for Sunday, July 23, 2017
The Letter to the Romans tells us in the second reading today: "we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings." That is pretty strong! Because our world is so messed up, we are often confused about what is right and what is wrong—so we don't know how to pray as we ought.
The first reading today, from the Book of Wisdom, reminds us that God is all powerful and because of that, God can love and judge and deal with us with leniency and mercy and forgiveness. Those who are powerful can be generous! This can remind us that our own personal power should always reflect in mercy, generosity and forgiveness.
The Letters to the Romans reminds us that our prayers are very often just our own prayers and not the will of God. Instead, we can allow the Spirit to pray within us so that the prayer is God's prayer. It is easy to do this. All we need say is "O God, may I do your will and pray for what you want."
The Gospel from Saint Matthew today, in the longer version, gives us three parables. The shorter version gives us only one parable and without its explanation by the Lord. All three parables are about the kingdom of God. We can understand from these parables that it is difficult in this life to separate the good and the bad, the wheat and the weeds. We can see that the Kingdom is a small seed that can grow enormously. And we can understand that if we live the Kingdom, it becomes like leaven in bread in our lives and in the lives of others.
The teaching today is that we must be slow to judge others, slow to think that we understand the Kingdom and how it is present and slow to presume that we know the ways of God. Rather, we must look at others as possible Kingdom bearers, we must be still before the mystery of God so that we can begin to be aware of the Kingdom and we must look for God in all that happens to us and to others.
When Jesus tells us parables, it is because He wants us to look at life in ways that are different from our normal ways. We should never think that we are the wheat and that others are the weeds! Rather we need to pay attention to the weeds of our lives and be aware of the wheat in the lives of others. When Jesus tells us that the Kingdom is like a small seed that can grow into a large tree, we should be aware of the gifts of others and aware that we are still small. When Jesus tells us that the Kingdom is like leaven, we should strive to be aware of how others are leaven already and that we can become leaven.
Let us be aware of God's love for others and reflect God's love for others in our own lives through mercy and forgiveness.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Wisdom 12.13, 16-19
Second Reading: Romans 8.26-27
Gospel: Matthew 13.24-43
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: