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Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 07-13-14, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
USCCB.org/RNAB ^ | 07-13-14 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 07/12/2014 7:44:59 PM PDT by Salvation

July 13, 2014

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

 

Reading 1 Is 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14

R/ (Lk 8:8) The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
You have visited the land and watered it;
greatly have you enriched it.
God’s watercourses are filled;
you have prepared the grain.
R/ The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
Thus have you prepared the land: drenching its furrows,
breaking up its clods,
Softening it with showers,
blessing its yield.
R/ The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
You have crowned the year with your bounty,
and your paths overflow with a rich harvest;
The untilled meadows overflow with it,
and rejoicing clothes the hills.
R/ The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
The fields are garmented with flocks
and the valleys blanketed with grain.
They shout and sing for joy.
R/ The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.

Reading 2 Rom 8:18-23

Brothers and sisters:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation
the revelation of the children of God;
for creation was made subject to futility,
not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it,
in hope that creation itself
would be set free from slavery to corruption
and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Gospel Mt 13:1-23

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

The disciples approached him and said,
“Why do you speak to them 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.

“Hear then the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one
who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it,
and the evil one comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

or Mt 13:1-9

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”



TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; ordinarytime; prayer
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1 posted on 07/12/2014 7:44:59 PM PDT by Salvation
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2 posted on 07/12/2014 7:46:30 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Isaiah 55:10-11

Epilogue: Invitation to Partake of the Banquet of the Lord’s Covenant


[10] For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and return not thither but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
[11] so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

55:10-11. The prophet uses comparisons that are particularly meaningful to those
who live in the arid countries of the East, to describe how very powerful the word
of God is: it actually delivers the salvation that it promises. The personified word
of God (cf. Wis 8:4; 9:9-10; 18:14-15) is a figure of the incarnation of Jesus Christ,
the eternal Word of the Father, who comes down to save mankind. “The Word of
God, he says, will not return to him empty and barren; rather, it will flourish in all
things, nourished by the good deeds of those who obey and fulfill his teachings.
The word is fulfilled when it is put into practice; if it is not put into practice, it re-
mains barren and withered and starved. Listen carefully, then, when he tells of
the food that nourishes him: ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me’ (Jn 4:
34)” (St Bernard, “In Cantica Canticorum”, 71, 12-13).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


3 posted on 07/12/2014 7:47:48 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Romans 8:18-23

Christians are Children of God (Continuation)


[18] I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing
with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

[19] For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God;
[20] for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of
him who subjected it in hope; [21] because the creation itself will be set free from
its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22]
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now;
[23] and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the
Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bo-
dies.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

18. “Who is there then”, St Cyprian comments, “who will not strive to attain so
great a glory, by making himself God’s friend, to rejoice immediately with Christ,
to receive the divine rewards after the pains and sufferings of this life? If it is glo-
rious for soldiers of this world to return to their fatherland victorious after defeating
the enemy, how much greater and more pleasing glory will there not be, once the
devil is overcome, to return victorious to heaven [...]; to bear with one the trophies
of victory [...]; to sit at God’s side when he comes to judge, to be a co-heir with
Christ, to be made equal to the angels and to enjoy with the Patriarchs, with the
Apostles and with the Prophets the possession of the Kingdom of heaven [...].
A spirit secure in these supernatural thoughts stays strong and firm, and is un-
moved by the attacks of demons and the threats of this world, a spirit streng-
hened by a solid and confident faith in the future [...]. It leaves here with dignity
and confidence, rejoicing in one moment to close its eyes which looked on men
and the world, and to see God and Christ! [...]. These are the thoughts the mind
should have, this is how it ought to reflect, night and day. If persecution finds
God’s soldier prepared in this manner, there will be no power capable of overco-
ming a spirit so equipped for the struggle” (”Epist. ad Fortunatum”, 13).

19-21. To make his point more vividly St Paul, in a metaphor, depicts the whole
of creation, the material universe, as a living person, groaning in pain impatiently
waiting for a future event, raising its head, straining to see something appear
on the horizon.

The material world is indeed, through God’s design, linked to man and his desti-
ny. “Sacred Scripture teaches that man was created ‘in the image of God,’ as
able to know and love his Creator, and as set by him over all earthly creatures
that he might rule them, and make use of them, while glorifying God” (Vatican II,
“Gaudium Et Spes”, 12). The futility to which creation is subject is not so much
corruption and death as the disorder resulting from sin. According to God’s plan
material things should be resources which enable man to attain the ultimate
goal of his existence. By using them in a disordered way, disconnecting them
from God, man turns them into instruments of sin, which therefore are subject
to the consequences of sin.

“Are we of the twentieth century not convinced of the overpoweringly eloquent
words of the Apostle of the Gentiles concerning the ‘creation (that) has been
groaning in travail together until now’ and ‘waits with eager longing for the revea-
ling of the sons of God’, the creation that’ was subjected to futility’? Does not the
previously unknown immense progress — which has taken place especially in the
course of this century — in the field of man’s dominion over the world itself reveal
— to a previously unknown degree—that manifold subjection ‘to futility’? [...] The
world of the previously unattained conquests of science and technology — is it
not also the world ‘groaning in travail’ that ‘waits with eager longing for the revea-
ling of the sons of God’?” (Bl. John Paul II, “Redemptor Hominis”, 8).

Reestablishment of the order willed by God, bringing the whole world to fulfill its
true purpose, is the particular mission of the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, the true
Lord of history: “’The arm of the Lord has not been shortened.’ God is no less po-
werful today than he was in other times; his love for man is no less true. Our faith
teaches us that all creation, the movement of the earth and the other heavenly bo-
dies, the good actions of creatures and all the good that has been achieved in his-
tory, in short everything, comes from God and is directed toward him.

“The action of the Holy Spirit may pass unnoticed because God does not reveal
to us his plans, and because man’s sin obscures the divine gifts. But faith tells
us that God is always acting. He has created us and maintains us in existence,
and he is leading all creation by his grace towards the glorious freedom of the
children of God” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 130).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 07/12/2014 7:48:16 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Matthew 13:1-23

Parable of the Sower


[1] That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. [2] And
great crowds gathered about Him, so that He got into a boat and sat there; and
the whole crowd stood on the beach. [3] And He told them many things in para-
bles, saying: “A sower went out to sow. [4] And as he sowed, some seeds fell
along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. [5] Other seeds fell on
rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up,
since they had no depth of soil, [6] but when the sun rose they were scorched;
and since they had no root they withered away. [7] Other seeds fell upon thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked them. [8] Other seeds fell on good soil and
brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. [9] He who has
ears, let him hear.”

[10] Then the disciples came and said to Him (Jesus), “Why do You speak to
them in parables?” [11] And He answered them, “To you it has been given to
know the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been given.
[12] For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from
him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. [13] This is why I speak
to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not
hear, nor do they understand. [14] With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of
Isaiah which says: `You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall
indeed see but never perceive. [15] For this people’s heart has grown dull, and
their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should
perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart,
and turn for me to heal them.’

[16] But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. [17]
Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you
see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

[18] “Hear then the parable of the sower. [19] When any one hears the Word of
the Kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away
what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path. [20] As for what
was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the Word and immediately re-
ceives it with joy; [21] yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and
when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, immediately he
falls away. [22] As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the
Word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the Word, and
it proves unfruitful. [23] As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears
the Word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a
hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

3. Chapter 13 of St. Matthew includes as many as seven of Jesus’ parables,
which is the reason why it is usually called “the parable discourse” or the “para-
bolic discourse”. Because of their similarity of content and setting these para-
bles are often called the “Kingdom parables”, and also the “parables of the Lake”,
because Jesus taught them on the shore of Lake Gennesaret. Jesus uses these
elaborate comparisons (parables) to explain certain features of the Kingdom of
God which He has come to establish (cf. Matthew 3:2)—its tiny, humble origins;
its steady growth; its worldwide scope; its salvific force. God calls everyone to
salvation but only those attain it who receive God’s call with good dispositions
and who do not change their attitude; the value of the spiritual benefits the King-
dom brings—so valuable that one should give up everything to obtain them; the
fact that good and bad are all mixed together until the harvest time, or the time
of God’s judgment; the intimate connection between earthly and heavenly as-
pects of the Kingdom, until it reaches its point of full development at the end of
time.

On Jesus’ lips, parables are exceptionally effective. By using parables He keeps
His listeners’ attention, whether they are uneducated or not, and by means of the
most ordinary things of daily life He sheds light on the deepest supernatural mys-
teries. He used the parable device in a masterly way; His parables are quite
unique; they carry the seal of His personality; through them He has graphically
shown us the riches of grace, the life of the Church, the demands of the faith and
even the mystery of God’s own inner life.

Jesus’ teaching continues to provide every generation with light and guidance on
moral conduct. By reading and reflecting on His parables one can savor the ado-
rable humanity of the Savior, who showed such kindness to the people who crow-
ded around to hear Him—and who shows the same readiness to listen to our pra-
yers, despite our dullness, and to reply to our healthy curiosity when we try to
make out His meaning.

3-8. Anyone who has visited the fertile plain to the west of the Lake of Gennesa-
ret will appreciate Jesus’ touching description in the parable of the sower. The
plain is crisscrossed by paths; it is streaked with rocky ground, often with the
rocks lying just beneath the surface, and with the courses of rivulets, dry for most
of the year but still retaining some moisture. Here and there are clumps of large
thorn bushes. When the agricultural worker sows seed in this mixed kind of land,
he knows that some seed will fare better than others.

9. Jesus did not explain this parable there and then. It was quite usual for para-
bles to be presented in the first instance as a kind of puzzle to gain the listener’s
attention, excite his curiosity and fix the parable in his memory. It may well be
that Jesus wanted to allow his more interested listeners to identify themselves by
coming back to hear Him again—as happened with His disciples. The rest—who
listened out of idle curiosity or for too human reasons (to see Him work miracles)
—would not benefit from hearing a more detailed and deeper explanation of the
parable.

10-13. The kind of Kingdom Jesus was going to establish did not suit the Juda-
ism of His time, largely because of the Jew’s nationalistic, earthbound idea of the
Messiah to come. In His preaching Jesus takes account of the different outlooks
of His listeners, as can be seen in the attitudes described in the parable of the
sower. If people were well disposed to Him, the enigmatic nature of the parable
would stimulate their interest; and Jesus later did give His many disciples a fuller
explanation of its meaning; but there was no point in doing this if people were not
ready to listen.

Besides, parables—as indeed any type of comparison or analogy—are used to re-
veal or explain something which is not easy to understand, as was the case with
the supernatural things Jesus was explaining. One has to shade one’s eyes to
see things if the sun is too bright; otherwise, one is blinded and sees nothing.
Similarly, parables help to shade supernatural brightness to allow the listener to
grasp meaning without being blinded by it.

These verses also raise a very interesting question: how can divine revelation and
grace produce such widely differing responses in people? What is at work here
is the mystery of divine grace—which is an unmerited gift—and of man’s response
to this grace. What Jesus says here underlines man’s responsibility to be ready
to accept God’s grace and to respond to it. Jesus’ reference to Isaiah (Matthew
13:14-15) is a prophecy of that hardness of heart which is a punishment meted
out to those who resist grace.

These verses need to be interpreted in the light of three points: 1) Jesus Christ
loved everyone, including people of His own home town: He gave His life in order
to save all men; 2) the parable is a literary form designed to get ideas across
clearly: its ultimate aim is to teach, not to mislead or obscure; 3) lack of appre-
ciation for divine grace is something blameworthy, which does merit punishment;
however, Jesus did not come directly to punish anyone, but rather to save every-
one.

