Daily Bread

Wis 18:14-16; 19:6-9; Lk 18:1-8

Out of what had before been water, dry land was seen emerging.
When my mind is overburdened with worry, it can be difficult to pray. If the cause of worry persists, I lose hope in the possibility of any change. God can seem frustratingly silent, and I begin to doubt God cares. When my feeble attempts to pray feel rote and spiritless, it is most often my family and my faith community that help me to persist in prayer. With perseverance and support, a sense of God’s presence remerges and hope is reborn. When my heart feels too heavy to pray, the ritual of prayer and community worship carries me until God’s spirit can refresh my heart once again.
Into your hands, O Lord, I place my sorrows, fears and hopes.

Wis 13:1-9; Lk 17:26-37

From the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen.
I often use busyness as an excuse for not giving the people and the world around me my undivided attention. “When I finish this task, or have more time, I will spend time with my children, walk in the park, visit my neighbor, or smell the roses.” Life is short and graced opportunities are often a matter of priority. If we can’t find time to see the face of Christ in those we love or meet every day, we will probably not recognize him in the face of a stranger.
O Lord my God, how great thou art!

Wis 7:22b – 8:1; Lk 17:20-25

There will be those who will say to you, “Look there he is ...”
We are often beckoned to try a new diet, exercise gadget, or phone app that is guaranteed to make us slim, fit or de-stressed in “just 5 minutes a day!” Both readings today, however, remind us that God’s wisdom and salvation have existed since the beginning of time and will endure to its end. No matter what life throws at us, returning our minds and hearts to the basic teachings of God, spending time on our relationship with God in honest prayer, and reaching beyond personal concerns to serve others will bring more purpose, peace and fulfillment into our lives than any latest “fix-its” can ever deliver. Guaranteed!
Through all generations, your truth endures, O Lord.

Wis 6:1-11; Lk 17:11-19

For those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.
Over the years, my husband and I have saved enough that we can now look forward to a comfortable retirement. Some say we have “earned” these comforts, but I am increasingly aware that I’ve lived a privileged existence. I was given a mind and body that was able to learn and work. I was born into a peaceful and rich country that provided opportunities to succeed. I was surrounded by family who supported me. I have “earned” none of these privileges nor do I “deserve” a comfortable retirement any more than the homeless “deserve” their situation. Like the healed leper, I can only turn to God in gratitude and follow his command to go and share what I’ve been gifted.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.

Wis 1:1-7; Lk 17:1-6

Woe to the one through whom [sins] occur.
My understanding of God’s mercy has been influenced by parenthood. While it was easy to forgive mistakes my children made out of impulsive temptation, it was more difficult to overlook negative attitudes they deemed normal. I’ve come to believe God readily forgives those who fall from grace because of human weakness, but may have reservations granting mercy for habits that enable unjust practices or that diminish the dignity of God’s creation. When I refuse to change wasteful habits, continue to purchase products I know are manufactured under unethical conditions or allow the language of prejudice to flow unabated, then Jesus’ warning of a “millstone” punishment may well be directed at me.
May lethargy or inconvenience never prevent me from doing your will, O Lord.

Rom 16:3-9; 22-27; Lk 16:9-15

No servant can serve two masters.
Today we might wear a poppy. It’s Veterans Day in the U.S., Remembrance Day in Canada and other countries. The poppy became a symbol of this day when, in 1918, Moina Michael sold handmade poppies to raise money for wounded soldiers. She was inspired by that heart-breaking poem by John McCrae, In Flanders Fields where “the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row.” To support war, we appeal to our better natures. The devastation of war is borne more easily if it is to end slavery or genocide or the unjust tyranny of one people over another. But to lose a dear one to serve wealth … this is so intolerable that we can’t think of it … and so we don’t. Yet too often war is waged to serve two masters.
For an end to the waste of war, we pray.