Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time: Sept. 28 - Oct. 4, 2008

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be hindered. I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know. - Job 42
The Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time|On the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear Paul exhorting the Philippians, "Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus," offering us a powerful image of Jesus' humble, self-less service. In Matthew's Gospel Jesus offers a story about two sons, one who agrees to work in the vineyard but doesn't; the other who tells his father he will not work but then quietly goes to work. It is a story that challenges the chief priests and elders of the people, "Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you."|Monday is the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels, with its own special readings. Tuesday is the Memorial of Saint Jerome, priest and doctor of the Church. Wednesday is the Memorial of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church. Thursday is the Memorial of the Guardian Angels, with a special gospel. Saturday is the memorial of the beloved Saint Francis of Assisi.|Our first reading all week offers a look at the Book of Job. We witness his despair and his faithfulness in his most trying times and end with his praise of God's glory.|Luke's Gospel continues to offer us stories of Jesus "resolutely" on the way to Jerusalem and the suffering that faces him there. He is not welcomed in a Samaritan village but rebukes the disciples who want revenge on the village. He encourages his followers: "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God." He holds the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida accountable for ignoring his message despite "mighty deeds done in your midst" saying "whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." As his 72 followers returned to Jesus, they marveled at the power given them in his name as he praises his father for revealing wisdom "to the childlike."|A parable about tenants who were entrusted with their master's fields is at the center of the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. We hear Jesus really challenge the religious leaders with this story of the tenant farmers who refused to listen to the master's servants (the prophets) and abused and killed his son (Jesus) in an attempt to usurp his inheritance. Jesus tells them, "Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit."
Daily Prayer This Week|A regular way of reporting some important news today is to cite the source: "according to a highly placed government official," even when the source is anonymous. We give the story credibility if it seems to come from an authoritative source, deserving credibility. Jesus tells us clearly that the source of his message and his power is God, the Father, himself.|This week we can experience intimacy with God in the midst of our busy lives if we take brief moments throughout our day, every day, to let the connection between God and us become conscious. We forget who we are. We get distracted by the world around us, even with things that are our duty, or commitment. To become more conscious of the presence of God with us in our busy days takes some practice. It is a matter of desire and choice. If we desire it, we will choose it. And, it takes a "method."|This week we can wake each morning and let our first thoughts turn to our Lord and our relationship. "Good morning, Lord. Thank you for letting me be your disciple today. Help me to be connected with you throughout this day. With your love, help me to be freer and more grateful, in the midst of the anxiety and tension I experience today." That takes less that 30 seconds to say. We might object, saying "I am just barely awake when I wake up. How am I supposed to think this clearly immediately?" It just takes practice. The point isn't to focus on the words, but on the relationship that frames our day. Then, in the shower, while getting dressed, getting to work, and at a dozen in between times throughout the day and evening, we can re-connect consciously, in and ongoing conversation - 20 or 30 seconds at a time.|"Be with me in this next challenge, Lord. I often lose my temper here. I can get fairly impatient at this time. I get hooked and slip into judgment and anger. Stay with me and I will rely on your grace to be more patient, gentle and loving." Or, walking down the hall to the restroom, I might say, in my heart, "Lord, it really helps me to remember that beyond my job description, I'm your disciple. Help me to listen to you. Help me sense I'm here to let your Kingdom enter the world here. Give me the help to bring healing and love in this place today."|Try to take a brief few moments while getting ready for bed to recall the moments of connection and grace this day and give thanks.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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