01 September, Thursday
Readings: 1 Cor 3:18-23; Lk 5:1-11
In today’s gospel passage, we hear that Jesus calling the first disciples. Luke introduces the call narrative after a period of the ministry of Jesus to give the explanation for why such simple and ordinary fishermen would abandon their fishing nets, their livelihood and follow Jesus. Luke 5:11 concludes that “when they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.” The nature of following is rooted in Jesus’ own initiative and invitation, “Follow me.”
When Jesus calls them, a transformation, a radical change takes place in their lives. Jesus says to them, “from now on you will be catching people;” it is a transition from life on human measure to a life in the measure of God; it is from the horizon of human to divine. One is called not simply to learn facts or even truths but to continue the mission of Jesus in reality; it is to witness Jesus Himself through their lives. Am I ready to be a disciple of Jesus to live according to the gospel values and demands to witness and to continue the mission and vision of Jesus in today’s society where I live with all the challenges?
02 September, Friday
Readings: 1 Cor 4:1-5; Lk 5:33-39
Today’s gospel reading, for which Mk 2:18-22 is the source, is about the question of Fasting. Fasting is avoiding something good voluntarily. The Pharisees and the Scribes always find fault with others regarding the spiritual matters and this time they try to find fault with Jesus and his disciples about fasting. They used to fast twice in a week voluntarily. They question Jesus why he and his disciples do not fast? Jesus tells them that there is time for everything; there is time to feast and there is time to fast. The time of Jesus is the time of Messiah and the time of Salvation; it is like the marriage feast, and the banquet, where Jesus is the bridegroom, for which no one keeps the fast. It is the time of the Kingdom of God initiated in and through Jesus. At the same time Jesus gives emphasis on the intentions behind these actions and they should come from one’s pure heart.
Promise: Let us fast from bitterness and feast on forgiveness; fast from selfishness and feast on compassion for others; fast from discouragement and feast on seeing the good; fast from apathy and feast on enthusiasm; fast from suspicion and feast on truth; fast from talking and feast on listening; fast from anger and feast on patience; fast from idle worship and feast on purposeful silence.
03 September, Saturday
Readings: 1 Cor 4:6-15; Lk 6:1-5
Memoria: St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
The Son of man is the Lord of the Sabbath. Some of the Pharisees question Jesus and his disciples, ‘why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?’ As Jesus and the disciples were going through grain fields the disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands and ate them. On the Sabbath no work is to be done. Jesus answers referring to David who approached the priest Ahimelech for some bread for he was hungry, and since there was no ordinary bread, the priest gives him the holy bread offered in the Temple. The holy bread represents the twelve tribes of Israel and the priest keeps the bread before the altar for seven days and only the priest and his family can eat them (1 Sam 21:1-7). Thus charity always wins the ritual. Human need has precedence over ritual custom.
To understand the law of the Sabbath, we have to know the heart of the Father. Why the Lord has given the law of the Sabbath? It is to remind man that he remembers the supernatural celestial origin of God. It is a day of renewal of humanity. It is a day to recognize the wonders of God and praise him. Sometimes we lose the very essence of worship by concentrating the meticulous actions. The best way of celebrating the Sabbath is by paying attention to the needs of our neighbours. How do you celebrate the Sabbath?
04 September, Sunday
Readings: Wis 9:13-18; Philem 9-10, 12-17; Lk 14:25-33
XXIII Sunday in Ordinary Time
To be a disciple means to be with him, to know him and to become his friends. To be a disciple of Christ means to have chosen Jesus and decided to follow Him; it means choosing Christ as the only reference point in our lives. Nothing should take precedence or first place in our lives over God. We follow him because we love him, we are founded upon him, and only in him the plan of our life depends. We need to love Jesus above all our relations in the world and bring our cross and follow him.
We are weak human beings and limited and make many errors in our daily life; this should not block us to continue to be disciples of Jesus. We follow him as we are with all our limitations, errors, and sins. We take up these as our daily cross and follow him. The way of the cross is the way to the glory and victory over sin and death. We must count the cost and follow Jesus in the way of the Cross. Jesus purifies us.
Today church continues to live because it is built upon the faith and courage of so many people who have gone ahead of us. We are invited to live this faith and be faithful in our relationship with Jesus and continue to follow him. We follow him without any compromise. Let us examine ourselves, is God or Jesus is our first priority?