Today’s Gospel story from the mouth of Jesus is the story of the Good Samaritan. The story tells of a man who is beaten by robbers and left for dead. A priest walks by and crosses on the other side of the road. Then a Levite comes by and does the same. A Samaritan, who was despised by Jews, 1) poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them; 2) Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him; 3) The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, “Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.”
Jesus told this story because he was being tested by a scholar of the law. Can you imagine testing God? Unfortunately, I think we do the same more than we know. The scholar answers his own question about what must he do to inherit eternal life by telling Jesus to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. But he wished to justify himself and asked Jesus, “and who is my neighbor?” We then get the Good Samaritan story.
The Gospel of Luke 10:25-37 concludes with this dialogue … Jesus asks, “which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
What the Samaritan did was amazing in my eyes. I wonder how many people I have passed by throughout my life. What I have learned about myself is that I do little things such as giving a smile, a compliment, a helpful hand and maybe even writing this daily reflection, which is my way of treating others with love and mercy. I have had to learn that it may not be much but it is what I can do and I think it is pleasing to God.
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Mike Burke; Monday, October 3, 2016
I was thinking as I was reading today’s Gospel that if people really knew me, they would probably consider me to be a little crazy. I pray a lot even when I am in the midst of a conversation. People have no idea that I am praying for them. God is so good. I trust that He will use everything I do and say to somehow glorify Himself through my feeble attempts to serve Him and those in my life. If people saw me in my room as I walk by a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary, stop, kiss the image my beautiful spiritual mother and tell her I love her, what would they think? Or, if they knew how many times a day I tell Jesus I love Him.
Wow, I really love the Lord. In the Gospel of Luke 9:57-62, Jesus asks certain men to follow Him. The last man in today’s Gospel tells Jesus … “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Even today, how often do we put off following Jesus? As I grow deeper and deeper in love with God, I find myself more at peace even when the things around me do not go as I want them to. God’s will, not mine comes to mind. Jesus tells the man who wants to say farewell to his family … “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” I have found Jesus or should I say, been found by Jesus and there is no reason to look back. What is done is done. By the world’s standards, I am overweight, ok..fat, out of shape and considered most likely unfit. But by the grace of God, I am hoping to be fit for the Kingdom of God.
I found myself walking serenely to my car and praying for anyone that hates me because I may have hurt them in some way in the past. I was asking God to shower blessings upon all of them while I asked for His mercy and their forgiveness. Then I prayed for five people in the present, only two of whom I actually have met, who have touched my life in my blogging and professional world, who have gone through and are going through health issues. I would even ask you readers to pray for Luis, Bill, Lois, Pete and Vincent. It places great joy in my heart to bring everyone to the Lord. Who better to trust for healing?
Today I remind myself to live in the present moment. There is still much to do in loving God and others without bringing up the past, which I can do nothing about except to place it in the hands of God’s mercy. I think moving forward in Christ is the way to become fit for the Kingdom of God.
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Mike Burke; Wednesday, September 28, 2016
How long will the merciful God I believe in be patient with us? When will we listen to the constant warnings God has given us? When will we understand the Parables of Jesus and take heed to His message? The Gospel today from Luke 16:19-31 is another wake-up call. When will we as children of God wake up?
Lazarus is a very poor man. He was ignored by a very rich man. They both died and went to the netherworld. The father of all nations, Abraham was resting comfortably with Lazarus in his bosom. The rich man was far off, separated by a great chasm, suffering torment in flames. He wanted help from Lazarus to cool his tongue. When they were both alive on earth, Lazarus needed help also but the rich man was too busy, concerned about himself, rather than being concerned with a poor, low-life like Lazarus. Abraham tells the rich man that no help can come any longer because the chasm will not allow either side to crossover. That in itself is a great warning for us.
How do I read this? First of all, we have major problems all over the world. No matter where we live, there are problems. If we will not listen to God, we are going to end up like the rich man. If we keep telling God we know best and we do not need Him or even that we do not believe in Him, He is going to love us by letting us choose our own demise. I read about people blaming God. How can a loving God let all this evil happen? I would like to ask how people who are loved by God, keep choosing to sin against Him? The blame lies fully with us. Our loving Father sent His Son Jesus to save us. His Son died for us so that we can live. He has told us what to do. The answer is simple yet we do not, as children of God, do what God has commanded us. Love God and love each other. LOVE is the answer.
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Mike Burke; Sunday, September 25, 2016
The words of Jesus that caught my attention in today’s short Gospel from Luke 9:43-45 were … “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” We know what Jesus is talking about but his disciples did not understand. The Gospel says that the meaning was hidden from them so that they would not understand it and they were afraid to ask Him about it.
I wonder how many times Jesus has said to me, “pay attention to what I am telling you?” Too often, I am sure, but it is different now for me. I am older, hopefully wiser by the grace of God and I really want to listen and understand. I was thinking today how uneducated I am in the ways of the world. I work at a college and I am around some of the most brilliant people in the world. I read many blogs and what is shared is so often far above my understanding that I can only smile and shake my head. The bloggers I follow are very smart, well read and I am amazed at the knowledge and insights they share. I have learned very much from them. Thanks be to God.
What I have come to know about myself is that I have become a better listener of my Lord. I have grown to understand much that Jesus wills to teach me. One of the best things I have learned is that I cannot go wrong if I do everything out of love and glory to God. Living out the commandment to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength along with loving my neighbor trumps all knowledge. It is no longer about me. It is all about others and giving God the glory.
I believe God puts people in my life and me in the lives of others to help us follow the narrow road to Him. We will share our gifts, our differences and our experiences. We will help each other and we will hurt each other. We will love and be loved. God permits it all. This is one great way, I believe, we “pay attention” to what Jesus is telling us.
Prayer: Speak Lord, your servant is listening and paying attention. Amen.
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Mike Burke; Saturday, September 24, 2016