Reflections on the Daily Readings

October 21 - 27, 2018
The Season of Ordinary Time - The Twenty-ninth Week
Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle II.
Divine Office - Psalter Week I.

Sunday 21:          The Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 32; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45
Our readings today have the common theme of servant and suffering. The first reading today comes from the Fourth Song of the Servant in the Book of the prophet Isaiah and in the passage we see that the servant of God will suffer for the people in order to justify them. While this suffering takes place in this life, the reward comes in the next and part of that is the justification of those for whom the servant has offered himself, an offering which takes away the sins of others. We know that the servant is Jesus Christ and, through his passion, death and resurrection, he has justified all human beings and atoned for their sins.
In the gospel we see two of the disciples coming to Jesus and telling him that they want particular seats in the Kingdom. It is a reminder that even the disciples didn’t fully grasp the meaning and implication of Jesus’ teachings. The others are furious with the two brothers over this but it becomes a moment of instruction for them. Entry to the Kingdom is open to all people but it is conditional on living a life of faith, which also means that status in life is not something which the Christian should be worried about. We cannot dominate people but must help our fellow men and women to achieve perfection and this is to be done with a great deal of humility on our part and with an example of true Christian living. The key attitude should be that of a servant, and of a servant who is willing to suffer for the sake of their belief in Jesus Christ. This is not always an easy thing to do but the greatest reward is a place in the Kingdom and, if we are to be worthy of that, then we must be willing and accept whatever suffering comes our way. The final sentence is a prediction of the suffering which Jesus himself would undergo to atone for the sins of the people. Most of us will not be called on to suffer for our faith as Christ did, yet the suffering servant is the example which we must follow.
In the second reading from the letter to the Hebrews, the author says that Jesus is a greater priest than the human priests the people were familiar with. Jesus was fully human and so can understand the weaknesses of the people, and he too was tempted as the people are tempted. However, unlike the other priests, he never gave in to temptation and so that should be the example that the people should follow and try to emulate, rather than those of the priests they see every day. They are also reminded that Jesus is now in the heavens with God and so the people can confidently turn to him whenever they need help.

Monday 22:         Of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 2:1-10; Psalm 99; Luke 12:13-21
In the letter to the Christian community at Ephesus on the western shore of modern-day Turkey, St Paul reminds his readers that humans were sinners who were ruled by their physical desires. Despite still being sinners God loved them greatly and sent his own Son to restore them to life. In the Gospel, Christ reminds us of the folly of storing up material goods here on earth. They only serve to distract us from the true treasure which we should be seeking – that is a place in the kingdom. Considering the great love of God and the sacrifice he made for us we should always keep the kingdom as the sole goal of our lives.

Tuesday 23:         Of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 2:12-22; Psalm 84; Luke 12:35-38
St Paul tells us in the first reading that before Christ there was only the Law and only Jews could worship God. Through Christ we all now have the means to salvation because we can all become Christians regardless of our birth. He goes on to speak about a household and how we are now all part of that household through the saving power of Christ. In the Gospel we are told to be always ready because we do not know when the master will return to visit us. If we are living good Christian lives then we will be always ready and will not have to worry at the Lord’s return or our call to heaven.

Wednesday 24:   Of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 3:2-12; Psalm – Isaiah 12; Luke 12:39-48
We read in our first reading from the letter to the Ephesians how the grace of God is meant for all peoples – be they Jew, Gentile or pagan. With this grace we can confidently draw closer to God. We are reminded again in today’s Gospel that we do not know the hour when we will be called to give an account of our stewardship and of our lives. When the Lord does return he will want to know if we have done all that he has told us to do which includes being full participants in the spread of the Good News.

Thursday 25:       Of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 3:14-21; Psalm 32; Luke 12:49-53
Today’s first reading contains the prayer which St Paul prayed for the Ephesians – that their faith would grow strong through the power of the Holy Spirit. In the Gospel we read an unusual passage in which Christ says that he came to bring division rather than peace. However, when we consider that he was talking about believer and unbeliever we can understand what he is saying. We are challenged to look into our hearts to see which category we fall into knowing that faith calls for action in our lives rather than simply reciting words.

Friday 26:            Of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 4:1-6; Psalm 23; Luke 12:54-59
St Paul reminds us in the letter to the Ephesians that we all form part of the Body of Christ and that we should do all we can to build up the unity of that body. He also tells us how that should be done – through charity, selflessness, gentleness and patience and by believing in God as the head of all. Jesus admonishes the people in the Gospel for being able to read the weather but not being able to read the signs of the times and realise that he is the Messiah. We are challenged in our own day to read the signs of the times and to realise that we need Christ now more than ever before.

Saturday 27:        Of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 4:7-16; Psalm 121; Luke 13:1-9
In our first reading for today, St Paul again uses the analogy of the body to say that we each have our own role to play in the Body of Christ. Each person’s role is different but ultimately each is for the spreading of the Gospel and the building up of the kingdom and we must do all we can to fulfil that role. In the Gospel passage from St Luke, Jesus calls us to repentance in order to be saved. We should not put off our repentance until tomorrow but we should begin today for we do not know if we shall live to see tomorrow.

Memorials this Week

© P. Breen, O.Carm. 2011, 2013
The Reflections above are available in printed form in:
Reflections on the Readings for every day of the Church's year.
Patrick J. Breen, O.Carm. Dublin: Columba Press. 2011. ISBN 978 1 85607 732 3.

And direct from the publishers: Columba Press, Dublin.

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