Prov 30:5-9; Ps 119:29, 72, 89, 101, 104, 163; Lk 9:1-6
“Take nothing for the journey…”
The authority Luke speaks of is the authority of relationship. Jesus gave his apostles the authority, to “cure diseases… proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Jesus offered nothing beyond themselves; who they were in relationship to him. He offered them no healing herbs, no potions, no medical skills, no additional anything. He sent them off with “… nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,…no second tunic.” But neither did Jesus say anything about his expectations or results. In fact, he says, “…as for those who don’t welcome you, shake the dust from your feet.” He does not say to stick around, try and try again, or be persistent. He says to keep going, to keep moving on, to stay faithful to the mission, the journey. Stay faithful to me, to us, to what we have together. Don’t get bogged down in stuff or baggage. It is not about the quality of the hospitality offered; rather it is about faithfulness to Jesus himself. Staying faithful to the relationship.
Christ’s disclosure in today’s Gospel is startling, ”My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act upon it.” The statement is especially startling when we consider the relationship between Jesus and his mother. Christ desires his followers to be in an intimate personal relationship with Him not unlike that of a loving family.
Eph 4:1-7, 11-13; Mt 9:9-13
Imagine Matthew’s experience as today’s Gospel reading tells it. Here is he, literally minding his business, which was collecting tolls, possibly the toll paid when people transported goods, most likely fish, from the area of Galilee (Capernaum was a border town). Suddenly this man Jesus drops by. If Matthew worked out of Capernaum, he must have heard about and probably met the mysterious man from Nazareth who preached like Jeremiah and healed like Elijah. He knew that he had asked Peter, Andrew, James and John to join him. And now, though he scarcely knew him, along comes this Jesus with the simple and bold invitation, “Come, follow me.” This is most amazing. As a tax collector for the hated Roman government, most people had as little as possible to do with him, his only friends being other tax collectors and the sort of people the Pharisees labeled “sinners,” so called not because they were nasty people but because their trade or lack of learning made it unlikely that they kept the Torah properly. And yet this charismatic man of God is asking him to join him. What’s to lose? There got to be something better in this life than toll collecting. And there is something profoundly attractive about this Jesus. So he simply gets up and follows him.
In gratitude to God, we witnessed another mile stone in the life of Mary, Mother of Divine Love Province in India. On 08 September 2020 the second community of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters in the Diocese of Agartala, Tripura was erected in Bagbasa. It is about 150km distance from Twichakma where the first community was established. The three Sisters: Sr. Inacinha Fernandes, Sr. Bimla Barla and Sr. Tarcila Kerketta were sent out to collaborate in the educational and pastoral ministry together with the Holy Cross Fathers.
A CUP OF LOVING SERVICE
The cup reserved for holy service
Lay hidden on a dark and dusty shelf.
Years and years had passed since it
Was a useful vessel of God given grace.
But it carried a rich history of adventure:
A lone missionary priest, roaming
The imposing hills of West Virginia, -
Often on horseback - in the bygone
Time before technology came to rule
The now calcified world of ruthless
Profit and loss. - A relic of yesterday’s
Ancient history, now long forgotten.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the family of St. Vincent Pallotti, dear Friends
A grateful heart is a thankful heart, is a joyful heart! With these words I wish to express my joy and gratitude to you for the many wishes, cards, letters and gifts that I have received on the occasion of my Feastday. Thank you for your prayers, support, words of encouragement and every sign of love and friendship. I am truly strengthened by your faith, unity, spiritual and physical presence. September 3rd was indeed a beautiful day with many joyful surprises. It will surely remain in my heart. Thank you. With a gift of prayer-
Sr. Izabela Świerad SAC
▪ Pope Francis once again appealed to all Christians for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our Planet. Considering this call, here in Rome, the presidents of the Council of the European Bishops` Conference (CCEE) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) held a joint meeting and invited the faithful to take part in the Season of Creation from 1 September to 4 October. It is celebrated under the heading of Jubilee for the Earth, precisely in this year that marks the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. In the Holy Scriptures, a Jubilee is a sacred time to remember, return, rest, restore, and rejoice.
Isaiah 55:6-9|Philippians 1:20-24,27|Matthew 20:1-16
We have a lovely parable this Sunday about the laborers in the vineyard. Found only in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us that our God is a generous God who desires to save all people, all nations. Let us try to understand this story.
The owner of the vineyard hired laborers early in the morning (“harvest time” or summertime with sunrise about 6 a.m.) and agreed to pay them a denarius each (the acceptable daily wage for a laborer). These laborers were poor and depended on the daily wages they received to feed their families. When the owner went out at 9 am, noon, 3 pm, and 5 pm, he found more laborers who had not yet been hired. When work ended (around 6 pm), he paid them each a denarius, beginning with the last and ending with those who came early in the morning.
The Parable of the Seed
It is pretty heavy stuff to be told that knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God has been granted to us. As I reflect on the parable of the seed, I realize that I am often the seed that falls among the thorns. I am thankful that I haven’t been robbed of the good news by the Devil and I am not tempted to abandon my roots. I hang in there with my faith, but I don’t think I bear much mature fruit. There are times when I bear the fruit of a good and generous heart, but in so many ways, I also get choked by thorns and weeds. It is a constant struggle for me to persevere. I get consumed by the anxieties of this life or the many pleasures that distract me from my anxieties. Maybe the parable speaks loudly to me today because the constant rain here in Omaha this summer has kept me pulling, cutting, clipping, and whacking away at weeds in my yard. My battles with weeds and thorns serve as a reminder of my spiritual battles. As I persevere in the war against weeds, I ask myself the question, “what does it mean to persevere in the production of mature fruit of the spirit?” In Galatians 5:22-23 we learn that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Here is a check list I made for myself to keep me focused.
"Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women"
Jesus, as we know, certainly chose from among his disciples 12 men as Fathers of the new Israel and appointed them "to be with him, and to be sent out to preach" (Mk 3, 14-15). This fact is obvious; but, in addition to the Twelve, pillars of the Church and fathers of the new People of God, many women were also chosen to number among the disciples. I can only mention very briefly those who followed Jesus himself, beginning with the Prophetess Anna (cf. Lk 2, 36-38), to the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4, 1-39), the Syro-Phoenician woman (cf. Mk 7, 24-30), the woman with the haemorrhage (cf. Mt 9, 20-22) and the sinful woman whose sins were forgiven (cf. Lk 7, 36-50).
Today’s gospel provides such a dramatic and beautiful picture of God’s love for us. There are many lessons to be found in this passage.
It is easy to imagine this woman - with hair probably to her waist or longer - weeping at Jesus’ feet in sorrow for her sins. She demonstrates such humility in her actions, to use her tears and her hair to wash the dusty, dirty feet of someone who has been walking in sandals on unpaved roads and paths, through the market places and in the fields. As a nurse I think of the contrast with how we health care providers can distance ourselves from our patients with gloves and gowns and masks. Not that I am recommending that we forego these protections for ourselves and others; it is reasonable and necessary to protect against exposure to infection. But, it might be well for us to imagine this gospel scene when ministering to a patient to remind us that God resides in that individual. Then we are humbled by His presence just as the woman in the gospel was and, despite our protective gear, there can be no distancing of our hearts and minds.