24th Week in Ord. Time, Saturday – 18th September 2021 — Gospel: Lk 8,4-15
Hard and Unresponsive Heart
It is ironic that there are people who would scoff at the idea of a personal devil, and that the devil is the one who snatches away the seed of the gospel from them. Jesus is quite clear in presenting through this parable that the devil is real, and he is the enemy of our souls. The birds represent the devil here. Jesus isn’t using a figure of speech when He mentions the devil. There is a real spiritual battle raging for the souls of men and women. Satan delights in distracting our hearts away from the words of the Gospel. He knows our weaknesses and uses them against us. The seed that fell along the footpaths cannot get rooted because the dirt is continually trampled underfoot and the pavement becomes hard to grow anything. Similarly, Satan hardens people’s hearts by the traffic of worldly philosophies. In their hardness of heart, they feel no need for God; their hearts are closed to receive the truth of the gospel. In this manner, the devil uses our weaknesses and torments our soul in a specific and personal way. The threat is real; the battle is constant. This type of soil of the road represents a hard and unresponsive heart.
24th Week in Ord. Time, Friday – 17th September 2021 — Gospel: Lk 8,1-3
Jesus went about proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, accompanied not only by the twelve but also by a number of women. These women supported the ministry of Jesus and his disciples by providing financial assistance and other services. Like Simon’s mother-in-law (4,39) they are described as ‘ministering’. Thus these women are instruments of God in sharing the mission of Jesus and active contributors to the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom. Luke introduces them here to highlight that among the marginalized who received healing from Jesus and responded with generous service are included these significant women as well. In a sense, they are a testimony to the identity of Jesus, the Messiah. Luke also anticipates their later participation in Jesus’ life. Two of the three women named here, Mary Magdalene and Johanna, will be witnesses to the death (23,49) and the burial (23,55) of Jesus. They will also be the first to hear the good news of his resurrection (24,10). Thus, Jesus brings revolutionary change in his ministry by the reversal of human expectations (1,51-53). It was Jesus’ treatment of women that prompted Paul in his preaching to manifest their equal status with men (Gal 3,28).