31st Week in Ordinary Time, Friday, Year II

In today’s First Reading Paul laments those who have not only turned their backs on the Cross of Christ, but have become its enemies. The Cross implies sacrifice, but a sacrifice made with a higher and nobler purpose in mind. When Paul refers to those who consider their stomach their god he may be referring to the same Judaizers who obsess with dietary strictures and laws, or simple gluttony, but when we turn our backs on the Cross, or become its active opponents, we are putting ourselves first and ridiculing anyone who doesn’t do so.

“Stomach worship” today doesn’t just refer to those who overindulge in double cheeseburgers; it refers to any number of body worshipers, from those seeking six-pack abs to those so worried about perfect health that they are a source of suffering for themselves as well as others when they’re wishes aren’t fulfilled. Goals become more and more petty the less noble they are. When we strive for a comfortable life the little discomforts just become more pronounced. If we accept our crosses, even the little ones, even the small discomforts have meaning and are easier to bear.

Let’s ask Our Lord to bear our crosses, big and small, and let that “stomach” grumble once in a while.

Readings: Philippians 3:17–4:1; Psalm 122:1–5; Luke 16:1–8. See also 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C and 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Friday.