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Meditation: Romans 12:5-16


31st Week in Ordinary Time

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15)

This wonderful passage is full of advice for getting along with people: anticipate one another in showing honor. Exercise hospitality. Do not grow slack in zeal. Endure in affliction.

This may seem like a very demanding set of directions, but as in everything else, Jesus doesn’t just show us the way; he gives us the grace we need. Recall how he showed profound respect to everyone who approached him, from social outcasts to fault-finding officials. Even when he was weary, he cared for his followers, teaching them and miraculously feeding them. His desire to love as his Father loves never grew weary.

Even more important than Jesus’ example, however, is his presence in us through the Spirit. Christ makes it possible for us to love people beyond our natural inclinations. How? By helping us to know his mind and heart so that we can think and act with him.

On a natural level, we can often tell when another person is rejoicing or weeping. But Jesus wants to show us what fills him with joy and what grieves his heart.

Let’s start with what grieves the Lord. Like the master in today’s Gospel, he is sad when we’re too busy to accept his invitation to the banquet of life. His heart is heavy, too, when we put up obstacles that hold other people back from him: when we are selfish with our time, perhaps, or when we withhold forgiveness.

What makes him rejoice? He is thrilled when he sees us take even the smallest steps to set aside selfishness. He smiles every time we treat each other with respect—especially those we have a hard time loving. Every time we forgive a hurt or reach out to someone who is suffering or marginalized, his joy increases. He loves it when we are cheerful and encouraging or when we are generous. In other words, Jesus rejoices every time we love each other as he has loved us!

Let’s join our hearts with Jesus’ heart today. As we rejoice and grieve with him, our hearts will change. And as our hearts change, we will change the world!

“Jesus, I long to enter into your heart. Let me become your ambassador to a hurting world.”

Psalm 131:1-3; Luke 14:15-24

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