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."
Wisdom 7:22b–8:1; Luke 17:20-25
The scripture speaks of wisdom. Christians are told to be wise. The reading from the book of Wisdom personifies wisdom as feminine, the crafter of all; wisdom is “an aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty.” Wisdom is “the image of God’s goodness.” And the scribe wrote: “God loves nothing so much as the man/woman who lives with wisdom.”
Christians are told to be wise. The gospel has Jesus telling his followers not to go off and run in pursuit of an elusive kingdom of God or a fraudulent Son of Man. Rather, with reflection and wisdom, you will find both and realize that “the kingdom of God is among us.” We long for action, but the wise person knows, as Jesus knows, that the typical human state is not activity but watchfulness—“watch and pray” Jesus tells his followers.
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.
Wisdom 2:23-3:9; Luke 17:7-10
Today’s gospel can sound startling and uncomfortable to a rational, Western mind like mine. Jesus’ story uses the social structure of his time to make a point. You wouldn’t invite your servant to sit down at the table and serve you. His listeners understood – that would have been unthinkable.
Jesus says: “Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?” That may make our modern ears uncomfortable because few of us have servants today and we can’t comprehend a social structure that is so delineated.
Congratulations to new Leadership in the Delegature of Cameroon
On 22 October 2019, a new delegature team in Cameroon took over their responsibility. The following are the members of the Delegature Council:
Sr. Weronika Sakowska Delegature Superior
Sr. Anna Kot Vice-Delegature Superior
Sr. Fabiana Leitgeber Councilor
Sr. Urszula Żarów Councilor
Sr. Edyta Budynek Councilor
“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.
2 Maccabee 7:1-2, 9-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5; Luke 20:27-38
Paradise Ascent Of The Blessed by Hieronymus Bosch, 1500-04
In the Gospel, Jesus has entered Jerusalem and is teaching the people in the temple about the Good News. This scene becomes the stage for the leaders of the various religious parties within the Jewish tradition to try to make their position clear to the other groups and also discredit Jesus’ teachings. The Sadducees are such a faction. They hold strictly to the literal reading of the Torah themselves. This puts them in opposition to the Pharisees who gain their power from their own collective interpretation of the same teachings of Moses. Both groups question the authority of Jesus to teach such new things. They ask Jesus various trick questions such as to whom should the tax be paid, to the Roman government or, because of religious teachings, pay only the Temple Taxes. They would like to trap Jesus so as to hand him over for political judgment.
Today the liturgy celebrates the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, called “mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world.” In fact, this basilica was the first to be built after Emperor Constantine’s edict, in 313, granted Christians freedom to practice their religion.
The emperor himself gave Pope Miltiades the ancient palace of the Laterani family, and the basilica, the baptistery, and the patriarchate, that is, the Bishop of Rome’s residence — where the Popes lived until the Avignon period — were all built there. The basilica’s dedication was celebrated by Pope Sylvester around 324 and was named Most Holy Savior; only after the 6th century were the names of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist added, and now is typically denominated by these latter.
Today’s Gospel by Luke must be understood in the light of the custom that agents acted on behalf of their masters. Thus, an agent’s dishonesty would stem from him squandering his master’s estate. In this parable, the “master commended the dishonest steward for acting prudently” that is, the parable is teaching us to use material goods carefully. These readings made me think of the need to not only to be good stewards of material goods, but also of God’s gifts and talents. It reminded me of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter (Laudato si’) On Care For Our Common Home. He asks all of us to put “People and Planet First”, not one at the expense of the other.