“He touched their eyes and said, ‘Let it be done or you according to your faith’ “ (Matt 9:30).
“The rain fell, the floods came, the winds blew and buffeted the house” (Matt 7:24).
Anyone who has purchased an older home has first looked at the foundation, walls and doors. A house becomes a home when we feel secure within it. So it was in the ancient world, where survival depended on the walls and gates of a city, the stability of a family dwelling. Many of Jesus’ parables deal with securing a house for the night, opening and closing gates to welcome or keep people out. Even the image of the Kingdom of God uses the idea of gates, who will enter and who will be left outside.
“How many loaves do you have?” (Matt 15:34).
I have not thought very much about retirement, but as I watch the years go by I am compelled by prudence to look at various plans for making ends meet when I am no longer employed. I have been fortunate to work full time for a good company that has matched my pension contributions.
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you are seeing” (Luke 10:24).
“I will come and cure him” (Matt 8:6).
We cannot underestimate the impact of some of Jesus’ miracles within their own historical context.
Israel was occupied by the Romans, who had stationed thousands of soldiers throughout the country, including Galilee, where the city of Sepphoris, not far Nazareth, had a notorious Roman garrison where suspected Jewish rebels were interrogated and tortured. Capernaum had another base, where the centurion mentioned in today’s Gospel commanded 100 Roman soldiers, whose role was to maintain order and enforce the will of Rome.
“Be prepared for an hour you do not expect” (Matt 24:44).
An ordinary man lives a long life despite risks and neglect. A young wife and mother goes in for a routine checkup and is told she has pancreatic cancer and just months to live. One person dies peacefully in her sleep, another is killed instantly in a car crash that was not his fault.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Luke 21:33).
Jesus compares a budding fig tree to the first early indicators that the time for accountability is approaching. As the natural cycles of trees signal the arrival of the next season, so events reveal God’s hand in the world.
“Stand up and go; your faith has saved you” (Luke 17:19).
“I myself will give you a wisdom in speaking …” (Luke 21:16).
The daily scriptures are a Living Word addressed to the here and now. Today they are resonating deeply with the new apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis. This letter to church and world is his personal keynote for the brief time he will be pope, and whatever happens from this point on will be the practical application and policy formation of ideas in Evangelii Gaudium, "The Joy of the Gospel” (http://www.vatican.va/phome_en.htm), which every Catholic should read and reflect on.
“There will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down” (Luke 21:6).