Reflections for the Twenty Sixth Sunday of the Year
Sunday, 30 September 2018
SEEING YOUR LIFE
THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS
1. John objected when a person, who was not in their group, cast out demons in Jesus’ name. Jesus himself had no problems with this. Jealousy can poison our outlook even when what is done by another is good. ‘They are invading my patch.’ Perhaps you have seen, in yourself or in others, the negative effect of jealousy and the contrasting positive effect of being able to rejoice that good is being done, irrespective of the person doing it.
2. In strong terms Jesus condemns those who are destructive of the life of others, particularly the ‘little ones’. Just as Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the full, we likewise are here to make a positive difference to others. What was it like for you when you were able to do something that was helpful to another?
3. Rather dramatically Jesus tells us to cut off a hand, or tear out an eye, rather than harm another. It is not to be taken literally but it does mean that we should not be casual about our efforts to live a good life. When have you experienced the benefits of an element of seriousness in your approach to life?
John Byrne osa
‘… more than bureaucrats and functionaries, the Church needs passionate missionaries, enthusiastic about sharing true life. The saints surprise us, they confound us, because by their lives they urge us to abandon a dull and dreary mediocrity. Let us ask the Lord for the grace not to hesitate when the Spirit calls us to take a step forward. Let us ask for the apostolic courage to share the Gospel with others and to stop trying to make our Christian life a museum of memories. In every situation, may the Holy Spirit cause us to contemplate history in the light of the risen Jesus. In this way, the Church will not stand still, but constantly welcome the Lord’s surprises.’
Pope Francis, Gaudete et Exsultate 138-139
THE DEEPEND: Be tolerant
In the second reading from St James today we hear of a condemnation of the rich who exploit the weak. This theme carries on to the gospel where Jesus has harsh words for anyone who would try to bring down ‘the little ones’. It is a lesson in tolerance. As we approach the end of this annual celebration of the Season of Creation let today’s gospel be a call to care for the weak and vulnerable. Through our exploitation of the earth’s goods it is the poorest of the world who suffer. Let us always be conscious of our responsibility to be stewards of creation, to connect more deeply with the wonderous world around us, to take action against all that threatens our natural environment.
In a few days we celebrate the Feast of St Francis (4 October), patron saint of ecology. Perhaps by hosting a blessing for animals, a local clean up, trying to go plastic free, we can mark this special time in some way and embrace our role as stewards of creation.
‘God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight. Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live. The poor and the earth are crying out.’
Laudato Si’, 245