Reflections

Wednesday of 25th Week of the Year, September 23, 2020

SENT IN POVERTY TO ENRICH THE KINGDOM
Introduction
The author of Proverbs admits his ignorance and attests to the solid value of divine wisdom. He prays for faithfulness and a life of neither abundance nor want.
Luke, more than the other evangelists, stresses the poverty of the apostle and thus spiritualizes the mission of the herald of the gospel. Still, he has to take people in the concrete. They are to be healed from illness, which expresses the power of evil over sinful humanity; for the Bible considers sickness a consequence of sin through this link: that the spiritual illness of sin leads to physical illness. The apostle, then, must go to the whole person in a spirit of poverty. All he has to offer is the good news, and nothing may obscure it.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
your mercy extends to everyone.
Let your missionary Church go out to all
without any self-imposed, useless baggage
that obscures the pure message of the gospel
but with great humility before the good will
and the hospitality of people.
May thus our receptivity to people
make them in turn receptive to the good news
of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!

1 Reading: Proverbs 30:5-9
Every word of God is tested; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Add nothing to his words, lest he reprove you, and you will be exposed as a deceiver. Two things I ask of you, deny them not to me before I die: put falsehood and lying far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need; lest, being full, I deny you, saying, “Who is the LORD?” Or, being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God.

Responsorial Psalm 119:29, 72, 89, 101, 104, 163
R. (105) Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.

Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favour me with your law. R.

The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces. R.

Your word, O LORD, endures forever;
it is firm as the heavens. R.

From every evil way I withhold my feet,
that I may keep your words. R.

Through your precepts I gain discernment;
therefore I hate every false way. R.

Falsehood I hate and abhor;
your law I love. R.

Alleluia Mark 1:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Luke 9:1-6
Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and curing diseases everywhere.

Commentary
The author of Proverbs draws on a very interesting maxim that no doubt enjoyed common coinage in his culture. He asks God for neither poverty nor riches. In want, he may steal and thus profane the name of God.
With riches, he may become complacent and even question his need of God. He asks only that his basic needs be met. The request is a good one. Poverty is one of the Evangelical Vows candidates for Religious Life take. Furthermore, we don’t value poverty for its own sake. We see its value only in relationship to our freedom to draw closer to God. With a positive goal in mind, turning aside from material concerns has meaning. Otherwise, it is a negative pursuit.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is not introducing religious poverty. He is speaking of a mission that has such importance that it is worth every sacrifice. We all, even those who have taken a vow of poverty, have a tendency to acquire too much. If the concerns of the gospel have priority in our lives, that will serve to deter us from becoming entrenched in that which is passing away.
We strive to be obedient to the Lord because, like the psalmist, we have chosen the way of truth. With the highway well marked, the chances of our getting lost are greatly reduced. Let us keep our attention riveted on the goal that is ours.

Intercessions
– Lord, they were only fishers cleaning their nets, but you called the apostles to spread your good news. Make us fearless to speak your word, we pray:
– Lord, he was only a tax collector behind his desk, but you called Matthew to ho heal people and cast out devils. Wounded as we are, make us healers too, we pray:
– Lord, they are only plain, unpretentious people, but you call your faithful in our communities to tolerate no injustice, and to defend the poor. Speak through all of us what is right and good, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Creator of the whole world
and lover of all, our God,
we join your Son Jesus Christ in his sacrifice
whereby he redeemed the world.
Through the Spirit of your Son,
enlighten and guide us
to bring his good news as a light
to shine on all nations
and as the healing power
that reconciles all humanity with you,
our God for ever and ever. Amen!

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
your Son has again given us his command
to bring his message of hope and salvation
to all who are willing to listen.
We pray you now for those
whom you call especially for this task.
Let them be so much in the grip of the gospel
that they go out and place themselves
without fear or hesitation in the hands of people,
trusting in you and in the power of the gospel
of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!

Blessing
The whole Church is mission. Missionaries must leave behind their luggage of their culture and big means, but go in all simplicity with the good news of Jesus and must be ready also to be rejected like their Master. May almighty God bless you all, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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