12. Jesus is addressing His disciples and explaining to them that, precisely
because they have faith in Him and want to have a good grasp of His teaching,
they will be given a deeper understanding of divine truths. But those who do not
“follow Him” (cf. note on Matthew 4:18-22) will later lose interest in the things of
God and will grow ever blinder: it is as if the little they have is being taken away
from them.

This verse also helps us understand the meaning of the parable of the sower, a
parable which gives a wonderful explanation of the supernatural economy of di-
vine grace: God gives grace, and man freely responds to that grace. The result
is that those who respond to grace generously receive additional grace and so
grow steadily in grace and holiness; whereas those who reject God’s gifts be-
come closed up within themselves; through their selfishness and attachment to
sin they eventually lose God’s grace entirely. In this verse, then, our Lord gives
a clear warning: with the full weight of His divine authority He exhorts us—without
taking away our freedom—to act responsibly: the gifts God keeps sending us
should yield fruit; we should make good use of the opportunities for Christian
sanctification which are offered us in the course of our lives.

14-15. Only well-disposed people grasp the meaning of God’s words. It is not
enough just to hear them physically. In the course of Jesus’ preaching the pro-
phetic words of Isaiah come true once again.

However, we should not think that not wanting to hear or to understand was
something exclusive to certain contemporaries of Jesus; each one of us is at
times hard of hearing, hard-hearted and dull-minded in the presence of God’s
grace and saving word. Moreover, it is not enough to be familiar with the tea-
ching of the Church: it is absolutely necessary to put the faith into practice,
with all that that implies, morally and ascetically. Jesus was fixed to the wood
of the Cross not only by nails and by the sins of certain Jews but also by our
sins — sins committed centuries later but which afflicted the Sacred Humanity
of Jesus Christ, who bore the burden of our sins. See the note on Mark 4:11-
12.

16-17. In contrast with the closed attitude of many Jews who witnessed Jesus’
life but did not believe in Him, the disciples are praised by our Lord for their doci-
lity to grace, their openness to recognizing Him as the Messiah and to accep-
ting His teaching.

He calls His disciples blessed, happy. As He says, the prophets and just men
and women of the Old Testament had for centuries lived in hope of enjoying one
day the peace the future Messiah would bring, but they had died without expe-
riencing this good fortune. Simeon, towards the end of his long life, was filled
with joy on seeing the infant Jesus when He was presented in the temple: “He
took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, `Lord now lettest Thou Thy
servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy
salvation’” (Luke 2:28-30). During our Lord’s public life, His disciples were fortu-
nate enough to see and be on close terms with Him; later they would recall that
incomparable gift, and one of them would begin his first letter in these words:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen
with our own eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands,
concerning the word of life; [...] that which we have seen and heard we proclaim
also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with
the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our [or
your] joy may be complete (1 John 1:1-4).

This exceptional good fortune was, obviously, not theirs but of special merit: God
planned it; it was He who decided that the time had come for the Old Testament
prophecies to be fulfilled. In any event, God gives every soul opportunities to meet
Him: each of us has to be sensitive enough to grasp them and not let them pass.
There were many men and women in Palestine who saw and heard the incarnate
Son of God but did not have the spiritual sensitivity to see in Him what the Apos-
tles and disciples saw.

19. He does not understand because he does not love—not because he is not cle-
ver enough: lack of love opens the door of the soul to the devil.

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


5 posted on 07/12/2014 7:48:42 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass


First reading

Isaiah 55:10-11 ©

Thus says the Lord: ‘As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.’


Psalm

Psalm 64:10-14 ©

Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop.

You care for the earth, give it water,

  you fill it with riches.

Your river in heaven brims over

  to provide its grain.

Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop.

And thus you provide for the earth;

  you drench its furrows;

you level it, soften it with showers;

  you bless its growth.

Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop.

You crown the year with your goodness.

  Abundance flows in your steps,

  in the pastures of the wilderness it flows.

Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop.

The hills are girded with joy,

  the meadows covered with flocks,

the valleys are decked with wheat.

  They shout for joy, yes, they sing.

Some seed fell into rich soil and produced its crop.


Second reading

Romans 8:18-23 ©

I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us. The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons. It was not for any fault on the part of creation that it was made unable to attain its purpose, it was made so by God; but creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God. From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.


Gospel Acclamation

1S3:9,Jn6:68

Alleluia, alleluia!

Speak, Lord, your servant is listening:

you have the message of eternal life.

Alleluia!

Or

Alleluia, alleluia!

The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower;

whoever finds this seed will remain for ever.

Alleluia!

EITHER:

Gospel

Matthew 13:1-23 ©

Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.

  He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’

  Then the disciples went up to him and asked, ‘Why do you talk to them in parables?’ ‘Because’ he replied, ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them. For anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. So in their case this prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled:

You will listen and listen again, but not understand,

see and see again, but not perceive.

For the heart of this nation has grown coarse,

their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes,

for fear they should see with their eyes,

hear with their ears,

understand with their heart,

and be converted

and be healed by me.

‘But happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear! I tell you solemnly, many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.

  ‘You, therefore, are to hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path. The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once. The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing. And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’

OR:

Alternative Gospel

Matthew 13:1-9 ©

Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.

  He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’


6 posted on 07/12/2014 7:54:02 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Perpetual Novena for the Nation (Ecumenical)
7 posted on 07/12/2014 8:29:07 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
8 posted on 07/12/2014 8:29:37 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

 
Jesus, High Priest
 

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

9 posted on 07/12/2014 8:30:18 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.


The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]


10 posted on 07/12/2014 8:33:01 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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~ PRAYER ~

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen
+

11 posted on 07/12/2014 8:33:28 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

   

PLEASE JOIN US -

Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  


There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.


12 posted on 07/12/2014 8:34:00 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ
 

 
July Devotion: The Precious Blood

July Devotion: The Precious Blood 
Like the Sacred Wounds of Jesus, His Precious Blood deserves special honor because of its close relation to the Sacred Passion. That honor was given to it from the beginning by the Apostles who praised its redeeming power. (Rom. 5:9 "we are justified by His blood"; Heb. 13:12 "and so Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people by His blood, suffered outside the gate"; 1 John 1:7 "and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.") 
The Church has always held devotion to the Precious Blood in high esteem. We continue to recognize and publicly acknowledge the profound indebtedness of the whole human race to Christ, Priest and Victim. 
Standing at the foot of the cross, we see Jesus' head, hands, feet, and side pouring out streams of precious blood. It is precious because it: 
•      Redeems us and atones for our sins. Through His precious blood we are reconciled to God, made one with Him. Death ceases to be death and heaven's gates are opened to us.  
•      Cleanses us from all sin.  
•      Preserves us and keeps us safe from the grasp of evil.  When the Father sees us washed in the Blood of the Lamb we are spared.  
•      Comforts us. It is the constant reminder that Jesus - true God and true man suffered and died to save us and to open heaven to us because He loves us.  
•      Sanctifies us.  The same blood that justifies by taking away sin, continues to work within us.  Its action gives us the grace to continue on the path toward the Kingdom of God.  It assists us in achieving our new nature, leading us onward in subduing sin and in following the commands of God.  
Jesus shed His precious blood seven times during His life on earth.  They events were: 
•      Jesus shed His Blood in the Circumcision  
•      Jesus shed His Blood whilst praying in the Garden of Olives  
•      Jesus shed His Blood in the scourging  
•      Jesus shed His Blood in the crowning with thorns  
•      Jesus shed His Blood while carrying His cross  
•      Jesus shed His Blood in the crucifixion  
•      Jesus shed His Blood and water when His side was pierced 
 
The Power of the Precious Blood 
"I adore You, O Precious Blood of Jesus, flower of creation, fruit of virginity, ineffable instrument of the Holy Spirit, and I rejoice at the thought that You came from the drop of virginal blood on which eternal Love impressed its movement; You were assumed by the Word and deified in His person. I am overcome with emotion when I think of Your passing from the Blessed Virgin's heart into the heart of the Word, and, being vivified by the breath of the Divinity, becoming adorable because You became the Blood of God." (St. Albert the Great)
 

At their recent meeting, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had continuous Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for "healing and peace."   They encouraged parishes and communities to have ongoing Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  In these dark months of woundedness, pain and violence we need to turn to the Precious Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist, for healing, peace, and light.  
"What power we have in the Precious Blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist!  He is there to protect us, to be our refuge and our redemption.  (In Exodus 12, God told Moses to have His chosen people mark their door posts with the blood of an unblemished lamb, during the first Passover. Those who did this were spared when the Angel of the death passed by). This is why Archbishop Sheen said that we must call down the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  For, he warned, when we stop calling down the Blood of the Lamb, we start calling down the blood of each other."  (From our book Bread of Life)      
"And the Lamb on the throne will shepherd them. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water" (Rev 7:17). 
"In the tumultuous events of our time, it is important to look to the Eucharist: it must be at the heart of the life of priests and consecrated people; the light and strength of spouses in putting into practice their commitment to fidelity, chastity and the apostolate; the ideal in education and in training children, adolescents and young people; the comfort and support of those who are troubled, of the sick and all who are weeping in the Gethsemane of life."  (Pope John Paul II)  
Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! 
"The only time our Lord asked the Apostles for anything was the night when He went into His agony.  But as often in the history of the church since that time, evil was awake, but the disciples were asleep.  That is why there came out of His anguished and lonely Heart a sigh: 'Could you not watch one hour with Me?'" (Mt 26:40).  Not for an hour of activity did he plead, but for an hour of friendship (Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen).  
 
St. Maria Goretti,  Patroness of Youth & Children of Mary, Feast-July 6 St. Maria of Italy (1890-1902), couldn't wait to make her First Communion.  She wanted to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist so that she could become more beautiful and pure like Him; she wanted Him to live in her, close to her heart.  After she received Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for the first time, she stayed in Church for a long time after Mass to talk to Him. Maria's family lived with and worked for a farmer. His son Alessandro kept trying to make Maria sin against purity.  One day, when everyone else was working, Alessandro grabbed Maria and tried to make her sin.  Maria kept crying out for him to stop, and each time she did, he stabbed her. Courageously,   Maria resisted him and was stabbed fourteen times. St. Maria died the next day.  
"Look at Maria Goretti....  Like her, be capable of defending your purity of heart and body.  Be committed to the struggle against evil and sin.  Always esteem and love, purity and virginity." (Pope John Paul II, 1990)      
 
A Prayer for Priests 
O my God, help those priests who are faithful to remain faithful; to those who are falling, stretch forth Your Divine Hand that they may grasp it as their support.  In the great ocean of Your mercy, lift those poor unfortunate ones who have fallen, that being engulfed therein they may receive the grace to return to Your Great Loving Heart.  Amen.  Precious Blood of Jesus, protect them!
 
The Eucharist is the fruit of our Lords Passion. Jesus gave up His Body on the cross so that He may give you His Body in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus poured out His very last drop of Blood on the cross so that He may fill you with His Divine Love each time that you receive Him in Holy Communion and visit Him in Eucharistic Adoration! 
"The Eucharist, in the Mass and outside of the Mass, is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and is therefore deserving of the worship that is given to the living God, and to Him alone" (Pope John Paul II, September 29, 1979, Phoenix Park, Ireland) 
"The bread and wine, fruit of human hands, transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit into the body and blood of Christ, become a pledge of the 'new heaven and new earth,' announced by the Church in her daily mission." "In Christ, whom we adore present in the mystery of the Eucharist, the father uttered his final word with regard to humanity and human history." "To live the Eucharist, it is necessary, as well, to spend much time in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, something which I myself experience every day drawing from it strength, consolation and assistance."  "How could the Church fulfill her vocation without cultivating a constant relationship with the Eucharist, without nourishing herself with this food which sanctifies, without founding her missionary activity on this indispensable support?" "To evangelize the world there is need of apostles who are 'experts' in the celebration, adoration and contemplation of the Eucharist" (Pope John Paul II, World Mission Message 2004).
 
