Get our FREE JesuitPrayer App.
Apple  Android 

November 16, 2013

Luke 18: 1-8

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Pray with Persistence

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus preaches several parables about persistence in prayer.The one we hear today, the parable of the unjust judge, is definitely the strangest. With images that border on the irreverent, he compares our prayers to a widow’s tireless petitioning of a corrupt judge. Some scholars say that Luke’s gospel records vestiges of Jesus’ sense of humor. They think he sometimes used lighthearted images to reveal deep truths or address burning anxieties. This is one of the passages scholars often cite as an example of Jesus’ humor.

In it, Jesus strikes at the heart of a deep anxiety. Why does it take God so long to answer prayer? Why do the innocent suffer, the just encounter misfortune, and the meek endure continuous humiliation? Why does it take God so long to set things right?

Jesus offers no comforting answer. Instead, he gives a plan of action: pray. Pray like a poor widow who has nothing left to lose. Pray like a woman whose sense of justice compels her to fight on. Pray like a person who believes that God is operating in unseen ways to undo the damage sin has done to the world.

Like athletes who grow stronger by pushing themselves harder every day persistent prayer pushes us to deeper faith, especially when God’s answer is delayed. Today Jesus challenges us to ask ourselves: How can we strengthen our faith through persistent prayer? Is there an abandoned dream or a forsaken relationship that we can take up anew, and with persistence like today’s widow, storm heaven with our prayers for its fulfillment?

—Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

Lord, you tell us to “pray always and not to lose heart.” Sometimes when our prayers go unanswered and we simply cannot see the dawn of hope, we question the value of prayer. Yet if we persist in prayer, we discover that the ultimate answer to all prayer is relationship with you.

Lord, we trust that prayer transforms us for that which weighs us down becomes the impetus for drawing us closer to you. And in this unity of Spirit we know that at the most elemental level, all will be well. And so we pray the words you spoke from the cross, “Into your hands I commend my Spirit.”

—The Jesuit Prayer Team

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

October 13, 2013

Luke 17: 11-19

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean.

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Thanks and Glory to God

It is significant that the Samaritan returned “glorifying God in a loud voice.” The Samaritan thanked Jesus, but gave his glory to Christ’s Father. Jesus recognizes this as an expression of the very faith that healed the man. The Samaritan’s thanks go to Christ for his healing power, but the glory goes to the loving God who sent Christ to us.

The Samaritan recognized a very important truth: we are utterly dependent on God, who works through everyday channels of grace to provide us everything we need. This realization contains a challenge. God’s gifts come to us everyday in large and small ways; we are rightly grateful for them, but do they strengthen our faith? And when we give God thanks, do we give glory as well? Do we see in God’s gifts a reminder of our dependence and his care for us?

More importantly, as we spread our own gifts and talents into the world, do we do so for God’s glory or our own? Likely we cannot heal leprosy; nonetheless, God has given us all abilities that save and uphold our brothers and sisters. When people thank us for our work, do we remember to give God the glory? Do we encourage them to do the same?

Pope Francis says, “In every age of history, humans try to understand and express themselves better.” The Samaritan alone expressed his faith in words of thanks and glory. In our own age of sophisticated self-promotion, may we find words of thanks and glory to express our own faith, and help our brothers and sisters deepen their trust in God’s providential love.

—Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

In the comfort of your love, I pour out to you, my Savior, the memories that haunt me, the fears that stifle me, the sickness that prevails upon me, and the frustration of all the pain that weaves about within me. Lord, help me to see your peace in my turmoil,

your compassion in my sorrow,your forgiveness in my weakness, and your love in my need. Touch me, O Lord, with your healing and strength. To you, dear God, be all thanks and glory!

—Prayer to Christ the Healer

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

October 6, 2013

Luke 17: 5-10

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.“ Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’?

Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Following Jesus Out Of Love

This week we see Jesus making his final journey, to Jerusalem, where he will receive his cross. The ten chapters Luke dedicates to this journey make up over one third of his gospel. This part of Jesus’ life grabs Luke’s imagination; it contains some of the evangelist’s most vivid writing, and includes the parables of the Good Samaritan, the Lost Sheep, and the Prodigal Son.  It also contains a number of short sayings only very loosely tied together, like the ones we have this Sunday.

