by Phyllis Chandler, Notre Dame Associate
Today’s Responsorial: Lord, you are good and forgiving.
The first thought that struck me as I read today’s gospel was the words of the householder’s slaves, who said, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your fields? Where have the weeds come from?” I had to chuckle. As an avid gardener, I often ask myself the same question: Where have the weeds come from? I have no enemy who comes at night and scatters them, but the wind and the birds do as good a job. I often say gardening is simple: getting some things to grow and keeping other things from growing.
The same applies to us. As we go through our daily lives, we are called to cultivate the good seed – our God-given gifts. At the same time, we find that there are “weeds” that spring up: our faults and weaknesses, our distractions from seeking and responding to God’s call. We must take care not to let the weeds destroy the good that God has planted. If we remember that everything we have – our talents and gifts, our possessions – is a gift and not owed to us, we will feel less of a sense of entitlement and be more willing to share these gifts with others.
Another rich image in the gospel for today is that of the yeast which leavens a batch of dough. Compared to the flour and other ingredients, the yeast is a small component of the dough, yet it impacts the entire loaf. Like the yeast, we can be leaven for the world around us: our families, communities, even our world. All it takes is for each of us to do our part to make the loaf better.
During the week ahead, reflect on ways that YOU can cultivate good seeds and/or produce better bread as the gospel calls us to do.
Loving God, help us each in our own way to sow seeds of kindness and be the leaven in our world.
by Kathy Schinker, Notre Dame Associate
As I read over today’s readings it gave me great hope with an awareness once again of the blessings, wonders and possibilities I encounter every day in my relationship with God. At the same time it gives me pause to take another look at what I am doing each day.
Today’s readings are rich in possibility as I pray about protecting and preserving our land, waters and living creatures. What am I doing? Are my efforts falling on good soil? Am I a good steward? Am I part of larger group efforts to lessen global warming? Do I recycle, conserve energy?
I continue to pray that with God’s love and compassion for all my weaknesses I may continue to believe that the seeds of my actions will fall on “good soil” so that seeds may continue to fall on good ground for generations to come.
Where do the “seeds” of my thoughts, behavior, prayer fall each day? It is another way, a metaphor, for me to look at my choices and how I spend time and effort.
by Cindy Wenninghoff, Notre Dame Sisters Assoicate
Such wonderful readings for the week and how beautiful and comforting it is to know that as the Spirit resides in us, we have nothing to fear. I love how the readings come together and just remind us of how blessed we are. First, we have the prophet Zechariah telling us to rejoice for a savior is coming, and not just any savior, but one who is meek and riding on an ass. Then the Psalms and Paul continue extolling his mercy and kindness and that he resides in us. And finally Jesus’ own words, words I’m sure we are all familiar with – “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest… For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
I am a worrier, and often feel that I’m constantly asking God to hear me. Work can be overwhelming, I have friends battling cancer and family struggling with jobs and I worry for my children just because that is what a mother does. But then I look around and see so much pain – parents with children who are battling incurable diseases, teen suicides, random murders, and war on the horizon. And I feel that my problems are so small compared to many others, and it humbles me to watch their sacrifices and their pain. I’ve made it a point now, to say a little prayer when I hear of these events, and whenever I feel anxious, to remind myself of this reading. Nothing is too big or too small for Jesus—and he doesn’t come to the wise and learned but to the little ones. So even though I don’t understand why so many have to suffer, and I may not be the best at reading the Bible, or praying as often as I should, if I can just put my trust in the Spirit, just have a mustard seed of faith, then the Spirit can be in me. And once that happens, it’s easy to find joy and to be a comfort to others too.
by Rita Melgares, Notre Dame Sisters Assoicate
Readings for this 13th Sunday in Ordinary Times are filled with my favorite themes of joy and happiness.
We begin with the Entrance Antiphon, Psalm 47, a hymn calling on us to acknowledge that God is the Ruler of all Nations, and that all people (all of us!) should call out to God – not quietly nor softly – but clap our hands, and with shouts of joy, sing praises to God, the great king over all the earth!
This call for joy is repeated in the Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 89, where we rejoice over God’s promise to David of His enduring goodness and love for us, and we express our happiness that we know God, and that we walk in the radiance of God’s face.
Sunday’s Gospel is from Matthew. Matthew’s Gospel introduces a perspective which allows us, as followers of Jesus, to change our lives. The Gospel Reading is from Matthew 10:37-42, where the instructions to the Apostles – Conditions of Discipleship – are set out.
No middle ground with Jesus. He came into a world, much like our world today: a strange world with many conflicting ideas and with many incomprehensible things taking place. Jesus came into a world of hatred and confusion. He brought with Him a message and a power available to anyone willing to listen.
What instruction – what Condition of Discipleship – will Jesus ask of you this week? What condition in your life will you surrender so that you may follow Jesus?
by Juanita Harding, Notre Dame Sisters Associate
In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to the Twelve. “Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light, what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”
Jesus is speaking to us also, each one of us!
Knowing God’s Word, the Truth, is a gift. But, with that gift, is the responsibility to spread the Good News to others. We are asked to reach out to our brothers and sisters to spread the love and mercy of Jesus. We are asked to feed, to cloth, to comfort, to heal, to encourage, to accept, to open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts to the needs of others.
God made us all, God loves us all unconditionally. We are called to do the same for each other.
Jesus also told the Twelve, “Do not be afraid. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.”