The Power of the Precious Blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist  
 
"The Precious Blood belongs in an especial manner to men. Much more, therefore, does God invite them to come to its heavenly baths, and receive therein, not only the cleansing of their souls, but the power of a new and amazing life. Every doctrine in theology is a call to the Precious Blood.  Every ceremony in the Church tells of it . . . .  Every supernatural act is a growth of it. Everything that is holy on earth is either a leaf, bud, blossom or fruit of the Blood of Jesus. To its fountains God calls the sinner, that he may be lightened of his burdens. There is no remission of him in anything else.  Only there is his lost sonship to be found. The saints are no less called by God to these invigorating streams. It is out of the Precious Blood that men draw martyrdoms, vocations, celebacies, austerities, heroic charities, and all the magnificent graces of high sanctity.  The secret nourishment of prayer is from those fountains" (Father Faber, The Precious Blood).  
 

The Most Precious Blood of Jesus
July is traditionally associated with the Precious Blood of Our Lord. It may be customary to celebrate the votive Mass of the Precious Blood on July 1.

The extraordinary importance of the saving Blood of Christ has ensured a central place for its memorial in the celebration of this cultic mystery: at the centre of the Eucharistic assembly, in which the Church raises up to God in thanksgiving "the cup of blessing" (1 Cor 10, 16; cf Ps 115-116, 13) and offers it to the faithful as a "real communion with the Blood of Christ" (1 Cor 10, 16); and throughout the Liturgical Year. The Church celebrates the saving Blood of Christ not only on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, but also on many other occasions, such that the cultic remembrance of the Blood of our redemption (cf 1 Pt 1, 18) pervades the entire Liturgical Year. Hence, at Vespers during Christmastide, the Church, addressing Christ, sings: "Nos quoque, qui sancto tuo redempti sumus sanguine, ob diem natalis tui hymnum novum concinimus." In the Paschal Triduum, the redemptive significance and efficacy of the Blood of Christ is continuously recalled in adoration. During the adoration of the Cross on Good Friday the Church sings the hymn: "Mite corpus perforatur, sanguis unde profluit; terra, pontus, astra, mundus quo lavanturflumine", and again on Easter Sunday, "Cuius corpus sanctissimum in ara crucis torridum, sed et cruorem roesum gustando, Deo vivimus (194).

Catholic Word of the Day: LITANY OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD, 09-25-12
ST. GASPAR: Founder of the Society of the Precious Blood
Mass in the Cathedral of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (London, 9/18)

Devotion to the Drops of Blood Lost by our Lord Jesus Christ on His Way to Calvary (Prayer/Devotion)
Chaplet of the Most Precious Blood
Catholic Word of the Day: PRECIOUS BLOOD, 12-03-11
The Traditional Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Catholic Caucus)
Devotion to the Precious Blood
DOCTRINE OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,And More on the Precious Blood
Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ
NOTHING IS MORE POTENT AGAINST EVIL THAN PLEADING THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST
Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus


"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you"  (Jn 6:53).  

13 posted on 07/12/2014 8:34:29 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
July 2014

Pope's Intentions

Universal: That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.

For Evangelization: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.

14 posted on 07/12/2014 8:35:40 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Daily Gospel Commentary

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A

Commentary of the day
Pope Francis
Apostolic Exhortation « Evangelii Gaudium / The Joy of the Gospel» § 174-175 (trans. © copyright Libreria Editrice Vaticana)

"The one who hears the word and understands it, indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold"

All evangelization is based on the Word of God, listened to, meditated upon, lived, celebrated and witnessed to. The sacred Scriptures are the very source of evangelization. Consequently, we need to be constantly trained in hearing the word. The Church does not evangelize unless she constantly lets herself be evangelized. It is indispensable that the word of God “be ever more fully at the heart of every ecclesial activity” (Benedict XVI). God’s word, listened to and celebrated, above all in the Eucharist, nourishes and inwardly strengthens Christians, enabling them to offer an authentic witness to the Gospel in daily life. We have long since moved beyond that old contraposition between word and sacrament. The preaching of the word, living and effective, prepares for the reception of the sacrament, and in the sacrament that word attains its maximum efficacy.

The study of the sacred Scriptures must be a door opened to every believer. It is essential that the revealed word radically enrich our catechesis and all our efforts to pass on the faith.[137] Evangelization demands familiarity with God’s word, which calls for dioceses, parishes and Catholic associations to provide for a serious, ongoing study of the Bible, while encouraging its prayerful individual and communal reading. We do not blindly seek God, or wait for him to speak to us first, for “God has already spoken, and there is nothing further that we need to know, which has not been revealed to us” (Benedict XVI). Let us receive the sublime treasure of the revealed word.


15 posted on 07/12/2014 8:39:36 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Zenit.org

Jesus, the Sower That Sows the Seed of Life

Meditation for Sunday, July 13th

Rome, July 13, 2014 (Zenit.org) Monsignor Francesco Follo | 598 hits

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - July 13, 2014

Roman Rite

Isaiah 55:10-11; Ps 65; Romans 8:18-23; Mt 13:1 to 23

1) The words of the Word that must be seeded.

The parable of today’s Roman Rite liturgy in the first place speaks of Jesus, our Savior, who wants to introduce his mission and the sense of his presence among us with the comparison of the sower.

In an earlier passage, the Evangelist St. Matthew writes: "Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom" (9:35).  Jesus sees himself as the one who is sent to "preach the Gospel of the Kingdom." When Jesus begins his public ministry, he refers himself to a text from the prophet Isaiah that says: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me ... He has anointed me to proclaim glad tidings to the poor ... to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord" (Lk 4:17-19). Jesus says that these prophetic words come true in Him: He was sent "to announce a beautiful and happy news" to "preach the acceptable time." This is the deeper meaning of this "autobiographical parable" (Benedict XVI). As the sower goes out to plant the seed, so Jesus exits the house of Nazareth, to sow in all the good news that God saves humanity.

When Pope Francis speaks of a Church which goes forth (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium 24), he is inspired by the Sower that without succumbing to fatigue runs through the field of the world to the places of its fragility, its worthlessness, its weaknesses and its contradictions, even up to the point of blasphemy against Him. The Sower never ceases to throw the good seed. It seems to us that he throws the seed at random.[1] However I think that we can interpret this way to sow the seed as Jesus teaching us the way to be missionaries. Mission is not about strategy or particular activity to add to our daily existence. Mission is, above all, a matter of spreading a word full of a Presence and nourished daily by an experience of fraternity that once again, every day and to  every single human being asks the questions "Who am I?", “Where do I come from?” and, especially, "Where am I going and why?"

From these questions unavoidably it emerges that the world of planning, of the exact calculation and experiment that is the knowledge of science, though important for the human life, is not enough. We need not only material bread, but also we need love, meaning and hope, a sure foundation and a solid ground that helps us to live with an authentic sense even in crisis, in darkness and in our daily difficulties and problems. We need to believe and to look at life with the eyes of faith.

Faith is not a mere intellectual assent of man to some particular truths of God. It is an act by which I entrust myself freely in a God who is our Father and loves me. It is adherence to a "You" that gives me hope, trust and love without measure.

Faith is to believe in this love of God that never fails in front of the wickedness of man, evil or death, but is capable of transforming all forms of slavery, giving the possibility of salvation.

Have faith, then, is to meet the "You," God, who sustains us and gives us an indestructible love which not only tends to eternity, but also gives it. It is trust in God with the attitude of a child, who knows that all his difficulties and all his problems are safely in the "you" of his mother. This possibility of salvation through faith is a gift that God gives to all men.

I think that in our daily life, characterized by problems and situations at times dramatic, we should meditate more often the Word of God sown in us, to understand that to believe in a Christian way means to surrender with confidence to the deep meaning that sustains us and the world.  It is a meaning that we are not able to give ourselves, but only to receive as a gift. This is the foundation on which we can live without fear. We must be able to accommodate this liberating and reassuring certainty of faith to proclaim the Word with our words and bear witness of it with our lives as Christians.

The parable of the sower, who is the Lord sowing so abundant, helps us to grow in the awareness and commitment to accept the Word of God and using it productively. There are many risks and many situations in which the Word of God bears no fruit, not because of the action of God, who could not be more abundant, but because of our distractions, superficiality and temptations. The sower Jesus plants the seed everywhere (it seems even wasting it), not discarding any soil but considering each one worthy of trust and attention. Thus the Church, through the Bishops, the Priests and all the Faithful, should give the Word to all and should do it tirelessly.

This is the vocation of every Christian. We are all sowers of the Word, from the Pope to the last baptized person. Not all of us are sowers to the same degree and with the same responsibilities, but we are all responsible to bring the Word to the world, knowing that the Word is our life even before to be our voice.

Every morning every Christian should leave his home not just to earn a material living, but also a spiritual one "going out to sow Christ, wheat that becomes Bread", without being discouraged if some seeds were to fall on bad ground.

2) The seed and the soil.

The figure of the sower appears at the beginning of today’s parable and then disappears.  The protagonists are the seed and the soil, and the situation presented by the parable is the one where it seems that all is lost, and the failure of the Kingdom and of the Word is total or excessive. With this parable Jesus tells us that it is not so. It is true that there are many failures, but it is certain that somewhere there is success. It is a lesson in trust.

In addition, it should be noted that in this parable Christ turns his attention to the "land" of the souls of men and of human conscience and shows what happens to the Word of God according to the various types of land of which is made ​​the field of humanity. Jesus speaks of a seed that was taken away and has not grown up in the heart of man because he has succumbed to the evil and did not understand the Word. Then he talks about the seed that fell on rocky ground, on the hard ground where it was not able to put down roots and therefore, could not resist the first test. We hear him talk about the seed that fell among  thistles and thorns and was choked by them (these thistles and thorns are the illusions of well-being). Finally, He talks about the seed that fell on good fertile soil and  bears fruit. Who is this fertile land? The one who hears the word and understands it. He listens and understands. It is not enough just to hear the Gospel of the new and eternal Covenant, which is the word of this Word made flesh. It must be accept with the mind and the heart.

Over the course of two thousand years the earth has already been thoroughly sown with this word. Christ as the Word has made fertile this ground of human history through the redemption and the blood of his cross. And in  the word of the Cross his sowing continues, beginning "a new heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21: 1). All the sowers of the Word of Christ draw the strength of their service from the unspeakable mystery that has become - once and for all - the union of God the Word to human nature and to every man (such as the teaching of the Second Vatican Council in Gaudium et Spes, 22). The words of the Gospel  fall on the soil of the souls of men, but especially the Eternal Word itself, generated by the work of the Holy Spirit from the Virgin-Mother, has become a source of life for humanity.

May the Virgin Mary help us to be like her, "good land" where the seed of the Word will bear much fruit.

The consecrated Virgins in the world are among those who have taken in a particular way to model the Virgin Mary. Following the example of Mary, their word becomes prayer, gratitude, and gift of love. With this gift of love their word becomes a proclamation of the Word of truth that unites man to the loving life of God.  In the virginal gift of self they recognize that Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom, is King of Love, in whose merciful goodness is reasonable to have a complete trust. With their lives they prove the truth of the sentences of Saint Ambrose "Your word is kept not in the tomb of the dead, but in the book of the living" (see patristic reading below)

Patristic Reading

Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (340 - 397)

From the beginning of the treatise On the Mysteries

(Nn 1-7: SC 25 bis, 156-158) 





We gave a daily instruction on right conduct when the readings were taken from the history of the patriarchs or the maxims of Proverbs. These readings were intended to instruct and train you, so that you might grow accustomed to the ways of our forefathers, entering into their paths and walking in their footsteps, in obedience to God’s commands.

