Bothersome Prophets

Saturday August 1

Saturday of 17th Week of Ordinary Time

BOTHERSOME PROPHETS

Introduction

What would be our reaction if someone told us right in our face that we are not the people we are supposed or pretend to be? Look what happened to Jeremiah and John the Baptist. Jeremiah has to fight for his life. John the Baptist loses it. Would we welcome prophets better than the people in their time, even if they are right? It is so difficult to face the truth about ourselves. Because it is difficult to change, to be open to true conversion. Let us pray in this Eucharist for the courage to face this disturbing truth.

Opening Prayer

Lord our God,
you know how we tend to resist
the full impact of the gospel
of your Son Jesus Christ,
because we like to hear what pleases us.
Let your Spirit give us the courage
to accept the conversion and detachment
that the gospel demands
and to welcome the persons
who remind us of your word
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reading 1 JER 26:11-16, 24

The priests and prophets said to the princes and to all the people,
"This man deserves death;
he has prophesied against this city,
as you have heard with your own ears."
Jeremiah gave this answer to the princes and all the people:
"It was the LORD who sent me to prophesy against this house and city
all that you have heard.
Now, therefore, reform your ways and your deeds;
listen to the voice of the LORD your God,
so that the LORD will repent of the evil with which he threatens you.
As for me, I am in your hands;
do with me what you think good and right.
But mark well: if you put me to death,
it is innocent blood you bring on yourselves,
on this city and its citizens.
For in truth it was the LORD who sent me to you,
to speak all these things for you to hear."

Thereupon the princes and all the people
said to the priests and the prophets,
"This man does not deserve death;
it is in the name of the LORD, our God, that he speaks to us."

So Ahikam, son of Shaphan, protected Jeremiah,
so that he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.

Responsorial Psalm 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34

R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Rescue me out of the mire; may I not sink!
may I be rescued from my foes,
and from the watery depths.
Let not the flood-waters overwhelm me,
nor the abyss swallow me up,
nor the pit close its mouth over me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
"See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not."
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Alleluia MT 5:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 14:1-12

Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus
and said to his servants, "This man is John the Baptist.
He has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him."
Now Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison
on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,
for John had said to him,
"It is not lawful for you to have her."
Although he wanted to kill him, he feared the people,
for they regarded him as a prophet.
But at a birthday celebration for Herod,
the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests
and delighted Herod so much
that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.
Prompted by her mother, she said,
"Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
The king was distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests who were present,
he ordered that it be given, and he had John beheaded in the prison.
His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl,
who took it to her mother.
His disciples came and took away the corpse
and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.

Commentary

It is encouraging to read accounts of the prophet’s voice being heeded. Such is the case in Jeremiah’s warning to the princes and the people.
But it is equally sad to read, in today’s Gospel, the account of the Baptist’s death to satisfy a perverse whim. It is true that it is not always easy to verify a prophet. But even when one might be inauthentic, the prophet should not be silenced. Jeremiah’s word was verified; his call to conversion could have resulted in the people and country being saved. But instead of paying attention to his message, his opponents latched on to words that sounded treasonous. Simple attachment to the temple of the Lord would not bring deliverance; a life of fidelity to God would.
John was beheaded because he told Herod that the king’s marital relationship was immoral. Herod knew that the people revered John and therefore would not have him killed. But Herodias, his wife, proved to be the schemer and brought about his death.
Duplicity in our fives should be avoided at all cost. Any form of double dealing or behind-the-scenes manipulation is unchristian. Let us be attentive to voices that differ from our own thinking, even when we may not be in agreement. And above all, let our words be honest and straightforward.

Points to Ponder

Listening to the divergent voice
Uprightness in moral decisions
Respect for the other person.

