19th Sunday Ordinary Time 2013

Scripture readings for Sunday's Mass are here.
Reading 2 Heb 11:1-2, 8-19
Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go. 

By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and maker is God. 

By faith he received power to generate,
even though he was past the normal age
—and Sarah herself was sterile—
for he thought that the one who had made the promise was

So it was that there came forth from one man,
himself as good as dead,
descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

All these died in faith.
They did not receive what had been promised
but saw it and greeted it from afar
and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth,
for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland.

If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come,
they would have had opportunity to return.
But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one.
Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God,
for he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac,
and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son,
of whom it was said,
“Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.”
He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead,
and he received Isaac back as a symbol.

Gospel Lk 12:32-48

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

Sell your belongings and give alms.
Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out,
an inexhaustible treasure in heaven
that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

Image source

“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.

Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.

Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.

You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said,
“Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”
And the Lord replied,
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward
whom the master will put in charge of his servants
to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? 

Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. 

Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant
in charge of all his property.
But if that servant says to himself,
‘My master is delayed in coming,’
and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants,
to eat and drink and get drunk,
then that servant’s master will come
on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
and will punish the servant severely
and assign him a place with the unfaithful. 

That servant who knew his master’s will
but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will
shall be beaten severely;
and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will
but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating
shall be beaten only lightly. 

Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

 So the clock is ticking on all of us


My 2012 reflection on Staying Awake, albeit for a different Gospel reading from St Matthew, in 2012, but similar theme is here.

 My reflection from 2010 is here

and another previous post in Advent on the relevant theme of Kairos and Chronos time is here. 

The ancient Greeks had a name for the right time, KairosKairos was the word used for the “fullness of time;” in other words, when everything was in place, when the Fates, or God or the individual decided that it was time to start something new, stop doing something old, or perhaps change the direction of one’s thinking or one’s life.  

 The question, “What time is it?” had little if anything to do with our 24-hour clock, but rather was concerned with the appropriate action at the appropriate time.

 "The distinction we have to be clear about is the difference between two Greek words for time – Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is easy enough isn’t it? You know chronology, chronometer – the linear measurement of time, the time that stretches before us. Just one thing after another, as Henry Ford almost said! Kairos is more urgent and immediate, and is not predictable – it is the time of the Lord God’s challenge to his people; the time when the world to come breaks into the world as it is – the decisive time, the significant moment. There is no avoiding it and no way around it. 
The saving power that lasts forever breaks into our experiences. If we miss the kairos, there is no second chance. ‘Be dressed for action,’ says Jesus.

How do we translate this urgency, this decisiveness into our lives? What I take from Jesus’ words is this: that every
moment of living is of ultimate significance – every moment. And it is what you make of every moment that is absolutely crucial. If you are casual about God, casual about life, in the sense of just ambling along, never putting yourself
out too much, never making conscious decisions about what God wants of the living you’re doing, all of it, then one day you’ll realise you’ve missed out.

 Every moment is a moment to let God touch your life, your living and your
  destiny. The moment is critical – never again will you have this opportunity; every moment an ultimate moment. How else can we expect to survive those ‘unawares’that come upon us?
That great preacher Leslie Weatherhead used to tell the parable of the Persian carpet. That’s a carpet made on a vertical frame. The weaver-artist sits on one side and the boy weaver who actually makes the knots sits on the other. 
When the boy makes a mistake or inadvertently changes the plan, the artist doesn’t necessarily have him change it, instead he alters the pattern. 

Well, we’re the ones working on the blind side of the carpet; we make mistakes, things come on us all unawares, our plans are corrupted, the certainties of our actions short-lived; but in the end when we see the finished product, we will understand that none of our stumblings have been allowed to ruin the overall effect. 

We simply have to make best use of the skills of faith we are given – at every moment – and it is God who weaves the ultimate pattern.

"You also must be ready" – now is the critical moment. "

  I feel a bit ambivalent about Weatherhead's story because as humans we have been given free will and it smacks a little too neatly of intelligent design.

Fr. John Kavanaugh writes this on the second reading about trusting God..

 " Long ago, when I spent a month working at the 'House of the Dying' in Calcutta, I sought a sure answer to my future. On the first morning I met Mother Teresa after mass at dawn. She asked, "And what can I do for you?" I asked her to pray for me. 

"What do you want me to pray for?" I voiced the request I had borne thousands of miles: "Pray that I have clarity." She said "No." That was that. 

When I asked why, she answered that clarity was the last thing I was clinging to and had to let go of. 

When I commented that she herself had always seemed to have the clarity I longed for, she laughed: "I never have had clarity; what I've always had is trust. So I will pray that you have trust."

John Kavanaugh  You can read the rest of his reflections here.

and  further reflections on all the Sunday Scriptures from St Louis Centre for Liturgy are here.

Several more varied reflections on all the Scriptures can be read here

‘You also must be ready’ – now is the critical moment."


 I've been thinking about tipping points and biological clocks.

Major tipping points for the human race include climate change, species extinction, depletion of natural resources, food supply and population growth, social upheavals, and then the tipping points that shape individual lives: when societies make choices about birth and life, medical care, end of life decisions, economy, power.

I chose the image above to go with Daniel Clendenin's powerful reflection from here, which also contains Wendell Berry's famous poem Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front  which contrasts the sacred "folly" of God's kingdom against the secular "wisdom" of worldly ways.

  Fine reflection from Fr. Ron Rolheiser titled "Shrinking Horizon" from here.

and Fr. Donagh O' Shea casts an penetrating eye on the Gospel here.

I know that it's all too easy to polarise our lives - to look out there /elsewhere / to someone other for the heroic "great "story, to expect the big decision makers and shape shifters to do something to come up with the big solutions. 

Often I have little faith in ourselves as humans and our ability to improve our own world. But getting things into perspective, I also know and it's a beautiful paradox to realise that if I can rein in the boundaries and focus on small things closer to home. it's then that very beautiful, and unexpected dramatic changes often occur.

 In summary, all I can say is that it is only in learning and relearning to honour the sacred potential of every thing around us from the small to the big, that transformation can occur.

In every present moment there is a graced opportunity to connect with God - and a God who is present in every moment is simultaneously a moment of eternal life.  

I am still learning to nurture and hold on to that appreciation; that present moments are critical and never again will I have this singular opportunity to be thankful to God.
 This quote sums it up nicely
"To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour." - William Blake

Click here for my previous related post on Belonging, Blessing and God's Extravagance.

Andrew Peterson -The Reckoning
It's what he says before the song that resonates most with me.

Meanwhile....this is a beautiful song below
"Don't You Want To Thank Someone For This?"
because there is so much to be thankful for !!  

It's by Andrew Peterson(again) from his latest album.

Album Review of Light For The Lost Boy is here and certainly fits the themes of this Sunday's scriptures. and there's another review here.

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