August 31, 2013
Luke 14: 1, 7-14
Friends at Jesus’ Table
At the time of Jesus, especially in the Greek culture, calling somebody a friend indicates “a special intimacy and, more than that, equality with the host.” 
Each time we celebrate the Eucharist, Jesus invites us, “the poor, the crippled, the lame, [and] the blind” who cannot repay him.
Moreover, he calls us “friends” and shares his table with us.
------------------------------------ Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke; Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN; Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 224; quoting Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics.
August 24, 2013
Luke 13: 22-30
Jesus – a Man on a Mission
In the Gospel According to Luke, the turning point in the life and ministry of Jesus takes place in chapter 9, verse 51.
Before that, his ministry took place in Galilee.
Then in 9:51, came “the days for his being taken up” and “he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.”
From then on, we find Jesus on his way to Jerusalem to fulfill the mission the Father has sent him.
And today, in 13:22, we learn that “Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Jesus came to proclaim the Good News of God’s salvation. That was his mission. At all times, in all places, in whatever circumstances, to whomever, he would carry out that mission.
Persecution, opposition, and even the cross, which he knows awaits him, could not deter him from that mission.
August 18, 2013
Luke 12: 49 – 53
Set the Earth on Fire
“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing.”
Jesus brings God’s love to us. The flame of God’s love sets the world on fire.
And we are privileged to share in this mission of Jesus – to set the world on fire with the love of God.
May we have the same desire that Jesus has – “I wish it were already blazing.”
Pope Paul VI understood this mission that Jesus has given to the Church when he wrote “The Church exists in order to evangelize.” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, #14)
And what is true about the Church as the One Body of Christ is true about each of its members.
In that sense, if we have encountered Jesus, then, we now “exist in order to evangelize” until the whole world is blazing.
August 10, 2013
“ Your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom”
Jesus here urges his “little flock” “Do not be afraid.”
These are not some sentimental words.
The deep and significant meaning of these words can better be understood only when taken in context. Jesus and his disciples are on their journey to Jerusalem, where Jesus would suffer and die. It is a journey that in 9:51 Jesus “resolutely determined” to begin. Luke also reminds us often that the disciples do not seem to fully understand either Jesus’ mission or his attitude.
Knowing his disciples, throughout the journey, Jesus takes time and uses different opportunities to instruct them.
Earlier in the same Chapter 12, Jesus encouraged the disciples to trust in God in times of persecution. He said to them, “Even the hairs on your head have all been counted.” Then, he said to them the same words “Do not be afraid.” (12:4)
Next came the parable of the rich fool which Jesus taught in response to the man who wanted Jesus to solve his family’s disputes over their inheritance. (12: 13-21)
Jesus then took the occasion to teach his disciples not to worry about their lives, what to eat, or what to wear. He pointed out to them that God takes care of even the birds of the sky and the flowers of the field.
“Do not worry anymore,” said Jesus. And he continues, “You Father knows that you need [those things].” (12: 22-31)
And more than food, clothes, or even life; God, “your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.” (12:32)
There, the reason for us not to be afraid.
Note: Today's Gospel gives us an opportune moment to reflect on that gift of membership in God's Kingdom, as pointed out by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in his letter Porta Fidei on the Year of Faith.
August 2, 2013
Our Origin and Destiny
In the parable that Jesus teaches us today, the man neglects to acknowledge the giver of all his “bountiful harvest,” his “grain and other goods.” In the words that he speaks to himself, there is no mention of God or his gratitude.
More deeply, he forgets his origin and the source of his life.
Consequently, he forgets the destiny of his own life.
Obviously, the parable serves as a warning for the man who has brought the family dispute to Jesus.
In fact, in his case, the background of Luke 12:1 tells us that he is there among “so many people [who] were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot.” The people flock to listen to Jesus. 
The man, on the contrary, is there, but he has not heard the words Jesus has spoken earlier. Jesus had told the crowd, “Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” (12: 6-7)
Both the man in the parable and the man who brought the complaint to Jesus allow their worries about possessions distract them from the most essential aspect of life: God, who is our origin and our destiny.
In this way, both men, the one in the parable and the one who complains, should make it clear to us the warning that Jesus gives to the crowd “to guard against all greed” and to know that “one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
It is so real and so easy for all of us to fall into the trap of possessions and forget God.
 Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke; Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN; Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 201.