Jesus was aware that he was being watched, but he did not hesitate to heal the man. The Pharisees loved their system of rules and regulations more than they loved God. Maybe we at times hold on to our way of doing things and not be open to other possibilities. Are we so stubborn in our beliefs and our actions that we would rather destroy a relationship than save it?
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time –
In this brief passage we have so much to learn from Jesus in regard to our dealings with one another. Note the sensitivity of Jesus for this man. Are we alert enough to anticipate the needs of others without having them ask for everything? We need to tune into the world around us and see Jesus in all the needy.
Again, Jesus is in a controversy with the Pharisees, this time about a disputed point in the law of Moses concerning the Sabbath “Once on a sabbath Jesus was walking through the standing grain. His disciples were pulling off grain-heads, shelling them with their hands, and eating them.” Rules and laws are meant to be followed almost all the time but not every time. Sometimes we need to make room for acts of compassion and solidarity that nourish the heart, nourish the Church, nourish our relationships with God and each other.
St. Gregory the Great – Pray for us! –
It is extremely indicative that Jesus likens the Christian life, more than once, to a wedding feast. Joy is a primary Christian characteristic. Far too many people think of Christianity as something which compels them to all the things they do not want to do and holds them back from doing all the things that they might want to do.
We are being called each day into a deeper relationship with God. Like Isaiah, Paul and Simon Peter we, too, are aware of our limitations and sinfulness. But renewed with the grace of God we can become the prophets and apostles that God so desperately needs in the world today. May our prayers today encourage and empower us to begin anew and be transformed by the grace of God.
The people who lived in biblical times were no more fortunate than we are. The grass is not greener on the other side of a centuries-old fence. We may long for the good old days, whether those days are biblical times or the church of two generations ago. We need to open our eyes of faith to see that God is at work among us now and that the gospel cannot be defeated.
What kind of spirit do we have? Is it obvious that we are filled with God’s spirit? Is our relationship with the Lord one that enables us to speak with authority about our life with God and share that with others? Or does our worldly spirit crowd out all that is holy. Are we still intimidated by the world’s standards? Are we concerned about measuring up to the world’s expectations of us? Or are we concerned more about what God expects of us?
Let us ask God to anoint us with grace so that we may bring joy to others; that we may help others free themselves from fear, cynicism and hatred; that we may restore hope to those in despair and heal those broken in body and spirit. May our humble generosity and grateful kindness proclaim to all God’s presence in our midst.
Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time –
Outward expressions of religious faith and religious faith itself are not one and the same. They do not stand or fall together. Outward expressions change; customs change; traditions change; rituals change. Through it all religious faith abides. We need to be sure that our understanding of religion is not based on mere human tradition. If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ and deepen the religious faith aspect of our lives, we can be sure that religion will not get disconnected from real life.
St. Augustine – Pray for us! –
In the eyes of Jesus life is an endowment which we hold in trust for God. And the greatest factor about that endowment is its potential. One of the worst sins that any of us can commit is to treat life like a buried treasure, to hang on to it, to keep it all for ourselves. St. Irenaeus, a wonderful philosopher and theologian in the second century said: “The glory of God is the human person fully alive.”