In the Gospel for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus, King of the Universe C, Jesus forgives the repentant criminal crucified with him.  The other criminal taunts Jesus.  The repentant one defends Jesus’ innocence.  “And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.”  Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.  He replied to him, ‘Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise’ ” (Luke 23: 42-43).   The criminal acknowledges Jesus as King.  He understands that after death, Jesus will enter his kingdom where he will reign with God.  He is relying on the power of Jesus to acquit him of his crimes.  He trusts in the forgiveness of Jesus.  How about you?

In the Gospel for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus teaches his disciples about the end of the world.  They ask him about the signs of the end time.  Jesus warns them about false prophets claiming to see the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.  Jesus also warns them of persecution.  “You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.  By your perseverance you will secure your lives” (Luke 21: 18-19).  He knows they will encounter the same resistance in their ministry as he has, even to death.  Yet he reassures them of life after death for those who remain faithful to God.  Jesus wants us to remain faithful to God despite difficulties, failures, or opposition.  Christians persevere in love for God and others.  Parents care for their children every day.  Spouses keep vigil for a sick or dying spouse.  A sponsor accompanies a recovering addict to 12 Step Meetings.  A friend asks forgiveness of a friend harmed.  A community activist goes to government meetings advocating for shelter for homeless veterans.  How do you persevere in your love for God and others?

 

 

In the Gospel for the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus teaches about life after death.  The Sadducees deny the resurrection.  They challenge Jesus.  Jesus relies on the authority of Moses.  “That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out ‘Lord, ‘ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive” (Luke 20: 37-38).  My belief in life after death gives my life purpose.  I live my life in hope of being reunited with my deceased parents and brother.  I know that my loving acts of kindness make a difference.  I trust God cares for me now and forever.  What difference does your belief in an after life make in the way you live your life?

In the Gospel for the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus is traveling with his disciples on the road to Jericho.  “Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.  When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, ‘Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.’  And he came down quickly and received him with joy” (Luke 19: 2-6).  Jesus must do the will of his Father by seeking out the lost.  So he invites himself to the house of Zacchaeus.  My family and friends want to spend time with me.  They love me for my gifts and my faults.  So does God loves us all.  God loves us even though sinners.  Through Jesus, God lovingly invites us back into right relationships.  God wants to stay with us and us with God.  How do you respond to God’s desire to stay with you?

 

In the Gospel for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus tells the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.  “The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’  But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner’ ” (Luke 18: 11-13).  The Pharisee thinks he has earned God’s favor.  He forgets God’s mercy is a gift.  The tax collector realizes he is a sinner.  He knows he has not earned God’s mercy.  He asks for it.  Do you identify with the Pharisee or Tax Collector?  Why?

In the Gospel for the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus tells the parable of the Widow and the Unjust Judge.  The widow relentlessly appeals to the judge for justice.  Tired of the bothersome widow, he eventually renders a just decision for her.   “Jesus told his disciples [this] parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming  weary” (Luke 18: 1).  Jesus want us to pray always for reliance on God’s loving care. Perseverance in prayer deepens our love for God and for others.  Prayer helps us experience the presence of God, especially in times of trouble.  Prayer comforts a grieving mother, sustains a tired parent, inspires a human rights advocate, heals a resentful heart, helps cope with a difficult relative, gives hope to a despairing young adult, and reminds us of God’s faithfulness.  How does prayer help you?

In the Gospel for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus cures 10 lepers.  “And when he saw them, he said, ‘Go show yourselves to the priests.’  As they were going they were cleansed.  And  one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him” (Luke 17: 14-16a).  This healed leper recognized in Jesus the power of God.  He gave God the glory for his restored health.  God’s love sustains every breath we take, move we make, step we take.  God blesses us with all good things.  God’s love has empowered me to love my spouse, raise my sons, help those with whom and for whom I work, care for my neighbors and more.  How do you give God the glory for the good things in your life?

 

 

In the Gospel for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus tells a story about a servant who comes home after a hard day’s work.   Rather than wait on the servant, the master expects the servant to wait on him.  ” ‘Prepare something for me to eat.  Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.  You may eat and drink when I am finished’?  Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?  So should it be with you.  When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do’ ” (Luke 8b-10).  Jesus does not think his disciples are worthless.  Rather, he expects them to serve others out of love for God.  They cannot earn God’s love.  God’s love is a gift.  I did not earn the love of my spouse, sons, family, and friends.  They love me as I am.  God wants me to love others with the same graciousness God has loved me through them.  In what way(s) do you freely give or yourself in service of others?

 

In the Gospel for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus tells the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.  And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.  Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.  When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of  Abraham.  The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side” (Luke 16: 19-23).  Jesus warns against ignoring the need of the poor.  The rich man lived a self-centered life.  Christians live an other centered life.  They respond to the needs of the poor.  A neighbor shares her soup with the grieving family next door.  A church community provides a permanent residence for a single mother and her family.  A volunteer serves food to a homeless guest of a St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall.  Who are the Lazaruses in your life?

In the Gospel for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus tells the Parable of the Dishonest Steward.  A rich man fires a steward for squandering his money.  The dishonest steward gets even with his master at his master’s expense.  He cancels the excessive profit debtors owe his master.  The unjust steward hopes the happy debtors  will remember him him when he is unemployed.  Surprisingly his master commends him for being so practical.  Jesus uses the story to teach his disciples the necessity of sharing their possessions with others, particularly the needy.  “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.  If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?  If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours?  (Luke 16: 10-12)  Like the unjust steward, Christian disciples must use their master’s possessions well.  Unlike the unjust steward, Christians must share the possessions God has given them.  God will provide them what they need in this life and the next.  How do you share what you have with those in need?