pray

Gospel - October 24, 2014


LK 12:54-59

Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Reflection - October 24, 2014


My wife and I have three children, and the last two came 15 months apart. Simon, 8, and Lucy, 7, have grown up as close playmates, but they also know how to push each other’s buttons.

Last week, I heard them playing downstairs, and the tenor of their voices raised as they increasingly disagreed about something. They escalated until something happened—I could hear a brief moment of silence—and then Simon started crying.

As I approached the scene of the crime to negotiate peace terms, I could hear Lucy repeatedly and insistently apologizing to Simon, trying to comfort him. I had to suppress my smile when I reached them—she was trying to hush him before she got in trouble.

She knew that she would face consequences for hurting her brother. She is no dummy, so she tried to work it out with him, hoping for reconciliation, before she faced certain judgment from me.

It was a nice try. Despite her efforts, I had to enforce consequences for her actions.

I think of Lucy when I hear what Jesus is saying to us in this Gospel.

In the passage from yesterday, Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom is a purifying fire. Jesus said, “I came to bring fire to the earth!” We must respond to this intense proclamation with a decision that will change our lives in significant ways.

Jesus further defines this choice in today’s Gospel. The kingdom is among us and we should be able to read its signs as clearly as we can read the weather. We should interpret these signs of the times and orient our lives around the kingdom, Jesus tells us.

“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” he asks. If we could judge what is right, we would have the clear thinking of my daughter, and we would do all we could to avoid judgment. We would seek reconciliation, we would ensure we are on good terms with our neighbor, we would have our ducks in a row.

Jesus calls us to action today. Our judgment will rest in the fact that our actions have consequences and much is expected of us.

Josh Noem ’98, ’05MDiv

 

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Prayer - October 24, 2014


All-knowing God, we see all around us the signs of your will in our lives. At times it may be difficult for us to recognize for ourselves what those signs point us towards. Grant us the grace we need in order to know your will, the wisdom to understand it, and the strength to carry it out. May our efforts to know your will lead us not into pride and self-importance, but give us an ever greater love for you, who reigns forever and ever. Amen.

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