In the Reading for Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time, the royal philosopher reflects on the passage of time in God’s plan. “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every thing under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant …” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2). He advises acceptance of life’s ordinary joys as God’s gifts and acceptance of life’s troubles. What joys do you experience? What troubles?
The sage offers wise advice in the Reading for Monday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time. “Plot no evil against your neighbor” (Proverbs 3: 29) reminds me of Jesus’ commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. No one wishes evil for himself or herself. Jesus says the same goes for your neighbor. Jealousy, pride, resentment and other vices handicap us in loving our neighbors, family, friends, and stranger. How can Jesus help you love your neighbor?
In the Reading for the Feast of Saint Matthew, St. Paul tells the Ephesians to live in the way Christ calls them to live. “I … urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-2). Christ wants us to deal with one another with love instead of impatience, ignorance, selfishness and other harmful dispositions. How are you bearing with others through love?
In the Gospel for the Memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Taegon, Saint Paul Chong Hasang, and their Companions, Jesus forgives a sinful woman. She washes his feet at a dinner party. The host wonders why Jesus allows a sinner to wash his feet. Jesus publicly acknowledges the woman’s care for him. He understands that she shows him such mercy because she has experienced the forgiveness of God. He says to her, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 36:49). How do you experience God’s forgiveness?
In the Gospel for Tuesday of the Twenty-fouth Week in Ordinary Time, Jesus brought back to life the son of the widow of Nain. “When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep’ ” (Luke 7:13). Jesus compassion for the grieving woman impresses me. He continues to have compassion on those who grieve the losses of a loved one, a job, a marriage, a home, and others. Jesus accompanies us in our grief. As he did for the widow, Jesus can bring new life out of our losses. How can Jesus help you in your loss?
In the Reading for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the Israelites grumble about wandering in the desert. “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” (Numbers 21: 4b-5). I can relate. I complain to God regularly about my life, my relationships, my work and more. The problem is me, not God. As God took care of the Israelites in the desert, God takes care of me. Today’s Psalm reminds me to not forget the works of the Lord in my life. God provides for my needs and more. Through Christ God loves me beyond by wildest imagination. How can God help you with your troubles?
In the Gospel for the Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Jesus tells his disciples to be merciful as God the Father is merciful. “Love your enemies and do good to them” (Luke 6:35). It’s hard to love those harm you. I have even borne resentment for a spouse’s hurtful remark or a neighbor’s shrug. The more serious the harm, the harder the challenge. Consider those who suffer physical harm. Jesus witnesses to God’s love even for those who hurt us. God wants us to show mercy to them too. How can God help you love your enemies?
In the Gospel for Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time, the scribes and Pharisees try to catch Jesus breaking the Law. “The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him” ( Luke 6:7). I act like them some times. To enhance my self-importance, I deliberately look for the mistakes or misfortunes of others. I think myself better than them. So I feel better about myself. On the contrary, Jesus reaches out to those in trouble. He cures the man with the withered hand. Jesus wants us to love, not belittle, those who encounter misfortunes or mistakes. Loving compassion truly makes us better. How do you treat your troubled family and friends?
In the Reading for Friday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time, St. Paul advises the early Church to be servants of Christ. I find this hard advice. When I act with kindness or love towards another, I want some credit … at least a “thank you”. So I wonder about my motives. Do my acts of kindness serve me or Jesus? Jesus wants us to love others the way he loves us. He wants us to love generously without expectations. We do hope our love returns somehow. Loving others like Christ puts the return in God’s hands, not ours. We are confident God blesses us for the love we give away. How are you Christ for others?