ZECHARIAH 2: 1 – 5, 10 – 11a
I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand! Then I said, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its breadth and what is its length.” And behold, the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him, and said to him, “Run, say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of men and cattle in it. For I will be to her a wall of fire round about, says the Lord, and I will be the glory within her.’ “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for behold, I come and I will dwell in the midst of you, says the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of you.”
The Word of the Lord.
Jeremiah 31: 10 – 12ab, 13 (R.) 10d
R. The Lord will keep us, as a shepherd keeps his flock.
Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
and declare it in the islands afar off;
say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him,
and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.” R.
For the Lord has ransomed Jacob,
And has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Sion,
And they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord. R.
Then shall the maidens rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. R.
2nd Timothy 1: 10
Our Saviour Jesus Christ abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. Alleluia.
LUKE 9: 43b – 45
At that time: While all were marveling at everything Jesus did, he said to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
The Gospel of the Lord.
REFLECTION: A Well Ordered Soul
September 25, 2021
“Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying. (Luke 9:44–45)
This is the second time that Jesus predicts His coming passion to His Apostles. After telling them that He will be handed over, the Gospel relates that “they did not understand this saying.” It also states that “they were afraid to ask him about this saying.” Why did they not understand, and why were they afraid to ask Jesus about His coming passion?
The Apostles were deeply attached to our Lord, both on a spiritual level and also through their affections. And this is good. But sometimes our affections can cloud our thinking and make it difficult to understand the deeper spiritual realities in life. Though our affections are natural, they must always be directed by the will of God. For example, if we were to try to understand Jesus’ affections, we’d have to conclude that He both spiritually and affectionately desired to lay down His life for the salvation of souls in accord with the will of the Father. He not only chose this with His will, but He also desired it in His affections, because His affections were perfectly ordered.
The Apostles, however, were unable to understand that Jesus had to lay down His life, be rejected, suffer and die, in part because they were very attached to Jesus in an emotional and affectionate way. So in this instanceir human love and attachment to Jesus hindered their ability to understand the greater spiritual good of Jesus laying down His life.
Consider, also, our Blessed Mother. How would she have reacted to Jesus saying that He had to be handed over, be rejected, suffer and die? Though this would have grieved her with a holy sorrow, the perfection of her human nature would have led her to not only understand and accept this deep spiritual truth, but she would have also desired this to happen within her affections because she perfectly desired the fulfillment of the will of the Father. There would have been no conflict within her between the will of the Father and what she desired.
In our own lives, we will often tend to struggle in the same way that the Apostles struggled. When faced with some challenging cross in life, a cross that the Father calls us to embrace freely, we will often find that our affections resist. When this happens, we become confused and even fearful of the future. Thus, the only way to conquer fear is to work to surrender every emotion, every affection and every human attachment over to the will of the Father so that His will is all we desire with every power of our soul.
Reflect, today, upon the interior struggle of these Apostles as they came face-to-face with this the second time Jesus began to prepare them to accept, understand, choose and desire His passion. Consider the interior struggle they went through at that time and even as they saw this unfold. Eventually they understood. Eventually all fear vanished. And eventually they affectionately rejoiced in Jesus’ sacrifice. But it took much time and much surrender. Reflect upon those ways our Lord is inviting you to choose His Cross in your life. Where you see your affections resisting, try to surrender, pray for understanding and seek the courage you need to desire His Cross with all your soul.
My revealing Lord, You opened Your divine heart to Your Apostles and invited them to understand and choose Your suffering and death. And though they hesitated and struggled, You continued to invite them to embrace the Father’s will. Give me the grace I need, dear Lord, to embrace every spiritual truth first and foremost and to allow that Truth to free me from fear and fill me with the gift of understanding. Jesus, I trust in You.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2021
26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME ( YEAR B )
St. Cosmas and St. Damian
The LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, the LORD bestowed it on the seventy elders; and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.
Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad, were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp. They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent; yet the spirit came to rest on them also, and they prophesied in the camp. So, when a young man quickly told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp,” Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses’ aide, said, “Moses, my lord, stop them.” But Moses answered …
REFLECTION: A TRUE FRIEND
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.” Mark (9:42-43)
Seriously? Does Jesus really mean this literally? Should we really cut off our hand if it causes us to sin? He goes on to say that we should also cut off our foot and pluck out our eye if it causes us to sin.
Some of the early Church Fathers see this Scripture as a reference to our intimate friends. The context of this passage is that we ought not lead others into scandal and sin. In fact, it would be better if we had “a great millstone” put around our neck and were thrown into the sea than to cause another to sin.
Friends, especially close friends, are a blessing most of the time. But they can also be a cause for sin. If a good friend were to intentionally try to convince another friend to sin, this is a grave issue and is the heart of what Jesus is addressing. What He’s saying is that if we have close friends who are intentionally and maliciously tempting us to turn from God, it’s better that we let go of that “friend” and cut him/her off.
The hand, foot or eye is a symbol of those friends who work hard to draw us to sin. It’s better that these friendships end than to be drawn into Hell with them. And if we are the “friend” drawing others to sin, it’s better for us to cut our friendship off with those we are tempting.
One thing this passage reveals is the powerful natural bond of friendship. Friendship is a good thing. And when you have a close friend, you find great consolation in knowing your friend is deeply committed to you and will always be there for you. But every friendship must be continually evaluated in the light of faith and truth. Sometimes friendships can get in the way of our faith in God and can be a powerful influence upon us in a negative way. Of course, the opposite is also true.
Reflect, today, upon your friendships. If you have a close and intimate friend in your life, reflect upon how you influence that person or how he/she influences you. Make sure that Christ is the center and that faith always prevails in this natural bond.
Lord, I thank You for all friendships in my life. I thank you for giving me people who care. Help me to always be a good friend and to always examine my friendships in the light