MONDAY OF THE TWENTY-THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

September 11, 2017

Colossians 1:24-2:3

 

I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me.

For I want you to know how much I am struggling for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face. I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

 

Psalm 62:5-6, 8

 

For God alone my soul waits in silence,
    

for my hope is from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    

my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
    

pour out your heart before him;
    

God is a refuge for us.

 

 

Luke 6:6-11

 

On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” After looking around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

(NRSVCE)

Meditation

 

Today is a day when we think of suffering. Today, September 11, we remember the evil terror attack on the United States that resulted in almost 3,000 deaths and 6,000 wounded stunning the world with its cruelty. We also happen to be experiencing a huge ongoing storm to our south, recovery from large-scale flooding in Texas and many fires to the west. When we hear about such things, we think of the poor people who suffer. But we also think of the response people have to that suffering.

 

On September 11th, we think of the first responders and those at ground zero who came to rescue survivors and sort through the rubble. In the case of Hurricane Irma, a powerfully dangerous storm, there was an involved, concerted effort from myriad workers. Weather trackers were on the alert to assess the threat and predict a path. Warnings were made. Governors and leaders sprung into action, giving directions, designating shelters, calling in the National Guard, bringing in extra fuel, food and water.  Evacuation orders were made and people welcomed the refugees. Days before the hurricane struck, blood banks were readying their supplies to ship to Florida. Doctors and nurses were called to report to the hospitals. Special needs people were secured. Power repair trucks flowed in from other states. Airplanes flew evacuees away from the danger. Acts of generosity and self-sacrifice were too numerous to count. Storage facilities offered free storage. Toll booth operations were suspended. People did all they could to prepare to simply save life, and then they prayed to God and asked for prayer.

 

In the face of evil, we see clearly what is of value: life and saving life, even if it involves suffering for us. In today’s Gospel we read that Jesus became furious when he could not get the scribes and Pharisees to admit that. “Is it lawful to save life or destroy it?” Jesus was getting ready to lay his own life down for them and for all mankind. He was about to perform the ultimate saving grace to secure eternal life as a free gift to them and to all. If only they would hear this most basic lesson: God loves his people and wants to save them.

 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, when the world is dangerous and I am frightened, in pain, or feeling alone, kindly help me to remember not the evil that is in the world but your saving power and provision. May the psalm today be truly in my heart:

 

“For God alone my soul waits in silence,
    

for my hope is from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    

my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
    

pour out your heart before him;
    

God is a refuge for us.”

 

Amen

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