Intercessions

– For all ministers of the word and for all Christians, that they may have the courage to carry out their prophetic task of proclaiming to a skeptical world the undistorted gospel of Christ, we pray:
– For the prophets in our midst sent by God to revive us up from our complacency, that we may not muzzle them but heed their call for conversion, we pray:
– For the people without voice or deprived of their rights, that the Lord may give us a voice to speak out for them we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord our God,
we bring this bread and wine before you
that Jesus, the prophet of your good news,
may be alive among us.
Open us to his stirring words
that call us away from our fears
and self-made havens of security.
Make us your people.
Make it come fully true in us
that you have set us free
by the body and blood of your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Prayer after Communion

Lord our God,
in this Eucharistic celebration
you have contested in us
our mediocrity, our complacency
by the word and example of your Son.
Do not allow us to stifle
his cry for authentic living
for you and for those you have entrusted to us.
Keep speaking to us
in the events and people of our time
your ever-new word of freedom and hope
for which Jesus laid down his life.
Let him be our Lord for ever.

Blessing

We should be grateful when people make us face the truth about ourselves, also and especially when it is painful. It is a splendid occasion to change for the better. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Buried Treasure

Wednesday July 29

St Martha

Wednesday of 17th Week in Ordinary Time

THE BURIED TREASURE

Introduction

Jeremiah is the first of the prophets to call God into account. Since he has given his life to God and his God-given mission, how come that he has to suffer so much to do God’s work? God’s answer is: Be converted. Trust in God even in your doubt and continue your mission. It is our lot and way to live with doubts and problems, and still to trust God. He is with us, even if we do not see it. That, precisely, is faith.
Martha. To serve without being asked, to be ready for others. To be given little publicity but to work backstage. Not to ask for honors and pass on the shoulder but to do one’s work quietly. This is how she followed the Lord. And her faith was deep and strong in Christ as the Son of God who could raise the dead back to life.

Opening Prayer

We honor today Saint Martha
as a woman of faith
and an unobtrusive servant of people
Give us her faith in Christ
as the Lord of life
and the first fruits of the resurrection.
Make us willing servants of one another
who attend to others in their need.
We ask your this through Christ our Lord.

Reading 1 JER 15:10, 16-21

Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth!
a man of strife and contention to all the land!
I neither borrow nor lend,
yet all curse me.
When I found your words, I devoured them;
they became my joy and the happiness of my heart,
Because I bore your name,
O LORD, God of hosts.
I did not sit celebrating
in the circle of merrymakers;
Under the weight of your hand I sat alone
because you filled me with indignation.
Why is my pain continuous,
my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?
You have indeed become for me a treacherous brook,
whose waters do not abide!
Thus the LORD answered me:
If you repent, so that I restore you,
in my presence you shall stand;
If you bring forth the precious without the vile,
you shall be my mouthpiece.
Then it shall be they who turn to you,
and you shall not turn to them;
And I will make you toward this people
a solid wall of brass.
Though they fight against you,
they shall not prevail,
For I am with you,
to deliver and rescue you, says the LORD.
I will free you from the hand of the wicked,
and rescue you from the grasp of the violent.

Responsorial Psalm 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18

R. (17d) God is my refuge on the day of distress.
Rescue me from my enemies, O my God;
from my adversaries defend me.
Rescue me from evildoers;
from bloodthirsty men save me.
R. God is my refuge on the day of distress.
For behold, they lie in wait for my life;
mighty men come together against me,
Not for any offense or sin of mine, O LORD.
R. God is my refuge on the day of distress.
O my strength! for you I watch;
for you, O God, are my stronghold,
As for my God, may his mercy go before me;
may he show me the fall of my foes.
R. God is my refuge on the day of distress.
But I will sing of your strength
and revel at dawn in your mercy;
You have been my stronghold,
my refuge in the day of distress.
R. God is my refuge on the day of distress.
O my strength! your praise will I sing;
for you, O God, are my stronghold,
my merciful God!
R. God is my refuge on the day of distress.