In these passages, Luke gives the impression that Jesus and his disciples are having a conversation that meanders from one topic to another while they travel along the road.  Each turn reveals a different side to what Pope Francis calls “the proclamation of salvation,” the bedrock gospel principle that God is working hard to save every human being.

Can an incorrigible sinner be saved?  The first part of this week’s gospel comes right after Jesus’ command to forgive a sinner every time he or she repents.  The disciples’ plea for faith here is plea to believe in such a person’s conversion.  Every one of us likely knows people whose habits, addictions, personality quirks, or life choices cause pain to others.  They might ask our forgiveness again and again, but they make little effort to change.  Jesus tells us if we had even the tiniest bit of real faith, we would know God was working hard for their salvation.  The conversion of such a sinner will be every bit as dramatic as a tree pulling itself up and walking from a forested hillside to the open ocean. Even when no evidence tells us this is possible, Jesus reveals that such salvation is God’s plan.

What of our own salvation?  The conversation turns to the difference between obligations and gifts.  If we forget that we are saved as well, then our relationship with God becomes one of mutual obligations, like those between masters and slaves.  Instead of feeling relief and gratitude at our deliverance, our baptismal call to serve will be only a dispiriting list of obligations to fulfill.  God’s grace, meanwhile, will seem nothing more than a grudging subsistence paid by a stingy boss.

Luke follows this passage with the healing of the ten lepers.  Only one returned to thank Christ for his deliverance.  He was the one who realized God saved him not out of obligation, but out of love.  The gratitude the healed leper expressed was his own love, given in return.  Jesus’ words this week challenge us to ask ourselves: Do we believe in God’s ability to save?  Do we remember God saves us out of love?

—Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

Dear Lord, you have no hands but our hands to do your work today; You have no feet but our feet to lead us in your way. You have no tongue but our tongues to tell all you lived and died; You have no help but our help to bring us to your side.

—Jack Campbell, S.J.

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

September 29, 2013

Luke 16: 19-31

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’

But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’

Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Indifference or … ?

Usually Jesus gives his parables a very short introduction. For example, one of his longest parables, the Good Samaritan, gets to the point very quickly: A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. Today’s parable, however, has a lengthy wind-up pitch. Jesus wants to make sure we see the rich man and Lazarus very clearly in our mind’s eye.

He is trying to tug at our hearts; he wants us to feel compassion for Lazarus, even as he shows us clearly how the rich man (traditionally nicknamed “Divēs”) lived his life. And when Jesus points out that Lazarus spent his days begging at Divēs’ front door, I think he is hoping we feel a little shocked at the close proximity of two people we would normally view so differently.

It is clear that Jesus – at least Luke’s Jesus – believes the afterlife to be a place a reversal (Woe to you who eat your fill now! You will be hungry!! Luke 6:25). Lazarus, who lived in friendless torment, is now surrounded by love. Divēs, who on earth had everything he wanted, now lives in hell. This is why Jesus, especially in Luke’s gospel, emphasizes simplicity and repentance. If we can break our self-indulgent habits in this life, then we will be welcome at a magnificent feast in the next.

If Divēs committed any sin, it was that of indifference to the tormented man lying at his door. I remember in a previous job walking past a homeless man every day. The problems he had seemed far beyond anything I could help with, and so every day I walked right by him. Then one Lent I decided I would at least introduce myself and we started to chat a little every morning after that. I never gave him any money, but my chat with him became one of the bright points in my morning. My relationship with him helped me understand the problem of homelessness in my city, and helped me find ways I could actually help him and others.

As we read this week’s gospel, then, let us take up Jesus’ twofold challenge, first to live lives of humble simplicity, and second to overcome the temptation to indifference.

–Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

Lord, give us the grace to embrace the truth that God is in every person’s life. Even if that life has been a disaster – destroyed by vices, drugs, or anything else. Help us to remember that although a person’s life is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. Above all increase our trust in this promise: While we can forget about you, your Spirit never, ever forgets about us.

America, adapted from an interview with Pope Francis, September 30, 2013

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

September 22, 2013

Luke 16: 1-13

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’

So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’

And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.“

Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Generous Forgiveness

In the ancient world, few people owned all the tools necessary to accomplish their daily tasks. Instead, they rented tools from wealthier members of the community. People paid a share of whatever the tool helped them produce as rent. When a manager ran an estate for an absent landlord, as in today’s gospel reading, that manager received a portion of the rent as a commission for arranging the loan. Jesus called the manager in today’s gospel prudent because he freely sacrificed his short-term enrichment (even in the face of unemployment!) for the long-term security he hoped would come from his grateful borrowers.