Now the season reminds us that we must speak of the mysteries, setting forth the meaning of the sacraments. If we had thought fit to teach these things to those not yet initiated through baptism, we should be considered traitors rather than teachers. Then, too, the light of the mysteries is of itself more effective where people do not know what to expect than where some instruction has been given beforehand.

Open then your ears. Enjoy the fragrance of eternal life, breathed on you by means of the sacraments. We explained this to you as we celebrated the mystery of “the opening” when we said: Effetha, that is, be opened. Everyone who was to come for the grace of baptism had to understand what he was to be asked, and must remember what he was to answer. This mystery was celebrated by Christ when he healed the man who was deaf and dumb, in the Gospel which we proclaimed to you.

After this, the holy of holies was opened up for you; you entered into the sacred place of regeneration. Recall what you were asked; remember what you answered. You renounced the devil and his works, the world and its dissipation and sensuality. Your words are recorded, not on a monument to the dead but in the book of the living.

There you saw the Levite, you saw the priest, and you saw the high priest. Do not consider their outward form but the grace given by their ministries. You spoke in the presence of angels, as it is written: The lips of a priest guard knowledge, and men seek the law from his mouth, for he is the angel of the Lord almighty. There is no room for deception, no room for denial. He is an angel whose message is the kingdom of Christ and eternal life. You must judge him, not by his appearance but by his office. Remember what he handed on to you, weigh up his value, and so acknowledge his standing.

You entered to confront your enemy, for you intended to renounce him to his face. You turned toward the east, for one who renounces the devil turns toward Christ and fixes his gaze directly on him.

[1] To understand this parable we should note that the sower is not a clumsy one who throws the seed at random. At the time of Christ's earthly life the fields were not like the current ones, especially those in the developed world. They were just barely cleared inhomogeneous land with stones, thorns, etc... Jesus refers to this kind of field, which was not plowed before planting but after: the seed was spread all over the field, even in the paths that crossed it and in rocky or full of brambles areas. For this reason much seed was lost (three quarters according to the parable, intentionally exaggerated). But the end result, that is the yield of the seed that fell on good soil, made ​​up for all the losses.

(July 13, 2014) © Innovative Media Inc.


16 posted on 07/12/2014 8:44:59 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Arlington Catholic Herald

GOSPEL COMMENTARY MT 13:1-23

'Whoever has ears ought to hear’

Fr. Robert Wagner

 

In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples the parable of the sower and the seed, which He concludes with the following: “Whoever has ears ought to hear.” Taken literally, the warning makes little sense. Can a man command his ears to hear, any more than he can command his nose to smell or his eyes to see? Hearing is what ears do, whether we want them to or not.

That being said, we recognize that there are different types of “hearing.” Even though our ears pick up everything they can, many sounds do not even register in our thoughts. Some are ignored because they hold no immediate importance to us, like the whir of an air conditioner. Others register in our minds, but are ignored because we disregard their urgency. We have all been guilty of such selective hearing, when someone speaks to us but we do not focus on what they are saying.

Jesus does not want us to fall into that trap when we hear His divine teaching. “Whoever has ears, ought to hear” applies to all Jesus says, and it is particularly fitting for the parable of the sower and the seed, whose subject is hearing and responding to the “word of the kingdom,” which is the Gospel message. We, like those disciples following Jesus in Galilee, certainly hear what He teaches about listening to the divine truth, but in order to bear a harvest of 30-, 60-, or 100-fold, it takes more than just hearing. It requires taking the words to heart and putting them into action.

How do we do this as Christ's disciples? First and foremost, truly hearing the message of Jesus takes faith. We as His disciples must believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. If we treat His as just one of many voices we follow to guide us, we will be distracted by the noise of the world and selectively hear the truths He reveals in His words and the teaching of His church. In such a situation, we will be tempted to ignore some of the harder truths He teaches, and less willing to live sacrificially when the world offers a teaching that is much easier to hear and follow. It is only when we recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd and place our faith in the truth He offers for our salvation that we are able to hear with our ears, our minds and our hearts.

Secondly, we need to place ourselves into a position to hear the words Jesus speaks to us. It is much easier to listen when we are in a quiet room and totally focusing on the person speaking to us. Much more difficult would be a conversation in a loud restaurant, surrounded by televisions that distract us, while we simultaneously attempt to flag down a waiter. Likewise, listening to the word of Jesus — in prayer, at Mass, reading scripture, etc. — requires that we remove the distractions we can and focus our attention on what He is telling us. We do this by making an effort — depending on our situation, sometimes an extraordinary effort — to arrive at Mass early so we have time to settle into our pews and settle our hearts and minds with prayer before the opening hymn begins. We do this by finding a quiet place where we will not be easily distracted when we pray our rosary or read Scripture or examine our conscience. We do this by choosing a time of day when we are as alert as possible to pray or do our spiritual reading, knowing this will allow us to focus more easily on what Jesus wants to speak to us.

God has a message of peace, love and salvation for each and every one of us. It is a message that will set our hearts aflame and provide guidance and light for our path to eternal life. Let us make the effort to listen with ears, minds and hearts that are attentive to His voice. May God increase our faith so we may trust what He tells us so that we as His disciples may bear harvests of 30-, 60- and 100-fold.

Fr. Wagner is Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde’s secretary.


17 posted on 07/12/2014 8:56:11 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Work of God

Year A  -  15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The word of God. The seed, the sower

Matthew 13:1-23

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.
2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach.
3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow.
4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up.
5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil.
6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away.
7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.
8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
9 Let anyone with ears listen!"
10 Then the disciples came and asked him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"
11 He answered, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
12 For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.
13 The reason I speak to them in parables is that 'seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.'
14 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: 'You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
15 For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and
they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn -- and I would heal them.'
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
17 Truly I tell 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.
18 "Hear then the parable of the sower.
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.
20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.
22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.
23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word
and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty." (NRSV)

Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of Jesus

My word can be compared to a little seed, that falling into fertile soil will germinate and grow; therefore fulfilling the mission that it has been created for. A seed is very small but has a great potential. My word sounds simple as a human word, but coming out of my mouth it is no longer a human word but a divine command.

My word can be compared to a precious stone that a man is looking for with great desire. When he finds it he will be very happy, he will make it his treasure. There is nothing greater in this world than that which will give you eternal life. I am the Word of God, the Savior of the world whose word you must treasure in your heart to give you eternal life and joy.

My word is the eternal word of God, the word that has created everything that has come into existence, my word is the ever powerful live command of God that is always ready to create, to shape, to correct, to build and to sanctify.

Listen you who have ears, but not just listen with your hearing. Listen with your heart since that is the center of your being, it is the spiritual place where my spirit gives life and you can draw life from me. It is in your heart that you keep your treasures, whether they are the affections to your material things or whether they are heavenly things. Where your treasure is, there is your heart. Let me be your treasure, let your heart be in me.

Listen to this word of mine with the reverence that it deserves, understand the power behind that word and take it quickly into your heart, make it your treasure, savor it in your mouth as if it was a delicious delicacy that you want to relish forever, give it the power that it claims and rest assured that my word will perform miracles in your life.

My word is not a human word; it is the word of God. When I said, “Let there be light” the elements bowed before my power as the Word of God, they formed light. In the same way my word is still alive and active, powerful enough to continue to work in those who take it into their hearts and put it into practice.

Honor my word by studying it, by meditating it, by accepting it and by living by it. My word is like an arrow pointing straight to heaven, my word is the answer to all your questions. Come to me, listen to me, learn from me and live.

Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary


18 posted on 07/12/2014 9:04:59 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Archdiocese of Washington

Information or Transformation – A Sermon on the Goal of the Word of God for the 15th Sunday of the Year

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

What do you expect from reading and hearing God’s Word? Do you expect to encounter something that will change you? Frankly, from my discussions with people over the years, many do not even understand the question and, after puzzled looks, respond to me with another question: “What do mean by ‘expect’?”  I then follow up with “Just what I said, ‘What do you look to have happen in your life from having heard or read God’s Word?’” This is greeted with puzzled looks and finally something vague like, “I dunno” or “Like, maybe, to get advice?” Some might even go so far as to say that they expect to be encouraged or instructed. But in the end, most of the responses to my question are pretty tepid, lukewarm, and uninspired. Most really don’t expect much and, frankly, haven’t expected much. Reading or hearing God’s word is more of a tedious ritual for them than a transformative reality.

Here again, I lay a lot of blame at the feet of clergy who don’t really teach the faithful to expect much. But this Sunday it is clearly set forth that God’s Word is able to transform, change, renew, encourage, and empower us. And we ought to begin to expect great things from our faithful and attentive reception of the Word of God.

Let’s look at what the Lord teaches in three steps.

I. Promise - That the Word of God can utterly transform us and bring forth a great harvest in our lives is clearly set forth in today’s first reading:

Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void (Isaiah 55:10-11).

God’s Word has power! If we authentically and attentively listen to God’s Word it will refresh us and bring forth the fruit of transformation. No one can authentically attend to God’s word and go away unchanged. If listened to with any alertness, God’s Word can open our minds to new realities, give us hope, teach us the fundamental meaning of our life, instruct us, thrill us, frighten us, make us wonder, make us repent, make us rejoice, and it can also transform us. It can make us mad, sad, or glad, but if we attend to it, it’s pretty hard to go away neutral from this Word, of which Scripture itself says,

Yes, God’s Word, effectively preached and thoughtfully attended to, is fire that transforms. Pray for fiery preachers. Pray for ears attentive to God’s Word. Pray for a soul alive and alert to the sound of God’s trumpet. Pray for a mind capable of appreciating God’s Word in all its subtlety and all its plain meaning.  It can change your life.

II. Problems - But the Lord also alerts us to some problems that can arise in the human person. For while God’s Word does not lack power, neither does it violate God’s respect for our freedom and our call to love.

God speaks to inanimate objects and they must obey:

But the human person is not inanimate. We are possessed of a soul and gifted with freedom so that we may love. God speaks to us and, remarkably, we are free to say, “No.” And the Lord Jesus warns us in today’s Gospel that our freedom is ultimately respected. So the power of God’s Word remains, but God Himself has made it dependent on our “Yes.” Consider, then, some of the problems Jesus warns us of,  some issues that can cut off or reduce the power of God’s Word:

A. RejectionJesus says of some that they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand … 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 (Matt 13:13-15). The Greek word translated here as “gross” is  ðá÷ýíù (pachuno), meaning fat, thick, or dull. By extension, it means having an insensitive or hardened heart. Hence there are some who have hardened their hearts to God and His Word.

God once observed about us, through Isaiah,  I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass (Is 48:4).   This is another way of saying, “I know that you are stubborn. Like iron, you are hardheaded. Like bronze, nothing gets through your thick skull.” For many of us, this tendency to be stiff-necked is gradually softened by the power of grace, the medicine of the Sacraments, instruction by God’s Word, and the humility that can come from these.

But for some the stubbornness never abates. In fact it grows even stronger as a descent into pride and an increasing hard-heartedness sets up. The deeper this descent, the more obnoxious the truth seems and the less likely conversion. As things progress these people are not just resistant to the truth, but hostile to it. They harden their hearts, stiffen their necks, and at some point it would seem they reach the point of no return.

