Connections DAILY

The WEEKDAY homiletic resource from the editors of Connections

Connections DAILY is the ONLINE newsletter of ideas and images designed to help homilists develop their own brief reflections on the daily Gospel readings.

For each weekday Gospel pericope, Connections DAILY provides an image or idea for a brief, one-to-two minute homily, concluding with a brief prayer that summarizes the point.  The reflection/prayer usually centers on the day's Gospel, but occasionally is inspired by the first reading or the day’s feast or saint whose memorial is being observed.  Because time is a factor at most weekday Masses, each Connections DAILY reflection focuses on a single point or idea, applicable to the common and everyday world of the parish community.

Connections DAILY is available ONLINE ONLY: each week’s reflections are e-mailed to subscribers the previous week (sorry, Connections DAILY is NOT available in a hard-copy, “paper” version).  Connections DAILY is sent in an easy-to-save-and-edit format, enabling you to “cut and paste” material as you need.

Subscriptions to Connections DAILY are $65 per year.

Take a look at Connections DAILY— a sampling of reflections is included below.  If you preach — or have thought about preaching — a brief, meaningful reflection every day, Connections DAILY is the resource you’re looking for.

[Connections DAILY will be published through November 2022.]

CLICK HERE for subscription information and an order form . . .


A sampling of reflections from Connections DAILY . . .

Week 1 in Ordinary Time

TUESDAY 1

The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
Mark 1: 21-28

Scribes were the lawyers and economists of Gospel times.  Because they possessed the ability to read and write (which less than 10 percent of the population was able to do), they became the official record-keepers and interpreters of both civil and religious law.  Being bureaucrats and administrators, they approached every matter with great precision and accuracy.

Which can lead to a certain coldness, an absence of heart, an aloofness from the struggles of life.  There was little room for compassion or generosity in the scribe’s approach to the world.  The people of Capernaum see in Jesus an “authority” that they have not experienced in the near-bloodless analysis of the scribes.  In Jesus, they come to understand this idea of a Kingdom of God: a kingdom of mercy and justice and peace that transcends the cold numbers and black-and-white perspective of the scribes.

May we embrace that same vision of God’s Kingdom: may we see one another not as numbers or labels but as the very image of God; may we seek to be the means of God’s compassion and peace rather than seeing ourselves as self-appointed arbiters of the “Law of God”; may we model the “authority” of Jesus in the simple integrity of our lives, however humble and tentative our attempts may be to live our lives in imitation of the Gospel of Jesus.

Lord Jesus, help us to exercise the “authority” of being your disciple.  In the simplest act of compassion, in the humblest offer of forgiveness we extend, in the ordinary effort we make for the sake of justice and reconciliation, may we possess an authority that even an “unclean spirit” will obey.  Let the world see in our quiet, determined faithfulness to be your disciples the authority of your reconciling Word, the coming of your Father’s Kingdom of justice and mercy.

WEDNESDAY 1

Rising very early before dawn, Jesus left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.  Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
Mark 1: 29-39

We all know how Jesus feels in today’s Gospel:  Everyone seems to be looking for us.  Our families, our bosses, our teachers, our friends, our parishes, our communities – everyone wants a “piece” of us.

So we all need that “deserted place” where we can re-charge our spiritual batteries in the quiet of our hearts.  What is important to note in today’s Gospel is that Jesus is very intentional about making time for prayer – he gets up early to have the time for quiet prayer and reflection.

We have to do the same thing: to make the time for prayer, to carve out a few moments in our busy day to escape to the “deserted place” within our hearts to re-connect with God.  It might be a few moments to read the day’s Gospel or one of the psalms, to offer a decade of the rosary, to read a few pages of a book by a spiritual master, or just to be quiet in the peace of God.

Lead us, O God, to that deserted place” where we find your peace, where we hear the reassurance and consolation of your voice, where we drink from the spring of your grace and wisdom.

THURSDAY 1

“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Mark 1: 40-45

The chances are good that today you will encounter a leper.

No, not someone with a terrible illness or who exhibits the ravages of Hansen’s disease, but someone who is treated like a leper: the guy who constantly says the wrong thing, the kid who always seems to be a beat off from everyone else, the family who just isn’t like ours for whatever reason.

The challenge to us is the same as the leper’s challenge to Jesus: to want to make them “clean,” to seek to remove whatever barriers isolate them from the rest of us, to overlook their faults and sins because we realize that our faults are overlooked and our sins forgiven by our loving God.