In teaching us about the right use of possessions, Jesus is also teaching us about forgiveness. None of us created our own prosperity. All of us are dependent on gifts from God and the hard work of others. This is what the dishonest steward realized. His commissions, although legal, had nothing to do with his own labor; they were entirely dependent on his master’s wealth and his clients’ hard work. If he should forego such “dishonest wealth” now, he knew he would find treasure in the future. Had he clung to the pittance owed to him, he would have never found the security he desired.

Clinging to anything is dangerous business; when we cling, we rehearse a habit that can affect all parts of our life. People who are stingy with their wealth are often also stingy with forgiveness and generosity. We cannot serve both greed and God. We must choose to trust one or the other. Can we learn to trust God and forgive our debtors, so that in return God may trust us to transform the world through love?

Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

Prayer for Managers

I want what you want, O Lord. By asking you for guidance, with complete faith and confidence that you are helping me, nothing that I am called upon to do becomes ‘too much’ or ‘too bothersome.’ Nor is there any room for worry. I will find it easy to ask you each day to be a partner in my work…to help me get things done…to weigh my actions and decisions in the light of ‘ is this right?’ ‘is this just?’ ‘is this doing your will?’

With your help I will make decisions better and faster, confident that you will not lead me astray. I will live my life each day knowing that it is your will I accomplish. Amen.

National Conference of Christian Employers and Managers

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

September 15, 2013

Luke 15: 1-16

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.“ Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Restoring the Beauty of Our Dreams

Jesus is all about restoration this week: a sheep restored to its flock; a coin restored to a purse; a son restored to his father; a sinner restored to God. The need for restoration is everywhere. None of us is the person God dreams of, yet. None of us lives in the world God dreams of, yet. We are fractured individuals in a shattered world.  None of this intimidates God. The Creator is a brilliant artist who can imagine an infinite number of ways to bring individuals back to  wholeness and the world back to its initial beauty.This week, Jesus offers three tools with which we can share in this work: knowledge, hope, and forgiveness. The shepherd knew the ways of sheep, and that knowledge told him where he should seek the lost.  The woman never lost hope; she searched until she found her coin. The father nursed no grudge against his son; his forgiveness was complete. Just so, God knows our ways, and will teach us to understand our brothers and sisters. God never stops hoping in us, and as we feel that hope, we learn to persevere in our love for others. And when God forgives us completely, it softens our hearts and inspires us to try the same. In our baptismal call, we receive a mission to help God in this work of restoration. Knowledge, hope, and forgiveness are the tools that Christ himself used and now gives us to accomplish that work.  It can take many years of failed attempts before we learn to follow the lost, to hope for what is hopeless, and to forgive those who may hurt us again, but Christ never gave in to despair, and neither can we. The Creator has dreams for us and for the world, and we are apprentices, serving with awestruck faces as the Master Artisan shows us infinite ways to restore the world to the beauty of those dreams. —Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is just beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

It is not you who shapes God; it is God who shapes you. If then you are the handiwork of God, await the hand of the Artist who does all things in due season. Offer the pottery of your heart, soft and tractable, and keep well the form in which the Artist has fashioned you.  Let your clay be moist, lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of the Potter’s fingers. —St. Irenaeus, 2nd century Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Welcome to JesuitPrayer.org

Ignatian spirituality reminds us that God pursues us in the routines of our home and work life, and in the hopes and fears of life's challenges. The founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, created the Spiritual Exercises to deepen our relationship with Christ and to move our contemplation into service. May this prayer site anchor your day and strengthen your resolve to remember what truly matters.

(more about this site)



    Visit our
Social Media
   

My Candles

candle

Jesuit Prayer is pleased to offer candles for special occasions such as “Remembrance, joys, sorrows, anniversaries, and special intentions.” Proceeds help keep Jesuit Prayer free for all users.

REGISTER your free account to get started, and you'll get a free 30 days candle just for signing up.

LOGIN to access your candles

CLICK HERE for help with candles

Light up the World

(Click map to see more)

Make a Donation


It is through the generosity of our benefactors that we are able to offer JesuitPrayer.org free of charge.

Would you consider a donation?

