The wide-ranging sources of sorrow and human suffering can overwhelm us. We may feel tempted to add tears of self-pity to our long list of tears. Why is life so hard? Why does God call us to travel such a difficult road? It doesn’t seem fair.
We hear a similar complaint in verse 5 of today’s reading. The disciples aren’t simply making a generic request for more faith. Instead they are responding to a difficult teaching. In Luke 17:3-4, Jesus tells them that they must forgive those who sin against them. In fact, he says, if someone sins against them seven times—in a single day!—they still must forgive. In response to this call to extraordinary forgiveness, the disciples exclaim, “Increase our faith!” In other words: Jesus, you’re asking us to go pretty far above and beyond the call of duty here! If you’re going to ask us to do something that demanding, then you’d better give us an extra dose of faith to carry it off!
Jesus responds with a parable. When a servant has worked hard at his job all day, is it above and beyond the call of duty to expect that he would also prepare the master’s evening meal? Would that task call for special provisions or special commendation? Of course not. This is what servants do. They are called to put another’s needs before their own. And this, Jesus says, is the way of the gospel as well. Forgiving, serving, laying down rights, preferring others’ interests to your own: these aren’t above and beyond the demands reserved for “super disciples”! Rather, these are the basics of life in God’s kingdom, where the one who would be first must become the servant of all. (See Mark 9:35.)

Lord, keep us from self-pity. Teach us to love, serve, and forgive joyfully and without resentment. Amen.

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Leer Luke 17:5-10

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Leccionario Semanal
September 26–October 2, 2016
Resumen de la Escritura

Moving from the sadness of Lamentations 1 to the thanksgiving prayer of 2 Timothy 1 is to move from total darkness to “the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abol- ished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Lamentations 1 and Psalm 137 are both painful laments from the vantage point of the exile. Both laments drama- tize the expression of honest pain, which offers to God anger as well as grief. In contrast, the New Testament texts speak of faith. The writer of the epistle delights in Timothy’s heritage of faith, nurtured by mother and grandmother and empowered by divine gifts of love and self-discipline. But it is a heritage that must put itself at risk for the sake of the gospel and not inch in the face of inevitable suffering. The disciples ask Jesus for “more” faith, only to be told that faith cannot be quanti ed.

Preguntas para la reflexión

• Read Lamentations 1:1-6. When have your tears of regret washed away illusion? How do you begin again after repen- tance?
• Read Psalm 137. Recall a time when someone angered you. How did you deal with your anger?
• Read 2 Timothy 1:1-14. The author states that when we shed tears for another person we “testify to our profound connect- edness to others.” When in your life have you shed tears for the suffering of another?
• Read Luke 17:5-10. How do you experience gratitude even as you live with the demands of the Christian life?

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