June 30, 2013

13th Sunday - C (June 30, 2013)

Luke 9: 51-62

Following Jesus

This Gospel passage, with Jesus' demands for those who want to follow him, cannot be understood outside of the context of Jesus' own life and death.

And we find this context in the Gospel passage that we heard and reflected on a week ago.

"If anyone who wishes to follow after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23)

Jesus himself knows what awaits him in Jerusalem.  Yet, "when the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem."

He knows, and in his life, he lives what he teaches:  "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." (Luke 9:24)

June 22, 2013

12th Sunday - C (June 23, 2013)


Who Is He for Me?

By this time in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is at the height of his popularity and fame, by human standards, of course. 

He is now known as a powerful preacher. Large crowds come to listen to him. 

He cures the sick, casts out demons, and even raises the dead back to life. 

Immediately before this passage, earlier in the same Chapter 9, he feeds thousands with just five loaves of bread and two fish. (9:11-17, we heard this passage three weeks ago on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi) 

The disciples themselves have experienced success and popularity. 

Chapter 9 begins with Jesus giving the Twelve "power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to cure the sick." 

Both Jesus and the Twelve are so successful that "Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed." And people say the same thing about Jesus to Herod that we hear from the disciples in this passage.  It was such that Herod asks, "Who then is this about whom I hear such thing?" And Herod "keeps trying to see [Jesus]" (9:7-9) 

The Twelve, upon returning, explain to Jesus "what they had done." (9:10). Interestingly, they brag about what they had done.

In this context of Jesus' popularity and success, Jesus asks the proud and probably somewhat arrogant disciples, "Who do the crowds say that I am?"

Then comes the personal question, "But who do you say that I am?" 

Finally, he teaches them that it is one thing to say who Jesus is, it is another thing to really know who he is. 

It is not likely that the disciples are ready to understand or accept a Messiah who must suffer, be rejected, and killed.

Yet, Jesus goes even further, telling them what they must do if they want to be his disciples: "deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. " 

June 15, 2013

11th Sunday - C


Forgiveness and Love

Jesus gives the explanation for the woman’s action, “Her many sins are forgiven because she has shown great love.”

It can be interpreted: she received forgiveness as a result of her great love.  But that would give the impression that God forgives sins with certain condition, or one can earn forgiveness.

However, with the parable of the two people whose debts are forgiven, Jesus teaches that “greater forgiveness brings greater love.” [1]  And he repeats the teaching in the next sentence, “The one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”  

In other words, love is the result of forgiveness.  

We can only love God when we have known and accepted God’s unconditional forgiveness.

In the case of the woman in this passage, her appreciation for the gift of forgiveness empowers her to go to a place where she is not welcome, and to show her great love for Jesus in the most extraordinary way.  [2].

In this woman, once a sinner, we witness the power of God’s forgiveness.

[1]  The New Jerusalem Bible.  New York, Doubleday, 1990.  Footnote, P. 1701.
[2] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of the Lord, Reflections on the Gospel Readings Year C. Collegeville, MN. Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 137.

11th Sunday - C (June 16, 2013)


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June 8, 2013

10th Sunday - C

Luke 7:11-17

Jesus’ Compassion and an Experience of God

Often, in a miracle, people ask Jesus for help.  Uniquely, in this miracle, it is Jesus, who is “moved with pity” for the mother, takes the initiative to raise her son back to life.

This miracle is only found in the Gospel According to Luke.

In two other passages that are unique to Luke, the same expression is also used.  

Jesus uses the same expression to describe the Good Samaritan’s attitude when he sees the man who has fallen victim to the robbers (10:33). There also, it is the Good Samaritan who takes the initiative to help the victim.  

And so is the father in the parable of the father and the two sons in Chapter 15 (more commonly referred to as the parable of the prodigal son).  When the younger son returns, it is the father, who “is filled with compassion,” runs to his son.

The English translation uses either “compassion” or “pity,” for the same Greek word used by Luke in these three instances.

In showing his compassion for others, Jesus reveals the presence of God’s love and God’s Reign.  In his compassion, people recognize that “God has visited his people.”

Thomas E. Boomershine, “Storytelling Commentary on Luke 7:11-17.” 

10th Sunday - C (June 9, 2013)


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