Friday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Francis Cabrini (1850-+1938) Patron Saint of Immigrants and Hospital Administrators
Second Letter of Saint John 4-9; Psalm 119:1, 2 10, 11 17-18; Luke 17:26-37
It strikes me that the tones of today’s readings are very different from one another.
I wonder if they were specifically selected to go together and if so, why? What is the Good News that joins these two readings?
In the Second Letter of Saint John the tone seems to be light. The words are of a gentle nature and pleasing to the ear. The reading is addressed to “Chosen Lady” in reference to a sister community. The message is a request to continue in the commandment of old; “let us love one another.” We are told this love involves our walking according to the commandments that we have heard from the beginning. We are reminded that we should be rooted in the teaching of Christ. It seems to be about continuity and faithfulness. It brings to my mind a gentle, forgiving, loving, dependable God who walks with me and whose company is a pleasure and a joy.
In the Gospel narrative of Saint Luke the news seems much harsher. It reminds us of the “surprises” that can occur to those who do not walk with the Lord. The words have a harsh sound and bring to our minds a rougher sort of relationship. We've heard of relationships going wrong. We are reminded of Noah and the flood, as well as Lot and Sodom and the destruction by fire and brimstone. We are cautioned that such “surprises” can befall us as well. However, these are not the only “surprises” in Luke’s Gospel. There are numerous “surprise” healings and blessings. In Luke’s Gospel, the characters often seem unprepared and off guard for the goodness and the justice of God.
Throughout our lives, we are met with unexpected and wonderful surprises. Of course, we are also met with difficult, unexpected tragedies and sorrows. For us, the Good News is in the total package. John says in the first reading, “Do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense.” Psalm 119 gives us a little more direction, “Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord.” Finally, Jesus tells us, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.”
Friend, happiness is in the fidelity to the Lord. We will only be prepared for the “surprises” if we walk with our eyes and our hearts fully open to the Gifts of God. It is in developing a personal relationship with Jesus that we will recognize the wonderful surprises, and be rooted in His love.
Question of the Day: Will you find compassion in the community of faith in time of our own needs?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, to become Your disciple is the greatest happiness I could ever imagine. Never let me lose this happiness as I serve you and my fellow man.