Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-14,18; Mark 13:24-32
We’ve all had that experience of joining a group of friends who are mid-conversation, and finding that, at least at first, what they’re saying makes no sense to us. Without the context of what they’ve been saying, it’s hard to get our bearings, and work out just what the things they are saying mean.
Jesus wants his disciples to be in continual dialogue with his most dear Father, just as He was. And Jesus exhorts his disciples to intensify this dialogue during times of stress, just as He did. The dialogue is, of course, prayer.
In today's Gospel Jesus chooses the rather strange parable of the corrupt judge to illustrate his point of praying always, especially in need. The judge ultimately grants the widow's petition not because the petition was just but because he does not want to be disturbed: "While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me."
From 1 to 31 October 2018, General Visitation was held in the Polish Province. The theme for the visitation was taken from the letter of St. Paul to Timothy: God gave us no spirit of fear but power and love and sober thinking (2 Tm 1, 7). The General Councilors, delegates of the General Superior, visited all of our communities in Poland. They travelled from North to South and from West to East traversing Polish roads in the picturesque autumn season. The visitation was marked by mutual openness, trust, joy of meeting together and sisterly sharing of faith experience and the richness of consecrated life. The beautiful liturgies were the heart of the visitation path, in search for sanctity and ways where the Province can fully develop.
In Our Days
These things we love: leaves in color, the night sky, ideas that prove true. Some days it is enough just to be here. Roll down the hill one more time. No one will know. First take off your glasses. Leaves stuck everywhere. Cry out. Even here we find God. When being here is enough. When we are not wrestling with death, not asking why, not needing more. But more is holy too.
How does God speak in our days? Days of hard work and troubled sleep. Is it enough? Will I make it? Got to push harder. Walk faster. The aloneness takes over and others pass like shadows over the water. A leaf blows to my lips and I spit it out.
Gratitude: God’s Gift to Us
He never said that they weren’t grateful. The “other nine” lepers whom Jesus had cured may have been quite glad to be free of their terrible malady—but we don’t hear them say that and, neither, apparently, did Jesus. Only one returned and gave thanks. Yes, it’s one thing to be thankful; it’s another to express the thanks, especially to God.
Psalm 146:7, 8-9a, 9bc-10
Today’s Epistle is the entire book of the Letter to Philemon, which I have always considered attractive and somewhat unattractive all at the same time.
First a bit of context: The letter, though a mere 25 verses long, has been noted as worthy of inclusion because it was written in Paul’s own hand! He writes from Rome where he is under perhaps some type of house arrest. There he met Onesimus, a runaway slave of Philemon, a wealthy Christian from Colossus. While in Rome, Onesimus had become a convert to the faith, a friend and even considered “a dear brother” as Paul is sending him back to his owner Philemon. In Paul’s thinking, Onesimus was morally bound to return.
Titus 2:1-8, 11-14
Psalm 37:3-4, 18 and 23, 27 and 29
This reflection is really about and for elders….for people like myself. But younger people need to reflect on it too. I must say that the readings in Titus today were certainly culturally and historically situated in a very different time and place. The part about women being under the control of their husbands doesn’t seem too relevant for most of us. But as an anthropologist, I can see the situational wisdom that we can extract from this very powerful lesson. Anthropologists pay a lot of attention to elders. It seems that our society so values youth that we often fail to see where the age and experience of older men and women can serve as valuable resources for younger men and women. But sometimes I think that the frequent failure of young men and women to honor their elders has as much to do with the fact that elders need to make sure they are worthy of respect. I am an elder and I accept what Titus says about being consistent with sound doctrines in our behavior such as the ones he identifies. No one disagrees that it is good to temperate, dignified, self-controlled, faithful, loving, chaste, enduring and reverent; nor should we be slanderers or addicted to drink.
“If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed…” Luke 17:6
I can’t…I just can’t. Ever hear or say that one? I can’t forgive her for what she did. I can’t do what God wants me to do today, I have this work to do. I can’t love our enemies…not after what they did to us. I can’t turn the other cheek. I just can’t…I don’t have the strength…I need more faith.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus doesn’t accept that one. He has just explained to the disciples that they are to forgive those who act against them—over and over and over again. And, the disciples—like me—feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task, plead with Jesus to increase their faith.
1 Kings 17:10-16; Hebr 9:24-28; Mk 12:38-44
Today Jesus calls our attention to the “two-coin” woman of whom Jesus makes much. Her little amount, amounts to much and we are invited to reflect on how God’s love embraces all, even that which goes unnoticed and uncelebrated.
Psalm 112:1b-2, 5-6, 8a+9
Paul, writing in the first century A.D., could easily have been writing in the 21st century. In the first Reading, Paul is responding to the great concern one community of people, the Philippians, have shown him. He notes their generosity of spirit as they have given much to him. When one reads this Daily Reflection, I think each one of us is concerned about the global economy and what it means for us, for our immediate neighbor, and, for our distant neighbor. We are called to be attentive to a concern for others and to be generous in spirit – and, it seems that the present economy of the globe will give us ample opportunity to do so.