Thursday of the 16th Week
Exodus 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20
I am inviting new members to a club I started. It is the Club to watch the NASA International Space Station flying overhead. I love watching the Space Station fly over. The International Space Station is a large spacecraft that orbits around Earth, with real astronauts living in it. Why I enjoy following the space station is because it is very bright, and it is very easy to see in the night sky. I imagine as I look up the astronauts are looking down at me. (You can follow the schedule on ‘spot the space station.’)
In our first reading, God tells Moses that he will speak to the people from a dense cloud that will surround the mountain. On the morning of the third day, the people look up, and a heavy cloud covered the mountain, lighting, and thunder begin to flash about the mountain, and then a very loud trumpet blasted comes forth from the mountain. The people look up and know that God is in their midst and God looks down on them. This is a great theophany of God!
In our Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus, “Why do you speak in parables?” He responds,”Because knowledge of the Kingdom of God has been given to you. Blessed are your eyes that look up and know that I am God.”
Let us look up and see the glory of God in our midst. May we praise and thank God for his many blessing and how he has to lead us to this day.
Tuesday of the 16th Week
Feast of St. James
II Corinthians: 4:7-15
These are perfect readings if we are struggling with something or someone at this time.
St. Paul begins his powerful message for those who are feeling vulnerable and weak, by saying “We hold a treasure in earthen vessels.” What he is telling us is we hold the gospel message, the truth of all truths, but we hold it in a clay pot. Clay pots can be easily cracked or broken. Clay pots are a good reminder to us that the message is not about us, it is always about the message of God.
Paul continues by saying, “We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death
for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” Notice bad things happen, but we are not overcome!
In our Gospel, the mother of James and John asks for her sons to sit one on his left and one on his right in the kingdom of God. The irony of this request is Jesus will die with one man on his left another on his right. Jesus asks the brothers, James and John, “Are you able to drink the chalice that I am to drink?” Drinking the chalice of Christ is being invited to his life, death, and resurrection. James and John responded, “We are!”
We need to remember, especially if we are struggling today, “God always begins where when our ability ends.” May this Eucharist comfort our restless hearts?
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
Romans 8: 26-27
Matthew 13:24 -43
Once again, we have the same situation as we did last weekend, and that is Jesus tells a parable, he tells why he told the parable and then explains the parable. In today’s parable, Jesus tells us he is the one who sows good seeds, and those good seeds bring about the Kingdom of God. The evil one is the one who sows bad seeds, and those seeds can destroy our lives. So, do you have it? So I am going to go and sit down, but before I do, I want you to think of the preachers you have heard that have been the greatest preachers in your lives? I would say, Pope Francis, Billy Graham, Martin Luther King, and my favorite, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. However, there is another who is more effective, and that is the evil one himself! When the evil one preaches he gets us to do things we know or wrong to do. The evil one knows something about every part of our lives, and he never grows tired of preaching to those situations in our lives. The evil one is so good in preaching; he knows when we are most vulnerable, and then he strikes. So, the first defense against evil is to keep our guard up. We need reminders of God all around us and to be spiritually awake as much as we can. Ex. Rosary, bracelet, cross, sacred images and prayer.
In our parable we heard that weeds and wheat grew up together. In ancient times there was a weed that grew along wheat, and it is called “Darnel.” The roots of this weed would become entwined with the wheat, so you would not pull it up because the wheat would come up with it. Our lives are much like those weeds and the wheat; evil grows alongside the good in us from a very young age. As much as we want to eradicate all evil from our lives, some evil are entwined in us, and it is a constant battle to fight it off. We need to grow wise in ways to overcome that evil.
Here is a different way of looking at evil, but it takes a strong faith life, and that is to see evil as a blessing. God is working in all aspects of our lives, and just as evil is in our lives, God is in our lives even more. God can use evil to bring about his good. I have shared this with you before, but the hardest day of the week for me is my day off. All kinds of evil storm me on Sunday evening and Monday morning. I have had to learn to protect myself in my own home and to make my Monday prayer the longest and the best. The other blessing is we will never eliminate evil in our lives or the world, so we need to learn how to look for God. The best thing God loves to do is turn evil into a good.
