In a church one morning, a preschooler left the pew to sit right in front of the pulpit, seeming to hang on every word of the Gospel in the way of people captivated by Jesus’ preaching. Back in Jesus’ time on Earth, a blind man’s shouting to get His attention or the sight of Zacchaeus climbing a tree to see Him may have seemed childish to bystanders, and yet the Lord responded to both. In a parable of servants given gold coins to use in the master’s absence, one servant hid the coin in fear of losing it. When we see ways to get closer tRead More
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