23 Sunday C - Discipleship

From The Connections:
Today’s Gospel is the beginning of a treatise, unique to Luke’s Gospel, on the nature and demands of discipleship.
Jesus’ sobering words in today’s Gospel are meant to make us fully aware of the cost of discipleship before we embrace something we are not prepared for.  The gift of grace comes at the price of the same cross awaiting Jesus in Jerusalem.
Some translations of today’s Gospel ascribe rather harsh words to Jesus: in some texts, Jesus speaks of “turning one’s back” on family; in other translations, the verb “hate” is used.  A more precise translation of the idiom here is whoever prefers the love of family or self to Christ cannot be his follower.

22 Sunday C

From the Connections:

Gospel humility (a key theme of Luke’s Gospel) is not a religious sado-masochism motivated by self-hatred or obsequiousness.  As taught by Christ, humility is an awareness of who we are before God; of our constant need for God and our dependence on God for everything; of the limitlessness of God’s love and forgiveness.  The Jesus of the Gospel, “who, though in the form of God, humbled himself . . . accepting even death on the cross” is the perfect model of the humble servant of God.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls us to embrace the attitude of seeking out the “lowest places” at table for the sake of others, promising that at the banquet of heaven God will exalt such humility.  In teaching us to invite to our tables “those who cannot repay you,” Jesus challenges us to imitate the love of God: doing what is right, good and just for the joy of doing so, not out of a sense of duty, self-interest or the need to feel superior or in control.  “Nothing can so effectively humble us before God’s mercy as the multitude of his benefits,” wrote Francis de Sales, “and nothing can so deeply humble us before his justice as our countless offenses against him.”
Gospel-centered humility realizes that we are not the center of all things but part of a much larger world, humility that is centered in gratitude for all the blessings we have received as a result of the depth of God’s love and not because of anything we have done to deserve it.  Faced with this realization, all we can do is to try and return that love to those around us. 
Humility is the virtue of suspending our own wants and needs in order to consciously seek God in all people and experiences.  True humility is centered in the things of God – love, compassion, mercy, selflessness, tolerance and forgiveness.
The spirit of humility as taught by Jesus is not the diminishing of one’s self but the realization that we share with every human being the sacred dignity of being made in the image and likeness of God.  To be humble as Christ teaches humility is to see one another as God sees us and to rejoice in being ministers to them in their joys and struggles.
God’s banquet table includes places of honor for every poor, hurting, confused soul.  At the Gospel banquet table, we are both guests and servers: We welcome and are welcomed as children of the same God and Father; as sons and daughters of God, we share equally in the bounty of this table; as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are responsible for the protection and maintenance of the vineyard given to us by our loving Father.  

21 Sunday C: Universality of Salvation

From The Connections:
Magic Woman and her secret formula
Nine years ago her dream came true — she lost a great deal of weight.  As a result, many wonderful things happened:  Her blood pressure went down and her energy level wept up.  Her feet, knees and back didn’t ache any more.  She no longer had to shop in the “big” women’s stores.
But something else happened that she hadn’t expected.  To her family and friends, she became “Magic Woman.”  How did you do it? they all wanted to know.  They were looking for that formula, that certain something to transform them, zap, from a size 22 to a size 12.

20 Sunday C: Set the Earth on Fire

Contemporary prophets in the Church:  
The Jesuit Cardinal Avery Dulles, writing about the role of prophecy in the modern church communities in his book Models of the Church, remarks: “Christianity is not healthy unless there is room in it for prophetic protest against abuses of authority.” God continues to send such prophets to every parish community and it is the duty of the bishop, pastor and parish council to listen to the well-intended and constructive criticisms of such Jeremiahs.

19 Sunday C - Watching and Wating

From Fr. Jude Botelho:

 The Book of Sirach written a little less than two hundred years before Christ’s time, reminds its readers that God is no respecter of personages, he listens to the humble and the poor. In a corrupt and unjust society as the one that existed in ancient times and still exists today, the situation of the poor was seen as totally helpless. Without financial backing and social influence the poor would never get justice when they were wronged. Keeping this situation in mind, the author says God will come to the rescue of the poor, he will punish the guilty and vindicate the poor, humbling their oppressors. In the words of the response psalm: ‘When the poor man called the Lord heard him.’