Day 316: Absolute Surrender

Luke 9:1-6 Up to this point in the Gospel, the Apostles had been accompanying Christ on his mission; now, he sent them out to carry on his mission without his physical presence. He also began to make them aware of his upcoming Passion, Death, and Resurrection. (CCC 551)

Ch 9:3 Take nothing: Christ stressed the virtue of poverty and detachment from material goods. The disciples were to depend on the generosity of others in each town where they preached. Going without provisions was also meant to stress the preeminence of spiritual means to establish the Kingdom of God. Those called to religious life take a vow of poverty, one of the three evangelical councils, in order to imitate the life of Christ more closely. (CCC 915, 2103)

Ch 9:5 Shake off the dust: When a person rejects the Word of God, he or she is closing the door to the blessings God desires to bestow on him or her. Unless a person wants to correspond to grace, conversion and transformation in Christ are rendered impossible. (CCC 2545)

Ch 9:10-17 The multiplication of the loaves and fishes recalls the miraculous feeding of the Israelites with manna in the desert and prefigures the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Both events, in turn, prefigure the everlasting life of the heavenly banquet that will take place in the next life. The clear message is that only the bread that Christ gives us can fill us with complete joy and charity. This is reflected in the words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Mt 6:11; Jn 6:35). (CCC 1335, 2837)

Ch 9:18-22 Although the crowds saw Christ as a great prophet and teacher, they connected him with the Old Testament prophets and failed to realize that his kingdom is not of this world. Although Luke does not relate the episode when Christ made Peter the “rock” on which he would build his Church and the keeper of the “keys to the kingdom,” he does make it clear that Peter had primacy over the Apostles (cf. Lk 22:29-30). 

As he was praying alone: Particularly in Luke’s Gospel, Christ is seen in prayer before some of the key moments in his ministry. Here his prayer is followed by Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ. (CCC 436, 2600)

Ch 9:21 Tell this to no one: Christ did not fit the earthly and political messianic expectations of the majority of the Jewish people. The proper time for this Revelation would coincide with his Passion and Death on the Cross. (CCC 559-560, 840)

Ch 9:22 Son of man: A title Christ often applied to himself, perhaps to stress his humanity but which was never used by others. This title combines two Old Testament prophecies-the Suffering Servant in Isaiah and the prophecy from the Book of Daniel (cf. Dn 7:13)

Ch 9:23-27 True discipleship involves self-giving and self-sacrifice. Taking up our cross daily and following Christ is an indispensable condition for discipleship. It is through self-denial and suffering that we grow in union with Christ and consequently become capable of drawing others to Christ. All who suffer for Christ will be amply rewarded in Heaven. (CCC 943, 1435, 2157)

Ch 9:27 There are some...the kingdom of God: The reference here is to the establishment of the definitive Kingdom of God, which is visibly present in the Church. Christ is the new Temple of the Kingdom of God accessible to all. In a richer sense, the Kingdom of God was ushered in by Christ but will not reach its completion until the end of time. (CCC 586, 593, 898)

Ch 9:28-36 The Transfiguration allowed his closest disciples to see his glorified countenance. This spectacular manifestation of Christ’s divinity strengthened their faith. As at his baptism, this episode occasioned a manifestation of the Blessed Trinity. It also confirmed Christ’s fulfillment of the Law and prophets by showing him with Moses, the lawgiver, and Elijah, the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. (CCC 516, 554, 1151, 2583, 2600)

Ch 9:33-35 This experience was designed to strengthen him and bolster his hope in the face of the Cross.

A cloud: In Scripture, God’s presence is often indicated by a theophany-a visible manifestation of the presence of God-which was a cloud in this instance and at other times was fire, thunder, or light. (CCC 556, 659, 697)

Ch 9:43-50 The disciples failed to understand that Christ’s Passion and Death would be the ultimate act of love and service. The dispute that followed sheds some light on why their understanding was so shrouded. They were sidetracked by earthly concerns such as which of them was the greatest. Christ again pointed indirectly to the Beatitudes: It is the “least among you”-the most humble, the one who serves the others most-who is the greatest. (CCC 554)

Ch 9:51-56 Christ’s determination to travel toward Jerusalem was a sign of his complete obedience to the will of the Father. The Samaritans were a people derived from Israelites from the Northern tribes who had intermarried with Gentiles and built their own Temple on Mount Gerizim. (CCC 557)

Ch 9:51 To be received up: This is an allusion to the Ascension of Christ into Heaven.