Welcome the leper you will meet today, in gratitude to the Jesus who “cleans” our hearts of the leprosy of selfishness and arrogance.

Open our hearts and hands, O God, to welcome into our lives and embrace those we shun as unclean and rejects as “lepers.”  By the light of your grace, help us to see you in one another, recognizing that they have been created by you in your sacred image.  May the compassion and generosity your Son has taught us be the means for “cleansing” away the leprosy of pride, greed and intolerance from our lives and communities.

Week 2 in Ordinary Time

TUESDAY 2

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
Mark 2: 23-28

Do we really observe the Sabbath?

Well, I go to Mass on Sunday . . .

Good, but do we observe the Sabbath as God imagined it?  Do we intentionally make time in our over-scheduled days to simply let God speak to us in the depths of our hearts?  Do we make space for the poor, the broken, the rejected at our Sunday tables?  Do we try to become the Eucharist that we receive – do we let ourselves be transformed just as our bread and wine is transformed into the body and blood of Christ?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reclaims the true spirit of the Sabbath.  The Sabbath is more than a designated “time” but a spirit and attitude in which we seek to bring God back into our lives, a realization of our need to restore the things of God – compassion, justice, reconciliation – in every one of our days.  Not just the Sabbath day itself but the spirit of Sabbath holiness and peace needs to become the centerpiece not just of our week but of our lives.

Offer today a gift of healing, of understanding, of generosity that makes this day a small “Sabbath” in your week.

Lord of the Sabbath, may we bring your Word of healing and your sacrament of love into every day of the week.  May the Word you speak to us on the Sabbath enable us to make our entire week holy; may the Eucharist we receive here transform us into ministers and vehicles of your love beyond our church walls.

WEDNESDAY 2

Looking around at them with anger, and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
Mark 3: 1-6

“Hardness of heart . . . ”

We all know that feeling.  Too many disappointments, too many hurts, too many broken promises have hardened us.  We hesitate to hope; we isolate ourselves behind walls of cynicism; we are constantly on our guard; non-commitment is our default position.

But the Gospel Jesus calls us to put aside our hurts and dares us to hope.  He shows us the possibilities for re-creation, for healing, for living lives of meaning and purpose.  In Christ, reconciliation and forgiveness become realistic approaches to centering our relationships with others; justice becomes a compelling force for re-creating society; compassion becomes an imperative.

Sometime today you may feel the discouragement and resentment that can “harden” your heart.  Catch yourself when you feel that way – and let yourself reach out, let yourself forgive, let yourself love as did and does Jesus.

Restore our hearts to hope, O God, and heal our spirits of cynicism and doubt.   Help us to transform our lives by your grace; enable us to work for reconciliation and justice in the certainty that we can reveal your kingdom in our time and place.

FRIDAY 2

[Jesus] appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons . . .
Mark 3: 13-19

A pastor remembers one of the most important lessons he learned in ministry:

“When I was a seminarian, a veteran pastor told me that you can tell a lot about a church by how much people linger with each other after worship.  If church members hang around and talk until you have to turn out the lights and push them out the door, and then talk more outside, it’s a sign of a good church.  But if church is rushed and as soon as the Amen is sounded, they head out the door to their cars, with everyone going their separate ways, that is not a good sign.”

[Kyle Childress, writing in The Christian Century, October18, 2011.]

In today’s Gospel, Jesus begins to organize his Church with the calling of the Twelve to take on his work of preaching and healing.  But in “summoning” them to himself, he summons us to one another.  To realize our call to be church begins with realizing that, as we belong to Christ, we belong to one another.

Our church’s work of being vehicles of God’s reconciliation and justice, of being witnesses to Christ’s resurrection, of being signs of the Father’s love in our midst begins in our own parish and is lived first within our own families and communities.

Lord Jesus, help us to respond to your call to be Apostles in our time and place, within our parishes and communities.  May our everyday kindnesses to one another and quiet offerings of comfort and support make us your Church – a community dedicated to your justice and compassion.

Week 3 in Ordinary Time

MONDAY 3

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, “He is possessed by Beelzebub,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”
Mark 3: 22-30

We all have our own “map” of the world – we see the world in a certain way that “works” for us.  And God help anyone who challenges our perspective!

