October 2: The Day of the Lord

As we have heard and read, nearly the entire second half of St. Luke’s Gospel is filled with the events which Jesus experienced (with His disciples) as He makes His final journey to Jerusalem. It will be in the Holy City that He will be rejected, suffer, die, and rise again. Among the many encounters which Jesus has along the way, some involve the Pharisees and other leaders of the Jews. Those leaders were supposedly “all about action” – about keeping the law and the traditions of Israel. The criticism Jesus directs at them is that they do what they do without faith. They think that just doing things is all that is required. Jesus points out, on more than one occasion, that “doing the right without the right interior transformation” becomes a parody of righteousness. It is a joke. It is empty.

“Doing the right thing” because it looks good or, on the other hand, because we are worried about what someone else might think or say is the wrong approach to discipleship. The laws and traditions of Israel existed for one reason: to give glory to the God on whom one had set his or her heart. Without such “action of the heart,” righteous activity serves only one purpose: to give glory to the one doing the action. Sounds pretty selfish, doesn’t it?

Food for Thought: Discipleship is what we were created for and the Gospel is our instruction book on how to be what God created us to be. When we choose to follow Christ, we choose an active life that can feel very new and different, but it really isn’t. It is a restoration of the life for which we were originally made!

Let us pray. “Lord Jesus, let your Gospel restore our hope and renew our courage today. By your grace, may we never give up in the face of what is asked of us. May we never give up in the face of what we see is needed all around us. Like the Apostles, we dare to cry out: ‘increase our faith.’ Make us confident in the Father’s care for us, obedient in every way possible, and humble in our service to Him and to our brothers and sisters. In your Holy Name we pray. Amen.”

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