Ninth Week of Ordinary Time: May 31 - June 6, 2020

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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Jesus saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. Matthew 9
Pentecost and the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time|Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, as the readings and the whole Church celebrate the coming and ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit among us. Jesus breathes on his jittery followers and tells them, "Peace be with you" and fills them with courage.|Monday is the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. Wednesday is the Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and his companions, martyrs. Friday is the Memorial of Saint Boniface, bishop and martyr.|The first readings this week are from the Second Letter of Peter, who exhorts us to "be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace" and from the Second Letter to Timothy: "Stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control."|In Mark's Gospel this week, Jesus is in the midst of a struggle with the religious leaders in Jerusalem who do not like him. He tells them the Parable of the tenant farmers, telling them that the stone rejected by builders has become the cornerstone. They almost arrest him. His opponents try to ensnare Jesus with question about the temple tax, but he isn't trapped by them. When they question him about the resurrection, Jesus tells a parable which teaches that God is the God of the living. When asked which is the first commandment, Jesus gives two - highlighting the equal importance of love of God and neighbor. Jesus is both Son of David and Messiah and Lord. Jesus warns of those who abuse widows on spiritual pretexts and tells his disciples to notice the widow who gave from her poverty.|The 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time allows us to reflect upon the call of the tax collector, Matthew, because Jesus is criticized for eating and drinking with sinners. Jesus calls his critics and us to go learn the meaning of these words, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.
Daily Prayer This Week|Pentecost, and our being renewed with the gifts of the Holy Spirt, comes at the end of the Easter Season, but as the birthday of the Church, it is a fitting beginning to our return to Ordinary Time. We can continue to ask that the Holy Spirit come into our hearts, to enkindle within us the fire of the Spirit's Love. We can continue to ask that we be able to join the Spirit in our taking up our role in renewing the face of the earth. It is so appropriate that this takes us to remembering that Mary is the Mother of the Church, our mother in this Spirit-filled process of being Church together. We can ask Mary to place us with her Son this week.|Throughout this week, we can watch the religious leaders of Jesus' day try to trap him and trip him up. They are not open to him at all. This can be a wonderful week to renew our openness to Jesus. It can begin with expressions of gratitude and affection. We can tell Jesus - in little in between moments of our busy days this week - "Jesus, you are the Lord of my life. My life is in your hands. Let me surrender to your love and give myself to living my life in your ways."|We might find outselves strugging with something or someone, here or there this week. We can turn to Jesus, in those little conversations, and feel the gift of his Spirit freeing us - as the Spirit always does - and enkindling a fire within us, which is always purifying and which always stirs love in our heart. These exercises of trust and renwal will re-fresh us in the times which tempt us to give into what is cold and hard and dark. We can acknowlege the presence of the Spirit, the moment I turn for help and light and direction. And, in those moments, we can give thanks and embrace the gift.|Finally, we can let ourselves look for people in our lives, on our paths, who need comforting and the warmth of the Spirit to heal them and offer them peace. I can express me desire, "Lord, I so desire to be an instrument of your Spirit's peace and a channel for reconciliation and healing." The Spirit will respond when we pray with that openness and desire.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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