There are some texts in the Scriptures that speak of God Himself hardening the hearts of sinners. This is a very deep mystery and tied up in the deeper mystery of God’s primary causality of everything. But the text before us today emphasizes the hardening of the heart from the human perspective. And thus those of hardened hearts have closed their eyes lest they see.  They don’t listen either lest they be confronted with something they would rather not hear and sense the need for repentance and conversion.

The Word of God can have no place in them for they altogether reject it and hence its offered power is cast aside.

B. Reflection - The text says, The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart (Matt 13:19). The Greek word translated here as “understand” is óõíßçìé (syniemi), which means to put (or set) together. Figuratively, it means to connect the dots, to synthesize. In other words, a person who does not “understand” gives little thought or reflection to the Word of God. He does not try to connect it to his life or understand its practical application. He does not “set it together” with his experience, or seek to apply it in his life. This Word will not last in him due to his inattentiveness to its meaning and its deeper role in his life. Thus the Word stays only on the surface and in the short-term memory. Satan is able to take it away quickly with little resistance from the man, who has not really connected it to his life anyway. Here, too, there can be little or no transformation, for the power of God’s Word is little appreciated and is not admitted into the deeper recesses of the man’s soul.

C. Rootlessness - The text says,  The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.  But he has no root and lasts only for a time.  When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away (Matt 13:20-21). The image here is of a plant that thrives when the weather is good and calm. But let the wind pick up and the plant blows away for lack of roots. There are some who can rejoice in the Word of God as along as it paints fair pictures and tickles their ears. But when the Word convicts them, or causes them any negative reaction within, or persecution without they scram. When the wind blows they are gone. A common line from the Old Spirituals says, “Some go to church for to sing and shout. Before six month’s they’s all turned out.” As long as the preacher speaks of ”fair weather,” and there are no consequences to the Word, they’re shouting “Amen!” and singing the refrains of the songs. But let that preacher step on their toes or let someone in the world raise an eyebrow to them and they’re gone, gone with the wind. Here, too, the power of God’s Word to transform is cast aside.

D. Ripples - The text says, The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety … chokes it off (Matt 13:22). This describes people who are simply too distracted by the things of the world to spend time with the Word of God. They allow the water of their life to be rippled and disturbed and there is never enough calm for them to be reflective. They obsess over every small ripple that rocks the boat and do not trust God enough to relax and ponder His will and His Word. They are ever-busy making adjustments to their life and responding to the alarms of life. The word “distract” means to draw away. And hence they allow the world to draw them away from reflection on God’s Word. This, too, limits the transformative power of God’s Word.

E. Riches - The text also speaks of the lure of riches [which] choke the word and it bears no fruit (Matt 13:22). Riches divide the heart. Scripture says elsewhere, People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Tim 6:9-10). The Lord says, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt 6:21). Hence if our treasure is in riches, our heart will not be with God’s Word. Job says, I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food (Job 23:12). Only with a heart set on God’s Word as a treasure will we hunger for it and reflect on it enough to be truly transformed by it.

III. Produce - The text says, But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear… the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold (Matt 13:23). Here then the promise is reiterated that the Word of God is powerful and will produce a radical transformation in us of thirty, sixty, or one hundredfold! Note that this is for those who receive the Word with understanding. That is, as we saw earlier, those with  óõíßçìé (syniemi), with a will to connect the dots, to synthesize, those who seek to understand the Word and apply it to their life.

I am a witness to the power of God’s Word to transform life and to yield abundant fruit. I have learned to expect a lot from God’s Word: a new mind, a new heart, and a new life. And God has not failed me. I have seen my life change dramatically for the better in so many ways. God has been good to me and He has been true to His Word, which says, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Cor 5:17).  I cannot take credit for this new life I have received. It is the gift of God and He has given it to me through the power of His Word and the grace of His Sacraments.

Yes, I am a witness; how about you?

This clip is from a performance of Handel’s Messiah and features the following: “The Lord gave the Word. Great was the company of the preachers!” It’s not as easy to sing as you might think. The long melismatic lines are difficult for the singers to coordinate while staying on tempo; it’s quite a little workout. Pray for fiery preachers


19 posted on 07/12/2014 9:19:48 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Sunday Gospel Reflections

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Isaiah 55:10-11 II: Romans 8:18-23


Gospel
Matthew 13:1-23

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.
2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach.
3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow.
4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.
5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil,
6 but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away.
7 Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.
8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
9 He who has ears, let him hear."
10 Then the disciples came and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"
11 And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
12 For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
14 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: 'You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive.
15 For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.'
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
17 Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
18 "Hear then the parable of the sower.
19 When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path.
20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."


Interesting Details
One Main Point

The word of the Lord is the seed, our hearts and minds are the soil. The good spiritual yield in life depends on how much a person willingly accepts and responds to the word of the Lord. The yield arising from the positive response will be abundant beyond all imagination.


Reflections
  1. Deep down in my heart, where do I fit in with the four types of soil in the parable? What are the reasons?
  2. In order to let Jesus' word yield abundantly in my spiritual life, what changes do I have to make in my relationship to God and to others, in my interest, and in my career?
  3. Imagine I am attending a Sunday's Mass, a priest is delivering a sermon as a sower is sowing the seeds, my ear and my mind is listening to the word as the soil is receiving the seeds. Am I prepared to receive the word? How much do I absorb? Do I still vividly remember the word after leaving the Mass? A week after? How can I become the good soil ready to receive the word?

20 posted on 07/12/2014 9:30:00 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
“Christ daily comes to us in humble form; daily he comes down from the bosom of the father upon the altar in the hands of the priest.”

--St. Francis of Assisi

21 posted on 07/12/2014 9:32:00 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Just A Minute Just A Minute (Listen)
Some of EWTN's most popular hosts and guests in a collection of one minute inspirational messages. A different message each time you click.

22 posted on 07/12/2014 9:33:10 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All



The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen. 


23 posted on 07/12/2014 9:34:49 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Saint Henry

Saint Henry
Optional Memorial
July 13th


Jesus crowned King Henry II
Two angels hold with Him the holy lance and the sword, two holy ones --
St. Ulrich of Augsburg and St. Emmeram of Regensburg support Henry's arms.
Artist unknown

(973-1024) He became Emperor Henry II in 1002 and then Holy Roman Emperor in 1014. He used his power to extend the Kingdom of God by promoting missionary work.

Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003

 

Collect:
O God, whose abundant grace prepared Saint Henry
to be raised by you in a wonderful way
from the cares of earthly rule to heavenly realms,
grant, we pray, through his intercession,
that amid the uncertainties of this world
we may hasten towards you with minds made pure.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading: Micah 6:6-8
"With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Gospel Reading: Matthew 7: 21-27
"Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'

"Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."


24 posted on 07/13/2014 6:06:43 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Saint Henry
25 posted on 07/13/2014 6:25:07 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Information: St. Henry II

Feast Day: July 13

Born: May 6, 972, Bavaria, Germany

Died: July 13, 1024, Gottingen, Germany

Canonized: 1146 by Pope Eugene III

Major Shrine: Bamberg Cathedral

Patron of: against sterility, Benedictine Oblates, childless people, disabled people, dukes, kings, people rejected by religious orders

26 posted on 07/13/2014 6:29:11 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Interactive Saints for Kids

St. Henry II

Feast Day: July 13
Died: 1024

Henry was born at Albach, Hildesheim in Bavaria. He was the son of Gisella of Burgundy and Henry II, the Duke of Bavaria. When he was a boy, he studied at the cathedral school in Hildesheim and was taught by bishop Wolfgang of Regensburg. Henry wanted to become a priest, but after his father’s death, Henry was made Duke of Bavaria.

One night he had an unusual dream. St. Wolfgang, his beloved teacher, appeared to him. Wolfgang pointed to the words, "after six" written on the wall. What could that mean? Perhaps Henry was to die in six days? So he prayed with great feeling for six days but at the end of the six days, however, he was in perfect health.

Perhaps it meant six months? The duke devoted himself to doing good more than ever. At the end of six months, he was even healthier than before. So he decided he had six years to get ready for death. But instead of dying after six years, he was elected emperor of Germany. Then he understood what the dream had meant.

Henry worked hard to keep his people happy and at peace. To defend justice he had to fight many wars. He was honest in battle and insisted that his armies followed his example. Henry married a very gentle and loving woman named Cunegundes (or Kunigunda). She, too, has been proclaimed a saint.

Henry and Cunegundes went to Rome in 1014, where they were crowned emperor and empress of the Holy Roman Empire. It was a great honor because Pope Benedict VIII himself crowned them. Emperor Henry turned out to be one of the best rulers of the Holy Roman Empire.

With great respect, he encouraged changes for improvements in the Church. He supported the growth of new monasteries, founded schools and built beautiful churches. He showed his own love for Jesus and the Church with sincerity and love and worked hard to maintain peace in Europe.

He was a man of prayer and although he was attracted to religious life, he accepted his role as husband and ruler and fulfilled his responsibilities generously. Henry was just fifty-two when he died in 1024.

Reflection: "Present glory is fleeting and meaningless while it is possessed unless in it we can glimpse something of heaven's eternity."-St. Henry


