Commentary on the Gospel of

Joan Blandin Howard - Creighton University - Retired


Today’s reading from Luke sounds and feels harsh to me.  It reminds me of the “surprises” that have befallen me when I forget the Lord is walking with me.  The harshness brings to mind rougher sorts of relationships.  Relationships that have gone wrong.  We are reminded of Noah and the flood, Lot and Sodom and the destruction by fire and brimstone. I, we, have actually witnessed some such horrors in our life time. This is a cautionary reading. This reading from Luke along with today’s reading from Wisdom: “All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is…” However, these horrors are not the only “surprises” in Luke’s gospel.  There are numerous “surprise” healings and blessings.  The characters in Luke’s gospel often seem unprepared and off guard for the goodness, mercy and the justice of God.

This cautionary talk is apparently about human relationships. Of course, the fundamental and primary of all relationships is my relationship with God. This is what this reading is about – my relationship with God.

In my relationships with my family and my dearest friends there are always unexpected wonderful surprises.  As well there are sometimes very difficult unexpected tragedies and sorrows. For me the good news is in the total package.  I will only be prepared for all degree of “surprises” if I walk with my eyes and my heart fully open to the gifts, the presence and unconditional love of God. It is in the developing personal relationship with Jesus that I will recognize the wonderful surprises and be rooted in his love.   “…The real hope, then, is not in something we think we can do, but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we can not see.” - (Thomas Merton)

Here in my little pray snug,  today I am in awe of this particular fall morning. Leaves of every tint and hue, dew drops glistening on spider webs, several robins playfully bathing in the birdbath – I can hear them joyfully giggling and chirping among themselves, and a sunrise as if the first ever!  “The heavens proclaim the glory of God.” (Psalm 19: 2a).  This morning I am especially aware of how much I am treasured by God – just look at all I have been given, just this morning!


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