Jesus answers a question in the Gospel for Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time. Someone asked him if only a few people will be saved. Jesus replies, “Some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last” (Luke 13:30). I used to wonder if I was the first or the last. I tried to do the right things so as to be first. Then I worried that wanting to be first would put me last! I was missing the point. Jesus wants us to focus on God, not us. God’s plan is not ours. Let God be god and live as best we can as followers of Christ. What worries keep you from trusting God?
Jesus teaches about the Kingdom of God in the Gospel for Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time. “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.” (Luke 13: 20-21) I am a baker. I see the awesome transformation yeast makes of dough. God works like yeast in transforming the world into a place of peace and justice. How do you cooperate with God’s plan?
Jesus performs another miracle in the Gospel for Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time. Jesus cures a woman crippled for eighteen years. “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity. He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God” (Luke 13: 12-13). Jesus continues his healing ministry today through the Church and the power of the Holy Spirit. He desires healing for those suffering infrimity from illness, divorce, grief, PTSD, loneliness, fear, unemployment, and more. From what infirmity can Jesus set you free?
Jesus warns against greed in the Gospel for Monday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time. Someone in the crowd asks Jesus to resolve a dispute with his brother. His brother refuses to share their inheritance. Jesus replies, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions” (Luke 12: 15). Possessions can distract us from what really matters. Our loving relationships with God and others can get lost in a preoccupation with what we have or want to have. Jesus wants us to be “rich in what matters to God” (Luke 12: 15). With what spiritual riches has God blessed you?
Jesus urges his disciples to remain faithful to God in the Gospel for the Memorial of John de Brebeuf and Saint Isaac Jogues. He discourages them from listening to those preoccupied with acquiring possessions. If God cares so much about the sparrrows, how much more God cares for them. “Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7). I worry about providing for myself and my family. I am preoccupied with people’s impressions of me. Too much worry and preoccupation hinder my loving relationship with God and others. Jesus words reassure me. He reminds me of what really matters. What worries distract you from God’s love?
In the Gospel for the Memorial of Saint Teresa, Jesus implores the crowd to hear God’s word and keep it. He recalls the sign of Jonah. “At the preaching of Jonah [the Ninevites] repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here” (Luke 11:32). He urges the crowd to be as attentive to his preaching as the Ninevites to Jonah’s. If God was so merciful to the Ninevites, an enemy of the Jews, how much more merciful God is to his Chosen People. Through Christ, God continues to bestow his merciful forgiveness on anyone who believes in this Good News and lives by it. How do you experience God’s loving forgiveness?
In the Gospel for Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time, the crowd challenges Jesus’ authority to work miracles. He responds with a challenge to their faith in God. “But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11: 20). Jesus performed miracles as a sign of the healing power of God. Jesus announced the reign of God who frees the captive, offers good news to the poor, and gives sight to the blind. Christ empowers us to continue God’s healing work. We offer the healing love of Christ when we visit a lonely neighbor, offer a kind word to a stranger, feed a hungry child, sit with a grieving relative, and more. How do you offer Christ’s healing love to others?
Jesus teaches about God’s gracious generosity in the Gospel for Thursday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time. “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Jesus compares God to a faithful friend and loving parent. God is even more generous than them. Christ reassures us that God is ready to help when we ask. Discerning the answer is another matter. Irregardless of the clarity of the answers to our requests, Jesus invites us to trust in God’s providential care. What do you want to ask of God?
In the Reading for Wednesday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time, Paul offers his credentials to preach the good news of Jesus. He relays to the Galatians that the leaders of the Church in Jerusalem acknowledged his call from God. He writes, “They recognized the grace bestowed upon me” (Galatians 2:8). I wonder if others recognize the grace bestowed upon me by virtue of my Baptism. I do care about people’s impressions. Even more I care about my response to God’s gracious love for me. Do I love others as God loves me? Do I give Christian witness in my words and actions. Do I feed the hungry? Clothe the naked? Comfort the grieving? Help the unemployed? Visit the lonely? How do others recognize the grace bestowed on you?
Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel for Monday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time. In response to Jesus’ question, a scholar explains what the law requires for eternal salvation. “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). With the parable, Jesus identifies the neighbor as anyone in need. Whether friend or enemy, relative or stranger, popular or outcast, God expects us to care for them. Who’s your neighbor in need?