August 27, 2010


22nd Sunday - C
Luke 14:1, 7-14

"The people there were observing him carefully"

Reading the first sentence of the Gospel passage, we find the common equation in the life of Jesus: Jesus + Sabbath + to dine + Pharisees = troubles.

And it's not accidental.

As St. Luke tells us, "the people there (at the home of the leading Pharisee) were observing him carefully." The sentence can also be translated as "they kept him under close scrutiny" with a sense of "hostile preparedness." Luke uses the same verb in 6:7 and 20:20 to describe the Pharisees' hostility toward Jesus. [1]

Any human encounter with such an attitude cannot be positive. The people who oppose Jesus give him no chance to prove himself. Nor do they give themselves any chance to see Jesus as he is. They only see him with their own preconceptions.

Do I enter any relationship in my life with the same attitude? Do I label people and fail to see beyond my prejudice?

[1] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 226.

August 19, 2010


21st Sunday - C
Luke 13: 22-30

The Narrow Gate

In 9:51, Luke reports Jesus' determination to fulfill the mission that the Father has given him. "When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem."

It's been more than 3 chapters since Jesus began that journey. The Gospel passage for this Sunday opens with "Jesus passed through towns and villages,teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem."

This is not just Luke's way of keeping the stories together. Moreover, Luke seems to make sure that we, the readers, not forget the key aspect of Jesus' life and mission. [1]

Jesus has a very clear focus of what his life is about. And he does not lose sight of that purpose.

Am I that clear and focused about my life?

It's not always easy to go through the narrow gate. It's tempting to take the wide and easy way. But the narrow gate may be the focus of my life that I need to have.

[1] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 216.

August 14, 2010


Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Luke 1:39-56

The Lowly Servants who Carry the Lord

Elizabeth praises Mary as "blessed." She is blessed among women because she has been chosen to be the Mother of the Lord. The writers of the psalms in the First Testament and Jesus, in teaching the Beatitudes, both use the word "blessed" to speak of God's action and "the condition of righteous existence before God." [1]

Mary, in her response, humbly acknowledges hersef as the "lowly servant" of the Lord.

Mary's life and vocation is the best illustration of how God reverses the social and wordly orders. The lowly servant becomes the Mother of her Lord. God has bestowed on her the greatest blessing.

God's action in her life gives us a two-fold challenge:
1. To see people who may be considered lowly by our world as God's dwelling place. In them, the world continues to encounter its Savior, just as Elizabeth did when Mary came to visit her.
2. To see ourselves, no matter what we think of ourselves, or what others may think of us, as God's dwelling place. Like Mary, we are bringing God's Word-made-flesh into the world.

The Lord has done great things for us all. If we accept God's reversal order, we can all become the lowly servants who bring the Savior to the world.

[1] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 41.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15, 2010)


August 7, 2010


19th Sunday - C
Luke 12:32-48

Your Father Is Pleased to Give You the Kingdom

Those words of Jesus should be more than enough for us to reflect on, not just today, but for a while.

A couple weeks ago, we heard Jesus teaches us to pray for the coming of God's Kingdom (11:2). And today, he gives us the assurance, "Your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom." It is God's joy, God's pleasure, to give us the gift of the Kingdom. [1] Because God loves us, God wants to draw us into union with God. That is the guarantee Jesus gives us so that we do not have to be afraid or worry.

Then later, during the Last Supper, Jesus gives the disciples His Body and Blood in the Eucharist as the foretaste of that Kingdom. He says to them, "I confer a kingdom on you just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom."

It is at the table of the Eucharist that we experience the impossible: the master girds himself, has his servants recline at table, and proceeds to wait on them. In the Eucharist, we experience God's joy to give God's only Son to us. Through the Son, we receive the gift of God's Kingdom.

There, in the Eucharist, the impossible made possible. The Master serves us, his servants, the gift of the Kingdom. With the gift of himself, Jesus tells us "Do not be afraid any longer."

[1] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p.200.

19th Sunday - C (August 8, 2010)