Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
Background: The pointless self-righteousness of the Pharisees is a dominant theme in Luke’s Gospel. This Sunday, though, it is the Sadducees’ narrow concept of God which is being portrayed for us. By setting up a rhetorical situation which can easily lead to ridicule, they try to diminish the overall credibility of Jesus. His response is clear: God’s kingdom is not of this world. It begins here but stretches into eternity. Like Jesus on his way to a shameful death on the cross, we too must surrender to the Father’s will no matter where it leads us.
- When have you doubted that your life really had any meaning?
- When did you look beyond the values of this world and of our society and tried to see how God might be working in your life?
- Which people in your personal life have been for you role models for the power of hope?
- Which people in our larger society have been role models of hope and why? And which ones have not and why?
Practice: It is the time of All Saints/Souls. If you live near a family where family or friends are buried, plan a visit, perhaps bring flowers, and spend some time with at least one of them in the communion of saints by prayer, reflection, and even conversation. If you are not close to their resting-place, visit a local Catholic cemetery, and spend some time meditating at the Calvary scene which is usually a part of their layout
Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Background: Jesus has at last reached Jerusalem and is in the Temple, the physical focus of God’s eternal covenant of love for the Jews. Yet he predicts that, like all human constructions, it too will someday be destroyed. (It is important to note that the destruction of the Temple by the Romans must not be interpreted in an antisemitic way. Cf. Vatican II, Nostra Aetate.)
In Luke’s chronology of salvation, the good news of Jesus dead and risen will be proclaimed starting in Jerusalem but reaching the ends of the earth. As we see in the reading from Malachi. only those who fear or revere God’s name by accepting all of life with patient endurance and trust in the Father’s will come at last to eternal life.
- When has life been so bad that you thought that God did not love you?
- How did you learn to say at last, “Thy will be done”? From reading Scripture? From a supportive person? From an insight during prayer?
- Which people around you in your life most need your support in order to believe that they are lovable? That in God’s plan they are safe?
- What people in the church or in society seem to you to be preaching bad news and not good news? How might you reach out to them in a fruitful way?
Practice: Once again this week pray the Prayer for Generosity: “Take, Lord, receive.”
Thirty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time / Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Background: More than a thousand years of Christianity had passed before the portrayal of Jesus on the cross showed him as dead. Luke’s Passion narrative, like John’s, portrays him as achieving victory through his shame, suffering, and death. Today we read about how this man who had shown transforming mercy to so many weak and sinful people can now look at another sinner who admits that he deserves this kind of death that, because of his faith, this very day he will know Christ’s kingdom, a true paradise. And, as St. Paul assures us today, the same liberation is already ours.
- When have you experienced physical, mental, or emotional healing? Who was God’s instrument in setting you free?
- How did you show your gratitude? Looking back, would you do anything differently?
- Avoiding the risk of being self-righteous, for whom in your life might you be God’s instrument of healing?
- How can you bring healing to your world by standing up for people who are being stereotyped—and thereby set everybody free?
Practice: Over the last forty years many people have become familiar with the music of Taizé’. One of their more popular refrains takes its text from this Sunday’s Gospel. Each day this week quietly sing to yourself or with others the refrain “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Sing it 10 or 20 or 30 times, however long it takes for you to have it sing into your heart as you ask Jesus to bring you into his kingdom. (If you are not familiar with the refrain, you can find it on YouTube.)
See also these related articles:
- Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time to the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
- Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 26th-31st Sundays in Ordinary Time
- Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 22nd-25th Sundays in Ordinary Time
- Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 18th-21st Sundays in Ordinary Time
- Reflection Questions for RCIA Seekers: Year C – The 13th-17th Sundays in Ordinary Time
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