Weekday Gospel Reflection

Monday in the Thirty First Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 14:12-14 - World English Bible

12 Jesus also said to the one who had invited him to the banquet, "When you make a dinner or a supper, don't call your friends, nor your brothers, nor your kinsmen, nor rich neighbors, or perhaps they might also return the favor, and pay you back. 13 But when you make a feast, ask the poor, the maimed, the lame, or the blind; 14 and you will be blessed, because they don't have the resources to repay you. For you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous."

In Luke 14:7-11, Jesus advised guests about proper elite at a banquet, to act as if they attended the heavenly feast in the Kingdom. Now, he gave advice to the host. Don't throw a party for the "quid pro quo" of social interaction. Don't invite family, friends and business associates, only to expect favorable treatment in return. Instead, host a banquet like God would, as if that party were THE party of the Kingdom. Invite the poor and the disabled, those who could not repay in kind. Then the host will be repaid by God in the Kingdom.

What trumps social interaction and the exchange of favors? Charity.

How have you acted in charity today?

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Tuesday in the Thirty First Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 14:15-24 - World English Bible

15 When one of those who sat at the table with Jesus heard these things, he said to him, "Blessed is he who will feast in God's Kingdom!"

16 But he said to him, "A certain man made a great supper, and he invited many people. 17 He sent out his servant at supper time to tell those who were invited, 'Come, for everything is ready now.' 18 They all as one began to make excuses.

"The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please have me excused.'

19 "Another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I must go try them out. Please have me excused.'

20 "Another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I can't come.'

21 "That servant came, and told his lord these things. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor, maimed, blind, and lame.'

22 "The servant said, 'Lord, it is done as you commanded, and there is still room.'

23 "The lord said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you that none of those men who were invited will taste of my supper.'"

After Jesus gave his advice to the guest and the host at the banquet, someone raised a beatitude, "Blessed his he who will feast in God's Kingdom." So, what does it mean to feast in the Kingdom? Jesus answered with a parable about a man inviting his clients to a social dinner, but the they snubbed him, finding excuse after excuse not to attend. So, the man invited the poor, the disabled and even the stranger to the feast. By telling this story, Jesus reinforced the host advice he gave and indirectly cautioned the guest who blessed those who would enter the Kingdom; they might not be the people he wanted or expected to be there.

Whom in your life would you not expect to go to heaven? How can you help them to meet God?

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Wednesday in the Thirty First Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 14:25-33 - World English Bible

25 Now great multitudes were going with Jesus. He turned and said to them, 26 "If anyone comes to me, and doesn't disregard his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can't be my disciple. 27 Whoever doesn't bear his own cross, and come after me, can't be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doesn't first sit down and count the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Or perhaps, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, everyone who sees begins to mock him, 30 saying, 'This man began to build, and wasn't able to finish.' 31 Or what king, as he goes to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an envoy, and asks for conditions of peace. 33 So therefore whoever of you who doesn't renounce all that he has, he can't be my disciple"

In these few verses, Jesus explained the cost of being a disciple: his primacy in one's life and the willingness to suffer for him. His place rated over that of family and even the self; accepting the possibility of ridicule and persecution measured that list of priorities. He told two parables to flesh out the seriousness of that commitment: planning a farm silo and preparing for battle. A farmer doesn't build a place for surplus grain without considering the cost, otherwise he risks being called a fool. A king doesn't go to war without a battle plan, otherwise he could lose his kingdom. To become a disciple, then, meant denunciation, making all things and all people secondary to Christ. Such denial had a symbol, the cross, and a question: was the person willing to pick up his cross to follow Jesus?

How is Christ first in your life?

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Thursday in the Thirty First Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 15:1-10 - World English Bible

1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming close to Jesus to hear him. 2 The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, "This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them."

3 He told them this parable. 4 "Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn't leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? 5 When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' 7 I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance. 8 Or what woman, if she had ten drachma coins, if she lost one drachma coin, wouldn't light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she found it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I had lost.' 10 Even so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner repenting."

In Leviticus 20:26, YHWH told the people to be holy, for he was holy. Holiness meant being different, separate, one-of-a-kind. The Pharisees equated holiness to a high standard of moral living; for them, holiness meant living away from the "pollution" of sinners: Gentiles, outcasts and errant Jews. They chided Jesus for socializing with these types because it violated their religious sensibilities. The Lord, however, came to upset the common wisdom and live out the prophetic call found in Hosea 3; he sought out the sinner, even at the risk of being the fool. He recognized his call in two parables, the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin. A shepherd left ninety nine sheep to fend for themselves while he found and rejoiced in the safety of the lost sheep; a woman joyfully announced she had found her lost coin to her poor neighbors, informing them she had money. What sort of a person would open themselves to social ridicule or worse? For the sake of a single lost sinner, Jesus would.

How have you sought the lost in your life?

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Friday in the Thirty First Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 16:1-8 - World English Bible

1 Jesus said to his disciples, "There was a certain rich man who had a manager. An accusation was made to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2 He called him, and said to him, 'What is this that I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.'

3 "The manager said within himself, 'What will I do, seeing that my lord is taking away the management position from me? I don't have strength to dig. I am ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I will do, so that when I am removed from management, they may receive me into their houses.' 5 Calling each one of his lord's debtors to him, he said to the first, 'How much do you owe to my lord?' 6 He said, 'A hundred batos of oil.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.' 7 Then he said to another, 'How much do you owe?' He said, 'A hundred cors of wheat.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, and write eighty.'

8 "His lord commended the dishonest manager because he had done wisely, for the children of this world are, in their own generation, wiser than the children of the light"

In Luke 16, Jesus made an astute judgment on those who sought riches; they were shrewd negotiators. To make his point, he told a parable about a money manager who got fired by his rich boss. In reality, the man acted as a loan negotiator between his employer and his clients; the man made his money based upon commissions he charged against interest from the loans. After the man got fired, he went to the clients and renegotiated the loans on more favorite terms. Did he give up his commission or did he cheat his boss? We don't know the answer, but he did place himself in a position to return to his boss and argue for his employment. After all, who else did the clients want to represent them? At the end of the story, Jesus compared the "children of this world" with the "children of light," a favorite phrase for the faithful in the Dead Sea Scrolls. He actually compared priorities. The "children of this world" knew money matters simply because they placed those concerns at the top of their agenda. The "children of light" had different concerns: love of God and outreach to neighbor.

How are you a "child of the light" today?

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Saturday in the Thirty First Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 16:9-15 - World English Bible

Jesus told his followers:

9 "I tell you, make for yourselves friends by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when you fail, they may receive you into the eternal tents. 10 He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. He who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 If you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You aren't able to serve God and Mammon."

14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they scoffed at him. 15 He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God."

After the parable of the money manager, Jesus gave his followers advice on the use of money. Spend it as transparently as possible for the good of others. Those who cheat in small ways could not be trusted in large ways, for the cheater revealed his character. Mammon, the corrosive affect that the pursuit of riches have on the person, could trump love of God. Money and its use acted as a measure of one's virtue.

Luke made a comment about the Pharisees as lovers of money. The reader must remember that the gospel writer sympathized with the poor over the wealthy. Not every Pharisee, however, loved mammon over YHWH; not all the poor lived pure lives. But the desire for riches blinded people, allowing them to see themselves as innocent when, in God's eyes, they lacked a real concern for others.

How do you place your checkbook at the feet of Jesus?

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