Wisdom 12:13,16-19; Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-30
I am writing this on July 18, which is the day of my priestly ordination forty-four years ago. As I have reflected on these readings over the years, many insights come. As we read the four gospels we see many layers of people around Jesus during his public ministry. At Pentecost in the Upper Room there were 120 of Jesus’ closest followers, apostles and male and female disciples. Jesus explained the meaning of the parables and empowered those men and women to go into the whole world announcing his good news of his kingdom.
Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 65:10-14; Romans 8:18-2; Matthew 13:1-9
We begin a new feature this month, the Book of the Month. This book is by a young Catholic evangelist, Matthew Kelly. It is The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. It fits in with the themes these weeks of bearing more fruit for the kingdom of God. Dynamic Catholics have basically four characteristics:
More powerful than the roar of many waters, more powerful than the breakers of the sea, powerful in the heavens is the LORD. (Psalm 93:4)
My first glimpse of the ocean was at crowded Mission Beach in San Diego as a young bride. Once I saw the breathtaking splendor and power of God’s creation where waves meet sky, I was hooked. Now I look for every possible opportunity to relax on any beach, anywhere. In Maui, the most gorgeous native natural habitat surrounds the almost endless beaches. I have even seen this panorama from a parasail 500 feet above Kauai, Maui and Molokai.
Zechariah 9:9-10; Psalms 145:1-2, 8-14; Romans 8:9, 11-13; Matthew 11:25-30
Well dear friends in Christ, we have finished the Easter – Pentecost season and a few major feasts, which flow from the life of Jesus on earth. Now we come to rest, as it were, sliding into "home place" from our bobsled run. We slide into ordinary Sundays until we move into the Advent Season at the end of November. Each year we "relive" the life of Jesus in our liturgical daily prayers.
It was the last day of vacation and my final visit to the parish there. A substitute priest celebrating daily mass joked about the pastor chastising him for not ending the mass with a joke, which he then did. When mass ended, people began talking and laughing loudly while the sacristan cleared the altar and removed the undistributed consecrated hosts to the tabernacle. A minister opened the tabernacle to fill his pyx (the special container to carry the Eucharist to shut-ins). Three women stood in front of the altar gossiping about a parishioner.
I finally gave up praying and left in a huff, angry with those who were so disrespectful of the Eucharist. I was ready to condemn the entire congregation. Then I remembered to surrender my feelings and the situation to the Lord. He showed me that my relationship with him didn't depend on a quiet place to pray or what others around me did. I felt a release of my negative emotions. Continue reading
Acts 12:1-11 Ps 34:2-9; 2 Timothy 4:6-9, 17-18; Matthew 16:13-19
We might logically ask, “Why are these men being celebrated on a Sunday after Easter, Pentecost, the Holy Trinity and the Body and Blood of Christ?” Jesus trained special men and women to continue his work of saving the human race. We call this model discipleship. Who were those closest to Jesus in his public ministry? Acts 15:b tells us that there were one hundred and twenty in the Upper Room on Pentecost. The three closet friends were: Peter, James and John. I call the apostles his “body guards,” to keep Jesus from being crushed by the large crowds.
Since there was no mass communication then Jesus used 70 or 72 disciples who were also his students and “press agents.” They were sent out two by two to get people ready for Jesus’ visit. If you deduct the number of men, you have some thirty-seven women with Mary, his mother. All of these were not present for every event for three years. They got the “secrets” to the parables Jesus told to the crowds. They were trained to continue his work throughout the world.