In the Gospel for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus visits Martha and Mary.  Mary sits and listens to Jesus.  Martha is in the kitchen preparing dinner.  She complains that her sister is not helping.  “The Lord said to her in reply, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.’ ” (Luke 10: 41-42).  Jesus is not giving Martha party planning advice.  He does not care whether she is making a seven course meal or a casserole.  He is teaching her and all his disciples that our priority must be listening to him.  I can relate to Martha.  I am anxious about many things.  When I can pray in one of my anxious moods, Jesus challenges my priorities.  He reminds me that love must motivate whatever I do.  Then making the perfect fettuccine alfredo is not as important as loving those for whom I am making it.  How does prayer help you keep your priorities straight?

 

 

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In the Gospel for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan to answer a lawyer’s question about neighbors.  The lawyer wants to be a neighbor, but only with God’s chosen people.  Jesus challenges him to think about how God’s people should act.  He offers a Samaritan, considered an outcast by Jews, as an example of God’s loving mercy.  ” ‘Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?’  He answered, ‘The one who treated him with mercy.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise’ ” (Luke 10: 36-37).  Jesus wants us to act like the Samaritan.  Christians care with God’s loving mercy for anyone in need.  Christians love migrants, addicts, homeless people, mean relatives, old neighbors and more.  How do you imitate the compassionate mercy of the Good Samaritan?

 

 

In the Gospel for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus instructs the disciples for their mission.  “At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit” (Luke 10: 1).  Jesus sent his disciples in pairs (two by two) for mutual support.   Sharing faith with my family, friends, and church community empowers me me to live a Christian life.  Parents who have survived the death of a newborn with trust in God help me trust in God.  Recovering addicts who rely on a higher power help me accept the things I cannot change.  Peacemakers like Dorothy Day inspire me to work for justice for the homeless, immigrants, and people different from me.  How do others help you live a Christian life?  How do you help others?

 

 

In the Gospel for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus teaches about the cost of discipleship.  On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples made plans to stay in a Samaritan village.  They were not welcome.  “When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?’  Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village” (Luke 9: 54-56).  I can relate to James and John.  When I am hurt by someone, I want to hurt them back.  Jesus rebuked James and John for wanting to retaliate.  He wants us to respond in a loving way to those who hurt us.  Retaliation creates more hurt.  Extended family members have refused to talk to me anymore.  I am falsely accused of disrespect at their loved one’s funeral.  I am struggling to forgive them.  Those who follow Jesus forgive others.  How has Jesus helped you forgive someone who hurt you?

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In the Gospel for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Jesus tells the apostles to feed a hungry crowd of five thousand.  All they had were five loaves and two fishes.  Jesus “said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.  They all ate and were satisfied.  And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets” (Luke 9: 16-17).  Our consumer culture promotes the myth of scarcity.  We think we never have enough.  Yet God has given us plenty.  We need not fear sharing our food with the hungry.  Whenever my son comes home on a left over night, there is always enough food.  With God’s help we can feed the hungry with enough for everyone.  Feeding the poor is making a casserole for the next door family whose parent(s) is out of work.  Or advocating to end the famine in Yemen.  How is God empowering you to feed the hungry?

 

In the Gospel for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Jesus promises his disciples the Spirit of truth.  “He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.  Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16: 14-15).  Jesus revealed that God is love.  The Son shared the Father’s love.  The Holy Spirit continues to share God’s love through us.  The Spirit empowers Christians to love with God’s love.  God loves everyone.  God wants us to love everyone no matter what gender, race, color, or creed; whether poor, abused, addicted, or homeless; how employed, criminal, or despicable.  How do you glorify God in your love for those different from you?

 

In the Gospel for Pentecost Sunday C, Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to his disciples.  “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (John 20: 22).  Jesus breathes the life of the Spirit on the disciples like God breathed life into Adam.  God created the world.  God recreated the world through Jesus.  Living a new life in the Spirit means loving and forgiving others.  I struggled to be the perfect parent.  I often devoted more energy pursuing perfection that loving my sons.  One day I realized by God’s grace that I was never going to be a perfect parent.  God loved me anyway.  God’s forgiveness enables me to forgive my sons, my spouse, and others.  God continues to breathe new life into me.  What new life is God’s Spirit breathing into you today?

In the Gospel for the Ascension of the Lord C,  Jesus ascends into heaven.  “As he blessed them [disciples] he parted from them and was taken up to heaven.  They did him  homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God” (Luke 24: 51-53).  Luke ends his gospel as he began with great joy.  At the birth of Jesus the angels told the shepherds “good news of great joy”.  God’s promise has been fulfilled in Jesus.  Faith in Jesus brings great joy.  Christian joy is the abiding confidence in God’s loving care in good and bad times.  Parenting is hard.  Yet it brings me great joy.  I experience God’s love in my relationship with my sons in times of happiness and sorrow.  How do you experience God’s joy?

In the Gospel for the Sixth Sunday of Easter C, Jesus prepares his disciples for his departure.  He promises to remain with them through the Holy Spirit.  He does not abandon them  The bonds of love they share cannot be broken.  “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (John 14: 23).  Christians do not have to wait for heaven to enjoy God’s presence.  We experience the presence of God now.  I used to doubt God’s presence in my life.  I thought myself unworthy.  I didn’t know enough.  I made too many mistakes.  I struggled with anxiety.  Yet God is alive in each of us who believe.  God loves us unconditionally.  God’s love bolsters us against despair and inaction.  God wants us to use our gifts and talents for love of others.  God’s love is alive in the world through us.  How do you share God’s love with others?

 

In the Gospel for the Fifth Sunday of Easter C, Jesus commands his disciples to love one another.  “I give you a new commandment: love one another.  As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.  This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13: 34-35).  Jesus gave of himself, including his life, in love for his disciples.  He commands them to do the same.  Disciples today follow Jesus’ example in concrete gestures of love.  Christians give of themselves in love, as Pope Francis says, by “little things for Jesus”.  Feeding the hungry with food and companionship, satisfying those who thirst with water and compassion, visiting those imprisoned and those bound by addiction, forgiving those who have hurt us with unkind words, and other acts of love are works of mercy.  What “little things” do you do in love for Jesus and for others?