Category Archives: Luke

Heart of fire

Steffen Papenbroock
“Heart of Fire”

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” Luke 12:49-50

Like the Lord, we know we are waiting for things to change. We feel the stress, the sorrow, the depression, the wish to push time so that solutions emerge and are finalized.

Like the Lord, we do our best to make it through the agony of uncertainty. We wait for the graced moment when God sets our hearts on fire with love and joy, when we finally let ourselves be absorbed into God’s heart of compassion.

Fear disarmed

Flock of sheep grazing on stubble at O’Halloran Hill near Adelaide, SA. 1992.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

What were the disciples afraid of, that Jesus offered these words of comfort and reassurance? No doubt the same things I am afraid of: surviving on a small income; meeting responsibilities; aging; illness; the anger permeating our world; the unjust treatment of the poor, the homeless, refugees and immigrants; the reality of human trafficking; indifference towards the vulnerable, the ill, the elderly…

Jesus disarms all these fears with the unconditional, all-inclusive love of God, the “kingdom” that is already around us, among us, within us.

When I choose love over fear, I embody the kingdom. I am empowered to bring respect, reassurance, encouragement, generosity, justice, kindness, and compassion to my home, workplace, and community.

 

All shall be well

The Wasp, September 31, 1882
political cartoon, San Francisco, California,
depicting San Francisco landlords as vampire bats squeezing the rent out of tenants,
enjoying a fine meal, then being taken by death
and thrown into hell.

Then [Jesus] said to the crowd,  “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Luke 12:15

When I consider my modest take-home pay and the food, rent, utilities, medical, and car expenses I have, it’s hard not to make money and things the center of my attention. Idols, in fact.

But God’s Holy Spirit — not money or things — is my source for life. Today I choose to put my trust in and my attention on God. All shall be well, however it looks right now.

 

Teach me how

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Le “Pater Noster”
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1

In humility, I acknowledge I do not know how to pray. In humility, I ask the Lord to teach me how. In humility, I let the Lord be my teacher — not only in prayer but also in love of my neighbor, my enemy, the poor, the stranger, the homeless, the prisoner.

Lord, give me the courage to be faithful to your teaching.

 

 

 

Communication

JESUS MAFA. Martha and Mary, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved July 21, 2019]. Original source.

Martha, burdened with much serving, came to [Jesus] and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” Luke 10:40

I often wonder what prevented Martha from asking Mary to help her. Why did Martha speak to her sister through the Lord? Had Martha previously asked Mary for help and Mary had ignored her? What was the relationship between the two sisters?

Today I will examine my relationships and discern where and why I avoid direct communication with others.

 

 

Being neighbor

The Good Samaritan
After William Hogarth (British, London 1697–1764 London)
Etching and engraving, February 24, 1772
Metropolitan Museum of Art

[Jesus replied,] “Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
[The scholar] answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:36-37

It’s a directive from the Lord: Treat my neighbor with mercy. That means extending compassion to someone who is suffering; listening when someone needs to talk; visiting someone who is lonely; feeding someone who is hungry.

It’s about noticing others. It’s about paying attention. It’s about letting go of indifference. It’s about taking care of you and me and all of us — precious members of God’s beloved human family.

Sow and harvest

The Seventy-two Disciples
tempera on parchment
Ethiopia, ca.1480-1520
Getty Open Content Program
Ms. 105 (2010.17), fol. 9

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
brothers and sisters. Amen. Galatians 6:18

The grace of our Lord touches our hearts and spirits with the desire to do good, forgive wrongs, bring healing to those who are suffering, be peacemakers, let go of blame, and take responsibility for our actions and attitudes.

We are good and trustworthy. That is why the Lord sends us into the world to sow and harvest love, compassion, and nonviolence.