And that’s what is happening in today’s Gospel: Jesus has come with his Gospel of the kingdom of God, a “kingdom” centered in human hearts and built on humility, selflessness and reconciliation.  But Jesus’ vision of God’s kingdom is at odds with the scribes’ expectations God’s kingdom as the restoration of Israel’s political and economic fortunes.  Jesus’ “map” collides with the scribes’ “map” – and the scribes go after Jesus:  “he is possessed . . . he has an unclean spirit . . . ”

We tend to do the same thing:  When our beliefs are challenged, when we are confronted with what we are trying to ignore, when we discover how others are negatively affected by our actions, we go into “attack” mode. 

Jesus calls us to embrace the Spirit of God – the God of compassion, the God of justice – that enables us to see beyond our cynicism and to put aside our skepticism in order to bring healing and hope, reconciliation and peace, to broken hearts and homes. 

O God, take us beyond our narrow self-interests to see the world as you see it.  May we move beyond our own wants and needs and expectations to realize your love in the love of family and friends, to find purpose in being the means of unity and reconciliation among those whose presence bless our lives.

TUESDAY 3

“For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Mark 3: 31-35

Jesus’ words seem, at first, a little cruel and insensitive toward his family. 

But Jesus is not ignoring his family or diminishing his relationship with them.  In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus is expanding our understanding of “family.”  By virtue of our shared humanity, we are sons and daughters of God – and therefore brothers and sisters to one another.  Jesus comes to reveal the God who loves us like a father loves his beloved children – and that relationship extends to one another as brothers and sisters.  Our “family” includes not just our own clan but our neighbors, friends, fellow parishioners – and any and all who seek our help.

Jesus asks us to realize what it means to belong to one another, to recognize and embrace our “connectedness” to every child, woman and man as daughters and sons of the same God.

Open our hearts to see one another as brothers and sisters in you, O Father.  In our kindness toward others, in our commitment to forgiveness and reconciliation, may we bring to completion your kingdom of peace and justice.

SATURDAY 3

[Jesus] woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!”
Mark 4: 35-41

Oh, to have that power:  To be able to stand up in the midst of the storms swirling around us and just say Stop!  To face all those impatient and demanding people in our lives and just say Enough!  To be able to end the conflicts and skirmishes we get drawn into and just say Be still!

Maybe we have more power here than we think.  Maybe if we approach our lives as Jesus does – realizing that God’s love is a constant presence in our lives, making time for quiet, focused prayer, embracing Jesus’ spirit of humility and compassion in our decision-making – we can calm storms before they begin to form and still conflicts before they bubble up. 

Easier said than done, to be sure.  But with God at our back, we can discover within ourselves the courage and wisdom to steer our boats through the squalls and waves that threaten to sink us.

Father of peace, place your hand with ours on the tillers of our boats and help us to bring peace and stillness to our busy lives.  In embracing your Son’s spirit of compassion and selflessness, may we bring calm to surging waters and quiet to roaring winds that threaten us and those we love

Week 4 in Ordinary Time

MONDAY 4

Night and day among the tombs on the hillsides [the man] was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Mark 5: 1-20

The man possessed by the spirit Jesus calls Legion is one of the most pitiful characters in the Gospels.  Obviously mentally ill, the poor man is forced to live “among the tombs” - not a beautifully landscaped park like our cemeteries, but a desolate, dark plot on the edge of the city.  

Without realizing it, we often live “among the tombs.”  When we let our fears stop us from doing what is right, when our own interests make us back away from taking the just course, when our lack of confidence prevents us from reaching out to someone in need or when our own pride makes us refuse help we desperately need, we are letting that fear, selfishness, and pride “bury” us. 

The resurrection is not confined just to Easter morning or the second coming.  Christ comes to show us the way out of the “tombs” in which we bury ourselves and embrace, in the here and now, the life of God in all its joy and hope.

Raise us up, O Lord, from the “tombs” in which we bury ourselves.  Help us to realize the possibilities for resurrection in our everyday lives; may your grace enable us to break the chains and shackles of despair, fear and pride that prevent us from living our lives to the full.

WEDNESDAY 4

“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”
Mark 6: 1-6

Look around this parish.  Look around your neighborhood.  Even look around your family.

There are prophets living right here among us – prophets in our parish, prophets in our communities, prophets in our workplaces and schools, prophets in our own homes.  They aren’t the larger-than-life prophets of Scripture; they are just-our-size prophets.  Unnoticed, quietly going about their lives, these prophets put themselves second for others, know exactly the right thing to say and do without  drama or fanfare, and engender trust and integrity that enables them to bridge any division and estrangement.

