Daily Bread

Rom 11:29-36; Lk 14:12-14

When you hold a banquet, invite the poor.
Our parish participates in a ministry of providing a weekly meal to anyone who wants to come with no questions asked. Different congregations alternate responsibility for the meal. The food is good, usually homemade and served as a sit-down meal where the diners are served like they are in a real restaurant or in a home. Some of the diners are poor, some are lonely, all are in need of what such a meal provides — nourishment for the body and the spirit. The loveliest moment is when a server sits down with one being served. Over a simple meal, barriers are broken down, at least for a little while.
God of the poor, help us recognize your face in every person on our path.

Rom 11:1-2A; 11-12, 25-29; Lk 14:1, 7-11

The one who humbles himself will be exalted.
Charles Borromeo reformed and restored the church’s integrity by rooting out corruption, suppressing heresy, stopping the selling of indulgences, and reforming monasteries. His fortune went to those afflicted by Milan’s famine following the plague when most of the wealthy fled the city. He went into significant personal debt to feed 70,000 people daily. Despite being of the powerful Medici family and Milanese nobility, he kept just enough money to educate himself to serve the church.
May we like St. Charles Borromeo seek to do God’s will without pomp or pride.

Rom 9:1-5; Lk 14:1-6

Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath or not?
Jesus kept the Sabbath; he also knew when to yield to common sense. He avoided rigid adherence when it was detrimental or caused crisis. When the law obstructed doing what is right and just, he temporarily supplanted it. He didn’t negate the law; he prioritized the order of adherence for holy living. Jesus placed the greatest emphasis on mercy. Jesus argued that if attending to everyday needs like caring for animals was permissible, then alleviating human suffering should be as well. He challenged the Pharisees’ stubborn application of Sabbath restrictions because the Sabbath’s intent was to enhance their quality of life, not complicate it.
Guide us, Lord, in what is both right and good.

Wis 3:1-9; Rom 5:5-11 or Rom 6:3-9; Jn 6:37-40

Hope does not disappoint …
We find it comforting to remember at worship our dear ones who have passed on. The feelings among those in the congregation will run the gamut: grief, regret, a sense of duty, loneliness, fear, doubt, consolation, hope. Those who have lost someone to suicide may be struggling with feelings that are especially complex: anger, resentment, guilt, deep sadness. Somehow their loved one lost hope, and without hope one cannot live long in this world. And that loss of hope can also be “contagious,” affecting those left behind to wonder: “Is life really worth living?” (Answer: Yes! It is.)
Gracious God, today make me an instrument of hope.

Rv 7:2-4, 9-14; 1 Jn 3:1-3; Mt 5:1-12a

Blessed are the poor in spirit …
Scholars believe that Matthew added the phrase “in spirit,” meaning either “Blessed are the poor who are also righteous,” or “Blessed are all (no matter wealth or status) who know they are dependent on God.” What do you think? Relatedly, I asked a wise old Jesuit what my attitude should be about an unexpected gift of money. Should I treat myself? Invest it? Donate it? His response was the last thing I wanted to hear. He said the saint wouldn’t care much about what happened to the money. That’s “poor in spirit,” and I am so not.
Loving God, I wish I could pray, “Make me holy,” but the best prayer I have is, “Make me want to be holy.” Amen.