Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Divine Intimacy- Gospel in Preparation for the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Divine Intimacy- Gospel in Preparation for the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

What we have is not just a parable or story about a healing, but the recreation of a scene that had left a profound impression on its few witnesses not only for its results, but also for its details. This is a real story about a real encounter between a real individual and Jesus, and in this case it is not the Devil, but God himself—the God who knows and cares about individual lives and stories, individual needs and desires—who is to be found in the details.

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No Partiality – Second Reading in Preparation for the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

No Partiality – Second Reading in Preparation for the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our treatment of every individual must reflect the worth and importance of that individual and God’s love for them or it is a betrayal of our Lord himself. Sadly, many of us commit this betrayal every day without being aware of it because we do not even see many of the people around us. We are only aware of the people around us who are naturally important to us or who (like the well to do, influential, or powerful ) claim our attention. Only an intentional and habitual effort aided by the grace of God can help us do otherwise.

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Not Afraid – First Reading in Preparation for the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

When we marched up that hill, we, like the Chinese Christians before us, were singing truth to our trembling hearts so that we might live confidently in the day ahead. We sang the truth that whatever we faced, If we put our trust in Him, He would be with us, He would see us through, and He would bring us to the bright future and destiny He has always planned for us. It is the truth that is proclaimed to God’s people on almost every page of Scripture:

“Fear not! I am with you. I will deliver you.”

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Love and Mercy – Gospel Reading for the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Love and Mercy – Gospel Reading for the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Some read this as the God given means by which a wronged party can get his due from an offender and, this failing legitimately shun him – treat him “as a Gentile or tax collector”. But look at the context in which this passage is set. On one side is the parable of the lost sheep (18:10-14) in which a shepherd leaves a flock of ninety-nine to find then one lost sheep that had wandered away. On the other side is the question by Peter, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?” Our Lord’s answer is unequivocal in its call to mercy: “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (18:21 – 22) There can be no doubt that our passage, bracketed by these, is not about the correct procedure to exclude a brother who has offended us. Rather it is about seeking out and forgiving a lost brother seventy times seven. It is about mercy.

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A Debt of Love – Second Reading of the Twenty Third Week in Ordinary Time

A Debt of Love – Second Reading of the Twenty Third Week in Ordinary Time

As such, this love cannot be limited to simple feeling or emotion; it must be expressed in concrete deeds of restraint and positive service. It means both doing no harm to our neighbor (by not stealing, committing adultery, lying, etc), as well as going out of our way to positively serve and meet their needs–friend and foe!–for Jesus has also said that whatever we do not do to the least, we do no do to him.

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Compelled to Speak – First Reading of the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Compelled to Speak – First Reading of the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Just as God so loved the world that he sent his Son (John 3:16), so God so loves the world that he has sent them prophets and continues to do so today…This is no bleak and dismal message. It is a glorious one. We have been called by God to greatness, to speak for him in a dark time, to warn of death and to offer life and in doing so to save many–perhaps an entire society. We are called to be heroes. I will admit it can be scary, but it is most assuredly not bleak. What is called for is not resentful resignation to the call, but a glad and courageous embracing of it.

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