November 14, 2017 – Tuesday in the 32nd Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: Gertrude the Great (January 6, 1256 – November 17, 1302)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy

Wisdom 2:23-3:9 – Psalm 34 – Luke 17:7-10

Saint Gertrude’s life is another reminder that the heart of the Christian life is prayer: private and liturgical, ordinary or mystical, but always personal.

“The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.” (Wisdom 2:24)

 The reading from the Book of Wisdom, along with the verse highlighted above, is one of my favorite selections especially for funerals. I used it for both my mother and father’s funerals. It also fits in very well with today’s “saint” Gertrude the Great. What can this tell us about our Christian Walk? What is real praryer? And what is immortality? In the first place we need to understand that none of us gets out of this life alive. We either have to believe that there is more to this “life” than just living or there is no purpose whatsoever. The ending of today’s Responsorial Psalm is another reminder of what life is all about: “The lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. I will bless the Lord at all times.” Psalm 34:17)

 Then we come to today’s Holy Gospel which strikes us hard unless we put it in the context of most all of Jesus’ message: “If you wish to be first (or the greatest, or the best, or the richest) you must be the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)

 But the catch comes in the fact that we can’t turn that around thinking, “If I become the servant in order to gain … something …” I’ve already lost it. God doesn’t call us into a “poor me” kind of life but a life that puts our focus on “the other” rather than on ourselves. Can we find joy in doing something simple – like serving a meal for someone with the honest attitude of not expecting anything in return?

When Jesus tells the story on the “banquet theme” with the warning not to seek the highest place but to take one of the lower places so that the host can come and say, “Go higher, friend…” This calls all of us into a place of honesty about our lives and what it really means to be the servant of all. Amen!

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