These prophets would be aghast at being called “prophets.”  We’re just ordinary folk, they would insist, embarrassed at the thought.

But they are prophets.  They proclaim the presence of God in our midst.

Prophets live among us, unnoticed and unappreciated.  Let us “honor” them by respecting the Gospel values they live and embrace those values in our own efforts to become prophets ourselves.

O Lord, continue to raise up prophets in our midst who help us to realize your compassion and justice in our homes and schools and workplaces and churches.  May we learn from them how to take up the prophet’s work of transforming our lives and world in your peace.

FRIDAY 4

[Herod] said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”  He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even half my kingdom.”
Mark 6: 14-29

We have all, at one time or another, let our anger back us into a corner.

We have let our impatience get the better of us.

In an unguarded moment, we have let our bravado force us into making promises we are not ready or in a position to make.

That’s what happens to Herod in today’s Gospel.  And the results are tragic.

As we hear the horrifying story of John the Baptist’s execution and the events that led to it, consider the times when we have lost control of our ego, our arrogance, our self-righteousness, resulting in someone’s hurt and rejection. 

May our prayer today be for the grace to stop when we are angry, to realize when we are acting selfishly, to see how our behavior is hurting others and retreat to the peace of God’s grace.

Do not let anger rule our hearts, O God; do let our unmet expectations and disappointments create walls between us and others.  May your grace illuminate our perspective to behold the goodness each one of us possesses and enable us to behold your image reflected in the lives of all your sons and daughters whose presence bless our lives.

Week 5 in Ordinary Time

WEDNESDAY 5

“Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile . . ?”  (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
Mark 7: 14-2
3

The Jews were obsessive about cleanliness.  Coming into contact with something that was considered “unclean” – a corpse, certain dead animals, diseases, body fluids – required immediate purification.  The Book of Leviticus outlines in great detail what foods and animals were to be avoided.

Jesus challenges such obsessiveness.  Everything – and everyone – that God has created is good, Jesus teaches.  He rejects the notion that some foods are “unclean.”  All foods – indeed all things – are “clean” and whole and good by the very fact that they were made by God. 

And that includes you and me. 

It is the human heart that “defiles.”  Arrogance, pride, and greed can transform anything good into something destructive; using God’s creation to do harm to others for our own selfish aims is what makes even the most beautiful object “unclean.”  It is often our attitudes and perspectives that need a good dose of Purell.

The realization that everything – and everyone – God made is “clean” should have a powerful impact on how we treat God’s good green earth and how we respect one another.

With humble hearts, we give you thanks, O loving God, for bringing us into being, for making us in of your image and likeness.  May the love you breathed into us at our birth be reflected in our works of reconciliation and charity, mirroring for all your love in their midst.

THURSDAY 5

“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Mark 7: 24-30

We are pretty quick to label people: good, bad; friend, enemy; liberal, conservative; potentially helpful contact, can’t do anything for us.  Our labels are often unfair, superficial and divisive; our tags scream our contempt and self-righteousness.

In today’s Gospel, we hear from a victim of such labeling.  The woman who approaches Jesus is a Greek Gentile – two big strikes against her.  She asks Jesus to heal her daughter.  Jesus initially rejects her because she is not one of “the children” of God, implying that she is among the “dogs.”  But for her daughter’s sake, the woman will not allow herself to be dismissed because of how others have labeled her.  She speaks up, saying that even “dogs” are fed by God’s hand.  Jesus exalts her dignity by healing her daughter.

Every day we let labels dictate our relationships – who’s in, who’s out, who’s worth our time, who isn’t worth bothering with.  Today, before you walk by or avoid someone who is not on your “A” list, remember the woman in today’s Gospel.  Like her, that person is more than a label.

Transform our hearts, O Lord, to recognize your goodness in those we ignore or forget.  Help us to put aside the labels we slap on others and approach them with respect for the dignity that is theirs by being your sons and daughters.

FRIDAY 5

[Jesus] put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)
Mark 7: 31-37

“Ephphatha!”  Jesus says to the deaf man.

“Ephphatha!”  Jesus says to us, as well.

“Ephphatha!”  “Be opened!”

“Ephphatha!”   Be open to my Word of joy and hope.  Be opened to the possibilities for reconciliation and resurrection in your everyday lives.  Be open to grace enabling you to bring healing and wholeness to the broken in your midst.

“Ephphatha!”  Do not be deaf to God speaking in the cries of the poor and hurting in your midst.  Do not be silent in the face of injustice and hurt.  Do not stand by helplessly or be afraid when the compassion of the heart calls you to the work of reconciliation.

