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Daily Mass Reflections - 11/5

Updated on November 2, 2021

“Love thy neighbor as thyself” ~ Mark 12:31

In today’s 1st Reading (Philippians 2:1-4) Paul speaks of the importance of unity, a Christian-based unity rooted in selflessness and humility. He envisions a vibrant and passionate Church Community, the “mystical body of Christ” as he would go on to call it, “united in heart, thinking one thing.” By offering his life on the cross and pouring forth his Spirit, Jesus teaches us the same selflessness and humility that we strive for, and although Jesus has blessed us in ways that we could never repay, he now asks us nonetheless to go forth and do likewise to the very best of our God-given ability.

Even more pearls of wisdom as they pertain to humility and respect come to us directly from the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel (Luke 14:12-14). It is in today’s passage wherein we encounter Jesus dining at the home of a high ranking member of the Pharisees. This was the advice that he gave him:

“When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.”

Wow. An act of kindness for kindness’ sake? If there’s a better example of how God’s ways are not man’s ways, I certainly can’t think of it. As Election Day looms and the networks are juiced with advertisements, interviews and speeches accusing candidates of assorted forms of bribery, intricate “pay for play” schemes and other nefarious accusations of quid pro quo, could you even imagine a politician doing anything at all without expecting something in return? The mere notion of such a thought is ludicrous.

But it gets even better.

Jesus then goes on to say “Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

In the Jewish Faith Tradition, when one serves as a pallbearer at a friend or family member’s funeral, it is considered to be a treasured gesture, one of genuine, selfless love. Why? Because you are performing an act of service for a person that they in turn cannot perform for you.

Intercessory Prayer is another great act of brotherly love. Whenever you pray for the imprisoned, or for battered and abused women, persecuted Christians or the Souls in Purgatory just to name a few, you are in fact acting as Jesus calls us to. This is why it is so critical to carve out prayer time, or volunteer time, or whatever it is that you choose to do in service to others.

“Dear Jesus, inflame our hearts with a spirit of generosity and service to our brothers and sisters. We know that love of you naturally lends itself to love of neighbor. Teach us to walk in your footsteps and to serve as a genuine example to others” ~ Amen


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