Archives

SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
      1
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     
28      
       
      1
       
     12
       
      1
30      
    123
25262728   
       
   1234
262728    
       
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
       
       
       
      1
       
293031    
       
     12
3456789
10111213141516
31      
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
       

November 16, 2013

Luke 18: 1-8

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Pray with Persistence

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus preaches several parables about persistence in prayer.The one we hear today, the parable of the unjust judge, is definitely the strangest. With images that border on the irreverent, he compares our prayers to a widow’s tireless petitioning of a corrupt judge. Some scholars say that Luke’s gospel records vestiges of Jesus’ sense of humor. They think he sometimes used lighthearted images to reveal deep truths or address burning anxieties. This is one of the passages scholars often cite as an example of Jesus’ humor.

In it, Jesus strikes at the heart of a deep anxiety. Why does it take God so long to answer prayer? Why do the innocent suffer, the just encounter misfortune, and the meek endure continuous humiliation? Why does it take God so long to set things right?

Jesus offers no comforting answer. Instead, he gives a plan of action: pray. Pray like a poor widow who has nothing left to lose. Pray like a woman whose sense of justice compels her to fight on. Pray like a person who believes that God is operating in unseen ways to undo the damage sin has done to the world.

Like athletes who grow stronger by pushing themselves harder every day persistent prayer pushes us to deeper faith, especially when God’s answer is delayed. Today Jesus challenges us to ask ourselves: How can we strengthen our faith through persistent prayer? Is there an abandoned dream or a forsaken relationship that we can take up anew, and with persistence like today’s widow, storm heaven with our prayers for its fulfillment?

—Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

Lord, you tell us to “pray always and not to lose heart.” Sometimes when our prayers go unanswered and we simply cannot see the dawn of hope, we question the value of prayer. Yet if we persist in prayer, we discover that the ultimate answer to all prayer is relationship with you.

Lord, we trust that prayer transforms us for that which weighs us down becomes the impetus for drawing us closer to you. And in this unity of Spirit we know that at the most elemental level, all will be well. And so we pray the words you spoke from the cross, “Into your hands I commend my Spirit.”

—The Jesuit Prayer Team

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

October 13, 2013

Luke 17: 11-19

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean.

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Thanks and Glory to God

It is significant that the Samaritan returned “glorifying God in a loud voice.” The Samaritan thanked Jesus, but gave his glory to Christ’s Father. Jesus recognizes this as an expression of the very faith that healed the man. The Samaritan’s thanks go to Christ for his healing power, but the glory goes to the loving God who sent Christ to us.

The Samaritan recognized a very important truth: we are utterly dependent on God, who works through everyday channels of grace to provide us everything we need. This realization contains a challenge. God’s gifts come to us everyday in large and small ways; we are rightly grateful for them, but do they strengthen our faith? And when we give God thanks, do we give glory as well? Do we see in God’s gifts a reminder of our dependence and his care for us?

More importantly, as we spread our own gifts and talents into the world, do we do so for God’s glory or our own? Likely we cannot heal leprosy; nonetheless, God has given us all abilities that save and uphold our brothers and sisters. When people thank us for our work, do we remember to give God the glory? Do we encourage them to do the same?

Pope Francis says, “In every age of history, humans try to understand and express themselves better.” The Samaritan alone expressed his faith in words of thanks and glory. In our own age of sophisticated self-promotion, may we find words of thanks and glory to express our own faith, and help our brothers and sisters deepen their trust in God’s providential love.

—Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

In the comfort of your love, I pour out to you, my Savior, the memories that haunt me, the fears that stifle me, the sickness that prevails upon me, and the frustration of all the pain that weaves about within me. Lord, help me to see your peace in my turmoil,

your compassion in my sorrow,your forgiveness in my weakness, and your love in my need. Touch me, O Lord, with your healing and strength. To you, dear God, be all thanks and glory!

—Prayer to Christ the Healer

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

October 6, 2013

Luke 17: 5-10

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.“ Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’?

Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Following Jesus Out Of Love

This week we see Jesus making his final journey, to Jerusalem, where he will receive his cross. The ten chapters Luke dedicates to this journey make up over one third of his gospel. This part of Jesus’ life grabs Luke’s imagination; it contains some of the evangelist’s most vivid writing, and includes the parables of the Good Samaritan, the Lost Sheep, and the Prodigal Son.  It also contains a number of short sayings only very loosely tied together, like the ones we have this Sunday.

