Take Five for Faith: September 10-15

Monday, September 10

Give the sabbath your attention

In our fast-paced, multitasking world, how can you hold onto the call to “keep holy the sabbath”? Christians face the challenge of deciding where to draw the line on busy Sunday schedules that can involve everything from children’s sporting events to weekend corporate meetings. You have to set your own guidelines now that most of the “blue laws” that used to restrict everything from the sale of alcohol to grocery shopping on Sundays are off the books. Today, being Monday, is a good day to reflect on what you can do this coming Sunday and beyond to make sure it remains a holy day: sacred and set apart in some special way. It’ll do your soul good!

Today’s readings: 1 Corinthians 5:1-8; Luke 6:6-11 (437)
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”


Tuesday, September 11

Read this before lawyering up

When Saint Paul heard that members of the church in the Greek city of Corinth were going into court and suing one another, he was incensed. For one thing he thought it shameful that Christians could not settle their disputes among themselves. For another, it was disgraceful to submit themselves to pagan judges. Be that as it may, Paul’s admonitions highlight the fact that the church should be a community of person-to-person reconciliation and that a Christian’s first instinct should be for forgiveness.

Today’s readings: 1 Corinthians 6:1-11; Luke 6:12-19 (438)
“It is . . . a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another.”


Wednesday, September 12

What’s in a name?
Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary

Of all the saints, Mary has the most feast days. There’s her birth, the Annunciation, her visit with Elizabeth, the Assumption, and more. Even her name is a feast day! This is no small feast either because names are a big deal in the church and in many spiritual traditions. Giving or taking a name can symbolize a new moment in one’s life. In everyday living our name captures who we are and is often the first thing we share with another person. On this feast of Mary’s holy name let us remember that we can always call her by name and be reminded of what it means to live fully as followers of Christ.

Today’s readings: 1 Corinthians 7:25-31; Luke 6:20-26 (439)
“Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!”


Thursday, September 13

Please speak up!
Feast of John Chrysostom, bishop, doctor of the church

A fourth-century bishop in Antioch and Alexandria, John Chrysostom was an advocate for the poor: “Do you wish to honor the body of Christ? . . . What good is a Eucharistic table overloaded with golden chalices when your brother is dying of hunger?” Neither the excesses of the clergy nor the imperial court intimidated him. When he unabashedly denounced the display of a silver statue of the Empress Eudoxia near his cathedral, his audacity led to one of his several exiles. At the same time this fiery saint also formulated the liturgy that even today goes by his name in Eastern churches, ritual rich in dignity, reverence, and poetry. Have you ever spoken truth to power about injustices you see around you?

Today’s readings: 1 Corinthians 8:1b-7, 11-13; Luke 6:27-38 (440)
“Love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back.”


Friday, September 14

Everything is salvageable
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, we ponder the ways in which God draws triumph from tragedy, gain from loss, and salvation from defeat. This feast reminds us that as Christians, to paraphrase Cardinal John Henry Newman, a sacramental view of things is a duty. We are bid to color all things with the hues of faith, to see a divine meaning in every event. Easier said than done, perhaps. For inspiration visit a fair-trade store or browse the Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade website (serrv.org). The indomitable resilience of the human spirit can be found, for example, in the dove-shaped candleholders made of bomb casings from Cambodia. Today let symbols such as these remind you that a gift accompanies every catastrophe.

Today’s readings: Numbers 21:4b-9; Philippians 2:6-11; John 3:13-17 (638)
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”


Saturday, September 15

Put some passion into your compassion
Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Early in its history the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows bore the name “Our Lady of Compassion.” Compassion is an interesting word. Broken down into its smallest Latin roots, it literally means “bearing with” or “suffering with”; those parts put together add up to the Latin word for “sympathy”; and all those meanings do a pretty good job of describing Christian love: bearing with one another and one another’s burdens, having patience, showing kindness and understanding, identifying with others, and treating them as you would want to be treated.

Today’s readings: 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 (442); John 19:25-27 or Luke 2:33-35 (639)
“Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one Body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”