To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, October 23, 2018 click HERE
Monday, 22 October 2018
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - Do you live one moment of one day at a time or are you living only in the future?
to read the texts click on the texts: Eph 2:12-22; Lk 12:35-38
The sayings in these verses are a call to watchfulness and readiness.
The call to be dressed for action would mean literally to draw up the longer outer garment and tuck it into the sash around one’s waist so as to be prepared for strenuous activity. If the servants/disciples are so ready, they will be able to be prompt in responding to the master’s knock, and will be blessed. This blessing will take the form of a reversal of roles. The master will become servant/slave.
The time of the coming of the master is not known and he may come at any time, but if the servant/disciple is always ready, he/she will be blessed.
It is not difficult for us as Christians to relate to this reversal of roles, simply because our God in Jesus has already become slave. It is now left to us as servants to be ready at all times.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - Eph 2:12-22; Lk 12:35-38
Sunday, 21 October 2018
Monday, October 22, 2018 - Do you possess things, or do things possess you? If God were to call you to himself at this moment would you be ready to go?
To read the texts click on the texts: Eph 2:1-10; Lk 12:13-21
The text begins with someone in the crowd asking Jesus to serve as judge in the division of an inheritance. While Jesus will not accept this role, he points the man and the crowd to a different understanding of the meaning of wealth and life.
This different understanding is explicated through a parable, which is found exclusively in Luke. It is about a rich man who had more than he required and soon became possessed by his riches. This possession leads him to focus on making provision to store his great wealth so that he can use it exclusively for himself in future. It is self-centeredness at its worst. The only ones in the parable are the rich man and his wealth.
In the midst of all his planning and calculations, God speaks to him addressing him as “fool”. There is a sharp contrast between the rich man’s planning for “many years” and the “this very night” of God. It is clear that first of all when God calls, he will have to go and second that when he goes he can take nothing of what he has stored with him. There is the very real danger of forgetting God if one allows oneself to be possessed by one’s riches.
The manner in which some of us accumulate things seems to indicate on the one hand that we think we are going to live forever and on the other hand that even if we have to die that we can take all of which we have accumulated. The parable of today calls us to realise first that we can be called at any time and hence must live in such a manner that we will have no regrets no matter when that might be and second that whenever we are called we can take nothing of what we have gathered together but will have to leave it all behind. Thus while planning for the future may be necessary, obsession with the future is uncalled for.
Monday, October 22, 2018 - Eph 2:1-10; Lk 12:13-21
Saturday, 20 October 2018
To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 53:10-11; Heb 4:14-16; Mk 10:35-45
The Gospel of Mark contains three passion, death, and resurrection predictions. These are found in 8:31, 9:31, and 10:32-34. It is only in Mark that all three predictions are “on the way”. This fact illustrates that Mark intends readers of his Gospel to realize, not merely that Jesus spoke these predictions while traveling with his disciples along the road, but also, and more importantly, that Jesus was speaking about his WAY OF LIFE and the way of life to which those who followed him were being invited.
After each of these predictions, there was misunderstanding on the part of one or all the disciples. After the first prediction, Peter is the one who misunderstands. He protests Jesus’ going to his cross. Jesus corrects this misunderstanding by insisting that the cross is the only way. After the second, it is all twelve who misunderstand. They discuss among themselves who is the greatest. Again, Jesus has to correct the misunderstanding by pointing out to them the least is the greatest. After the third prediction, it might seem at first glance that James and John misunderstand when they ask for places of honour. A closer reading indicates that, along with them, the other ten also misunderstand because of their indignation with the brothers. This indignation indicates that the ten were thinking in the same way as James and John. Jesus, however, is not indignant and again, sets about correcting their misunderstanding. He does this by explicating his way of life and the way of life that he will expect those who follow him to live.
This explication is done, not in words alone but, as both the first and second readings of today point out, in and through inconceivable and mind boggling action.
The first reading speaks of the prophecy of Isaiah. It is part of the fourth and final servant song that is contained in the Book of Isaiah. The suffering of the servant is a definite part of God’s incomprehensible and unfathomable plan. It is he who will show, through his life, what true love and service really mean. Appointed by God, he will use his power, not to condemn, but to save. He will bring to completion and fruition the plan of God to save all peoples everywhere and for all time. This is the theme that Jesus takes up in his instruction to the disciples. His task in the world, like that of the suffering servant whom Isaiah had prophesied about, was to become ransom for all. This he would do, not by being served, but by serving. If the disciples wanted to follow him, as fully as they ought to, they had to realize that, in his view, authority meant service. They had to realize that wanting to be first meant willingness to be last. They had to realize that being master and Lord meant being slave and servant of all.
Jesus showed them how this was done through his willingness to embrace the cross, even if it meant scandal to those who did not believe and foolishness to others. He was willing to embrace the cross even if meant the end of his days, the end of his life. He was willing to embrace the cross even if it meant that he would be abandoned by all, abandoned even by his God and father.
This is why the second reading from Hebrews expresses, as confidently as it does, that we, as believers, need have no fear. We have before us a model that we can imitate. This model is not merely a heavenly model but rather, he is a model who has been, in every way, like us even to the point of being tested as we are. He did not show us the way from on high, but by becoming human, so that he could inspire, encourage, invite, and challenge us. Thus, he is able to understand us in all of our weaknesses and in our striving for position and honour and power.
While, on the one hand, we may be too quick to judge and even condemn the disciples for their striving, any attempt to practice detachment ourselves indicates how difficult it can really be. We often experience feelings of jealousy, envy, resentment, and antipathy or hostility towards those who have more than we, or who are in a “better’ position than we are. We keep craving for things that we mistakenly believe will satisfy.
Jesus shows us, in the Gospel text of today, what it means to be a true disciple. He challenges us to give up our acquisitiveness and take on, instead, the attitude of detachment. He has shown through his life, his mission, and his death, that this detachment is possible. He has shown us this by the totally human life that he led. He has shown us this by going ahead of us and leading the way. The way to do this is to be bold and to approach the throne of God’s unconditional love, mercy, and grace. The way to do this is in knowing that, even if we fall or fail, we can lift ourselves up because of his graciousness to us all. The way to do this is to believe that, with his help, we can be true disciples. Are we willing to believe that this is so?
Sunday, October 21, 2018 - Isa 53:10-11; Heb 4:14-16; Mk 10:35-45
Friday, 19 October 2018
To read the texts click on the texts: Eph 1:15-23; Lk 12:8-12
The sin against the Holy Spirit that Jesus speaks about in the Gospel reading of today does not refer to a particular sin or action. It is not an impulsive, momentary rejection of Jesus, such as Peter’s denial of Jesus in the courtyard, but a persistent, obdurate rejection of God’s saving grace through the work of the Holy Spirit. It is, in other words dependence only on self and not on God.
Today the sin against the Holy Spirit is to no longer believe that the Holy Spirit can transform me. It is to give up before one can begin. It is to give in to despair and to lose hope. It is not to make a resolution for fear of breaking that resolution. It is not to trust, not to hope and not to believe.