In the Gospel for the Twenty-second in Ordinary Time, Jesus told a parable about the guests at a wedding banquet choosing places of honor at the table. The host asked those who chose a place of honor to move when the real honored guests arrived. The host later invited those who chose a lower place to take an unoccupied place of honor. “Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14: 11). Jesus uses table manners to teach about the reign of God. God invites everyone into the kingdom. Those who recognize their need for God respond to the invitation. I realize how much I depend on God. I have done nothing to earn God’s blessing of life, family, job, and more. God is also responsible for the good I do. Despite my struggles as a husband and parent, God helps me love my spouse and my sons. How do you depend on God?
In the Gospel for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus answers a question about who will be saved. “ ‘Lord, will only a few people be saved?’ He answered them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will ot be strong enough’ ” (Luke 13: 24). Jesus warns his disciples and us about waiting until too late to seek the reign of God. He urges us to seek it now. Seeking the reign of God demands a change of heart. Jesus wants us to live each day for God. Living for God is living for others as Jesus taught us. How are you living today for God?
In the Gospel for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus warns his disciples of the trials to come. “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! … Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three” (Luke 12: 49-52). How can Jesus, Prince of Peace, want division? Jesus wants committed, not lukewarm, disciples. He wants disciples on fire with the love of God. Disciples as metal become stronger when tested in fire. Jesus knows this level of commitment to God divides disciples from themselves. They will struggle to follow Jesus’ example of self-sacrificing love. He knows it divides disciples from friends and family who do not believe. He knows that his commitment to God divides him from those who will put him to death. Jesus wants a peace that comes from love tested true in life’s troubles and trials. How has your faith been strengthened in the fire of life’s trials?
In the Gospel for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus compares the coming of the final days to a thief in the night. “If the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come” (Luke 12: 39-40). Jesus does not want to scare his disciples and us into anxious foreboding. He wants us to get serious about our daily commitment to God. He wants us to live everyday devoted to God’s work, not ours. The Spirit helps us remain vigilant. How are you vigilant in your devotion to the love of Jesus?
In the Gospel for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool. With an overflowing harvest, he decides to build bigger barns. “But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God” (Luke 12: 20-21). As a parent of young adults, I have been thinking a lot about my legacy to my sons. They will inherit whatever my wife and I own. We also bequeath them something more valuable. The love we have and do share with them will live on in their love for God, themselves, their friends, and their families. We strive to share the riches of the love Christ has for us. How are you rich in what matters to God?