Today’s parable as told by Luke shows Jesus on a roll! He was always great with parables and stories but this one is a classic and one to which I think we can especially relate.
“whoever wants to become greater among you must be your servants and whoever wants to be first must be your slave. Jus so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 16: 25)
"They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’" (Matthew 23:5-7)
There are some brothers and sisters who believe that their sin is unpardonable by God. They are sorry, yes, and they say it over 100 x’s out loud. They even scream it out loud to God, in fury and in anger. They are torn because their inner battle is as follows, “Will God forgive me? I mean I know my own sin and I know I don’t forgive myself so how will this grand God forgive me….no no no I know my sin is unpardonable.”
"Jesus took Peter, John, and James
and went up the mountain to pray...
a cloud came and cast a shadow over them,
and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.
Then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” (Luke 9:28, 34-35)
“He is to be your God and you are to walk in his ways and observe his statutes, commandments and decrees, and to hearken to his voice.” (Dt. 26: 17)
Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16: 16-19)
“when I called, you answered me; you built up strength within me.” (Psalm 138:3)
“This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah” (Luke 11: 29)
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus talks to his disciples about prayer. He teaches them how to pray by giving them, as well as us, one of the most common and universal prayers, the “Our Father.”
"And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky…"But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 25: 31- 34)
In today's gospel, Jesus is tempted three times. The first was for Food, the second for material things or wealth, and the third for Power.
“And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.” (Luke 5: 28)
"God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble." (James 4:6)
“on the outside we don’t just appear righteous and that, on the inside we are not filled hypocrisy and evildoing.” (Mt 23: 27-28)
Today's first reading says : I have set before you life and death. Choose life, then,....by loving the Lord
your God, heeding his voice and holding fast to him."
Someimes we become depressed, life's challenges seem a bit too much. Life is difficult.
But we can CHOOSE.....we can choose life.
“Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent and leave behind him a blessing.” (Jl 2:12-18)
Isn’t it interesting how so many of our public celebrations relate to Christian history? Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, presumes a very rudimentary kind of Lent: Eat up and whoop it up, for tomorrow we begin the great three f’s: fasting from food and fun.
"And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky,
to separate day from night.
Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years,
and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth.”
"We spent the whole night in vain, but if you say so, I will let out the nets." (Luke 5:5)
“The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want!” (Psalm 23:1)
Hospitality doesn’t have to mean giving elaborate dinners or parties. As Christians, we have the opportunity and responsibility to change the status quo definition of hospitality---let’s take the risk and define it simply as welcoming someone into our world---even if it’s just for 30 seconds.
“He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick- no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were , however to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place doesn’t welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them”. (Mk 6:7-13)
Discipline became a significant word for me when I began my first assignment as a priest over 40 years ago. I became a teacher in a boys' high school in the ghetto of South Central Los Angeles called Watts.
In today's reading from Hebrews we hear ..."persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus." That is real concentration, isn't it? Keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus while running the race.
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!” Jesus asked him “What is your name?” And the man replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us”. (Mark 5: 7-9)