Daily Devotional for August 27 – September 3
49 “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. 52 For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. 53 Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
54 Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. 55 And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. 56 Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?
57 “Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right? 58 When you go with your adversary to the magistrate, make every effort along the way to settle with him, lest he drag you to the judge, the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you shall not depart from there till you have paid the very last mite.”
Prayer: O Lord, lead me not into temptation.
O Lord, grant me good thoughts. (Hourly prayers or St John Chrysostom)
Navarre Commentary on making peace with the adversary…
Through this new life, we Christians should become set on fire in the same way as Jesus set his disciples on fire: “With the amazing naturalness of the things of God, the contemplative soul is filled with apostolic zeal. ‘My heart became hot within me, a fire blazed forth from my thoughts’ (Ps 38:4). What could this fire be if not the fire that Christ talks about: ‘I came to cast fire upon the earth, and would that it were already kindled.’ (Lk 12:49). An apostolic fire that acquires its strength in prayer: there is no better way than this to carry on, throughout the whole world, the battle of peace to which every Christian is called to fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ (cf. Col 1:24)” (J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 120).
Jesus’ listeners knew from experience how to forecast the weather. However, although they knew the signs of the Messiah’s coming announced by the prophets, and were hearing his preaching and witnessing his miracles, they did not want to draw the logical conclusion; they lacked the necessary good will and upright intention; and they just closed their eyes to the light of the Gospel (cf. Rom 1:18ff).
This attitude is also found to be very widespread in our own time, in the form of certain kinds of atheism rejected by the Second Vatican Council: “Those who wilfully try to drive God from their heart and to avoid all questions about religion, not following the biddings of their conscience, are not free from blame”
Prayer: O Lord, grant me tears, and remembrance of death, and compunction.
O Lord, grant me the thought of confessing my sins.
Luke 13:There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had [a]mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it [b]use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 [c]And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ”
Prayer: O Lord, grant me humility, chastity, and obedience.
O Lord, grant me patience, courage, and meekness.
Navarre Commentary on the the first part of Luke 13…
Our Lord used current events in his teaching. The Galileans referred to here may be the same as mentioned in the book of the Acts of the Apostles (5:37). The episode was fairly typical of the times Jesus lived in, with Pilate sternly suppressing any sign of civil unrest. We do not know anything about the accident at Siloam other than what the Gospel tells us.
The fact that these people died in this way does not mean that they were worse than others, for God does not always punish sinners in this life (cf. Jn 9:3). All of us are sinners, meriting a much worse punishment than temporal misfortune; we merit eternal punishment; but Christ has come to atone for our sins, he has opened the gates of heaven. We must repent of our sins; otherwise God will not free us from the punishment we deserve. “When you meet with suffering, the Cross, your thought should be: what is this compared with what I deserve” (J. Escrivá, The Way, 690).
Our Lord stresses that we need to produce plenty of fruit (cf. Lk 8:11-15) in keeping with the graces we have received (cf. Lk 12:48). But he also tells us that God waits patiently for this fruit to appear; he does not want the death of the sinner; he wants him to be converted and to live…
“There is one case that we should be especially sorry about — that of Christians who could do more and don’t; Christians who could live all the consequences of their vocation as children of God, but refuse to do so through lack of generosity. We are partly to blame, for the grace of faith has not been given us to hide but to share with others (cf. Mt 5:1 5f). We cannot forget that the happiness of these people, in this life and in the next, is at stake. The Christian life is a divine wonder with immediate promises of satisfaction and serenity — but on condition that we know how to recognize the gift of God (cf. Jn 4:10) and be generous, not counting the cost” (J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 147).
Prayer: O Lord, implant in me the root of good, Thy fear in my heart.
O Lord, vouchsafe me to love Thee with all my soul and thoughts, and in all things to do Thy will.
Luke 13:10 Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way [d]raise herself up. 12 But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” 13 And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
14 But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”
15 The Lord then answered him and said, [e]“Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? 16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” 17 And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.
Navarre Commentary: As was the custom, our Lord used go to the synagogue on the sabbath. Noticing this poor woman, he uses his power and mercy to cure her. The ordinary people are delighted, but the ruler of the synagogue, apparently zealous about fulfilling the law (cf. Ex 20:8; 3 1:14; Lev 19:3-30), publicly upbraids our Lord. Jesus energetically censures this warped interpretation of the Law and stresses the need for mercy and understanding, which is what pleases God (cf. Hos 6:6; Jas 2:13).
Prayer: O Lord, protect me from evil men, and demons, and passions, and from every other unseemly thing.
O Lord, Thou knowest that Thou doest as Thou wilt: Thy will be done also in me a sinner; for blessed art Thou unto the ages. Amen.
Luke 13:18 Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a [f]large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”
The grain of mustard and the leaven symbolize the Church, which starts off as a little group of disciples and steadily spreads with the aid of the Holy Spirit until it reaches the ends of the earth. As early as the second century Tertullian claimed: “We are but of yesterday and yet we are everywhere” (Apologeticum, 37).
Our Lord “with the parable of the mustard seed encourages them to have faith and shows them that the Gospel preaching will spread in spite of everything. The Lord’s disciples were the weakest of men, but nevertheless, because of the great power that was in them, the Gospel has been spread to every part of the world” (St John Chrysostom, Horn. on St Matthew, 46). Therefore, a Christian should not be discouraged if his apostolic action seems very limited and insignificant. With God’s grace and his own faithfulness it will keep growing like the mustard seed, in spite of difficulties: “In the moments of struggle and opposition, when perhaps ‘the good’ fill your way with obstacles, lift up your apostolic heart: listen to Jesus as he speaks of the grain of mustard seed and of the leaven. And say to him: ‘edissere nobis parabolarn: explain the parable to me.’
Prayer: Lord if it be that I have done a good thing I thank Thee for by Thy Grace is has been done.
22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”
And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”
31 [i]On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, “Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.”
32 And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be [j]perfected.’ 33 Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.
34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and [k]assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
Prayer: Lord have mercy upon us, Christ have mercy upon us, Lord have mercy upon us.