Alleluia Jn 8:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Jn 11:19-27

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
"Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you."
Jesus said to her,
"Your brother will rise."
Martha said to him,
"I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day."
Jesus told her,
"I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?"
She said to him, "Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world."

or Lk 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
"Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me."
The Lord said to her in reply,
"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her."

Commentary

A little beyond the end of today’s reading there is the shortest verse in the Bible. It is Jn 11:35, and it says simply, “Jesus wept.” It shows sensitivity in the people who first divided the Scriptures into chapters and verses. They could easily have put these words with the following verse; it would even have been logical: the following verse is, “So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’” When someone weeps you just have to give them time to weep. Weeping may be saying a lot, but it is not language, and it doesn’t require an answer or an explanation. There are two occasions in the gospel when Jesus told people not to weep (Lk 7:13; 8:52). On both occasions, there was an error of fact: the persons being mourned were not dead. But in today’s story there is no doubt about Lazarus being dead. So, Jesus wept; he did not take death lightly. He is sometimes made to seem a sort of magician who “leaped up on the third day.” If we make little of death, we make little of the resurrection.
Nor can we to make little of Martha. She is not playing second fiddle to Mary (especially not in this passage). With Peter’s, hers is the most explicit confession of Jesus as Messiah—which is the whole purpose for which the gospel was written (Jn 20:30,31). A scholar says that this points to the prominent women like Martha played in the early Church.

Intercessions

– For all Christians, that they may hold dear their faith and their life in Christ and keep living up to their convictions, we pray:
– For the leaders of nations, that as they work for prosperity and progress they may not lose sight of what is essential, that is: people, and the deepest human values, we pray:
– For our young people, that their parents and the Church may hand on to them their living faith and the spirit to serve God and people well, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord our God,
create between you and us
a holy communion of love.
Come among us in Jesus Christ
in this Eucharist and in daily life
and reign in us, take possession of us,
to rule and forgive, to sanctify and enlighten,
to lead us and to renew us by your grace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion

God our Father,
in this Eucharistic celebration
you have again given us your own Son.
Let him nourish in us the growth of your kingdom.
May he open our eyes to the goodness
and yet the relative value of the things of this earth
and let him help us realize
that our human personality and existence
is nothing else than the concrete manner
in which you call us
and in which we respond to your call
to build up your kingdom.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

Blessing

We know we are dear to God. May God and our faith and God’s kingdom be our joy and treasure. May God be our happiness and may he bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Are Prophets Welcome?

Friday July 31

Friday of 17th Week in Ordinary Time

ARE PROPHETS WELCOME?

Introduction

Today the prophet Jeremiah warns the people that their trust in the temple as God’s presence among them is of no value unless they make God present in their lives by living their religion, and the temple will be destroyed as once the Philistines destroyed the sanctuary of Shiloh. The priests and the people threaten to kill Jeremiah.
Jesus is not welcome either among his people, in his town, his home country, for he is disturbing people’s consciences. He confronts them with the challenging reality of God and his ways. Christ shakes his people from their security in laws and outward practices. How dare he, one from their own town and street? Who does he think he is? Dare we to be the prophet’s voice needed today? Dare we to be unconventional?

Opening Prayer

Lord our God,
we are but timid people,
and yet you expect of us
to speak the word of your Son
by the witnessing of our lives.
We pray you for the courage
to live the kind of life
that your Son lived
and to follow him wherever he leads us
without the luggage of our securities.
Grant us this conviction
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reading 1 JER 26:1-9

In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim,
son of Josiah, king of Judah,
this message came from the LORD:
Thus says the LORD:
Stand in the court of the house of the LORD
and speak to the people of all the cities of Judah
who come to worship in the house of the LORD;
whatever I command you, tell them, and omit nothing.
Perhaps they will listen and turn back,
each from his evil way,
so that I may repent of the evil I have planned to inflict upon them
for their evil deeds.
Say to them: Thus says the LORD:
If you disobey me,
not living according to the law I placed before you
and not listening to the words of my servants the prophets,
whom I send you constantly though you do not obey them,
I will treat this house like Shiloh,
and make this the city to which all the nations of the earth
shall refer when cursing another.

