by Cathy (Notre Dame Associate) & Gary Leak
The first reading from Kings, the responsorial psalm, Alleluia, and Matthew’s Gospel all talk about understanding. Webster defines understanding as comprehension, applying concepts, friendly and harmonious relationships, agreement of opinions or feelings, to achieve or grasp the nature, significance or explanation of something.
We all seek understanding like this. We want to understand what God is asking of us and how we can serve. The Holy Spirit gave us the gift of understanding at Confirmation so that we may experience a living relationship with Christ by living out the meaning of what we hear, contemplate, and do in the celebration of the Mass. In the words of St. Augustine, “I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe.” (CCC 158)
The readings remind us that God’s creation, His Word, and the magisterium of the church help us to understand that God’s Word and laws are more important for a full, complete life than any earthy wealth. The parables in Matthew teach us that God and His Kingdom are more valuable than earthly treasure. We must open our hearts like children so that we might understand these truths.
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?