The greatest blessing of this all is to know that no matter what God is in control in is stronger than any evil. When evil comes we need to run into the loving arms of God and ask God to eliminate the evil in our lives, we cannot, but God can! The Eucharist offered to us will help to be the good seed and to not let the bad seed control us.
Friday of the 15th Week
Exodus 11: 10-12:14
When I go fishing, I fish with a sense of urgency, because for all the time that my bait is out of the water, the less chance I will catch a fish. So, I cast with great urgency! What made me cast even more sense of urgency last night I was fishing with my new fish finder that I have been waiting for, and it was showing fish all around me. I casted last night with such urgency that my arm is sore. We do need a sense of urgency in our lives when it comes to receiving the Eucharist.
In our reading from Exodus, what is described to us is the Passover. For Jews, the Passover is celebrated with great urgency because God was delivering them from bondage of slavery and they had to be ready to go at a moment’s notices when God would deliver them.
In our Gospel, the disciples are starving so as they cross through a field; so with the great urgency, they begin to take the heads of grain off and eat it. The Pharisees object to working on the Sabbath, but there is something greater happening here.
We gather today, to have a sense of urgency when we come to celebrate the Eucharist. We have a sense of urgency because it is the Eucharist that will help us do great things in the name of Christ. This sense of urgency will help us know we are loved, to show mercy, and to reach out to those in need. We should never take for granted this fast food to nourish us for our journey today.
Thursday Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time
What do we have today that weighs us down and troubles us? We all need help at times with those things that burden us and our readings give us some spiritual insights of what to do.
In our first reading, Moses has a big job to do; he has to set the God’s people free from slavery. Moses has already told God that this job is too much for him. The first thing that God does to help Moses is he gives him a sign that he is with him in the burning bush. God speaks to Moses and tells him what he is to say to the people during these troubling times. Our first thing to do when heavily burdened is look for the signs of God.
In our Gospel, we hear more help when burdened as Jesus says, “Come to me.” Jesus gives us a personal invitation to come to him, but we need to accept the invitation. How often my first inclination is to move away from Christ. Jesus says, “Come to me when heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” We need to remember that Jesus wants to free us from our burdens and give us rest. Jesus does not want to see us suffering.
Jesus then says, “Take my yoke upon our shoulders, learn from me, and you will find rest.” Here is where we need to learn from Jesus and do what he did when heavily burdened, and that is to pause, pray, and walk. We pause to center ourselves on Christ and clear away the distractions. We take it to prayer and give it all to God, and finally, we walk. What walking does is put our whole bodies into it and clarity will come.
The Eucharist we share is given to us in faith to give us rest, may all our burdens be light today.
Wednesday of the 15th Week
Exodus 3:1-6. 9-12
Do you ever have the occasion that your life is thrown off course just a bit to send you looking for God? My last appointment yesterday was tough, and afterward, I needed to see the face of God. I went for a walk, and there was a doe with two small fawns in the back field that would usually do it for me but for some reason it did not. I watched the sun set over the church which many times usually works for me, but it did not. This morning’s sunrise at 6:20, made the sky look like it was on fire, seeing that finally did it for me. Through all of this, I learned once again, that hope is not based on reality, it is based on grace. Hope is beyond what we can see, what we think is possible and we believe. Our readings challenge us to this kind of hope.
The stories of Moses are very interesting. We first hear of Moses as an infant, our next story of him is when he slays an Egyptian at the age of 40. Our next story is today’s story of the burning bush, and Moses is now 80 years old. In the burning bush, God sends Moses a powerful message of what he is to do. If God only spoke to me every 40 years, I probably would give up, but Moses hangs in there
In the prayer of Jesus that we heard in our Gospel, we are given signs of great hope as Jesus tells us, “He has given to us, what is hidden to the wise and the learned.” He does this when we can remain simple, not overcomplicating things, even when things are complicated. We need to hang onto the fact that we did not choose God, God has chosen us, and by that fact, his grace is enough for us.
May we see the face of God here in this Eucharist and walk with God in all we do today?