27 posted on 07/13/2014 6:31:35 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Matthew
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Matthew 13
1 THE same day Jesus going out of the house, sat by the sea side. In illo die exiens Jesus de domo, sedebat secus mare. εν δε τη ημερα εκεινη εξελθων ο ιησους απο της οικιας εκαθητο παρα την θαλασσαν
2 And great multitudes were gathered unto him, so that he went up into a boat and sat: and all the multitude stood on the shore. Et congregatæ sunt ad eum turbæ multæ, ita ut naviculam ascendens sederet : et omnis turba stabat in littore, και συνηχθησαν προς αυτον οχλοι πολλοι ωστε αυτον εις το πλοιον εμβαντα καθησθαι και πας ο οχλος επι τον αιγιαλον ειστηκει
3 And he spoke to them many things in parables, saying: Behold the sower went forth to sow. et locutus est eis multa in parabolis, dicens : Ecce exiit qui seminat, seminare. και ελαλησεν αυτοις πολλα εν παραβολαις λεγων ιδου εξηλθεν ο σπειρων του σπειρειν
4 And whilst he soweth some fell by the way side, and the birds of the air came and ate them up. Et dum seminat, quædam ceciderunt secus viam, et venerunt volucres cæli, et comederunt ea. και εν τω σπειρειν αυτον α μεν επεσεν παρα την οδον και ηλθεν τα πετεινα και κατεφαγεν αυτα
5 And other some fell upon stony ground, where they had not much earth: and they sprung up immediately, because they had no deepness of earth. Alia autem ceciderunt in petrosa, ubi non habebant terram multam : et continuo exorta sunt, quia non habebant altitudinem terræ : αλλα δε επεσεν επι τα πετρωδη οπου ουκ ειχεν γην πολλην και ευθεως εξανετειλεν δια το μη εχειν βαθος γης
6 And when the sun was up they were scorched: and because they had not root, they withered away. sole autem orto æstuaverunt ; et quia non habebant radicem, aruerunt. ηλιου δε ανατειλαντος εκαυματισθη και δια το μη εχειν ριζαν εξηρανθη
7 And others fell among thorns: and the thorns grew up and choked them. Alia autem ceciderunt in spinas : et creverunt spinæ, et suffocaverunt ea. αλλα δε επεσεν επι τας ακανθας και ανεβησαν αι ακανθαι και απεπνιξαν αυτα
8 And others fell upon good ground: and they brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold. Alia autem ceciderunt in terram bonam : et dabant fructum, aliud centesimum, aliud sexagesimum, aliud trigesimum. αλλα δε επεσεν επι την γην την καλην και εδιδου καρπον ο μεν εκατον ο δε εξηκοντα ο δε τριακοντα
9 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Qui habet aures audiendi, audiat. ο εχων ωτα ακουειν ακουετω
10 And his disciples came and said to him: Why speakest thou to them in parables? Et accedentes discipuli dixerunt ei : Quare in parabolis loqueris eis ? και προσελθοντες οι μαθηται ειπον αυτω δια τι εν παραβολαις λαλεις αυτοις
11 Who answered and said to them: Because to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven: but to them it is not given. Qui respondens, ait illis : Quia vobis datum est nosse mysteria regni cælorum : illis autem non est datum. ο δε αποκριθεις ειπεν αυτοις οτι υμιν δεδοται γνωναι τα μυστηρια της βασιλειας των ουρανων εκεινοις δε ου δεδοται
12 For he that hath, to him shall be given, and he shall abound: but he that hath not, from him shall be taken away that also which he hath. Qui enim habet, dabitur ei, et abundabit : qui autem non habet, et quod habet auferetur ab eo. οστις γαρ εχει δοθησεται αυτω και περισσευθησεται οστις δε ουκ εχει και ο εχει αρθησεται απ αυτου
13 Therefore do I speak to them in parables: because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. Ideo in parabolis loquor eis : quia videntes non vident, et audientes non audiunt, neque intelligunt. δια τουτο εν παραβολαις αυτοις λαλω οτι βλεποντες ου βλεπουσιν και ακουοντες ουκ ακουουσιν ουδε συνιουσιν
14 And the prophecy of Isaias is fulfilled in them, who saith: By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand: and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive. Et adimpletur in eis prophetia Isaiæ, dicentis : Auditu audietis, et non intelligetis : et videntes videbitis, et non videbitis. και αναπληρουται αυτοις η προφητεια ησαιου η λεγουσα ακοη ακουσετε και ου μη συνητε και βλεποντες βλεψετε και ου μη ιδητε
15 For the heart of this people is grown gross, and with their ears they have been dull of hearing, and their eyes they have shut: lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. Incrassatum est enim cor populi hujus, et auribus graviter audierunt, et oculos suos clauserunt : nequando videant oculis, et auribus audiant, et corde intelligant, et convertantur, et sanem eos. επαχυνθη γαρ η καρδια του λαου τουτου και τοις ωσιν βαρεως ηκουσαν και τους οφθαλμους αυτων εκαμμυσαν μηποτε ιδωσιν τοις οφθαλμοις και τοις ωσιν ακουσωσιν και τη καρδια συνωσιν και επιστρεψωσιν και ιασομαι αυτους
16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Vestri autem beati oculi quia vident, et aures vestræ quia audiunt. υμων δε μακαριοι οι οφθαλμοι οτι βλεπουσιν και τα ωτα υμων οτι ακουει
17 For, amen, I say to you, many prophets and just men have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them, and to hear the things that you hear and have not heard them. Amen quippe dico vobis, quia multi prophetæ et justi cupierunt videre quæ videtis, et non viderunt : et audire quæ auditis, et non audierunt. αμην γαρ λεγω υμιν οτι πολλοι προφηται και δικαιοι επεθυμησαν ιδειν α βλεπετε και ουκ ειδον και ακουσαι α ακουετε και ουκ ηκουσαν
18 Hear you therefore the parable of the sower. Vos ergo audite parabolam seminantis. υμεις ουν ακουσατε την παραβολην του σπειροντος
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, there cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart: this is he that received the seed by the way side. Omnis qui audit verbum regni, et non intelligit, venit malus, et rapit quod seminatum est in corde ejus : hic est qui secus viam seminatus est. παντος ακουοντος τον λογον της βασιλειας και μη συνιεντος ερχεται ο πονηρος και αρπαζει το εσπαρμενον εν τη καρδια αυτου ουτος εστιν ο παρα την οδον σπαρεις
20 And he that received the seed upon stony ground, is he that heareth the word, and immediately receiveth it with joy. Qui autem super petrosa seminatus est, hic est qui verbum audit, et continuo cum gaudio accipit illud : ο δε επι τα πετρωδη σπαρεις ουτος εστιν ο τον λογον ακουων και ευθυς μετα χαρας λαμβανων αυτον
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but is only for a time: and when there ariseth tribulation and persecution because of the word, he is presently scandalized. non habet autem in se radicem, sed est temporalis : facta autem tribulatione et persecutione propter verbum, continuo scandalizatur. ουκ εχει δε ριζαν εν εαυτω αλλα προσκαιρος εστιν γενομενης δε θλιψεως η διωγμου δια τον λογον ευθυς σκανδαλιζεται
22 And he that received the seed among thorns, is he that heareth the word, and the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choketh up the word, and he becometh fruitless. Qui autem seminatus est in spinis, hic est qui verbum audit, et sollicitudo sæculi istius, et fallacia divitiarum suffocat verbum, et sine fructu efficitur. ο δε εις τας ακανθας σπαρεις ουτος εστιν ο τον λογον ακουων και η μεριμνα του αιωνος τουτου και η απατη του πλουτου συμπνιγει τον λογον και ακαρπος γινεται
23 But he that received the seed upon good ground, is he that heareth the word, and understandeth, and beareth fruit, and yieldeth the one an hundredfold, and another sixty, and another thirty. Qui vero in terram bonam seminatus est, hic est qui audit verbum, et intelligit, et fructum affert, et facit aliud quidem centesimum, aliud autem sexagesimum, aliud vero trigesimum. ο δε επι την γην την καλην σπαρεις ουτος εστιν ο τον λογον ακουων και συνιων ος δη καρποφορει και ποιει ο μεν εκατον ο δε εξηκοντα ο δε τριακοντα

28 posted on 07/13/2014 12:02:48 PM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
1. The same day Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the seaside.
2. And great multitudes were gathered together to him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3. And he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow,
4. And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5. Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6. And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8. But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold.
9. Who has ears to hear, let him hear.

CHRYS; When He had rebuked him that told Him of His mother and His brethren, He then did according to their request; He departed out of the house, having first corrected his brethren for their weak desire of vainglory; He then paid the honor due to His mother, as it is said, The same day Jesus went forth out of the house, and sat down by the seaside.

AUG; By the words, The same day, he sufficiently shows that these things either followed immediately upon what had gone before, or that many things could not hare intervened; unless indeed 'day' here after the Scripture manner signifies a period.

RABAN; For not only the Lord's words and actions, but His journeying also, and the places in which He works His mighty works and preaches, are full of heavenly sacraments. After the discourse held in the house, wherein with wicked blasphemy He had been said to have a demon, He went out and taught by the sea, to signify that having left Judea because of their sinful unbelief, He would pass to the salvation of the Gentiles. For the hearts of the Gentiles, long proud and unbelieving, are rightly likened to the swelling and bitter waves of the sea And who knows not that Judea was by faith the house of the Lord.

JEROME; For it must be considered, that the multitude could not enter into the house to Jesus, nor be there where the Apostles heard mysteries; therefore the Lord in mercy to them departed out of the house, and sat near the sea of this world, that great numbers might be gathered to Him, and that they might hear on the seashore what they were not worthy to hear within; And great multitudes were gathered to him, so that he went into a ship, and sat down, and all the people stood on the shore.

CHRYS; The Evangelist did not relate this without a purpose, but that he might show the Lord's will therein, who desired so to place the people that He should have none behind Him, but all should be before His face.

HILARY; There is moreover a reason in the subject of His discourse why the Lord should sit in the ship, and the multitude stand on the shore. For He was about to speak in parables, and by this action signifies that they who were without the Church could have no understanding of the Divine Word. The ship offers a type of the Church, within which the word of life is placed, and is preached to those without, and who as being barren sand cannot understand it.

JEROME; Jesus is in the midst of the waves; He is beaten back and forth by the waves, and, secure in His majesty, causes His vessel to come nigh the land, that the people not being in danger, not being surrounded by temptations which they could not endure might stand on the shore with a firm step, to hear what was said.

RABAN; Or, that He went into a ship and sat on the sea, signifies that Christ by faith should enter into the hearts of the Gentiles, and should gather together the Church in the sea, that is in the midst of the nations that spoke against Him. And the crowd that stood on the sea shore, neither in the ship nor in the sea, offers a figure of those that receive the word of God, and are by faith separated from the sea, that is from the reprobate, but are not yet imbued with heavenly mysteries. It follows; And he spoke many things to them in parables.

CHRYS; He had not done thus on the mount; He had not framed His discourse by parables. For there were the multitudes only, and a mixed crowd but here the Scribes and Pharisees. But He speaks in parables not for this reason only, but to make His sayings plainer, and fix them more fully in the memory, by sayings things before the eyes.

JEROME; And it is to be noted, that He spoke not all things to them in parables, but many things for had He spoken all things in parables, the people would have departed without benefit. He mingles things plain with things dark, that by those things which they understand they may be incited to get knowledge of the things they understand not. The multitude also is not of one opinion, but of divers wills in divers matters, whence He speaks to them in many parables, that each according to their several dispositions parables receive some portion of His teaching.

CHRYS; He first sets forth a parable to make His hearers more attentive; and because He was about to speak enigmatically, He attracts the attention by this first parable, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow his seed.

JEROME; By this sower is typified the Son of God, who sows among the people the word of the Father.

CHRYS; Whence then went out He who is everywhere present, and how went He out? Not in place; but by His incarnation being brought nearer to us by the garb of the flesh. Forasmuch as we because of our sins could not enter in to Him, He therefore came forth to us.

RABAN; Or, He went forth when having left Judea he passed by the Apostles to the Gentiles.

JEROME; Or, He was within while He was yet in the house, and spoke sacraments to His disciples. He went therefore forth from the house, that He might sow seed among the multitudes.

CHRYS When you hear the words, the sower went out to sow, do not suppose that is a tautology. For the sower goes out oftentimes for other ends; as, to break up the ground, to pluck up noxious weeds, to root up thorns, or perform any other species of industry, but this man went forth to sow. What then becomes of that seed? three parts of it perish, and one is preserved; but not all in the same manner, but with a certain difference, as it follows, And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside.

JEROME; This parable Valentinus lays hold of to establish his heresy, bringing in three different natures: the spiritual, the natural or the animal, and the earthly. But there are here four named, one by the wayside, one stony, one thorny, and a fourth the good ground.

CHRYS; Next, how is it according to reason to sow seed among thorns, or on stony ground, or by the wayside? Indeed in the material seed and soil of this world it would not be reason able; for it is impossible that rock should become soil, or that the way should not be the way, or that thorns should not be thorns. But with minds and doctrines it is otherwise; there it is possible that the rock be made rich soil, that the way should be no more trodden upon, and that the thorns should be extirpated. That the most part of the seed then perished, came not of him that sowed, but of the soil that received it, that is the mind. For He that sowed put no difference between rich and poor, wise or foolish, but spoke to all alike; filling up his own part, though foreseeing all things that should come to pass, so that He might say, What ought I to have done that I have not done? He does not pronounce sentence upon them openly and say, this the indolent received and have lost it, this the rich and have choked it, this the careless and have lost it, because He would not harshly reprove them, that He might not alienate them altogether. By this parable also He instructs His disciples, that though the greater part of those that heard them were as perished, yet that they should not therefore be remiss in the Lord Himself who foresaw all things, did not on account desist from sowing.

JEROME; Note that this is the first parable that has been given with its interpretation but we must beware where the Lord expounds His own teachings, that we do not presume to understand any thing either more or less, or any way otherwise than as so expounded by Him.

