On the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear Jesus tell his disciples about his passion, death and resurrection a second time. It is clear to him that they didn’t understand the first time. He knew that, along the way, they had been arguing about who was the greatest. He gathers the Apostles and says to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
The first reading this week comes from the Book of Ezra, one of the first chroniclers of the post-exile period of Judaism. He is responsible for helping hold the restored people together. We finish the week with brief selections from the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, who were prophets during this period. “Consider your ways!” “My spirit continues in your midst; do not fear!”
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus urges us to use our gifts: “No one lights a lamp and hides it under a bushel basket.” When his family comes looking for him, Jesus uses the occasion to tell us that we are family to him, if we hear his Word and act on it. He encourages his Apostles to freedom, sending them out to teach and heal, taking nothing with them. Herod is wondering who Jesus really is. Jesus asks his disciples who they think he is. Peter replies for them all, “The Christ of God.” Jesus doesn’t want them to announce he’s the type of Messiah they were looking for. Instead, he tells them of his upcoming Passion and death.
This is a great week to be reminded that the call to be a Christian is not a simple path. We are called to serve boldly and without worrying about material needs. This week’s readings have a clear call for us to examine how we share God’s love for us with others.
How do we do such serious reflection when it seems we don’t have time for it? We can be “contemplatives in action” by beginning our day with a desire, letting that desire come to our consciousness throughout the day in the “background” moments, and by giving thanks for what graces we received at the end of the day.
How do we come up with the desire? The first step to finding “intimacy with God in the midst of our daily lives” is to develop the habit of naming a desire for the day, while we are still just getting started with the day, before our concentration becomes preoccupied with the worries of the day. These guides can help by suggesting desires that flow from the readings of the week, but the best desires are in the very needs and anxieties that are deep in our hearts. That is where God is working in us, revealing things we can turn over to the Lord and form into a prayer. It can often be just 45 seconds, when we throw on a robe or slippers, or while in the shower or getting dressed. It is deep prayer if we can just say, “Help me, today, Lord. My day is so full. Give me courage, and let me know you are with me all day.”
We can use the readings of the week in a variety of ways. We can take a day to imagine being part of Jesus’ family, with a desire to hear his word and keep it. We can let Jesus address us one day this week, asking us who we say he is. The words don’t need to be complicated – it’s just starting conversation with God who loves you deeply, then listening.
Gracious God, I ask you to heal me today as you healed so many others. Bless my eyes that I might appreciate all that I see around me; and my mouth that I may not judge others and speak harshly of them. And bless my feet as you send me on this journey of grace in my life each day.
I would be remiss to note that these pastor’s corners are offered in correlation with Creighton University’s Online Ministry Team. As a graduate of the Institute of Priestly Formation at Creighton University, I have the opportunity to use their Weekly Guides for Prayer. I have been using them for so long, when I switched parishes and bulletins, I did not make mention of it. Otherwise, have a great week!