Weekday Gospel Reflection

Monday in the Twenty Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 10:25-37 - World English Bible

25 Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Jesus, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?"

27 He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."

28 He said to him, "You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live."

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?"

30 Jesus answered, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, 34 came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, 'Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.' 36 Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?"

37 He said, "He who showed mercy on him."

Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

These passages presented Luke's twist on the Great Commandment. Unlike Mark 12:28-34, the scribe quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 (love of God) and Leviticus 19:18 (love of neighbor), threading one's orientation as the common theme, giving to God and one's neighbor their due. However, the scribe wanted to qualify the term "neighbor." Did it refer to a fellow Jew or to anyone? Was it parochial or universal? Jesus responded in the latter with one of the most beloved parables in the gospels, the Good Samaritan. We moderns are so familiar with the story that we drain it of its sting. A history of enmity existed between Jews and Samaritans, so when the Lord made the enemy the hero of his parable, people took notice. Yes, the neighbor was universal, even to the point of emulating an adversary. No wonder the scribe could not name the hated Samaritan when Jesus asked him who acted as the neighbor! He simply said, "The one who showed him mercy."

Love of neighbor means mercy, no matter the source.

Who has shown you mercy recently? How do you emulate that virtue in your life?

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Tuesday in the Twenty Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 10:38-42 - World English Bible

38 As they went on their way, Jesus entered into a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came up to him, and said, "Lord, don't you care that my sister left me to serve alone? Ask her therefore to help me."

41 Jesus answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her."

There are many ways we can follow the Lord; we can proclaim the Good News and serve others. But one method usually gets overlooked; we can just listen to Jesus, like Mary did.

In the time of Jesus, the disciple sat at the feet of a teacher to learn. In Matthew's gospel, for example, Jesus taught the Beatitudes as his followers and the crowd sat below him (Matthew 5:1-12). But, the followers were male. Mary caused controversy when she stepped out of her social role as a woman to seat as a disciple. And Martha expected her sister to play the host as she did. The Lord added to the discussion when he approved of Mary's decision. Serving had merit, but hearing the Good News stood above any responsibility as host.

We all have busy lives. We tell others about our faith and we serve family, friends and community. But when do we take the time to simply listen to the Lord?

When you pray or read the Scriptures today, take a few moments just to sit in silence. What is Jesus saying to you?

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Wednesday in the Twenty Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 11:1-4 - World English Bible

1 When Jesus finished praying in a certain place, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples."

2 He said to them, "When you pray, say,

'Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come.
May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
Bring us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'"

In Luke 11, Jesus turned to the subject of prayer. When a disciple asked him for a teaching on prayer, he actually wanted to know what sort of relationship the Lord had with YHWH. Jesus responded by calling God his Father, petitioning for the immanence of the Kingdom, beseeching for daily needs and seeking forgiveness in light of the coming divine reign through salvation from the Evil One. Here, Luke presented a shortened version of the Our Father.

11:3 needs comment. The Greek word translated as "daily" is controversial. It can mean "everyday" or it can mean "for the morrow." In the context of the prayer as a petition for the Kingdom, the later sense could be translated as "bread for the day (of the Lord)" In other words, it asks for the eternal bread, the sustenance of the Eucharist.

"Come Father, establish your Kingdom on earth. Give us the food of the heavenly banquet. Set aside our transgressions, as we forgive others, and, entering your reign, save us from the snares of the Evil One."

Pray the Lord's Prayer slowly. What thought jumps out in your reflection?

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Thursday in the Twenty Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 11:5-13 - World English Bible

5 Jesus said to his disciples, "Which of you, if you go to a friend at midnight, and tell him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him,' 7 and he from within will answer and say, 'Don't bother me. The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give it to you'? 8 I tell you, although he will not rise and give it to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as many as he needs.

9 "I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.

11 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he won't give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, he won't give him a scorpion, will he? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

In Luke 11, Jesus continued his teaching on prayer with two insights: the need for persistence and the quality of expectation. In the parable of the Inhospitable Neighbor, he stressed constant petition. "Keep asking, keep knocking, even to the point of rudeness," the Lord implied. Only, then will the petitioner receive what he seeks. But, the moral of the parable begged the question, what should the disciple expect? The Holy Spirit, of course! If asked, the Father in heaven would not substitute a stone for a barley loaf (that looks like a granite water rock) or a snake for a long, narrow fish that swam in the Sea of Galilee. So, if the petitioner sought the highest prize from God, his very power and life, would Father deny him?

Have you prayed for the Spirit today?

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Friday in the Twenty Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 11:15-26 - World English Bible

15 Some in the crowd said, "Jesus casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons." 16 Others, testing him, sought from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. A house divided against itself falls. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 But if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore will they be your judges. 20 But if I by God's finger cast out demons, then God's Kingdom has come to you.

21 "When the strong man, fully armed, guards his own dwelling, his goods are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks him and overcomes him, he takes from him his whole armor in which he trusted, and divides his plunder.

23 "He that is not with me is against me. He who doesn't gather with me scatters. 24 The unclean spirit, when he has gone out of the man, passes through dry places, seeking rest, and finding none, he says, 'I will turn back to my house from which I came out.' 25 When he returns, he finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then he goes, and takes seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there. The last state of that man becomes worse than the first."

Sometimes, the person who conquers a particular sin judges those with the same sin harshly. One sin is replaced with another. Why? Pride. Jesus faced proud people who measured his ministry and found it wanting. They wondered, how could the son of carpenter perform exorcisms? Some conjectured he found a partner in Beelzebul (a Philistine deity Isrealis denigrated to mean "Lord of the Flies"). But, what would the power of evil gain by limiting itself? No, Jesus argued, the power of exorcism came from God, for a divided people, a clan (house) at war with itself, even Satan working against his own interest would fall. The Lord then used a brief parable to make his point; a strong man could only be overcome by a stronger man, so the power of evil could only be defeated by the power of God.

Those who criticized Jesus stood against him because of their pride. They might exorcise the possessed, but have they fought evil in themselves? Or have they allowed more evil into their lives through their judgments, replacing one sin for another?

How have you fought pride in your life? How have you asked the Lord to help you in your struggle?

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Saturday in the Twenty Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 11:27-28 - World English Bible

27 It came to pass, as Jesus said these things, a certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice, and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts which nursed you!"

28 But he said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it."

In this short exchange, a woman called out to honor the mother of Jesus, through Jesus. The woman in the crowd saw Jesus as an honorable man, indeed, God's man. To bear and suckle such a man would have been an honor for a Jewish woman, for the honor of poor Jewish women depended upon the honor of the patriarch or popular male in the household. In other words, the honor of the man reflected on the mother, wife, or daughter in the clan.

Jesus did not dispute the sentiments of the woman's comment, but he pointed to a greater honor: serving God. Such service entailed listening to the Good News and taking it to heart. Since Jesus came to proclaim the Gospel, honor required hearing his words and obeying their implications. So the woman who bore Jesus (i.e., Mary) was honorable, the greater honor was that of discipleship. In his gospel, Luke portrayed Mary with both honors. She was the mother of an honorable man, and she was a follower of her Son.

How do you honor and emulate Mary in your life?

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