27th Week in Ord. Time, Saturday – 9th October 2021 — Gospel: Lk 11,27-28
Jesus’ words and presence among the crowd moved a woman so deeply that she couldn’t hold back her joy and amazement, and so she cried out the beatitude of blessedness. It is an affirmation of truly extraordinary goodness and greatness of Jesus. Something about Jesus captured her heart and filled her soul with hope, joy, and love, so that it overflowed in this beautiful compliment. By proclaiming his mother blessed, she was proclaiming Jesus to be magnificent. But Jesus’ correction of this listener’s exclamation may strike as harsh. After all, the person who is referred is Mary. May be Jesus should have accepted the compliment more graciously in her honour. And yet, in pointing out the source of true and lasting blessedness, Jesus actually intensified the compliment given to his mother. Yes, Mary was blessed simply because of the gifts she was offered, but she achieved true blessedness by how she received those gifts: humbly, obediently, and courageously. Mary is the first and best Christian, the one who “heard God’s word and obeyed it” to an incomparably marvelous degree. She is the first of Christ’s followers and the one who can best teach us Christian discipleship.
27th Week in Ord. Time, Friday – 08th October 2021 — Gospel: Lk 11,15-26
Signs of the Finger of God
The narrative focuses on the Lord’s power, which springs from the Spirit (4,14) in whose fullness Jesus overcomes the forces of evil. When He cast out a demon from the mute man, some accused him of using the power of the devil; others demanded another sign. But Jesus expressed that he did through the finger of God (Mt 12,28 has ‘Spirit of God’). After the plague of gnats, Pharaoh’s magicians recognized the “finger of God” in the miracles of Aaron (Ex 8,19). In both “finger of God” meant signs of God’s power working to free his people from bondage to evil. Just as pharaoh’s heart was hardened, so also were the hearts of those around Jesus. Thus, these saving works demand a response from each of us. What Moses began, Jesus has come to complete. Jesus’ actions cast him in the role of God’s agent, announcing the in-breaking of the reign of God. If they were to open their eyes and their hearts to Jesus’ doings, they would realize that the kingdom of God has come in their midst. Even though the Jews didn’t accept him, Jesus did establish God’s kingdom on earth through his miracles, his teachings, his death, and resurrection. We need to acknowledge the presence of the kingdom in this world, through our lives while we await the fullness of this kingdom when Jesus comes again.