Children on a road trip often ask repeatedly, “Are we there yet?” In Jesus’ day, adults wanted to know when they would get to see the Kingdom of God. When some Pharisees asked, Jesus taught that we already live in God’s Kingdom with the people among us here. Do we pray persistently, forgive readily, return to give thanks when we realize that the Lord has answered our prayers of supplication, and look forward with hope because Jesus will come in His glorious Light on a day that starts out as quite ordinary?
Jesus suggested that a Pharisee try a guest list for dinner with only people who could not repay the favor. In a parable, invited guests made excuses not to attend a feast. Asking anyone off the street still left room, and the host told his servant to make more people attend. Jesus saw beyond appearances. He also understood why someone would celebrate finding a lost sheep or a lost coin. He knew why a prudent person would figure the cost before building a tower. His points had nothing to do with economics. When we experience loss or disappointmRead More
Jesus encouraged humility in the parable of a wedding guest asked to move from his chosen place of honor when someone more important arrived. Traveling toward Jerusalem, the Lord taught that people would come from all directions to the heavenly banquet. Some of the last people we expect might have places up front. Describing His return in glory, the Lord used the image of a shepherd separating sheep and goats. People would wonder when they ever had the chance to welcome or visit Him, provide Him with food or clothing, or care for Him in illnessRead More
This week’s Gospel readings discuss readiness. Anticipating years of leisure if he built barns large enough to store a bountiful harvest, a landowner’s plans did not prepare him for a life cut short. Servants risked getting caught slacking off if the master happened to return early. The owner of an orchard, ready to give up on an unproductive fig tree, agreed to let the gardener cultivate and fertilize it for one more year. Although people observed clouds and wind to predict the weather, they failed to realize how other things were going inRead More
Invited to dinner at the home of a Pharisee, Jesus chose not to participate in washing already clean dishes. The ritual wouldn’t cleanse hearts. Then our Lord pointed out the problem of Pharisees loving places of honor while overlooking love for God. A scholar of the law also felt insulted, and surely more so when Jesus said that the scholars laid heavy burdens on people without lifting a finger to help. In contrast to those learned people, God knows and understands everything. Jesus taught that our heavenly Father loves us enough to care aboRead More
Martha wanted Jesus to tell her sister to help with the hospitality, instead of sitting around listening to Him. Knowing the Commandments to love God and neighbor, a scholar wanted Jesus to narrow down the neighborhood. Jesus responded with the tale of a Samaritan who showed mercy, whereas others purposely passed by the victim of a brutal robbery. In another parable, a traveler arrived in the middle of the night. With nothing on hand to serve his guest, the host knocked on the door of a friend to ask for some bread. When we feel like asking whoRead More
God had given Job, an upright man, the blessings of family and prosperity. Then Job lost it all but still held on to his faith. Jesus advised anyone who decided to follow Him to keep plowing ahead without looking back. When the Lord chose 72 to go out in pairs, He knew that they would experience both welcome and rejection. Either way, the Lord instructed them to announce the Kingdom at hand. Moving forward inevitably means leaving something behind. As laborers in the field, do we focus on leading productive lives with faith that what gets ploweRead More