In these passages, Luke gives the impression that Jesus and his disciples are having a conversation that meanders from one topic to another while they travel along the road.  Each turn reveals a different side to what Pope Francis calls “the proclamation of salvation,” the bedrock gospel principle that God is working hard to save every human being.

Can an incorrigible sinner be saved?  The first part of this week’s gospel comes right after Jesus’ command to forgive a sinner every time he or she repents.  The disciples’ plea for faith here is plea to believe in such a person’s conversion.  Every one of us likely knows people whose habits, addictions, personality quirks, or life choices cause pain to others.  They might ask our forgiveness again and again, but they make little effort to change.  Jesus tells us if we had even the tiniest bit of real faith, we would know God was working hard for their salvation.  The conversion of such a sinner will be every bit as dramatic as a tree pulling itself up and walking from a forested hillside to the open ocean. Even when no evidence tells us this is possible, Jesus reveals that such salvation is God’s plan.

What of our own salvation?  The conversation turns to the difference between obligations and gifts.  If we forget that we are saved as well, then our relationship with God becomes one of mutual obligations, like those between masters and slaves.  Instead of feeling relief and gratitude at our deliverance, our baptismal call to serve will be only a dispiriting list of obligations to fulfill.  God’s grace, meanwhile, will seem nothing more than a grudging subsistence paid by a stingy boss.

Luke follows this passage with the healing of the ten lepers.  Only one returned to thank Christ for his deliverance.  He was the one who realized God saved him not out of obligation, but out of love.  The gratitude the healed leper expressed was his own love, given in return.  Jesus’ words this week challenge us to ask ourselves: Do we believe in God’s ability to save?  Do we remember God saves us out of love?

—Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

Dear Lord, you have no hands but our hands to do your work today; You have no feet but our feet to lead us in your way. You have no tongue but our tongues to tell all you lived and died; You have no help but our help to bring us to your side.

—Jack Campbell, S.J.

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

September 29, 2013

Luke 16: 19-31

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’

But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’

Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Indifference or … ?

Usually Jesus gives his parables a very short introduction. For example, one of his longest parables, the Good Samaritan, gets to the point very quickly: A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. Today’s parable, however, has a lengthy wind-up pitch. Jesus wants to make sure we see the rich man and Lazarus very clearly in our mind’s eye.

He is trying to tug at our hearts; he wants us to feel compassion for Lazarus, even as he shows us clearly how the rich man (traditionally nicknamed “Divēs”) lived his life. And when Jesus points out that Lazarus spent his days begging at Divēs’ front door, I think he is hoping we feel a little shocked at the close proximity of two people we would normally view so differently.

It is clear that Jesus – at least Luke’s Jesus – believes the afterlife to be a place a reversal (Woe to you who eat your fill now! You will be hungry!! Luke 6:25). Lazarus, who lived in friendless torment, is now surrounded by love. Divēs, who on earth had everything he wanted, now lives in hell. This is why Jesus, especially in Luke’s gospel, emphasizes simplicity and repentance. If we can break our self-indulgent habits in this life, then we will be welcome at a magnificent feast in the next.

If Divēs committed any sin, it was that of indifference to the tormented man lying at his door. I remember in a previous job walking past a homeless man every day. The problems he had seemed far beyond anything I could help with, and so every day I walked right by him. Then one Lent I decided I would at least introduce myself and we started to chat a little every morning after that. I never gave him any money, but my chat with him became one of the bright points in my morning. My relationship with him helped me understand the problem of homelessness in my city, and helped me find ways I could actually help him and others.

As we read this week’s gospel, then, let us take up Jesus’ twofold challenge, first to live lives of humble simplicity, and second to overcome the temptation to indifference.

–Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

Lord, give us the grace to embrace the truth that God is in every person’s life. Even if that life has been a disaster – destroyed by vices, drugs, or anything else. Help us to remember that although a person’s life is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. Above all increase our trust in this promise: While we can forget about you, your Spirit never, ever forgets about us.

America, adapted from an interview with Pope Francis, September 30, 2013

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

September 22, 2013

Luke 16: 1-13

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’

So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’

And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.“

Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Generous Forgiveness

In the ancient world, few people owned all the tools necessary to accomplish their daily tasks. Instead, they rented tools from wealthier members of the community. People paid a share of whatever the tool helped them produce as rent. When a manager ran an estate for an absent landlord, as in today’s gospel reading, that manager received a portion of the rent as a commission for arranging the loan. Jesus called the manager in today’s gospel prudent because he freely sacrificed his short-term enrichment (even in the face of unemployment!) for the long-term security he hoped would come from his grateful borrowers.

In teaching us about the right use of possessions, Jesus is also teaching us about forgiveness. None of us created our own prosperity. All of us are dependent on gifts from God and the hard work of others. This is what the dishonest steward realized. His commissions, although legal, had nothing to do with his own labor; they were entirely dependent on his master’s wealth and his clients’ hard work. If he should forego such “dishonest wealth” now, he knew he would find treasure in the future. Had he clung to the pittance owed to him, he would have never found the security he desired.

Clinging to anything is dangerous business; when we cling, we rehearse a habit that can affect all parts of our life. People who are stingy with their wealth are often also stingy with forgiveness and generosity. We cannot serve both greed and God. We must choose to trust one or the other. Can we learn to trust God and forgive our debtors, so that in return God may trust us to transform the world through love?

Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

Prayer for Managers

I want what you want, O Lord. By asking you for guidance, with complete faith and confidence that you are helping me, nothing that I am called upon to do becomes ‘too much’ or ‘too bothersome.’ Nor is there any room for worry. I will find it easy to ask you each day to be a partner in my work…to help me get things done…to weigh my actions and decisions in the light of ‘ is this right?’ ‘is this just?’ ‘is this doing your will?’

With your help I will make decisions better and faster, confident that you will not lead me astray. I will live my life each day knowing that it is your will I accomplish. Amen.

National Conference of Christian Employers and Managers

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

September 15, 2013

Luke 15: 1-16

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.“ Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Restoring the Beauty of Our Dreams

Jesus is all about restoration this week: a sheep restored to its flock; a coin restored to a purse; a son restored to his father; a sinner restored to God. The need for restoration is everywhere. None of us is the person God dreams of, yet. None of us lives in the world God dreams of, yet. We are fractured individuals in a shattered world.  None of this intimidates God. The Creator is a brilliant artist who can imagine an infinite number of ways to bring individuals back to  wholeness and the world back to its initial beauty.This week, Jesus offers three tools with which we can share in this work: knowledge, hope, and forgiveness. The shepherd knew the ways of sheep, and that knowledge told him where he should seek the lost.  The woman never lost hope; she searched until she found her coin. The father nursed no grudge against his son; his forgiveness was complete. Just so, God knows our ways, and will teach us to understand our brothers and sisters. God never stops hoping in us, and as we feel that hope, we learn to persevere in our love for others. And when God forgives us completely, it softens our hearts and inspires us to try the same. In our baptismal call, we receive a mission to help God in this work of restoration. Knowledge, hope, and forgiveness are the tools that Christ himself used and now gives us to accomplish that work.  It can take many years of failed attempts before we learn to follow the lost, to hope for what is hopeless, and to forgive those who may hurt us again, but Christ never gave in to despair, and neither can we. The Creator has dreams for us and for the world, and we are apprentices, serving with awestruck faces as the Master Artisan shows us infinite ways to restore the world to the beauty of those dreams. —Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is just beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

It is not you who shapes God; it is God who shapes you. If then you are the handiwork of God, await the hand of the Artist who does all things in due season. Offer the pottery of your heart, soft and tractable, and keep well the form in which the Artist has fashioned you.  Let your clay be moist, lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of the Potter’s fingers. —St. Irenaeus, 2nd century Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Use this feature to hide the Candles that you dont wish to make public.

You can only view these candles when the "Show Hidden Candles" option is set to YES.

Sorry, there are no refunds on hidden candles.

Hide this Candle
Cancel

7 Day Candle – Blue
$0.99

30 Day Candle – Blue
$2.99

6 Month Candle – Blue
$9.99

First Candle FREE
$2.99

7 Day Candle – Red
$.99

7 Day Candle – Green
$.99

7 Day Candle – Violet
$0.99

7 Day Candle – Yellow
$0.99

30 Day Candle – Red
$2.99

30 Day Candle – Green
$2.99

30 Day Candle – Violet
$2.99

30 Day Candle – Yellow
$2.99

6 Month Candle – Red
$9.99

6 Month Candle Green
$9.99

6 Month Candle – Violet
$9.99

6 Month Candle – Yellow
$9.99

(help)

You are reporting this Candle?

Yes
Cancel