RABAN; But those things which He silently left to our understanding should be shortly noticed. The wayside is the mind trodden and hardened by the continual passage of evil thoughts; the rock, the hardness of the self-willed mind; the good soil, the gentleness of the obedient mind; the sun, the heat of a raging persecution. The depth of soil, is the honesty of a mind trained by heavenly discipline. But in thus expounding them we should add, that the same things are not always put in one and the same allegorical signification.

JEROME; And we are excited to the understanding of His words, by the advice which follows, He that has ears to hear, let him hear.

REMIG; These ears to hear, are ears of the mind, to understand namely and do those things which are commanded.

10. And the disciples came, and said to him, Why do you speak to them in parables?
11. He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12. For whosoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has.
13. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which said, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive:
15. For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed: lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
17. For I say to you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them.

GLOSS; The disciples understanding that the things which were spoken by the Lord to the people were obscure, desired to hint to Him that He should not speak in parables to them And his disciples came to him, and said, Why do you speak to them in parables?

CHRYS; Wherein it is worthy admiration, that the disciples who desire to learn of Him, know when they ought to ask Him, for they do not this before the multitude. This Matthew declares, when he says, And they came to him; and Mark more expressly says, that they came to him when he was alone.

JEROME; We must inquire how they could come to Him at that time when Jesus was sitting in the ship; we may understand that they had at the first entered into the ship, and standing there, made this inquiry of Him.

REMIG; The Evangelist therefore says, came to Him, to express that they eagerly inquired of Him; or they might indeed approach Him bodily, though the space between them was small.

CHRYS; And observe moreover their goodness, how great their thought for others, that they inquire about what concerns others, before what relates to themselves. For they say not, 'Why do you speak to us in parables?' but to them. And he answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven.

REMIG; To you, I say, who adhere to Me, and believe in Me. By the mystery of the kingdom of heaven, He intends the Gospel doctrine. To them, that is, to them that are without, and who would not believe on Him, the Scribes namely and Pharisees, and to the rest who continue in unbelief, it is not given. Let us then, with the disciples, come to the Lord with a pure heart, that He may think us worthy to interpret to us the evangelic teaching; according to that, They Who draw near to his feet, shall receive of his doctrine.

CHRYS; In saying this, He does not imply any necessity or fate, but shows at once, that they, to whom it is not given, are the cause of all their own miseries, and yet that the knowledge of the Divine mysteries is the gift of God, and a grace given from above. Yet this does not destroy free will, as is manifest from what follows; for to prevent that either these should despair, or those be remiss, when they hear that to you it is given, He shows that the beginning of all lays with ourselves, and then He adds, For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall abound; and whosoever has not, from him shall be taken what he has. As much as to say, Whosoever has the desire and the zeal, to him shall be given all those things which are of God; but whosoever lacks these, and does not contribute that part that pertains to him, to him neither are the things which are of God given, but even those things that he has are taken from him; not because God takes them away, but because he has made himself unworthy of those that he has. Wherefore we also, if we see any hearkening carelessly, and having exhorted him to attend, he do not heed us, let us be silent; for should we persevere in urging him, his slothfulness will be the more charged against him. But him that is zealous to learn, we draw onwards, pouring forth many things And He well said according to another Evangelist, That which he seems to have; for, in truth, he has not even that he has.

REMIG; He that has a desire to read, shall have given to him power to understand, and whosoever has not desire to read, that understanding which by the bounty of nature he seems to have, even that shall be taken from him. Or, whosoever has charity, to him shall be given the other virtues also; and from him who has not charity, the other virtues likewise shall be taken away, for without charity there can be nothing good.

JEROME; Or, To the Apostles who believe in Christ there is given, but from the Jews who believed not on the Son of God there is taken away, even whatever good they might seem to have by nature. For they cannot understand anything with wisdom, seeing they have not the head of wisdom.

HILARY; For the Jews not having faith, have lost also the Law which they had; and Gospel faith has the perfect gift, inasmuch as if received it enriches with new fruit, if rejected it subtracts from the riches of ancient possession

CHRYS; But that what He had said might be made more manifest He adds, Therefore I speak to them in parables. because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. Had this been a natural blindness, He ought to have opened their eyes; but forasmuch as it is voluntary, therefore He said not simply, 'They see not,' but Seeing they see not. For they had seen the demons going out, and they said, He casts out demons by Beelzebub, they heard that He drew all men to God, and they say, This man is not of God. Therefore because they spoke the man contrary to what they saw and heard, to see and to hear is taken from them; for they profit nothing, but rather fall under judgment. For this reason He spoke to them at first not in parables, but with much clearness; but because the perverted all they saw and heard, He now speaks in parables

REMIG; And it should be noted, that not only what He spoke but also what He did, were parables, that is, signs of things spiritual, which He clearly shows when He says, That seeing they may not see; but words are heard and not seen.

JEROME; This He says of those who were standing on the shore, and separated from Jesus, and who because of the dashing of the waves heard not distinctly what was said.

CHRYS; And that they should not say, He slanders us as an enemy, He brings forward the Prophet declaring the same opinion, as it follows, That there might be fulfilled in them the prophecy of Isaiah, who said, With the hearing you shall hear and shall not understand, and seeing you shall see and shall not behold.

GLOSS; That is, with the hearing you shall hear words, but shall not understand the hidden meaning of those words; seeing you shall see My flesh indeed, but shall not discern the divinity.

CHRYS; This He said because they had taken away their own sight and hearing, shutting their eyes, and hardening their hearts. For not only did they not hear at all, but they heard obtusely, as it follows, The heart of this people is waxed gross, and they have heard hardly with their ears.

RABAN; The heart of the Jews is made gross with the grossness of wickedness, and through the abundance of their sins they hear hardly the Lord's words, because they have received them ungratefully.

JEROME; And that should not suppose that this grossness of the heart and heaviness of the ears is of nature, and not of choice, He adds the fruit of their own willfulness, For they have shut their eyes.

CHRYS; Herein He points out how extreme their wickedness, how determined their aversion. Again draw them towards Him, He adds, And be converted, and I should heal them; which shows that if they would be converted, they should be healed. As if one should say, If he would ask me I would immediately forgive him, this would point out how he might be reconciled; so here when He says, Lest they should be converted and I should heal them, He shows that it was possible they should be converted, and having done penitence should be saved.

AUG; Otherwise, They have shut their eyes lest they should see with their eyes, that is, themselves were the cause that God shut their eyes. For another Evangelist says, He has blinded their eyes. But is this to the end that they should never see? Or that they should not see so much as this, that becoming discontent with their own blindness and bewailing themselves, should so be humbled, and moved to confession of their sins and pious seeking after God. For Mark thus expresses the same thing, Lest they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. From which we learn, that by their sins they deserved not to understand; and that yet this was allowed them in mercy that they should confess their sins, and should turn, and so merit to be forgiven. But when John relating this expresses it thus, Therefore they could not believe because Esaias said again, He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them, this seems to be opposed to this interpretation, and to compel us to take what is here said, lest they should see with their eyes, not as though they might come to see after this fashion, but that they should never see at all; for he says it plainly, That they should not see with their eyes. And that he says, Therefore they could not believe, sufficiently shows that the blindness was not inflicted, to the end that moved thereby, and grieving that they understood not, they should be unless through penitence; for that they could not, unless they had first believed, and by believing had been converted, and by conversion had been healed, and having been healed understood; but it rather shows that they were therefore blinded that they should not believe. For he speaks most clearly, Therefore they could not believe. But if it be so who would not rise up in defense of the Jews, and pronounce them to be free from all blame for their unbelief; For, Therefore they could not believe, because he has blinded their eyes. But because we must rather believe God to be without fault, we are driven to confess that by some other sins they had thus deserved to be blinded, and that indeed this blinding prevented them from believing; for the words of John are these, They could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He has blinded their eyes. It is in vain then to endeavor to understand it that they were therefore blinded that they should be converted; seeing they could not be converted because they believed not; and they could not believe because they were blinded. Or perhaps we should not say amiss thus - that some of the Jews were capable of being healed, but that being puffed up with so great swelling pride, it was good for them at first that they should not believe, that they might understand the Lord speaking in parables, which if they did not understand they would not believe; and thus not believing on Him, they together with the rest who were past hope crucified Him; and at length after His resurrection, they were converted, when humbled by the guilt of His death they loved Him the more because of the heavy guilt which had been forgiven them; for their so great pride needed such an humiliation to overcome it. This might indeed be thought an inconsistent explanation, did we not plainly read in the Acts of the Apostles that thus it was. This then that John says, Therefore they could not believe, because he has blinded their eyes that they should not see, is not repugnant to our holding that they were therefore blinded that they should be converted; that is to say, that the Lord's meaning was therefore purposely clothed in the obscurities of parables, that after His resurrection they might turn them to wisdom with a more healthy penitence. For by reason of the darkness of His discourse, they being blinded did not understand the Lord's sayings, and not understanding them, they did not believe on Him, and not believing on Him they crucified Him; thus after His resurrection, terrified by the miracles that were wrought in His name, they had the greater compunction for their great sin, and were more prostrated in penitence; and accordingly after indulgence granted they turned to obedience with a more ardent affection. Notwithstanding, some there were to whom this blinding profited not to conversion.

REMIG; In all the clauses the word ' not' must be understood; thus; That they should not see with their eyes, and should not bear with their ears, and should not understand with their heart and should not be converted, and I should heal them.

GLOSS; So then the eyes of them that see, and will not believe, are miserable, but your eyes are blessed; whence it follows; Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.

JEROME; If we had not read above that invitation to his hearers to understand, when the Savior said, He that has ears to hear let him hear, we might here suppose that the eyes and ears which are now blessed are those of the body. But I think that those eyes are blessed which can discern Christ's sacraments, and those ears of which Isaiah speaks, The Lord has given me an ear.

GLOSS; The mind is called an eye, because it is intently directed upon what is set before it to understand it; and an ear, because it learns from the teaching of another.

HILARY; Or, He is speaking of the blessedness of the Apostolic times, to whose eyes and ears it was permitted to see and to hear the salvation of God, many Prophets and just men having desired to see and to hear that which was destined to be in the fullness of times; whence it follows; I say to you, that many Prophets and just men have desired to see the things that you see, and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them.

JEROME; This place seems to be contradicted by what is said elsewhere. Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad.

RABAN; Also Isaiah and Micah, and many other Prophets, saw the glory of the Lord; and were thence called 'seers.'

JEROME; But He said not, 'The Prophets and the just men,' but many; for out of the whole number, it may be that some saw, and others saw not But as this is a perilous interpretation, that we should seem to be making a distinction between the merits of the saints, at least as far as the degree of their merits in Christ, therefore we may suppose that Abraham saw in enigma, and not in substance. But you have truly present with you, and hold, your Lord, inquiring of Him at your will, and eating with Him.

CHRYS; These things then which the Apostles saw and heard, are such as His presence, which voice, His teaching. And in this He sets them before not the evil only, but even before the good, pronouncing them more blessed than even the righteous men of old. For they saw not only what the Jews saw not, but also what the righteous men and Prophets desired to see, and had not seen. For they had beheld these things only by faith, but these by sight, and even yet more clearly. You see how He identifies the Old Testament with the New, for had the Prophets been the servants of any strange or hostile Deity, they would not have desired to see Christ.

18. Hear you therefore the parable of the sower.
19. When any one hears the word of the kingdom, and understands it not, then comes the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and with Joy receives it;
21. Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word and he becomes unfruitful.
23. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word, and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty.

GLOSS; He had said above, that it was not given to the Jews to know the kingdom of God, but to the Apostles, and therefore He now concludes, saying, Hear you therefore the parable of the sower, you to whom are committed the mysteries of heaven.

