“For me, prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy; finally it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus.”
~Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Monday, September 28, 2015 ~ Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Wenceslaus, Martyr; Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs
Holy Gospel: Luke 9:46-50 An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”
Meditation: Today’s Gospel begs the question: what do we personally and collectively as a society tell us what it means to be numero uno in our culture? Our society and many popular media prize the contemporary world of drugs, sex and money. But Jesus says “Seek first the kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33). The more the world drifts away from God the less it recognizes what is truly great and comes first, and the more the world resembles the pathetic attitude of the disciples arguing on the road. The Church in her ministry reminds us what is truly great and comes first, reminds us that drugs, sex and money are not the ultimate goals of life, that the ultimate goal of life is to get to heaven by loving and serving God. We take our image and model and ideal of what is truly great from Jesus and His “good news” of the Gospel. We do not want to be contaminated by the world, but instead want to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world and to show the world what comes first. We have many humans who show it is possible to live a life of service to others. Blessed Mother Teresa, for example, once said: “love begins at home, love your family and your neighbors. Share with the poor and needy around you your smile, your word, your time, your belongings. See God’s presence in the people you meet daily and treat them as children of God. Serve and love one person at a time. God does not want us to love crowds of people, that is an impossibility. He wants us to love Him in every single person we meet, when we meet that person.”
Prayer ~ Saint Wenceslaus: O God, who taught the Martyr Saint Wenceslaus to place the heavenly Kingdom before an earthly one, grant through his prayers that, denying ourselves, we may hold fast to you with all our heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer ~ Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companions: Grant us, we pray, Lord God, the same perseverance shown by your Martyrs Saint Lawrence Ruiz and his companions in serving you and their neighbor, since those persecuted for the sake of righteousness are blessed in your Kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Contemplation: Remember in grade school when we were asked “who do you want to be like when you grow up?” Students generally responded with the names of sports figures, film stars and the like. And yet the response really should be “I want to be like Jesus.” Jesus, himself, really is the model for each of us. He came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Paul the Apostles states that Jesus “emptied himself and took the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). Jesus lowered himself (he whose place is at the right hand of God the Father) and took on our lowly human nature that he might raise us up and clothe us in his divine nature. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). If we want to be filled with God’s life and power, then we need to empty ourselves of everything which stands in the way – pride, envy, self-seeking glory, vanity, and possessiveness. God wants empty vessels so he can fill them with his own glory, power, and love (2 Corinthians 4:7). Are you ready to humble yourself and to serve as Jesus did? As a disciple of Jesus, don’t we really want to be like him?