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Water and fire discord and peace

Today’s gospel combines a series of rather enigmatic sayings of the Lord. Let’s start with the images of fire and baptism. After the flood in the time of Noah, God swears: “Never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 

From this promise a conviction is born and spread in Israel that, to cleanse the world of iniquity, God would no longer use water, but fire. 








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Becoming rich by becoming poor

Today’s gospel teaches us how not to get caught by surprise at the end of our lives?—Jesus responds to the question with three parables.

The first: a gentleman goes to a wedding party and leaves his servants at home. The servants know that the master will come back and they must be ready to welcome him, but they do not know when. What are these enigmatic images of when and how the Lord returns about?








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Accumulating for yourself is mad

One day Jesus was chosen as mediator to solve one of these messy family agreements. The situation presented to him has arisen because one has attempted to commit an injustice and the other is in danger of suffering from it. What to do?

Despite some bickering between brothers, in general, they love each other. Until when? 








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A struggle with God

No evangelist insists so much on the subject of prayer as Luke. He remembers that Jesus prayed seven times. 

In addition to these records, Luke also reports five prayers of Jesus including, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34) and—his last words before he died—“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). 








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Christ the guest but not for one day

A passage about Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42) often brings displeasure and a frown to the faces of the hardworking people. Some cite it to demonstrate the superiority of the contemplative over active life.

It says that the sisters and the monks—who in the peace of their cloisters spend their lives reciting prayers—have chosen the better part.








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To inherit life

Today’s gospel reading begins with two questions from Jesus: What shall I do to inherit eternal life? What is written in the law?

The rabbi promptly appeals to two biblical texts. The first is well known, because every pious Israelite recited it at morning and evening prayer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5).








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I come to offer peace

The gospel recounts how Jesus sent messengers in pairs. The first miss-ionaries—Peter and John, Paul and Barnabas did not only go two by two, but they were also sent and  represented their community.

They are sent like lambs among wolves. The wolf is a symbol of violence, arrogance. The lamb indicates gentility, weakness and frailty.








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Nothing should stop us following Christ

In the gospel today, Jesus resolutely journeys to Jerusalem where crucifixion and death await him. He, like the suffering servant of Yahweh, takes on the pain, for he knows, that is the way the love of the Father is to be manifested.  








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The difficult task of liberators

In Jesus’ time the waiting for the saviour was acute, eager and even feverish. The Messiah will be—everybody thought—a hero, or a warrior king. Keeping this in the back of our minds let us read the gospel today.

Jesus first asks: What do people say about me? The disciples are a bit surprised when confronted with a question like this, because he never gave the impression of being interested in what was being said about him. 








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Perfect and righteous but incapable of loving

Jesus enters the homes of all. To him all people are pure. Today, we find him in the house of a Pharisee, therefore, in a morally elevated ambient. 

Why is he invited? Probably because the Pharisees consider him a just and wise teacher. They wish to converse with him on topics of high theology.