Now the priests, the prophets, and all the people
heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the LORD.
When Jeremiah finished speaking
all that the LORD bade him speak to all the people,
the priests and prophets laid hold of him, crying,
"You must be put to death!
Why do you prophesy in the name of the LORD:
'This house shall be like Shiloh,' and
'This city shall be desolate and deserted'?"
And all the people gathered about Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm 69:5, 8-10, 14

R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Those outnumber the hairs of my head
who hate me without cause.
Too many for my strength
are they who wrongfully are my enemies.
Must I restore what I did not steal?
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Since for your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my mother’s sons,
Because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
But I pray to you, O LORD,
for the time of your favor, O God!
In your great kindness answer me
with your constant help.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Alleluia 1 PT 1:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of the Lord remains forever;
this is the word that has been proclaimed to you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 13:54-58

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said,
“Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter’s son?
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us?
Where did this man get all this?”
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and in his own house.”
And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith.

Commentary

Both Jesus and Jeremiah were prophets who were not honored in their own country. Although the people were amazed at Jesus’ learning and insight, he was such a “local boy” that he could not be taken seriously. Jeremiah’s message was so threatening with reference to the temple and the city that it seemed sacrilegious and out of place. The best solution was to be rid of the prophet.
In many ways we are not much different. We settle into a particular way of thinking and make what we hear conform to that. We see acts of violence perpetrated against innocent people. When we wage a war we see only one side and fail to see the hurt that may be present in the opposition. We sometimes exploit the natural resources of poorer countries and then fail to understand their resentment.
Let us try to have an open and understanding spirit. The law of averages tells us that there are times when we will be right and times when we will be wrong. At least we want to try to comprehend what others are saying. It is surprising to see how much we can change and learn from others.

Points to Ponder

Opposition to Jeremiah
Jesus as the “local boy”
A willingness to learn and to change

Intercessions

– That the Spirit of Christ may inspire our leaders of the Church with prophetic zeal to lead our people to true Christian freedom, we pray:
– That there may be prophets also among us today, however annoying we may find them, to remind us of what God expects of us, we pray:
– That the world of today may not turn a deaf ear to the voices of prophets who plead for peace and justice for all, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord our God,
we want this bread and wine to signify
that as we share your Son’s table
we also accept to be with him
signs of contradiction.
Let him change us
from weak and faint-hearted people
into people with the courage
to live as we believe
and to speak out boldly
for all that is right and good,
as Jesus did, your Son,
who lives with you and with us for ever.

Prayer after Communion

Lord our God,
your Son Jesus has spoken among us
prophetic words and deeds
of courage and self-giving.
Make us bold enough
to go with him his way to people,
even if the best of our Intercessions
are misunderstood.
We say so in fear and trembling,
but we want to be humble disciples
of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing

We should learn to listen to prophets, people who have something to say that is perhaps not pleasing but to the point. And we too should have the courage to speak up when needed, especially when we see injustice done to people. May almighty God give you this courage and bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Old and New in The Kingdom

Thursday July 30

Thursday of 17th Week in Ordinary Time

OLD AND NEW IN THE KINGDOM

Introduction

Jeremiah looks at the work of a potter. If the potter sees his work is misshapen, he destroys it and tries anew. God’s people are clay in God’s hands. If they are not faithful, God will break them, but when they are converted he tries again with them and they become precious.
The parable about the net full of fish, good and bad, is very close to the parable heard a few days ago about the wheat and the weeds. It ends with the statement that the scribe in the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old. Jesus came “not to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to complete them.” Therefore the disciple, when he welcomes what is new, does not reject what is old. He treasures both.

