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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Sept. 16, 2012

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service

September 16, Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle B. Readings:

1) Isaiah 50:5-9a

Psalm 114:1-6, 8-9

2) James 2:14-18

Gospel: Mark 8:27-35

These readings are not the favorites of those who want to persuade you that simply believing will bring you to eternal life. The James passage, linked to Jesus' separation of sheep and goats in Matthew 25, suggests we're expected to help one another.

The Isaiah reading foreshadows Jesus' suffering before his accusers. The psalm points toward the necessity of trusting God and seeing his blessing and protection of those who call out to him. After Jesus rebukes Peter for his attempt to turn him from the path of suffering and the cross, Jesus tells his followers that anyone who wishes to follow him must take up his or her own cross.

Though we all hope we will not face persecution and death because of our beliefs, we each must face our mortality. We all will suffer loss, disease, perhaps disability and other lesser struggles and pains.

The summer school student walking down the hall on her last day of the session had a decided limp. My wife Susan, who had taught her during the school year, happened to see her. The girl wore a long dress in the hope that no one would see the large swollen area on top of her foot. But Susan inquired about the limp and asked to see the sore spot. It was a vicious infection.

She took her to the emergency room of the public hospital not far from the Tanzanian refugee's home. Nine hours later, the girl had had the boil on her foot lanced, received two types of antibiotic, been instructed on how to tend the wound and was on her way home.

Though there had been no trace of a smile when the student was receiving treatment, when we checked on her the next morning, a broad smile lit up her features.

In the process of helping her student, Susan learned that she is fluent in three African languages -- plus French -- and writes praise songs for the African choir at her church.

God does indeed care for his children, and sometimes he uses us to get the job done -- just in time.


When have you been on the receiving end of God showing his care for his children through others? Is God calling you to serve the needs of others in your community?


"The Lord protects the simple; I was helpless, but he saved me. -- Psalm 116:6


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