Thirty-First Week of Ordinary Time: Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2005

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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The Thirty-First Week of Ordinary Time|Jesus encourages us to be humble in the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus criticizes the showiness of the Pharisees: "All their works are performed to be seen.... They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in market places..." He calls on us to live authentically. "The greatest among you must be your servant."|Tuesday is the Solemnity of All Saints, (a holy day of obligation) with readings that include the Beatitudes. Wednesday is The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, traditionally known as All Souls Day. Friday is the Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, bishop.|During the regular readings this week, we conclude a four-week series of first readings from Paul's Letter to the Romans. He reminds us, "Who has known the mind of the Lord?"|In the Gospel according to Luke we see Jesus living out his daily life with challenging honesty. He calls us to extend an invitation out of our hearts, not with an eye on an invitation in return: "invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind." When the religious leaders complain, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them," Jesus tells parables of the man who finds his lost sheep and the woman with the lost coin, both of whom rejoice in finding what was lost. A steward protects himself by pardoning those who owe his master. We end the week with Jesus' asking which is more important, God or money? "No servant can serve two masters."|The Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time offers a gospel story of the foolish maidens who don't bring enough oil for their lamps, as Jesus tells us to be ready for the coming of God into our hearts. "Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour!"
Daily Prayer This Week|This week guides us deep into our faith in several ways. With All Saints day we are reminded of all the women and men whose faithful living of the Gospel is so clear that we are sure we can imitate their lives. These are all the named saints. It would be great to name the saints whose example we desire to shape our lives. All Souls day gives us the opportunity to remember and pray for all our brothers and sisters who have died. We confidently hope and pray that they may be embraced by the love and mercy of God, poured forth in the life giving death and resurrection of Jesus. This is a wonderful day to name all those we want to pray for, and to include in our prayer those who have no one to pray for them.|As we go about our very busy lives this week, we can continue to practice focusing our attention on an ongoing conversation with our Lord throughout the day. Our desires - for union with our Lord, to know God's love for us, to become more aware of our failings, to become more generous with our family and friends, to be more patient and forgiving, to love as we have been loved - can be expressed in these simple expressions. These expressed desires will naturally interact with the real events of our day.|The gospels this week will draw us into desiring to be more merciful and to not let money or pride dominate our behavior. We won't be "unprepared" if keep making openings for our Lord to enter the ordinary moments of our days.|Each night, let's look back over the day briefly, and give thanks for a God who listens to our desires.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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