On this final weekend of August, we celebrate the 22nd Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year. We continue our chronological reading of St. Luke’s gospel. Luke is the primary gospel in the cycle for this year and we will be reading from Luke until the end of the church year in November.
At first glance at our Gospel this weekend, Jesus seems to be offering Emily Post-style advice on etiquette meant to ward off the likelihood of being “embarrassed.” To avoid such a plight, Jesus advises taking the lowest place so the host can invite you higher, making you the envy of all.
But the second half of the text puts the first in proper perspective. It reveals, as occurs often in Luke, Jesus’ concern for the poor and his attitude toward the rich. We see Jesus’ advice is not given as a means to an end – a strategy to gain in a roundabout way the praise and admiration of others. He counsels doing for those who can’t do back for us. This time, he predicts no earthly honor or affirmation. Instead he offers an eternal reward visible only to the eyes of faith, that will come at the eternal banquet that celebrates “the resurrection of the righteous.”
With St. Isidore School beginning the new school year last Wednesday, our parish and grade school staff took some time last Tuesday for a Morning of Reflection. Father Ed Shea, OFM was with us as our guide and celebrated the parish 12:05pm Mass. Father Ed is a native of the Chicago area, a Franciscan Friar and ordained a priest in 1987. He currently serves full time at St. Peter’s Parish in the Loop. He is also scheduled to present our 2017 Parish Mission in March. Father Ed spent part of the morning speaking on the “Updated Beatitudes.” I’d like to share some of his wisdom with you this weekend.
Most of us are very familiar with the Beatitudes taught by Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel (5:1-12a). We might even be able to recite them by heart:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
While Jesus’ words are timeless, Father Ed offered another set of Beatitudes, intended to guide us in living our lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus today. Here are the “Updated Beatitudes.
Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed.
Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and accept without forgetting.
Blessed are those who can see beautiful things in humble places where others see nothing.
Blessed are those who have learned how to laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be entertained.
Blessed are the “cracked,” for they shall let the light shine.
I hope that sharing these light-hearted reflections from our Staff Morning of Reflection last Tuesday are helpful, especially in dealing with some of the heavier issues all around us.
For us Catholics, our beliefs in the Eucharist are at the very center of our faith. We hold fast to the beliefs Jesus gave us from the beginning. For close to 2000 years now we have recognized his presence in the Eucharist and responded to his desire to be with us. It is our custom to provide the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration every First Friday of the month. We begin immediately following the 7:00am morning Mass, take a break to celebrate the daily 12:05pm Mass, and then resume throughout the afternoon, overnight, and then conclude with Benediction at 8:00am Saturday morning. People are welcome to come and go as they see fit. You can stay for as long or as little as you would like. It is a great time to simply be in the presence of the Lord, to share our thoughts and cares with him, and then to be quiet in his presence. If you have never tried this prayer form before, this Friday, September 2nd is the First Friday of September. The opportunity is here – give it a try and experience the peace and calm that can come from spending some quiet time with the Lord.
May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy