Daily Devotional for September 24 – 30
Navarre commentary on the banquet of Luke 14…
“Compel people to come in”: it is not a matter of forcing anyone’s freedom — God does not want us to love him under duress — but of helping a person to make right decisions, to shrug off any human respect, to avoid the occasion of sin, to do what he can to discover the truth… A person is “compelled to come in” through prayer, the example of a Christian life, friendship — in a word, apostolate. “If in order to save an earthly life it is praiseworthy to use force to stop a man from committing suicide, are we not to be allowed use the same force — holy coercion — to save the Life (with a capital) of many who are stupidly bent on killing their souls?” (J. Escrivá, The Way)
We adore Thee O Christ and we bless Thee for by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Luke 14:25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
34 “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land nor for the [g]dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight O Lord my strength and my redeemer
Commentary on Leaving all for Christ: This verse must be understood, therefore, in the context of all our Lord’s teachings (cf. Lk 6:27.35). These are “hard words. True, ‘hate’ does not exactly express what Jesus meant. Yet he did put it very strongly, because he doesn’t just mean ‘love less,’ as some people interpret it in an attempt to tone down the sentence. The force behind these vigorous words does not lie in their implying a negative or pitiless attitude, for the Jesus who is speaking here is none other than that Jesus who commands us to love others as we love ourselves and who gives up his life for mankind. These words indicate simply that we cannot be half-hearted when it comes to loving God. Christ’s words could be translated as ‘love more, love better,’ in the sense that a selfish or partial love is not enough: we have to love others with the love of God” (J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by)
O Lord come to my assistance, O Lord make haste to help me.
Luke 15:1 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man [a]receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying:
4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine [b]just persons who need no repentance.
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver [c]coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.
Navarre Commentary on salvation: Christian tradition, on the basis of this and other Gospel passages (cf. Jn 10:11), applies this parable to Christ, the Good Shepherd, who misses and then seeks out the lost sheep: the Word, by becoming man, seeks out mankind, which has strayed through sinning. Here is St Gregory the Great’s commentary: “He put the sheep on his shoulders because, on taking on human nature, he burdened himself with our sins” (In Evangelia homiliae, II, 14).
This does not mean that our Lord does not value the perseverance of the just: he is simply emphasizing the joy of God and the saints over the conversion of a sinner. This is clearly a call to repentance, to never doubt God’s readiness to forgive. “Another fall, and what a fall! … Must you give up hope? No. Humble yourself and, through Mary, your Mother, have recourse to the merciful Love of Jesus. A miserere, and lift up your heart! And now begin again” (J. Escrivá, The Way)
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts, the whole earth is filled with Thy Glory.
11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with [d]prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the [e]pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’
20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, [f]‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
(St. Patrick’s Breastplate prayer excerpt)
Commentary on first part of the Prodigal son…
His memory of home and his conviction that his father loves him cause the prodigal son to reflect and to decide to set out on the right road. “Human life is in some way a constant returning to our Father’s house. We return through contrition, through the conversion of heart which means a desire to change, a firm decision to improve our life and which, therefore, is expressed in sacrifice and self-giving. We return to our Father’s house by means of that sacrament of pardon in which, by confessing our sins, we put on Jesus Christ again and become his brothers, members of God’s family” (J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 64).
20-24 God always hopes for the return of the sinner; he wants him to repent. When the young man arrives home his father does not greet him with reproaches but with immense compassion, which causes him to embrace his son and cover him with kisses.
O Come let us worship and fall down before Christ, O Son of God, Who didst rise from the dead, save us who chant unto Thee, Alleluia.