Opening Prayer

Faithful God of tenderness and mercy,
you want us to be your people
on the march with Jesus your Son
toward the new future of justice and love
of your kingdom.
Do not allow us to suffocate in being contented
with old habits and sluggish ways.
Help us to accept the pain
of leaving the familiar behind us
and open us to today’s challenge of the gospel
to become more like your Son
who guides our faltering steps,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reading 1 JER 18:1-6

This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
Rise up, be off to the potter's house;
there I will give you my message.
I went down to the potter's house and there he was,
working at the wheel.
Whenever the object of clay which he was making
turned out badly in his hand,
he tried again,
making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased.
Then the word of the LORD came to me:
Can I not do to you, house of Israel,
as this potter has done? says the LORD.
Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter,
so are you in my hand, house of Israel.

Responsorial Psalm 146:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6AB

R. (5a) Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Put not your trust in princes,
in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.
When his spirit departs he returns to his earth;
on that day his plans perish.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God.
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia ACTS 16:14B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our heart, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 13:47-53

Jesus said to the disciples:
"The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous
and throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."

"Do you understand all these things?"
They answered, "Yes."
And he replied,
"Then every scribe who has been instructed in the Kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom
both the new and the old."
When Jesus finished these parables, he went away from there.

Commentary

Once again Matthew includes a parable that speaks of the coexistence of good and evil, the worthy and the unworthy, within the community of believers. He further goes on to say that the community will contain new things and old, new departures as well as tradition. Like Israel, we too are like clay in the potter’s hands. He can fashion and mold us as he would. Of course, we are free to turn out well or badly, to be embraced or rejected. There are those in the Christian community who have separated themselves from the potter. Also, as the net is cast, some fish are good; others are not.
But we should never lose sight of the efficacy of prayer. Christ speaks of sheep who have strayed, yet have found their way home. Remorse and contrition are not that unusual. Evil ways can be left behind. If we keep the wanderers in our hearts and prayers, good things may yet appear.

Points to Ponder

Clay in the potter’s hands
Fashioned according to God’s will
Open to conversion

Intercessions

– For the Church, that it may be a voice and a force promoting justice and love among people and among nations, we pray:
– For the politicians and economists of our day, that they may reform national and international structures to give equitable access to all to the material and spiritual treasures of our world, we pray:
– For all of us, that we may live in the hands of God and let him mold us, even through trials, into better Christians, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord our God,
with bread and wine we celebrate
the covenant you renew with us
in the blood of Jesus Christ.
Make us indeed your new, faithful people
bound to you in an everlasting union of love.
Renew our hearts,
make us your new wine of joy and hope,
that we may rebuild this earth today
and march with your Son
toward your new heaven,
where you will be our God for ever.

Prayer after Communion

God of hope,
you have given us Jesus your Son
as our companion on the road
for understanding the old, familiar things
with a new and young heart
and for renewing ourselves and the world.
Let him prod us on
when we try to compromise
by merely patching up the old here and there;
let him curb our impatience
when we try to rush people
beyond their capacity for growth.
Lead us forward through our trusted guide,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing

We must make the Lord visible today in a way our times understand and make our world more and more God’s world and kingdom. May you do so with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Harden not your hearts

Thursday July 23

Thursday of 16th Week in Ordinary Time

HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS

Introduction

Jeremiah reminds God’s people that in their youth, after God had made a covenant with them, they had been faithful and fervent. But since then they have abandoned God, even the priests and the prophets had done so.
Jesus complains that there are some who close their hearts to his message of life. His message is simple. Much of it is told in the moving stories of the parables. Why don’t people understand them? They are fickle and busy with themselves and their own little affairs. Or they think they are too learned and too self-sufficient, above the little ones, the humble, the simple people; these are eager to be receptive of the word of God and to pay attention to it.

