The readings for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time are as amazing as they are incomprehensible. God is as infinite in power as He is in mercy and love.
The Book of Wisdom states: "Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth." On my family's farm, we had a balance scale to weigh items to be sold, and I can assure you that if a grain of wheat fell from the scale, we would never have noticed.
The responsorial psalm ties together the good news of all three readings for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, which tell that the Lord is deeply moved by the prayers of the lowly.
In the first reading, Sirach says God shows no favorites "but He hears the cry of the oppressed....The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds."
The readings for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time stress the importance of persistence in prayer before our God.
In the first reading, the Israelites battle the superior army of Amalekites. Joshua was to engage the Amalekites in battle, while Moses climbed to the top of a hill overlooking the battlefield. He raised his arms toward heaven, and as long as he kept them raised, the Israelites were victorious. But when his arms grew weary, the Amalekites gained momentum. Hence, Moses asked Aaron and Hur to support his hands raised to heaven, and thus the Israelites were victorious.
The readings for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time demonstrate the power that gratitude and thanksgiving have in our lives.
In the first reading, a Gentile, Naaman the leper, comes to Elisha, the Lord's prophet, for healing. Naaman was a man of considerable means and had servants at his disposal. Leprosy was a profound embarrassment for him. Even more embarrassing, Elisha refused to come out to meet Naaman, to lay hands on him and pray with him.
Paul wrote in the letter to the Galatians, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." Perhaps this passage shows how the readings for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time are interconnected. These readings tell us there is something within us that we perceive ever so dimly.
Since we are a people covenanted to the Lord, the readings for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time spell out the everlasting consequences of our everyday decisions, whether good or bad.
In the first reading, the Lord clearly speaks to His chosen people, "Woe to the complacent in Zion! Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall!"