9. FOLLOWING JESUS – YOUNG WINE, NEW WINESKINS
Patroness of the month - Mary, Mother of hope, pray for us
Hope always brings newness and change. In humble and trusting fulfillment of God's will, Mary was open to the unexpected, the impossible, the incomprehensible. From the Annunciation to the Ascension, She remained faithful in hope. In the hope that has the power to make a mother out of a virgin, apostles out of fishermen, and followers of the Son out of sinners. The tenderness and care of the Mother of Hope pour out wine from the stone jars, and the new wine is poured into new wineskins. To be like Her, following her example.
Intention of the month
Let us pray for the Union of the Catholic Apostolate, so that our whole life would be an apostolate aimed at reviving faith, kindling love and strengthening hope.
"...His disciples believed in Him."
The wedding at Cana is still going on. The bride and groom, the wedding party and the guests are enjoying the delicious wine. It seems only the disciples are tasting a new. The transformed faith tastes different, as if more fresh, new, invigorating.
To live in the midst of the Canaanite jars, touching the stone and pouring the water, to hear from afar the sounds of the wedding feast, to humbly and trustingly accept "whatever he tells you", is to experience anew every day the miracle of transformation. The miracle of the wedding in Cana is the miracle of the newness of my life, celebrated step by step, moment by moment, thought by thought, emotion by emotion... until it is completely transformed. And both in the joy and in the anguish of everyday life to taste again and again the delicious wine of the Lord's Love.
"I have come to light a fire on the earth. How I wish the blaze were ignited!
I have a baptism to receive. What anguish I feel till it is over!"
These are some of the most exciting and challenging words of Jesus. Too often Jesus is made into a calming, comforting, anesthetizing person. He asks that we love, but he seems to do it in such a pleasant and undemanding way. Today we can really feel the passion of Jesus. He is restless in his desire to ignite a fire. He's on a mission. It is deep inside of him, coming out of the fire within him. His desire is to draw us in, to enflame our hearts, to have us ablaze with his mission, with our passion.
“From everyone to whom much as been given, much will be required; and from the one whom much as been entrusted, even more will be demanded.” Luke 12:48
Demanded? Required? Ok, God. Can I ask a favor? Could you soften those words just a little? Demanded sounds so… harsh.. How about asked? And instead of required, could you maybe substitute preferred? It sounds too much like you are reviewing my wonderful and happy life and are looking down on me saying, “Now it’s payback time.” I want you to be an easy God, one who doesn’t ask a lot except that I “be good.”
No matter how nasty things seem, God's grace always will prevail. I want to trust in that. But the world makes it difficult. I want to be awake to God's love and power.
But there is violence, war, harm that comes to children, to the innocent. Sometimes the world seems powerless to protect us from the cheat, the backstabber, the rage-addicted bully who holds the position of power.
St. Luke, by El Greco
2 Timothy 4:10-17b; Luke 10:1-9
Today’s feast and its attendant readings offer many places to focus reflective attention. Just considering the contribution to the Church of the man we call St. Luke is important. Luke is the only known Gentile among the group of writers whose work made up the New Testament Literature. He is the author of fully a quarter of all the verses of the whole New Testament (more than all of Paul’s uncontested letters, for example) and, as a friend of both Paul the Apostle and of many of the original Twelve, he is a remarkable figure who stands at the intersection of the Church as Jewish Sect becoming Church truly catholic in its outreach and its membership in the latter years of the First Century. The thematic emphases of forgiveness, justice and love for the poor and marginalized, and healing of the sick endear many to Luke’s portrayal of Jesus. From Luke alone we have a moderately systematic outline of the spread of the earliest Church throughout the Mediterranean Basin. But what struck me about the feast and the readings chosen for its celebration, is the importance of being a friend that one can find “writ large” across the readings.
Is 53:10-11; Hbr 4:14-16; Mk 10:35-45
(But the LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity.) If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him. Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. Is 53:10-11
As the vintner is pleased to crush the grapes (with suffering) so that he can transform them into wine, we too can be transformed if we accept, in the Lord, the sufferings involved in our own purification. We, too, shall become wine, pure and fragrant, and after that we live in the Christian hope that our good God will say over us the words, ‘This is my Body, this is my Blood’ and our transformation will be complete. (Ron Mervick)
Romans 4:13, 16-18; Luke 12:8-12
Romans 4:13, 16-18 Not justified by obedience to the law. “…Though there seemed no hope, he (Abraham) hoped and believed that he was to become father of many nations in fulfillment of the promise: Just, so will your descendants be.”
Psalms 105:6-9, 42-43 “…He is Yahweh our God, his judgements touch the whole world…”
Luke 12:8-12 Open and fearless speech “I tell you, if anyone openly declares themselves for me in the presence of human beings, the Son of man will declare himself for them in the presence of God’s angels…”
Today’s readings are lessons about faith. See from the reading in Luke above, that Jesus tells us he will speak to Heaven about us if we declare ourselves for Him in the presence of human beings. This lesson about faith spoken long ago are words applicable to us today. How strong is our faith and belief in the Triune God? How often is that faith challenged? Sometimes we are challenged by others, and sometimes we are challenged silently inside by ourselves. Paul, writing to the Christians in Rome, spoke about the significance of justification by faith. Abraham, the father of many nations was led by his faith in God and was deemed upright. Further Paul writes (Romans 4:13) “For the promise to Abraham and his descendants that he should inherit the world was not through the Law, but through the uprightness of faith.”
“… so many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot. Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples…”
People are being trampled underfoot and Jesus begins to speak to his disciples!? That seems a very odd response to an apparently extreme situation. Why isn’t Jesus jumping into the midst of this and setting things straight?
▪ In the beginning of September Pope Francis made an apostolic visit to Slovakia. Meeting different groups, Pope Francis addressed the government officials, diplomats and civils and religious leaders of Slovakia in the capital of Bratislava. He encouraged Slovaks to fraternity, hospitality and solidarity. Meeting with the young people, Pope encouraged them to embrace love and heroism and not to be discouraged by those who tell them things will never change.
“…since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift…”
How do we get-right-with-God? We look as squarely as we can at life’s circumstances and come in contact with our blessed weakness, our real inability to do anything to save ourselves from the incredible depths of fear that are part of seeing the vulnerability of life. Then we can begin to gain true self-knowledge. We begin to know ourselves as powerless and we begin to see our attitudes about that powerlessness.