Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jerusalem Bible Translation)
Liturgy of the Word for September 1, 2013 (USCCB NAB Readings)
Reflection begins at the 4:00 minute mark.
SIR 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
The book of Sirach, also referred to as the book of Ecclesiasticus in some translations, is a collection of wisdom of the Jewish tradition. After centuries of political and theological unrest, the Jewish tradition reached a more peaceful time almost two centuries before the Incarnation of Jesus. It was then that they had more time to discuss, and write down this tradition. This is another one of those books that will not be found in most protestant bibles. Here we see what God does for the poor. After all, we are all poor and anything we have is only because of God’s generosity.
PS 68:4-5, 6-7, 10-11
God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
HEB 12:18-19, 22-24A
In this week’s second reading, there is rich symbolism and imagery that is easy to misunderstand by many of our generation. This is part four of four in our time in the letter to the Hebrews.
The author continues to speak to the newly converted Jews. They long deeply for the community life they used to know before they lost their place in the Jewish community.
The reading proposes that they have a community through the person of Jesus that is closer than they know. Their former understanding of God was downright frightening, as they remembered the clouds, fire, trumpet blast, and thunderous noise that would be associated with the presence of the Lord as He interacted with Moses and the Hebrews.
Here, the letter shows that Jesus offers them a gentle, loving closeness to the same Divinity that was at Mount Sinai, but now presents it through the peaceful Mt. Zion. The Heavenly Jerusalem that embraces them, unlike the earthly Jerusalem that left them abandoned. This is all of because of Christ’s passion perfect offering, unlike that of Abel’s.
This is a heavy reading, and worth reading a few times over.
LK 14:1, 7-14
This week’s Gospel returns to a favorite theme of St Luke’s – the Church’s preferential option for the poor. Jesus urges us to keep our humility in check. It’s tempting to feel entitled and take what we feel we have earned or deserve.
It’s easy to give when we know we can take tax write offs or get some kind of credit, but Jesus is calling us to have a generous heart that is willing to give when we know that the recipient will never be able to repay you.
Questions for further reflection:
Where do I dwell in my entitlement? Where can I focus less on myself so that I may give more to others?
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