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A lost person is God’s defeat

Two parables of mercy will be offered to us in this Sunday’s gospel, that of the lost sheep and the lost coin.

The parables are addressed to the Scribes and Pharisees rather than the tax collectors and sinners who were seeking Jesus eagerly to hear what he had to say.

They frowned at this, muttering, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 

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Discipleship is demanding

In today’s gospel—Jesus is amazed to see that “large crowds were walking along with him.”

He is seized by doubt thinking there is a misunderstanding, that the crowds have misunderstood his words. He turns and begins to explain what is involved in the choice to be his disciple.

Jesus makes three tough requests all of which end with the same severe refrain: cannot be my disciple!

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Positions of power in the Church

In today’s passage, we are in the house of a Pharisee at the end of the liturgy in the synagogue, and Jesus is one of the guests. In a Jewish banquet, a rigid etiquette is observed, as there are hierarchies to be respected. 

Seats are allocated carefully: at the centre are the people of honour who were invited to sit beside the host. At the same time, Jesus notices the awkward attitudes, embarrasment and clumsiness of people who were asked to take lower seats. 

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All are welcome but don’t be late

In today’s passage, Luke presents a Jesus with threats and condemnations. His advice is even strange—strive to enter through the narrow gate!

In Luke’s communities, laxity, fatigue, presumption of being right with God, arrogance, the belief that good intentions are sufficient and that salvation can be obtained cheaply have infiltrated. Luke realises that the risk of being excluded from the kingdom looms over many Christians. 

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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).