Hear our prayer for Ephphatha, for openness, O Lord.  Open our spirits to behold your loving presence in our midst; open our vision to see you in others; open our hearts to hear you in the cries for help in those around us.

Week 6 in Ordinary Time

MONDAY 6

[Jesus] sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?”
Mark 8: 11-13

Today’s Gospel takes place right after Jesus feeds the crowds with the fragments of bread and scraps of fish.  The Pharisees have heard about what has happened and they want to see a “sign” of their own.  Jesus sighs and walks away, refusing to give into their demand.  It is a tense, emotional encounter.

Why doesn’t Jesus acquiesce to their demand for some “sign”?  Because Jesus’ signs are not “tricks” intended to enhance his own reputation.  The signs Jesus works are performed in order to show that God’s reign of compassion and peace has come.  He does not work signs “on demand” but out of genuine love for the sick, the poor, the needy, the suffering.

Today you might have the opportunity to work such a “sign” for someone: a simple act of kindness or courtesy that says little about you but everything about God’s love in their midst.  Let your small act of charity be a big sign.

Illuminate both our hearts and intellects, O God, to perceive the “signs” of your love in our midst: the selfless and humble charity of those dedicated to the Gospel, the healing comfort and support of those who care for the sick and suffering, the forgiveness of those we hurt.  May our realization of these signs transform us into signs of your compassion and peace for others.

THURSDAY 6

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly . . . He spoke this openly.  Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
Mark 8: 27-33

Most of us don’t like confrontation.  We prefer not to talk about our problems or difficult situations.  We’ll do anything to avoid a tense encounter with someone – we’ll go out of our way to avoid tension or stress.  This is not the time or the place for that, we say.  Let’s just forget all about that and have a good time.   

That’s Peter’s stand in today’s Gospel.  When Jesus talks about his coming passion and death, Peter doesn’t want to hear about it.  But the only way we can bring Easter into our lives is to face our Good Fridays; the only way we can bring change and transformation into our lives is to acknowledge our need for such change.  We cannot “wish” our problems away; ignoring an obstacle does not mean it is no longer there.

In the quiet of hearts, God invites us to realize the hard issues every one of us has to confront in our lives and the crosses we have to take up if we are to deal with them.  But Christ assures us that, if we take up those crosses with compassion and resolve, we have nothing to fear.

O God, help us to acknowledge the sin in our lives and to admit the need for changes in our behavior and attitudes.  May we then take up the crosses necessary to bring that wholeness and transformation into our lives, knowing that our crosses, with the help of your grace, are vehicles to resurrection.

FRIDAY 6

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?
Mark 8: 34 – 9: 1

If you’ve every packed up a house and moved to a new residence, you’ve probably been stunned at the amount of “stuff” a family can accumulate.  The latest quickly becomes yesterday’s news and is replaced with the “latest” latest; the kids’ toys get bigger and more complex as they get older and their interests change; new and ever-changing trends demand constantly adding to our wardrobes and décor.

And, in trying to keep up, we lose something of ourselves.  We look at all the stuff and wonder Why?  We re-discover in the small treasures – a photograph, a child’s hand-made card – the true joys and real meaning of our lives as spouses and parents and brothers and sisters.

That’s Jesus’ point in today’s Gospel: not to get bogged down with stuff that steals our time and attention away from the people who matter most to us. 

So, as you think about a spring cleaning of your closets and garage, think about re-claiming spaces in your life for the things of God.

Lord, do not let us get bogged down with things and objects that becomes an end in themselves.  Help to realize the true value of Gospel charity, reconciliation and peace and to seek those values for our families and friends.

Week 7 in Ordinary Time

WEDNESDAY 7

“There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.”
Mark 9: 38-40

We tend to be cautious.  We keep a watchful eye on our children when strangers are anywhere near.  We have learned to be careful with our personal identification data, passwords and account numbers.  We avoid any place or situation that we do not control or is unfamiliar to us.  Smart and prudent.

But do we become so suspicious that we do not realize the good in our midst?  Are we so afraid not to be in control that we reject the gifts of others?  Are we so meticulous on doing what is correct and vigilant as to what is right that we fail to be merciful and kind, compassionate and supportive?

That’s Jesus’ challenge to his disciples in today’s Gospel – and to us, as we struggle to wrestle with being safe and protective while, at the same time, mirroring the reconciling and healing love of God.