Opening Prayer

God, you care for us.
your Son Jesus told us this in wonderful stories
about your forgiveness, your love, and your patient mercy.
Do not allow us to be so fickle or indifferent
that we close our eyes and ears to them,
but make us see and hear with our hearts
that these simple stories are speaking
of the very meaning of our lives.
Count us among the simple people
who understand what you are telling us
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Reading 1 JER 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13

This word of the LORD came to me:
Go, cry out this message for Jerusalem to hear!

I remember the devotion of your youth,
how you loved me as a bride,
Following me in the desert,
in a land unsown.
Sacred to the LORD was Israel,
the first fruits of his harvest;
Should any presume to partake of them,
evil would befall them, says the LORD.

When I brought you into the garden land
to eat its goodly fruits,
You entered and defiled my land,
you made my heritage loathsome.
The priests asked not,
"Where is the LORD?"
Those who dealt with the law knew me not:
the shepherds rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
and went after useless idols.

Be amazed at this, O heavens,
and shudder with sheer horror, says the LORD.
Two evils have my people done:
they have forsaken me, the source of living waters;
They have dug themselves cisterns,
broken cisterns, that hold no water.

Responsorial Psalm

R. (10a) With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.
O LORD, your mercy reaches to heaven
your faithfulness, to the clouds.
Your justice is like the mountains of God;
your judgments, like the mighty deep.
R. With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.
How precious is your mercy, O God!
The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They have their fill of the prime gifts of your house;
from your delightful stream you give them to drink.
R. With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.
For with you is the fountain of life,
and in your light we see light.
Keep up your mercy toward your friends,
your just defense of the upright of heart.
R. With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.

Alleluia MT 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 13:10-17

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?"
He said to them in reply,
"Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:

You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted
and I heal them.

"But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."

Commentary

A person is naturally grieved when a beloved decides to terminate a relationship, but the pain is even greater when that partner leaves for another person. Such was the case with the fickle Israel. Jeremiah today speaks of their earlier relationship in idyllic tenns; she was like a bride, following him in the desert, the first fruits of the harvest, led by him into the garden land. But what has transpired? The priests do not seek him, the shepherds have rebelled, the prophets prophesy by Baal. Promise has turned to tragedy.
Jesus’ hearers, children of Israel, make no attempt to understand his message. His parables, which are intended to illustrate the truth, become obstacles to understanding. It is one thing never to have known the true God, but it is sadder indeed to have known him and rejected him.
The prayer for final perseverance is a worthy one indeed. Our hearts can become cold; we may become beguiled by other attractions or even tempted to despair. But alertness is always a good medicine. Sursum corda says the Latin. “Lift up your hearts!” We may waver, but he is forever faithful.

Points to Ponder

Cherishing the faith
Abandoning the truth
Praying for perseverance

Intercessions

– For those who are not moved by the word of God, that the Church may hear their silent yearning and speak the word in such a way that makes them see that it pertains to their life and happiness today, we pray:
– For those who remain deaf to the word of God, that they may be moved when they see it flowering and bearing fruit in the life of good Christians, we pray:
– For the sick, the lonely, those who suffer or mourn, that the word of God may bring them consolation, give them the courage to bear their pain and to keep hoping in a loving God, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord our God,
we are ready to listen to the secrets
of the kingdom of heaven.
We bring before you
these simple offerings of bread and wine.
Let them express that we want
to be open to these secrets with unsophisticated hearts,
for you reveal yourself
to those who listen with their hearts.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion

Lord our God,
make us attentive to the words
Jesus has spoken to us at his table
and keep stirring in us the love he has shown us.
Let our faith be more
than formulas that do not change life.
Make the story of our life speak to those around us
that we have understood how much you care
and respond to you with all that is in us,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing

“Blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear.” Listen to the Lord with your hearts, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.



Fernando Armellini


Fernando Armellini is an Italian missionary and biblical scholar. With his permission we have begun translating his Sunday reflections on the three readings from the original Italian into English.

July 2020
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
29 30 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 1 2



Sunday Reflection


There is a video available by Fr. Fernando Armellini with commentary for today’s Gospel