teacher, Jesus, would be teaching a woman. In our day this is a part of the story which we would probably not even avert to. In Jesus’ time for a teacher to have a woman sit at his feet, a sign of being a disciple, was radical. Something new which must have caused some people surprise. It was not done. Jesus always seems to be doing things like this. It is almost like He is deliberately trying to get peoples attention. Doing good on the Sabbath, picking wheat, eating with the publicans...even the men He called to be His apostles...He challenged people to think beyond the safe, secure boundaries and to look this simple scene of Mary at this feet Jesus is opening up a new world. WEDNESDAY OF THE TWENTY- SEVENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 11:1-4) The first thing which comes to mind in praying this prayer is the absolute poverty we have before God. It is an overpowering thought that the Good God permits a weak human being to look up and say “Father”. It would be so safe if all I could do would be to be able to think about God. This in itself is something to marvel at....but God is not satisfied with that. He wants a conversation with us, communion. It is all pure gift...we use expressions such as: my prayer, I am going to though it was our work. We take possession of a gift and deny by our attitude that it is pure gift. No one can look to God except those whom He permit s. No one can enter into this conversation except those whom He invites ...we respond to this gift, to the invitation...but the initiative is from God. He, as my mother used to remind us, grabs us by the back of the neck and lifts us to Him before we can go to Him. THURSDAY OF THE TWENTY- SEVENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 11:5-13) Many years ago I worked in a small country parish in Japan. There was a kindergarten attached to the Church. During the summer months when the children were let out at 11:30AM there would be at least one child who would want ice-cream. The little shop outside the gates of the Church was the source of this temptation. It being so close to lunch time, no matter how much the child cried the mother would not give in. However, most mothers did come prepared with some sort of little cookie. Usually this would not alleviate the child’s need, the crying would continue...only ice-cream. The mother would be forced to pick the child up without ice-cream and without cookie and carry him or her away. I often reflected on those scenes and said to myself: that is the way I act in front of God. Crying for what I think is good for me, seeing e but the ice-cream, and missing the gifts which He is giving me.