O God, may we see your hand in every good thing that we experience; may we perceive your spirit in every kindness extended to us.  Do not let self-centeredness or cynicism prevent us from seeing you in others and experiencing your grace in their caring and compassion – and do not let fear and suspicion stop us from being the means of your grace for others.

THURSDAY 7

“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off . . . ”
Mark 9: 41-50

Despite the grisliness of the images, most of us would say Amen! to Jesus' admonition to “cut off” and “tear out” that which causes one to do wrong – especially if Jesus is talking about someone else’s foot or eye.

But if the bottom-line rules every moment of your life or the pursuit of making the deal dictates every decision you make, should you not cast aside your portfolio?  (“ . . . better for you to enter the kingdom of God as a poor soul than to be thrown into hell with big bucks in the bank”).

If your community or organization has taken a stand you know in your heart of hearts is unjust, if acceptance into a group you eagerly want to be a part of demands that you compromise your value system, would not Christ ask you to walk away, regardless of the consequences?  (“ . . . better for you to live in the presence of God than die in the company of the godless.”)

If alcohol or cigarettes or drugs swallow you up in destructive behavior, is it not better to do whatever you have to tear those things out of your life? (“ . . . better for you to possess the life of God than to destroy yourself trying to be the life of the party.”)

To be faithful to the call of discipleship is to let nothing – nothing! – dissuade us or derail us in our search for the things of God, to refuse to allow the pursuit of prestige, wealth, social status or instant gratification to desensitize us to the presence of God in our lives or diminish the love of God we cherish in family and friends.  May we have the courage and sense of freedom to “cut off” and “tear out” whatever removes us from the joy and peace of God. 

O God, help us to cut off, remove, and let go of whatever prevents us from becoming your holy people.  May we possess the faith and trust to detach ourselves from what is selfish and destructive in order to attach ourselves to what is good and right and just; may we possess your wisdom and spirit to seek your loving presence in all things.

SATURDAY 7

People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.
Mark 10: 13-16

Yes, we get busy sometimes.  We get so caught up with what we’re doing that we are unaware of the folks who need us.  We are so driven to get a project or task done that we are oblivious to those struggling to keep up.  Sometimes we go so far as to convince ourselves that the importance of what we’re doing justifies our being direct and ruthless with those who get in our way or have the nerve to interrupt us.

The disciples fall into that trap in today’s Gospel.  They become so overwhelmed by the sick pressing to see Jesus that they turn away the kids – and, from Mark’s description, they’re not very gracious about it.  When Jesus realizes what is happening, he reminds them what his teaching is all about: to reveal the love of God in our midst.  The kids, Jesus says, aren’t distractions – in fact, they’re teachers themselves and models of simple, sincere, uncomplicated trust in the love and care of our Father in heaven.  They are squirming, giggling, noisy signs of God’s love in our midst.

So in the demands of the day, slow down – take a moment to stop, to be aware of the children and “little ones” around you.  Let them get in your way – and consider the possibility that their interruptions may well be God making his presence known in your life.

God our Father, make us to stop in our busy days to welcome the child as we would welcome you.  Do not let us become so consumed in our own world that we become oblivious to your presence in our midst in the love of and kindness extended to us by others.  Help us not to be so busy or consumed that we fail to make room in our hearts to welcome the child, the little one, the struggling, all who are in need.  

Week 8 in Ordinary Time

MONDAY 8

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”
Mark 10: 17-27

How many of our decisions are based principally on money?

How often do we fight against anything new or because it may affect our financial security?

Would our public policies about protecting the environment, welcoming immigrants, providing health insurance for all, be different if jobs were not affected or if vast profits were not involved?

Would my attitude and perspective be different if I knew such issues were not going to cost me or possibly take away what I have?

No one argues that we all have to make a living and that we are entitled to just compensation for our work – but Jesus warns us that the pursuit of money and wealth does not justify our walking away from what is right and just.  To be disciples of Jesus requires us to act generously and mercifully, regardless of the cost.

Today we honor those men and women who gave their lives for our liberty and freedom.  Their sacrifice mirrors the model of the disciple in today’s Gospel.  May those we remember this Memorial Day inspire us to put all that we have and are at the service of one another.

Help us to empty ourselves of our own wants and needs, O God, that we may take on the demands of discipleship completely and without reservation.  Welcome into your presence those who gave their lives to defend our nation and homeland.  May we honor their sacrifice by our own selfless and humble service to all our brothers and sisters in your Christ.