Imagine standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona and taking in the grandeur, magnificence, and the natural beauty of this marvel of God’s creation. We stand this day at a spiritual rim allowing us to glimpse the drama of good and evil battling each other in our own day.
I have heard this story about the committal service of a man. As the casket was about to be lowered into the grave, a mourner came forward and said, "He was a very nice man; he loaned me a hundred dollars, and I owe him that money." He took a hundred-dollar bill and placed it on the casket. Another man came forward, stating that he also owed the deceased a hundred dollars and wanted to pay him back at that very moment. He also placed a hundred-dollar bill on the casket. Then, as the undertaker was about to lower the casket into the grave, another man came forward and declared that he owed the deceased three hundred dollars.
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In today’s gospel, we hear for the third time that Jesus goes to dine in the home of one of the Pharisees. And, once again, the controversy of healing people on the sabbath comes up.
Today, we hear that St. Paul confesses that even though he wants to do “the good,” he falls short; in fact, he doesn’t just fail to do good; he sometimes does what’s wrong.
Scott and Kimberly Hahn are an American couple who converted to the Catholic Church and who, in 1993, published a moving account of their spiritual odyssey in a book entitled Rome Sweet Home—Our Journey to Catholicism. Before converting, they were both active in the ministry as evangelicals, meaning they both had taken academic degrees in theology and were very committed Christians. Slowly they began to question the foundations of the Protestant creed. Scott was the first to convert to Catholicism, with Kimberly following suit sometime afterward. And during that interval, when the husband was a Catholic, they suffered tremendously from their division.
Eighteen times in his gospel, Luke mentions wealth and its dangers. Mary sings about the difference between the poor and the rich before Jesus' birth. Only Luke says the poor shepherds are the first to hear about Jesus' birth. He notes that Jesus belongs to the poorer class and that Mary and Joseph brought the sacrifice of the poor to Jesus' circumcision in the temple. He reminds those who had two tunics to give one to those who had none.