Let us pray every day that the Holy Spirit gives us courage and strength and guides us to do God’s will.
by Jenene Rauth, Notre Dame Associate
The first reading for lays out the difficulties and despair felt by those who traveled with Moses for 40 years. Moses reminds the Jews of the tests God inflicted on them as they struggled through the desert on their long journey to a new land. At times the people complained mightily against God in their hopelessness. Moses, however pushes them hard to see the many blessings God bestowed on them. Are we not at times similar to the Jews who traveled so far in discontent, fear and anger? Do we not rail at times against God, forgetting our many blessings? Yet God, the good parent, never leaves us. He is there when we follow our faith and when we go astray.
Paul, also prods his people to look upon their blessings in a different way. His people may have seen and followed Jesus. They know his great sacrifice for the people.
In the gospel, Jesus states clearly the necessities we face if we wish to be with him someday. "Eat my flesh and drink my blood and you will have everlasting life." Jesus looks back to those desert wanderers who followed Moses and reminds his current audience how his sacrifice saves us. We have the privilege of renewing ourselves with the body and blood at Mass. Is it not the greatest gift we will ever receive?
by Sr. Rita Ostry, ND
This Sunday we celebrate Trinity Sunday, acknowledging who God is and how we can know God. We have three short readings, each one with powerful descriptions of God. As I read and pondered each reading one line grabbed my heart and visualized a clearer image of God.
Exodus 34:4-9– It was God crying out to Moses (I am) “…a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”
So I ask myself do I truly believe and relate to God as one who sees the struggles of my heart, my desires to do good in spite of my failings and faithfully loving me through the messiness of life? Or am I caught up in fearing God’s greatness, feeling inadequate and not good enough? Maybe it’s time for a paradigm shift!
2 Corinthians 13:11-13 – I was touched by the words “…the God of peace and love will be with you.”
It seems God so desires that we humans learn to live respectfully, graciously honoring the goodness of each other, so that a spirit of love and peace pervades the earth, the universe. Where do I find God’s love and peace? Is it from a smile of a coworker or a kind word from a family member or the neighbor? How do I share God’s love and peace? Do I see anxiety in an elderly person’s face and ask how they are? Do I make a phone call on the spur of the moment because I’m wondering how someone is doing?
John 3:16-18 – In the gospel, the words “so that everyone … might not perish but have eternal life.”
God desires a relationship with us not only on earth but forever. It is so humbling to realize how deeply our God desires to love us, bless us, and comfort us each day. The challenge is to believe God truly sees so much goodness in each one of us. Can we do the same?
As we journey through this coming week may we delightfully discover God’s faithful love, kindness and care for us each day.
by Sr. Barbara Markey, ND
John 20: 19-23
Watching the daily news or reading the headlines in the papers can, sometimes, make us wish we had an "upper room" like the apostles in today's gospel where we could gather with friends and lock the door and keep the world away. Sometimes our own worries or the clutter that fills our lives make us wish that we could care about nothing. More often, we wish that we could have the courage or the resources or the wisdom to impact what we see and hear.
And, every year shortly after Easter, the Church helps us realize we, like the apostles, have the Holy Spirit enter our lives and tell us "Peace be with you". Pentecost asks us to "Receive the Holy Spirit". The Spirit gives us both the peace we need and the courage to take that peace and bring Christ through our lives to others.
As Christians, we have the message of Jesus that allows us to enter the world from our "upper rooms" knowing that the Holy Spirit is always with us to approach each day with hope. That hope sends us forth to bring the peace we know and believe in with others.
by Linda Cernik, Notre Dame Associate
Why do you stand looking up at the sky? The “problem” of the Ascension is that we would like to “hang onto” Jesus as his disciples knew Him. I guess what we really need to do is appreciate that Jesus is in His rightful place “at the right hand of the Father.” From His heavenly throne Jesus unites Himself with his faithful people the Body of Christ. We shouldn’t gaze into the “sky,” our search for the Body of Christ can be found in all human problems here and now. It is in our suffering brothers and sisters that we behold the face of Jesus.
The Ascension of Jesus is the beginning of the time of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said I must go so that I can send the Holy Spirit. The Body of Christ is intertwined by the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to love and be devoted to one another. Jesus took care of the work of human salvation. We are to harvest the fruits of human salvation by living lives of love and encouraging others to know and welcome Jesus.
by Connie & Ron Determan, Notre Dame Associates
Our reading this week is “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” Wow, what a wonderful promise! How often do we feel orphaned?
There are so many days that I doubt the Lord’s love and feel orphaned but it is so evident around me. Why can I not see him walking with me – am I like His disciples on the road to Emmaus – I do not recognize him? He is so present in our daily lives but at times I do feel orphaned. Even when our health is failing or our loved ones hurt us – He is walking with us though we do not recognize Him.
I am recovering from a stroke that happened last fall. As I recover, I am going through what I call “brain therapy”. During these sessions, I work on my concentration and focus. One of the exercises includes trying to get a silly monkey up a tree for him to get rewarded with bananas. This takes concentration and focus. As soon as I lose my focus and think of something I need to be doing or something I did wrong, that silly monkey falls back to the ground. I have to take time to stop and again just focus on the monkey and getting him up that tree. So how do I increase my focus and concentration?
We race through our day trying to accomplish so much but do not take time to walk with Him or truly focus on Him. How are we like His disciples and not recognize Jesus? Are we losing our focus on Jesus? Are we feeling orphaned? His message this week is that we will not be orphaned – let us keep our focus on Jesus and not think about the things we need to do or the things we did wrong and feel orphaned. Take time to spend with Jesus and you will know He truly has not left us orphaned!