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In the Gospel for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus speaks a hard truth.  “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; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Luke 12: 51-53).  Jesus preached the good news of God’s kingdom without compromise.  He did not want to cause division.  Yet some believed and some did not.  Facing the truth is still difficult whether whether confronting an addict, announcing the death of a loved one, challenging discriminatory government policies, acknowledging personal sinfulness, or facing other conflicts.  How do you remain faithful to God’s love when dealing with conflict?

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In the Gospel for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus tells the parable of the watchful servants.  “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.   Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them” (Luke 12: 35-37).  Jesus challenges his disciples then and now to remain steadfast in loving service to others.  God wants us to always be as generous in our love as we can.  Steadfast love is accompanying a sibling in recovery from leukemia, a friend in grief over the death of a son or daughter killed in a mass shooting, an unemployed neighbor in financial trouble, and others in need of God’s loving care.  How do you faithfully serve others?

In the Gospel for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time C, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool.  The rich fool builds larger barns to keep for himself all of his abundant harvest.  His abrupt death foils his plans for a long life of leisure.   Jesus uses the parable to warn against greed.  “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions” (Luke 12: 15).  Jesus warns us against using our possessions only for ourselves.  God wants us to use our possessions to care for those in need.  For whom do you use your possessions?

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?

 

 

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?