Weekday Gospel Reflection

Monday in the Twenty Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 8:16-18 -World English Bible

Jesus told his disciples:

16 "No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a container, or puts it under a bed; but puts it on a stand, that those who enter in may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden, that will not be revealed; nor anything secret, that will not be known and come to light. 18 Be careful therefore how you hear. For whoever has, to him will be given; and whoever doesn't have, from him will be taken away even that which he thinks he has."

After Jesus explained the Sower and the Seed parable to this followers, he appealed to their seeing and hearing. The character of the believer would eventually come to light for all to see. Like the person's core, their priorities would soon be apparent. One's character depended upon, in part, to their friends. Here, they had a choice, for what they heard from their "buddies" affected them. If one held close to wise Christians and God's word, they would receive more insight. If the disciple drifted away from fellow believers, the wisdom they had would melt also away.

What do others see in you? What do you listen to during the day? How does that improve your life?

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Tuesday in the Twenty Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 8:19-21 -World English Bible

19 His mother and brothers came to Jesus, and they could not come near him for the crowd. 20 Some people told him, "Your mother and your brothers stand outside, desiring to see you."

21 But he answered them, "My mother and my brothers are these who hear the word of God, and do it."

Luke wrote the missed meeting of Jesus and his family without the context of Mark 3:21 (where the "friends" of the Lord tried to seize him, based upon their belief of his "insanity"). Here, Luke simply drew a parallel between his biological clan and his family of disciples. His true relations heard the word and put it into action.

Simple to hear, hard to do.

How do you put God's word into action every day?

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Wednesday in the Twenty Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 9:1-6 -World English Bible

1 Jesus called the Twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2 He sent them out to preach God's Kingdom and to heal the sick. 3 He said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, neither staffs, nor wallet, nor bread, nor money; neither have two coats apiece. 4 Into whatever house you enter, stay there, and depart from there. 5 As many as don't receive you, when you depart from that city, shake off even the dust from your feet for a testimony against them." 6 They departed, and went throughout the villages, preaching the Good News, and healing everywhere.

Giving the Twelve power, Jesus sent them out to proclaim the Good News. Their mission had a geographic dimension. He ordered them to travel light and invade the territories of the demons in order to reclaim the Chosen People. This was no longer the realm of Satan, but a preview to the Kingdom. When they arrived in a village, they preached and healed and exorcised. If the rejected them, Jesus wanted them to condemn the hamlet.

Jesus sent them to extend his mission. That mission would last beyond his death and Resurrection.

What if Jesus wanted to send you out to proclaim the gospel? What would you do?

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Thursday in the Twenty Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 9:7-9 -World English Bible

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Jesus; and he was very perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again. 9 Herod said, "John I beheaded, but who is this, about whom I hear such things?" He sought to see him.

History knew Herod the tetrarch as Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee and the craven son of Herod the Great. Antipas beheaded the Baptist at the behest of his second wife, Herodias (see Mark 6:14-29). This verse tied that incident to his encounter with Jesus when the Lord was on trial before Pilate (Luke 23:5-12).

Why did Herod seek Jesus? Luke portrayed Jesus as a charismatic figure who caught the attention of everyone. But, Herod had other concerns; he beheaded one critic, but the ministry of that man lived on in the person of the Lord. Since he ruled as a client king, he kept one eye on local affairs and the other on his Roman minders, who expected him to keep the peace and keep tax revenues flowing in. If Jesus riled up the populace like John did, both peace and tax collection could be interrupted; this would not make his overlords happy; they could replace him (as he was by his nephew in 39 AD). So, he wanted to see Jesus for mixed reasons, the Lord's reputation as a teacher with healing powers and a possible critic whose preaching could cause internal strife.

Why do people seek the Lord? Why do you seek Jesus in your life?

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Friday in the Twenty Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 9:18-22 -World English Bible

18 As Jesus was praying alone, the disciples were with him, and he asked them, "Who do the multitudes say that I am?"

19 They answered, "'John the Baptizer,' but others say, 'Elijah,' and others, that one of the old prophets is risen again."

20 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

Peter answered, "The Christ of God."

21 But he warned them, and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up."

In Luke's version of THE Question, "Who do you say I am?" Jesus quizzed his followers in the midst of personal prayer. While the setting might confuse the modern reader (how can Jesus be alone and with others at the same time?), Luke wasn't so concerned with the scene as with the theme; the Lord always important turns in his life while in the presence of the Father. In other words, prayer, not the need to know one's place, initiated the question of identity.

Like Mark and Matthew, the disciples responded with the answer of Elijah or one of the prophets who rose again (notice the resurrection reference that Luke used to foreshadow the Lord's own rising in 9:22c). Like the other synoptic gospels, Peter declared, "The Christ of God." And, in the same manner, Jesus used the title to explain what Messiahship meant to him. He would be the suffering servant, the Christ would die and rise for others.

The dialogue on the identity of Jesus took place in a moment of prayer, a time of communication and revelation. Jesus knew his Father's will and knew when to communicate the Word to others.

What does God tell you in your prayer time today?

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Saturday in the Twenty Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 9:43b-45 -World English Bible

43b While all were marveling at all the things which Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 44 "Let these words sink into your ears, for the Son of Man will be delivered up into the hands of men." 45 But they didn't understand this saying. It was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

After Jesus exorcised a child, amazement of the crowd followed. Then, he turned to his followers and predicted his betrayal, but they didn't understand.

When we seek the will of God, sometimes we don't get it. We inject our prejudices. Our presuppositions blind us. We pray, assuming with know the answer to our petition. Unfortunately, we focus on ourselves, not on God. That's the problem, the same one the disciples faced. They didn't understand simply because their vision of the Messiah didn't match that of Jesus. They wanted a winner and not a hero who faced a tragic end. So do we.

Of course, we have the advantage of hindsight. Jesus died and rose from the dead. But that doesn't answer the challenge the Lord gave his disciples and, by extension, us. Are we willing to place our preconceived notions aside and take a chance with God?

Pray for God's will this day, no matter where it leads you.

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