Saturday, July 15, 2017

07-16-17 -- 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

July 16, 2017 - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A 
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

Only God brings about the Kingdom of heaven. Only God brings creation into being. Only God sends the rain. Only God makes the sun shine. Only God make the crops grow.

God is powerful. God is the source of all creation. God is so powerful that, in the Book of Genesis, when God speaks, things come into being.

The Prophet Isaiah speaks for the Lord. Thus says the Lord: My word goes forth from my mouth and shall do my will, reaching the end for which I sent it.

So, the Word of God is powerful. And the Word of God asks us three questions this weekend.

First, what sort of soil are we? The sower is sowing the Word of God. The sower is proclaiming the Good News that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Jesus says knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been granted to those who hear.

But not everybody wants to hear the Good News. Sometimes it seems irrelevant or too challenging. Or we’re too self-absorbed or busy to listen.

We close our ears so that we cannot hear. We close our eyes so that we cannot see.

Those who are good soil give the word a hearing, allowing it to sink in and take root.

We need to cultivate a posture of prayerful, attentive listening to allow the Word of God to sink into our hearts.

Which leads us to the second question. What sort of seed are we? A seed falls to the ground and dies. Only in this way does it sprout to life again and produce fruit or grain or vegetables.

Do we die to ourselves so that we can live for Jesus? What sort of harvest do we produce? A rich, bountiful harvest bearing good fruit?

And finally, what sort of sower are we? Do we attend to the Word of God or do we allow the religious professionals, priests and nuns and monks, to do all the work.

The world is hungry for the Word of God. The world is in desperate need of the Word of God. But how can we expect a rich harvest if we keep the seed to ourselves?

God’s power sends the rain and makes the plants grow. But the sower has to do the work of preparing the land and sowing the seed and gathering the harvest.

The Kingdom of heaven will come. And because God is powerful and God’s word is effective, God will bring about the Kingdom. What are we doing to help make it so?

The sower went out to sow, and as the sower sowed, some seed fell on rich soil.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

07-09-17 -- 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

July 9, 2017 - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A 
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

We go looking for secret knowledge all the time. We want to know if there are really some secret gospels that hold the key to happiness.

We go searching for the fountain of youth. Will this product or that one really make me look younger or feel better?

We want that special diet pill that will make us lose weight fast or that special powder that will make our muscles grow bigger.

But those things are always too good to be true, aren’t they?

Jesus says take my yoke and learn from me. Jesus wants to teach us how to find happiness in this life and in the life to come. There are two parts to this. Take my yoke and learn from me.

First, take my yoke. Jesus’ yoke may be easy, but it is still a yoke. A yoke is used to make a plow animal go where you want it to go.

Taking Jesus’ yoke means going where Jesus wants us to go, and doing what Jesus wants us to do, and living like Jesus wants us to live.

Second, learn from me. What lesson does Jesus want to teach us. We read from our sacred scripture week after week searching for the lessons Jesus wants to teach us.

In the first reading this weekend the prophet Zechariah says that the Savior is meek, riding on a donkey.

Riding on a donkey is nothing fancy, no chariot, no horse drawn carriage. Riding on a donkey is humble and simple.

Zechariah goes on to say that this simplicity brings about peace and joy.

Jesus in the Gospel says that knowledge of God is revealed to little ones, the childlike, those who are meek and humble.

Little ones see and experience everything as if for the first time. There is wonder and awe in their eyes as they look at creation.

Saint Paul says they are filled with the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God brings joy and peace.

Our lives are complex and we are too proud. We need to learn to be meek and humble of heart. We need to learn to be more simple. This simplicity would lead to greater joy and peace in our hearts.

Can we begin to uncomplicate our lives? We need to learn to be meek and humble of heart. We need to learn to be more simple. This simplicity would lead to greater joy and peace in our lives.

The prophet Zechariah says that our Savior comes to us simple and meek and humble bringing peace and joy.

Our Savior comes saying take my yoke and learn from me. My yoke is easy and my burden is light. Learn from me and you will find rest for yourselves.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

07-02-17 -- 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

July 2, 2017 - 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A 
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

The woman in the Book of Kings provides assistance to the prophet Elisha. She doesn't do it for a reward. She does it because she knows it's the right thing to do.

She's not expecting some kind of payment for her kindness. She is being generous just because. She knows Elisha is a prophet of God and she knows that, as a prophet, his life is difficult. She wants to make his life easier. So she shows him a great kindness.

And because she is not looking for a reward, the Lord God sees what she has done, and the Lord God rewards her. The longing of her heart is fulfilled and she gives birth to a son as a reward for her kindness to the prophet.

The Lord God is the one who rewards her. The Lord God sends her a son because of her yes.

If we do good, not looking for reward or payment, the Lord God sees and we are rewarded for our good deeds.

Jesus says that if anyone performs even the smallest of service to another, they will not lose their reward.

But Jesus also says we can’t do the good deeds with the reward in mind. If we do, we are already repaid.

Now our hospitality might not be in the form of a meal or a bed for the night or a cup of cold water to drink.

It might be a simple greeting, an offer of help to someone in need, an act of kindness, a supportive shoulder, an encouraging word, a kind thing done for the sake of being kind, a good thing done for the sake of being good.

If we receive Jesus, then we receive God the Father who sent him.

And that is exactly what we do here at Sunday Mass. We celebrate the Eucharist. We receive Jesus’ very body and blood sacrificed for us, given to us a as a generous life-giving gift.

We welcome Jesus into our lives and into our hearts. We ask Jesus to help us be good and kind and merciful.

We ask Jesus to help us learn how to receive a prophet, to give of ourselves in service to others and so receive a prophet’s reward.

The woman in the Book of Kings provides assistance to the prophet Elisha. She is rewarded with the longing of her heart, the birth of a son.

What great kindness do we show not expecting anything in return?

Jesus who sees what is done in generosity and kindness will repay us.