Today’s readings invite us to reflect upon some of life’s deepest questions, and to explore the meaning of faith. We hear of the universal human search for meaning in our lives in the book of Ecclesiastes. In Luke’s Gospel, we hear Jesus’ parable about one who foolishly seeks ultimate security through the accumulation of wealth. In Colossians, faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ is proclaimed as the path to a richly purposeful and meaningful life. The path of Christian faith places our work, our sufferings, and our limitations within the larger picture of God’s purposes for all of us. In Jesus, God is revealed as our com-panion in human suffering and limitation. God’s love is at the center of a meaningful life. We place our trust in this loving God, who created us to share in this love, and to share this love with others.
Prayer is our focus this weekend. In the Gospel, Jesus gives his disciples, and us, the Lord’s Prayer, which we have cherished through the centuries. The first two words encompass much about our faith--unity among all Christians (Our), and a sense that we are in a deeply bonded relationship with God (Father).
In Genesis, we see Abraham in conversational prayer, in his creaturely humility before his Creator, seeking mercy and compassion for the innocent. The psalm is a lyrical prayer of thanksgiving and praise for the God who answered the sincere prayers of a people who had called out for help, showing them mercy. In Luke’s Gospel, the disciples want to pray like Jesus, with the same intimacy--to experience God as Abba in the depths of their being.
Do we try to talk to God? Do we listen for an-swers? This relationship is always a work in progress.
How do we bring balance and joy to our lives of prayer and service to our loving God? In the Gospel today, Jesus tells Martha that her concern about doing the right thing as dictated by Jewish tradition might not be the best use of her energies. Her sister, Mary, who sits in rapt attention at Jesus’ feet, should not be rebuked. Is Jesus trying to show Martha that she needs to make time for her spiritual nourishment?READ MORE
Our God is about relationships. In the first reading, Moses reminds the Israelites that the laws, which are already in their hearts, keep them in right relationship with the God who loves them so much that they always find forgiveness. Centu-ries later, along comes Jesus, whom Paul describes to the Colossians as “the image of the invisible God,” the very embodiment of this God of love. In his parable about the good Samaritan, Jesus ex-plains how the law of love overrules the letter of the law. Instead of answering the question “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus demonstrates that it is not about who is worthy of being loved, but rather loving as God loves—about being neighbor, about being the good Samaritan. Jesus wants us to con-tinue his work as images of this God of love by loving all people, even those who seem to be our enemies.
This week, in the midst of summer, the scriptures greet us with joy, peace, mercy, and more peace! Sounds a little like Advent, doesn’t it? We often associate the prophet Isaiah with that preparatory season, and our first reading rings with such words as exult, comfort, and rejoice. The Israelites had reason to rejoice, for they had returned, come home, to a rebuilt Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon.READ MORE