25th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday, Year II

In today’s First Reading Qoheleth encourages the young to enjoy their youth, but to not be deluded into thinking it is eternal or that they are immortal. He makes a stark contrast between the young person, enjoying life and unconcerned about the future, and the person aware of his mortality and how brief and fragile life can be.

When we’re young we often can’t wait to grow up, and once we get there, we lament our lost youth and how we squandered it. Both the young and the old striving to be the other only manage a caricature of what they once were, or what they will grow up to be. The lesson Qoheleth wants to impart today for young and old is that our actions and decisions always have consequences. Our Lord in today’s Gospel knows his actions and decisions will lead to the Cross; he warns his disciples, but they are too immature to face the facts.

We may not have so dire a cross facing us, but young and old must now that there are moments of difficulty and decision in life that either help us to mature or show us how immature we really are. Let’s examine our life today and see how we can grow in maturity at the right pace, never coming up short.

Readings: Ecclesiastes 11:9–12:8; Psalm 90:3–6, 12–14, 17; Luke 9:43b–45. See also 25th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday and 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B.

25th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday, Year II

In today’s First Reading Qoheleth invites us to consider the meaning of all the moments in our life: our birth and death, our up moments and our down moments, times of change, times of adversity, times of joy, and times of sadness. There is a time for everything, and the Lord has established that, not only so that there may be some order in life, but also to make our thoughts turn to whether anything is timeless, anything is eternal.

Eternity is not just a mental construction that we extrapolate from contemplating finite, temporal situations. Eternity is where we find God, at least until he became man, and even then he bridges the gap for us between time and eternity and consoles us with the certainty that one day all our toil will end, having achieved its purpose.

Many people today “live for the weekend”; let’s ask Our Lord to help us live for eternity.

Readings: Ecclesiastes 3:1–11; Psalm 144:1b, 2a–c, 3–4; Luke 9:18–22. See also 12th Week of Ordinary Time, Sunday, Cycle CFeast of the Chair of St. PeterThursday after Ash Wednesday25th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday, and 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B.

25th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday, Year II

In today’s First Reading, the beginning of the book of Ecclesiastes, its author, Qoheleth, begins a survey of his experiences and his perceptions in an attempt to answer the question of life’s meaning. Ecclesiastes is part of the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, so it is eminently philosophical, and one of the most central questions of philosophy is the meaning of life. I society today the thought of considering the meaning of life is the butt of many jokes, but it is a question every person should ask.

In today’s First Reading Qoheleth is just beginning his inquiry, and the results so far are not encouraging. When he considers the things of this world, the natural things, the human things, and the course of history, he finds a monotony and ultimate lack of novelty that makes him question their significance. This is only a source of discouragement if we forget that this world does not have the last word in the question of life’s meaning; with the Lord, we know there is something beyond this world that gives it meaning, but Qoheleth is not there yet.

Herod in today’s Gospel is also trying to measure up Our Lord using his narrow-minded experiences and perceptions, but doesn’t have the faith or the wisdom to see that with Jesus something truly new has come into the world. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help our faith and our reason seek and find life’s meaning in Christ.

Readings: Ecclesiastes 1:2–11; Psalm 90:3–6, 12–14, 17bc; Luke 9:7–9. See also 4th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday25th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday, and 17th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday.

25th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday, Year II

The proverbs in today’s First Reading remind us that wisdom is worth seeking and no one has a monopoly on it. It goes hand in hand with being an upright person. As the second proverb reminds us today, our conscience is not only formed by ourselves, but in conformity with what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Situations arise where our righteousness is put to the test, and in those moments it’s revealed how strong or how weak it is.

Although the word in not used in today’s First Reading, humility helps wisdom to grow. The proud, the rash, and the deceptive ultimately fail in the eyes of the Lord and in the eyes of the wise.

Some people today don’t have “grow in wisdom” on their list of to-do’s today. Let’s move it to the top of our list and ask Our Lord to help us.

Readings: Proverbs 21:1–6, 10–13; Psalm 119:1, 27, 30, 34–35, 44; Luke 8:19–21. See also 25th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday and 16th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday.

25th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday, Year II

In today’s First Reading we’re taught that we shouldn’t put off a good that we can do for another. Isn’t sharing the Gospel, the Good News, the greatest good that we can share? So why hesitate?  Keeping good news to ourselves is like putting a lit lamp in an empty closet and closing the door: it only illuminates a fraction of its potential.

Some people want to lock this light in a closet and throw away the key, but Our Lord reminds us in today’s Gospel that the Good News will be revealed, one way or another. Sometimes the Good News may not seem so good to us, when it implies renunciation and the cross, but this news is a good that never stops being new or being good, if we have faith and strive to let it truly illuminate our lives.

Let’s help the light of faith stay high and bright in our lives and in the world.

Readings: Proverbs 3:27–34; Psalm 15:2–4b, 5; Luke 8:16–18. See also 10th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday.