October 22, 2021
by Gladyce Janky
Creighton University's Business and Law Departments
click here for photo and information about the writer

Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 477

Romans 7:18-25a
Psalm 119:66, 68, 76, 77, 93, 94
Luke 12:54-59

Praying Ordinary Time

St. John Paul II from the Vatican site

Sarah, a servant girl carrying an empty water jug, stood listening to Jesus as he spoke from the synagogue's steps.  Like the day before, she noticed the crowd ebbing and flowing as villagers left and brought back family and neighbors.  Others simply left, expressing confusion or anger.  What does he mean by the present time?  How dare he call us hypocrites! We follow the law.  He is only a wandering teacher, not a temple priest.

Feeling disappointed, Sarah lowered her head and quietly walked to the well.  I want to talk to him, but I am afraid to approach him with so many people here.  What if he laughs at me?  What if my neighbors think I am just an ignorant woman?  Lost in her thoughts, she lowered the bucket into the well and filled her jar.  Turning around, she was surprised to see Jesus was no longer standing.  He was sitting alone on the steps, shoulders slumped and his head down. Silently Jesus prayed, Father, I do not know if they understand. Am I doing your will?  

Gathering up what little courage she could, Sarah resolved to approach Jesus. This might be my only chance.  I will offer him a cup of water, and then maybe he will talk to me.  Her voice a little more than a whisper; Sarah extended a cup of water and asked Jesus, Sir, you have been out in the hot sun for many hours. Will you accept a cup of water from a servant girl?

Raising his head looking into Sarah's eyes, Jesus smiled and extended his hand to the cup.  Thank you for your kindness. Please, if your master will permit your absence for a bit longer, sit with me for a few minutes. Sitting on the steps and chatting with Jesus, Sarah felt the warmth of his personality.  She did not feel like a slave but as an equal, accepted, and loved.  With renewed confidence, she resolved to speak what was on her heart.     

Teacher, I think I know what you are saying.  As a servant, I must always be attentive to my mistress. Even when I am sleeping, she might call for me.  She often expects me to interpret her needs before she asks.  If there is a disagreement among the servants, she expects us to work things out, not bring our complaints to her. I hear you saying that I should be even more attentive to God's voice than my mistress.  I should always be listening, watching, and interpreting the signs of His presence to live according to His statutes.  And, I should seek to live in harmony with others, finding ways to accept and love them rather than relying on the law to settle differences.      

Jesus, smiling at Sarah, put one hand on her shoulder, raised his eyes toward heaven, and loudly proclaimed, blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom (Mt 11:25).

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