In the Gospel for the Memorial of Saint Jerome, Jesus sets children as an example of discipleship. The disciples argue over which of them is the greatest. To settle the argument, Jesus points to a child. “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me disciple, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest” (Luke 9: 48). I can relate to the disciples. I have compared myself to others as holier than them. I want to be the greatest Catholic. I want power over others. Jesus wants me to be powerless like a child. He urges me to be vulnerable in my dependence on God. The more I realize my dependence on God, the more compassionate I am to others who are vulnerable to life’s struggles with unemployment, illness, injustice, grief and more. How does God help you with your desires for power and control?
Peter identifies Jesus as the Christ of God in the Gospel for the Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul. “[Jesus] said to [the disciples], ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter said in reply, ‘The Christ of God’ ” (Luke 9: 20). Peter acknowledges Jesus power to save people in need. Jesus goes on to tell Peter about the cross – the suffering and death Jesus anticipates from his opponents. We encounter opposition in caring for the needy. We experience internal challenges from fear about getting hurt, worry about what others think, lack of confidence in our abilities to help. We experience external challenges from lack of money or time, the discouragement of family and friends. With Jesus we can overcome opposition in caring for those who need our help. Following Jesus requires taking up our crosses. How do you deal with the challenges to care for those in need?
Jesus tells the parable of the lamp in the Gospel for the Memorial of Saint Pius Pietrelcina. “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, [s]he places it on a lamp stand so that those who enter may see the light” (Luke 8: 16-18). This parable is about hearing the word of God. No one who hears the word of God keeps it to him or herself. In deed and word, Jesus’ disciples give evidence to the light of God’s loving word. How do you illuminate God’s love for others?
Jesus travels with the disciples in the Gospel for the Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Paul Paul Chung Ha-sang, and Companions. “Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources” (Luke 8: 1b-3). This band of men and women reflects the harmony of the reign of God: men and women, healthy and infirm, married and single, wealthy and poor. All witness to this good news of the reign of God. How do you promote God’s harmony with others?
Jesus cures the centurion’s slave in the Gospel for the Memorial of Saints Cornelius and Cyprian. The centurion begs Jesus. ” … say the word and let my servant be healed … When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him … ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith’ ” (Luke 7: 7b, 9). The centurion believes that God in Jesus has power over death. Jesus is amazed. I wonder if Jesus is amazed at my faith in God’s power over death. Do I deal with my daily struggles with confidence in God’s help. Do I respond to adversity with love? Do I receive blessings with gratitude? Do I contend with suffering in hope? Do I face death with compassion? How does God empower you to persevere in your struggles? your sufferings?
In the Gospel for the Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Jesus tells the parable of the splinter in the eye. He admonishes his disciples to be more generous in sharing their possessions with the poor. They must avoid excusing themselves from being generous by comparing themselves to others whom they think less generous than themselves. Jesus wants them to be as generous as God is generous. He wants them to follow his example. He tells them “when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher” (Luke 6: 40). This is the Christian vocation. How is your training in generosity going?
Jesus preaches tough love in the Gospel for Thursday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time. “… love your enemies and do good to them … (Luke 6:35). Loving our enemies is tough. It is even harder to do good to them. I feel like hurting those who hurt me. Even if I have affectionate feelings for them, I am disinclined to help them. As a disciple of Jesus, I must imitate him. Jesus loved his enemies and did good for them. I need God’s help to follow Jesus’ example. How can God help you love your enemies?
Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Plain in the Gospel for Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time. He proclaims God’s special love for the unfortunate. “Blessed are you who are poor … hungry … weeping … when people hate you…” (Luke 6: 20-22). God generously welcomes all who put their trust in Jesus. Jesus’ disciples imitate him in their generosity to others, especially the unfortunate. How do you imitate God’s love?
in the Gospel for Friday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time, Jesus tells the parable of the new wine skins. “No one pours new wine into old wine skins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wine skins” (Luke 5: 37-38). Jesus is the new wine. In Jesus God is making all things new. Our Lord has risen from the dead. Life triumphs over death. Because of Jesus we look forward to a world with out death, famine, disease, sorrow, or pain. How does your new life in Christ give you hope?
In the Reading for Thursday of the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, St. Paul prays his followers follow God’s will. “… we do not cease praying for you … to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit” (Colossians 1: 9-10). I pray that my good work bears fruit. I wonder if the good I do — even the good I think I do — makes a difference. Did I do the right thing? Did I do too much? Did I do enough? St. Paul’s prayer encourages me to do my best to do what I do with love. God is responsible for any good that comes from what I do. How does God help your good works bear fruit?