“Take nothing for the journey,
neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there.”

Luke 9

Twenty-Fifth Week of Ordinary Time: Sept. 20-26, 2009

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Twenty-Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

On the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear Jesus tell his disciples about his passion, death and resurrection a second time. It is clear to him that they didn't understand the first time. He knew that, along the way, they had been arguing about who was the greatest. He gathers the Apostles and says to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

Monday is the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist, with its own special readings.

The first reading this week comes from the Book of Ezra, one of the first chroniclers of the post-exile period of Judaism. He is responsible for helping hold the restored people together. We finish the week with brief selections from the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, who were prophets during this period. "Consider your ways!" "My spirit continues in your midst; do not fear!"

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus urges us to use our gifts: “No one lights a lamp and hides it under a bushel basket.” When his family comes looking for him, Jesus uses the occasion to tell us that we are family to him, if we hear his Word and act on it. Herod is wondering who Jesus really is. He encourages his Apostles to freedom, sending them out to teach and heal, taking nothing with them. Jesus asks his disciples who they think he is. Peter replies for them all, “The Christ of God.” Jesus doesn't want them to announce he’s the type of Messiah they were looking for. Instead, he tells them of his upcoming passion and death.

On the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Jesus tells his disciples not to worry about someone driving out evil in his name. He warns about giving scandal, especially to children and calls for a radical avoidance of evil. We are to separate ourselves from it and choose to turn away from sin and its sources as radically as if to cut off our hand or pluck out our eye. It’s about life itself.

 

Daily Prayer This Week

This is a great week to be reminded that the call to be a Christian is not a simple path. We are called to serve boldly and without worrying about material needs. This weeks readings have a clear call for us to examine how we share God's love for us with others.

How do we do such serious reflection when it seems we don't have time for it? We can be "contemplatives in action" by beginning our day with a desire, letting that desire come to our consciousness throughout the day in the "background" moments, and by giving thanks for what graces we received at the end of the day.

How do we come up with the desire? The first step to finding "intimacy with God in the midst of our daily lives" is to develop the habit of naming a desire for the day, while we are still just getting started with the day, before our concentration becomes pre-occupied with the worries of the day. These guides can help by suggesting desires that flow from the readings of the week, but the best desires are in the very needs and anxieties that are deep in our hearts. That is where God is working in us, revealing things we can turn over to the Lord and form into a prayer. It can often be just 45 seconds, when we throw on a robe or slippers, or while in the shower or getting dressed. It is deep prayer if we can just say, "Help me, today, Lord. My day is so full. Give me courage, and let me know you are with me all day."

We can use the readings of the week in a variety of ways. We can take a day to imagine being part of Jesus' family, with a desire to hear his word and keep it. We can let Jesus address us one day this week, asking us who we say he is.

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