9th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday, Year II

Today’s First Reading invites us to hasten the end of the world as we know it. Why would we want the world to end? It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when. As believers the Lord has promised us, as St. Peter reminds us, “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” If we do want this new world to come St. Peter today also answers the question of, “why wait?”

In the face of so much struggle and evil in the world, why not just end it all? Because of the people who’d be left out. The Lord’s waiting for us, and for others, to welcome the Gospel. The patience of Our Lord is always for the purpose of salvation.

We “hasten” that day by sharing the Gospel and working for the conversion of sinners. Let’s help spread the Gospel so that the Lord’s righteousness reigns.

Readings: 2 Peter 3:12–15a, 17–18; Psalm 90:2–4, 10, 14, 16; Mark 12:13–17. See also 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A and 9th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday.

9th Week of Ordinary Time, Saturday, Year II

In today’s First Reading Paul encourages Timothy to proclaim the word, and not just in favorable conditions. Timothy would face adversity; people would prefer easier, apparent truths to the truth they needed for their salvation.

This mission is a question of attitude as much as it is duty. In today’s Gospel one person gets it right: the widow, who is generous and gives her very livelihood. The scribes do things for the prestige involved, and the rich to a certain degree as well, since they are only giving out of their surplus. We may not have the same mission as Timothy, but we can have the same attitude as the poor widow: sharing our talents with sacrifice and devotion to those who need them.

Let’s ask Paul and Timothy to intercede for us today so that we can use out talents boldly for the cause of the Gospel.

Readings: 2 Timothy 4:1–8; Psalm 71:8–9, 14–15b, 16–17, 22; Mark 12:38–44. See also  34th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B, and 9th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday.


9th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, Year II

In today’s First Reading Paul reminds us that while you can imprison bearers of the truth, the truth itself can never be contained. The truth that remains free in Paul’s mind, even while he sits in prison, is to remember Jesus Christ, that he has risen from the dead, and that he is the Messiah, descended from King David. In these few words he reminds us of the truth on which we should focus and to which we should bear witness: Jesus Christ is the Savior and has conquered death. No prison can diminish that truth. Paul endures everything because of that truth, because it translates into his mission as well, and his mission continues even in chains when he offers his sufferings for others, just as we can.

Due to this truth we are the beneficiaries of promises. If we die in Christ, we will live in him too. Through fidelity to the truth in his service any trials and difficulties we face will one day draw to an end. Our core mission is to give witness to him; he watches over and cares for his own, even when they fall away from caring about him. The Gospel message is simple. It can be difficult, but by adhering to its core we will help spread the Good News and not get bogged down in debates. The measure of that is recalled in today’s Gospel: love for God and love for neighbor.

Examine your life today and see whether you’ve denied Christ in some way or lost your Gospel focus. He is always faithful and will welcome you back on track with open arms. Trust in his promises.

Readings: 2 Timothy 2:8–15; Psalm 25:4–5b, 8–10, 14; Mark 12:28–34. See also 9th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday and 20th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday.

9th Week of Ordinary Time, Wednesday, Year II

In today’s First Reading Paul encourages Timothy to stoke up the fire he received through ordination, a gift to enable him to fulfill his vocation. As Paul reminds us, Christ saved us and called us to a holy life, and that desire stemmed not from something we earned, but from his saving designs and the gift of his grace. Paul is speaking not only to his colleague, but to his successor; in prison it is easy to see the day when someone else has to take up your work, and Timothy would be understandably concerned if his friend and mentor was imprisoned and the work of spreading the Gospel was left to him. Yet it would be soon, and Paul encourages Timothy to not let his concerns defeat him, but instead to stoke up the fire of love that conquers all in order to embolden him in his noble calling and mission.

Our Lord calls us all to help him spread his Good News, each according to his condition or state of life. This is not something we do out of a strained sense of obligation, a narrow-minded attitude reflected in the limited understanding of marriage and its obligations that the Sadducees try to present today to Jesus as a problem discrediting the possibility of the Resurrection. Rather, it is something that stems from the new life that we have received in Christ. We may not all be called to be priests, but we are all called to stoke up the fire of the gifts we’ve received from Our Lord in order to share the Gospel with zeal and enthusiasm.

If you consider the gifts you’ve received from God to just be obligations piled upon more obligations, ask Our Lord today to stoke up in you the fire of his love so that you see a life of holiness and evangelization as a mission, not just a burden. It will pave the way for an unexpected joy.

Readings: 2 Timothy 1:1–3, 6–12; Psalm 123:1b–2f; Mark 12:18–27. See also 9th Week in Ordinary Time, Wednesday and 33rd Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday.

9th Week of Ordinary Time, Monday, Year II

In today’s First Reading Peter, in the introduction to his second letter, expresses the desire that every Christian receive peace and abundance through knowledge of the Lord. He also traces out how this will happen; it is a process of faith leading to virtue, knowledge, and love. Unlike the chief priests, scribes and elders, chastised by Our Lord through the Parable of the Vineyard in today’s Gospel, believers know that through this process they are transformed into something greater than they were before, but only through grace and effort. Through Baptism and a holy life a believer gradually shares more and more in divine life, and that divine life transforms him and introduces him into a world greater than he could have ever envisioned.

This process helps us to see beyond ourselves and our world to something greater, and to understand our place within the greater scheme of things. The tenants in today’s parable tried to turn a leasing arrangement into their world, and convinced themselves that they were its owners. Wine throughout the Bible symbolizes joy; the tenants were invited and expected to help that joy be cultivated and spread, but instead they focused on using it for their own profit. Instead of the path traced out by Peter today–“faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love”–their bad faith leads them down the path of ignorance, selfishness, and hate and, as a result, the little world they’d carved out for themselves would be taken away from them.

Our Lord has promised us a greater world, a greater life. Let’s ask him, in faith, to give us the knowledge and the grace we need to start this process that leads to beautiful promises being fulfilled for ourselves and for others.

Readings: 2 Peter 1:2–7; Psalm 91:1–16; Mark 12:1–12. See also 2nd Week of Lent, Friday and 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Monday, Year I.