Gospel Reflections

19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Luke 12:32-48

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Elizabeth Smoyer

Published: August 11, 2019

The stunning opening lines of the Letter to the Hebrews and Luke’s gospel for today could be seen as icons on a computer desktop.  Clicking on them opens threads of meaning where one can get “lost” and maybe even found. As we bring those threads of meaning into dialogue with the heart breaking chaos, evil and destructiveness happening on our home planet, today’s scriptures beckon us to keep on keeping on.

The gospel comes from the section of Luke’s gospel known as the Journey to Jerusalem: Luke’s Travel Narrative. As Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem, he is preparing his disciples and us for the struggle that it is to live in the reign of God’s love, peace, kindness and compassion with our selves and one another. He knows they still hope that a new kingdom where they, as his followers, will be in charge. The power over adversaries is their model and ours. How much would we love to change the narrative of hate, racism, greed, domination of people made poor, and the violence done to our home planet!

Jesus calls them and us to “not be afraid any longer, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.”  Such a kingdom lives in the heart of each of us. It is up to us to cherish it by daily going to that heart place within where the true treasure of the reign of God is found. What an exquisite discipline it is to detach, even for a few moments, from all that claims and wounds our hearts: grief, fear, anger and judgementalism. What a gift to cling to the loving presence of God within and among us even in the absence of “good feelings.”

The way of this journey to Jerusalem is ongoing vigilance and patience.

Jesus calls “blessed” (happy) are the servants who behave in responsible ways, carrying out their duties, maintaining daily discipline in mind, heart and action.

These are the ones who are ready for the master’s return. Christ returns daily in the persons, communities, places and nature around us. Christ shows up in the Eucharist we share and the love we bear for one another, moment by moment. We are called to “step up” and take responsibility for how we spend our days, who we go out to meet, what we read, what entertains us.

A “click” the Book of Wisdom icon reminds us that our Passover from old ways to new grounds us in faith. Faith, especially in the face of terror, grief and evil brings us courage. Courage shows up – not ahead of time, but right on time --- as we exercise our belief in the loving kindness of our God. Abraham trusted God’s promise of an inheritance. He listened to God’s call and set out, not knowing where he was going. No GPS, no paper map was provided. Abraham responded trustingly in the everyday circumstances of his journey.   

Where’s the joy? How do we appropriate, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”? Where can we find buoyancy of soul and step? Our responsorial psalm offers a window to joy: “May your kindness, O God, be upon us who have put our hope in you.” Faith and love’s sister is hope. The decision, moment by moment, to trust God’s goodness is the source of our joy. Trusting goodness “tenderizes” our hearts into seeing others with gentleness. When tenderness and hope set in, joy is close behind. This great gift, at the heart of our charism as Sisters of Notre Dame, makes us smile, as Julie did, over and over again.  As she writes in Letter 146, “Very, very great confidence based on the goodness of God.  Take risks, go on full of good faith.”


« View all Gospel Reflections