Collect for the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time
Almighty and merciful God,
graciously keep from us all adversity,
so that, unhindered in mind and body alike,
we may pursue in freedom of heart
the things that are yours.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.
On the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark’s Gospel has us listen to Jesus contrast a scribe (the professional interpreters of the law in his day) who enjoys honors for himself, with a poor widow who donates to the temple poor box the little she has. The woman’s generous heart must have moved him deeply.
As we draw toward the end of the liturgical year, our first reading this week is taken from Wisdom, a book written to encourage a downtrodden Jewish community. The vivid imagery offers us a view of the glory and justice of the Lord. “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.”
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus turns his focus away from the Pharisees and back to his followers. “If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.” He tells them the duties of discipleship, asking if a master should be grateful to a servant who does what is commanded. “So should it be with you.” We read of the curing of the ten lepers – yet only one returns to give thanks. “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” He also tells us that we should not spend our lives looking for the coming of the Kingdom “for behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” The Kingdom of God is coming, when we least expect it and, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.” We must “pray always without becoming weary.”
As disciples living in the midst of the world, we are called to be “Contemplatives in Action ‘’ by finding intimacy with God in the background of our everyday busy lives. As contemplatives in action, we are able to see more and more clearly that Prayer is not really “saying prayers” but is a relationship that needs to be nourished in an ongoing way. No matter how hectic our week is, it is easy to think about our daily relationship with Our Father, with Jesus, in the Holy Spirit.
As we look ahead to the landscape of our week – with a few big things coming up, a host of ordinary responsibilities, and perhaps several bruised or difficult relationships that trouble us – we can begin to locate and formulate into words, the desires in our hearts for our Lord’s help along the way. We may only have time to have a general sense of the Word of God addressed to us – from last Sunday and what is coming up this coming Sunday. That Word will further inform and shape how we will be in an ongoing dialogue with our Lord this week.
The rest is about developing the habit of focusing more intentionally on our relationship with our Lord, anticipating the events of our day, preparing for them, and letting our Lord be there with us. This is what helps us to be grateful servants. This is what it is to know that the presence of God is in our midst. This is what it takes to be good stewards of all that our Lord has entrusted to us.
So, we ask for what we need and desire, each morning, as soon as we can. We return to that desire, in brief moments, throughout the day. At day’s end, we give thanks for this gifted relationship that sustained us and allowed us to be his disciples this day.
Have a Great Week!