Ch 9:57-62 To truly follow Christ requires total commitment and a detachment from things of this world. While all Christians are called to imitate Christ completely, some are invited to embrace his life through the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. (CCC 544, 914-916)

Ch 9:58 Nowhere to lay his head: Throughout his life, Christ gave example of poverty and shared the lot of the poor in his way of life. Evangelical poverty involves not only the renunciation of material goods but also detachment from them. This spirit of poverty liberates the human heart so that it might be better disposed to love God and neighbor. (CCC 544)

Ch 9:59 Let me go first and bury my father: Christ, more than discouraging respect and love for one’s parents, teaches us that our relationship with him must take absolute priority in our lives. (CCC 2215)

Ch 10:1 Seventy: This number represents the seventy elders appointed by Moses and the seventy nations mentioned in Genesis, symbolizing that the Gospel and its message of salvation would be preached not only among the Israelites but also to all nations. (CCC 765)

Ch 10:2-6 The harvest...into his harvest: Christ needs followers who will devote their lives to spreading his message of joy, healing, and salvation. While each person is called to participate in the evangelical mission of the Church according to his or her state of life, God calls some to the service of his Church through the priesthood or religious life. The unfailing means to obtain vocations for the Kingdom of God is prayer. 

Peace be to this house: Sacramentals of the Church include the blessing of persons as well as objects such as houses, vehicles, sacred images, medals, and rosaries. (CCC 1668, 2611)

Ch 10:7 The laborer deserves his wages: The fifth precept of the Church teaches that the faithful have an obligation to contribute toward the support of those who minister to them. (CCC 2043, 2122)

Ch 10:12-15 Sodom...Chorazin...Bethsaida...Tyre and Sidon...Capernaum: Sodom, along with Gomorrah, was destroyed by God due to its grievous rejection of the moral law. Chorazin and Bethsaida were towns in Galilee that did not accept Christ; the latter of these was the hometown of Peter, John, and Andrew. Tyre and Sidon were Gentile towns to the north where the Gospel had not yet been preached. Capernaum was where Christ stayed; nevertheless, many of the townspeople rejected him even after hearing his message and witnessing his miracles. 

Ch 10:16 He who hears you...who sent me: To hear and act on the Word of God identifies us with the will of God. One particular way to be more receptive to the Word of God is to read the Scriptures daily, especially the life of Christ as found in the Gospels. The ministry of the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, is the continuation of Christ’s own mission on earth. Thus, when Church leaders proclaim the Word of God, it is incumbent upon the faithful to be receptive to their teaching and direction. (CCC 87, 858)

Ch 10:21-24 Christ openly rejoiced that his disciples were coming to understand his teaching. Here he described his relationship with the Father, revealing again his divinity as the Son of God. His desire to fulfill the will of God ultimately would lead to his Passion and Death. Mary mirrored these sentiments of obedience to the will of God at the moment of the Annunciation and throughout her life. (CCC 1082-1083, 2603)

Ch 10:25-37 Christ often found himself opposed by the Scribes and Pharisees, but not all were antagonistic to his teaching. When the scribe in this passage attempted to “test” him, Christ engaged him in conversation. He praised the scribe’s summary of the Law but broadened its application beyond what most believed: our “neighbor” is not simply one who shares our religious faith, culture, or homeland. Followers of Christ are required to manifest their love of God through mercy and compassion toward all people. (CCC 2822, 1825, 2083)

Ch 10:31-32 Both the priest and the Levite were strict in keeping Jewish laws on purity and did not want to couch a bleeding and dying man. This parable drives home the point that the obligation to do good supersedes the rigorous observance of human laws. (CCC 1539, 1543)

Ch 10:34-35 Pouring on oil: Oil was used as a salve or ointment to heal wounds; it was also used as a sign to anoint and consecrate someone to a particular purpose or mission such as a king or a prophet. The Church has long used oil in her sacramental rites as a sign of healing, as in the Anointing of the Sick, or as a sign of consecration, as in Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders.

Two denarii: A denarius was one day’s wage, and this sum would likely have provided the injured man with food and lodging for several days. (CCC 1293)

Ch 10:38-42 Mary took this singular occasion to speak and listen to our Lord with rapt attention. Christ reproached Martha not on account of her spirit of service but for not making him first in her attention. Many scholars have taught that this scene is an allegory for the active life (Martha) and the contemplative life (Mary). Martha honored Christ through her work, and Mary through her single-minded devotion. (CCC 2709-2731)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Key Event 60: Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36)

Jesus takes his three closest disciples, Peter, James, and John, up a mountain, where he is transfigured before them.  Moses and Elijah appear and speak with Jesus about his departure (literally, "exodus"), which he will accomplish in Jerusalem through his Passion, death, and Resurrection.  As at his Baptism, the Father declares of Jesus, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him" (Lk 9:35).  The Transfiguration confirms Peter's confession that Jesus is the Messiah of God (Lk 9:20; see 2 Pt 1:16-19).

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. Thank you. Thank you. Honestly, Father, just please receive our thanksgiving. Receive our praise today. You are great. You are good. You are faithful. You have called us to this day and you have given us your mercy every day. Every single day, Lord God, you give us mercy ever new. Please help us to receive your mercy. Help us to walk in it. Help us to give you permission to love us so that our hearts may be filled with your grace. So that our hearts may be filled with you and your love, and we can become vessels of your love. We can become conduits of your grace. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”