AUG; It is certain that the Lord spoke the things which the Evangelist has recorded; but what the Lord spoke was a parable, in which it is never required that the things contained should have actually taken place.

GLOSS; He proceeds then expounding the parable; Every man who hears the word of the kingdom, that is, My preaching which avails to the acquiring the kingdom of heaven, and understands it not; how he understands it not, is explained by, for the evil one - that is the Devil - comes and takes away that which is sown in his heart; every such man is that which is sown by the way side. And note that that which is sown, is taken in different senses; for the seed is that which is sown, and the field is that which is sown, both of which are found here. For where He says carries away that which is sown, we must understand it of the seed; that which follows, is sown by the way side, is to be understood not of the seed, but of the place of the seed, that is, of the man, who is as it were the field sown by the seed of the Divine word.

REMIG; In these words the Lord explains what the seed is, to wit, the word of the kingdom, that is of the Gospel teaching. For there are some that receive the word of the Lord with no devotion of heart, and so that seed of God's word which is sown in their heart, is by demons straightway carried off, as it were the seed dropped by the way side. It follows, That which is sown upon the rock, is he that hears the word, &c. For the seed or word of God, which is sown in the rock, that is, in the hard and untamed heart, can bring forth no fruit, inasmuch as its hardness is great, and its desire of heavenly things small; and because of this great hardness, it has no root in itself.

JEROME; Note that which is said, is straightway offended. There is then some difference between him who, by many tribulations and torments, is driven to deny Christ, and him Who at the first persecution is offended, and falls away, of which He proceeds to speak, That which is sown among thorns. To me He seems here to express figuratively that which was said literally to Adam; Amidst briers and thorns you shall eat your bread, that he that has given himself up to the delights and the cares of this world, eats heavenly bread and the true food among thorns.

RABAN; Rightly are they called thorns, because they lacerate the soul by the pricking of thought, and do not suffer it to bring forth the spiritual fruit of virtue.

JEROME; And it is elegantly added The deceitfulness of riches choke the word; for riches are treacherous, promising one thing and doing another. The tenure of them is slippery as they are borne hither and thither, and with uncertain step forsake those that have them, or revive those that have them not. Whence the Lord asserts, that rich men hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven, because their riches choke the word of God, and relax the strength of their virtues.

REMIG; And it should be known, that in these three sorts of bad soil are comprehended all who can hear the word of God, and yet have not strength to bring it forth to salvation. The Gentiles are excepted, who were not worthy even to hear it. It follows, That which is sown on the good ground. The good ground is the faithful conscience of the elect, or the spirit of the saints which receives the word of God with joy and desire and devotion of heart, and manfully retains it amid prosperous and adverse circumstances, and brings it forth in fruit; as it follows, And brings forth fruit, some a hundred-fold some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold.

JEROME; And it is to be noted, that as in the bad ground there were three degrees of difference, to wit, that by the way side, the stony and the thorny ground; so in the good soil there is a three-fold difference, the hundred-fold, the sixty-fold, and the thirty-fold. And in this as in that, not the substance but the will is changed, and the hearts as well of the unbelieving as the believing receive seed; as in the first case He said, Then comes the wicked one, and carries away that which is sown in the heart; and in the second and third case of the bad soil He said, This is he that hears the word. So also in the exposition of the good soil, This is he that hears the word. Therefore we ought first to hear, then to understand, and after understanding to bring forth the fruits of teaching, either an hundred-fold, or sixty, or thirty.

AUG; Some think that this is to be understood as though the saints according to the degree of their merits delivered the thirty, some sixty, some an hundred persons; and this they usually suppose will happen on the day of judgment, not after the judgment. But when this opinion was observed to encourage men in promising themselves impunity, because that by this means all might attain to deliverance, was answered, that men ought the rather to live well, that each might be found among those who were to intercede for the liberation of others, lest these should be found to be so few that they should soon have exhausted the number allotted to them, and thus there would remain many not rescued from torment, among whom might be found all such as in most vain rashness had promised themselves to reap the fruits of others.

REMIG; The thirty-fold then is borne of him who teaches faith in the Holy Trinity; the sixty-fold of him who enforces the perfection of good works (for in the number six this world was completed with all its equipment); while he bears the hundred-fold who promises eternal life. For the number one hundred passes from the left hand to the light; and by the left hand the present life is denoted, by the right hand the life to come. Otherwise, the seed of the word of God brings forth fruit thirty-fold when it begets good thoughts, sixty-fold when good speech, and an hundred fold when it brings to the fruit of good works.

AUG; Otherwise; there is fruit an hundred-fold of the martyrs because of their satiety of life or contempt of death; a sixty-fold fruit of virgins, because they rest not warring against the use of the flesh; for retirement is allowed to those of sixty years' age after service in war or in public business; and there is a thirty-fold fruit of the wedded, because theirs is the age of warfare, and their struggle is the more arduous that they should not be vanquished by their lusts. Or otherwise; we must struggle with our love of temporal goods that reason may be master; it should either be so overcome and subject to us, that when it begins to rise it may be easily repressed, or so extinguished that it never arises in us at all. Whence it comes to pass, that death itself is despised for truth's sake, by some with trade endurance by others with content, and by others with gladness - which three degrees are the three degrees of fruit of the earth - thirty-fold, sixty-fold, and an hundred-fold And in one of these degrees must one be found at the time of his death, if any desires to depart well out of this life.

JEROME; Or, the hundred-fold fruit is to be ascribed to virgins, the sixty-fold to widows and continent persons, the thirty-fold to chaste wedlock.

ID; For the joining together of the hands, as it were in the soft embrace of kiss, represents husband and wife. The sixty-fold refers to widows, who as being set in narrow circumstances and affliction are denoted by the depression of the finger; for by how much greater is the difficulty of abstaining from the allurements of pleasure once known, so much greater is the reward. The hundredth number passes from the left to the right, and by its fuming round with the same fingers, not on the same hand, it expresses the crown of virginity.

Catena Aurea Matthew 13
29 posted on 07/13/2014 12:03:21 PM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


Saint Preaching

Jorge Inglés

1455
Panel
Art Museum, Cincinnati

30 posted on 07/13/2014 12:03:51 PM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: All
CATHOLIC ALMANAC

Sunday, July 13

Liturgical Color: Green

On this day in 64 A.D. St. Peter was
crucified upside down and then buried on
what is now the site of St. Peter's
Basilica. He did not feel worthy to be
crucified upright like Christ.

31 posted on 07/13/2014 2:13:01 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Day 212 - To what extent are all men equal in God's sight? // Why is there injustice among men?

To what extent are all men equal in God's sight?

All men are equal in God's sight insofar as all have the same Creator, all were created in the same image of God with a rational soul, and all have the same Redeemer.

Because all men are equal in God's sight, every person possesses the same dignity and has a claim to the same human rights. Hence every kind of social, racist, sexist, cultural, or religious discrimination against a person is an unacceptable injustice.


Why is there nevertheless injustice among men?

All men have the same dignity, but not all of them meet with the same living conditions. In cases where injustice is man-made, it contradicts the Gospel. In cases where men have been endowed by God with different gifts and talents, God is asking us to rely on one another: in charity one should make up for what the other lacks.

There is a kind of inequality among men that does not come from God but rather originates in societal conditions, especially in the unjust distribution of raw materials, land, and capital worldwide. God expects us to remove from the world everything that is plainly contrary to the Gospel and disregards human dignity. Yet there is another sort of inequality among men that is quite in keeping with God's will: inequality in talents, initial conditions, and opportunities. These are an indication that being human means being there for others in charity so as to share and to promote life. (YOUCAT questions 330-331)


Dig Deeper: CCC section (1934-1938) and other references here.


32 posted on 07/13/2014 2:32:38 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Part 3: Life in Christ (1691 - 2557)

Section 1: Man's Vocation — Life in the Spirit (1699 - 2051)

Chapter 2: The Human Community (1877 - 1948)

Article 3: Social Justice (1928 - 1948)

II. EQUALITY AND DIFFERENCES AMONG MEN

225
(all)

1934

Created in the image of the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same nature and the same origin. Redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, all are called to participate in the same divine beatitude: all therefore enjoy an equal dignity.

357
(all)

1935

The equality of men rests essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it: Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design.40

40.

GS 29 § 2.

1879
(all)

1936

On coming into the world, man is not equipped with everything he needs for developing his bodily and spiritual life. He needs others. Differences appear tied to age, physical abilities, intellectual or moral aptitudes, the benefits derived from social commerce, and the distribution of wealth.41 The "talents" are not distributed equally.42

41.

Cf. GS 29 § 2.

42.

Cf. Mt 25:14-30; Lk 19:27.

1202
340
791
(all)

1937

These differences belong to God's plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and that those endowed with particular "talents" share the benefits with those who need them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods; they foster the mutual enrichment of cultures: I distribute the virtues quite diversely; I do not give all of them to each person, but some to one, some to others. ... I shall give principally charity to one; justice to another; humility to this one, a living faith to that one. ... And so I have given many gifts and graces, both spiritual and temporal, with such diversity that I have not given everything to one single person, so that you may be constrained to practice charity towards one another. ... I have willed that one should need another and that all should be my ministers in distributing the graces and gifts they have received from me.43

43.

St. Catherine of Siena, Dial. I,7.

2317
2437
(all)

1938

There exist also sinful inequalities that affect millions of men and women. These are in open contradiction of the Gospel: Their equal dignity as persons demands that we strive for fairer and more humane conditions. Excessive economic and social disparity between individuals and peoples of the one human race is a source of scandal and militates against social justice, equity, human dignity, as well as social and international peace.44

44.

CS 29 § 3.


33 posted on 07/13/2014 2:33:45 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Catholic Culture

 

Daily Readings for:July 13, 2014
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: O God, who show the light of your truth to those who go astray, so that they may return to the right path, give all who for the faith they profess are accounted Christians the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ and to strive after all that does it honor. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

RECIPES

o    Breakfast Burritos

ACTIVITIES

o    The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy

PRAYERS

o    Book of Blessings: Blessing Before and After Meals: Ordinary Time (2nd Plan)

·         Ordinary Time: July 13th

·         Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Old Calendar: Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

"A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit, a hundred- or sixty- or thirty-fold. Whoever has ears ought to hear" (Matt 13:3-9).

Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

The Optional Memorial of St. Henry is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.


Sunday Readings
The first reading is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 55:10-11. The word of God which came to the Chosen People through the prophets, and the divinely inspired writers, came out of God's loving interest in His people. He wanted to prepare them for the inheritance, the real "promised land," that, when the messianic age (the "fullness of time") came, would be theirs, provided their lives on earth were lived as they should be. — The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.

The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans 8:18-23 and is about present suffering and the glory of God. Suffering is an essential part of the Christian life and one who truly believes will have his or her share of hardships and trials. Yet, these are not ends in themselves, as there is hope that they will terminate with the full revelation of the glory of God. The theme and message of St. Paul is not to lose hope in the Lord into whose risen life we have been initiated by Baptism. — A Celebrants Guide to the New Sacramentary - A Cycle by Kevin W. Irwin

The Gospel is from St. Matthew 13:1-23. Christ's description of His audience, that day in Galilee, is unfortunately as true today as it was then. His message of salvation has been preached to a great part of the world's population, but the proportion of those who accept it and live up to it, is about the same today as it was then. There are millions of men and women today, in what was once Christian Europe, who are like the seed sown on the unplowed path. They refuse to accept the message, they have no thought for their future, they are content to end in the grave after their few years of misery and hardship on this planet.

There are others who see the truth and the consolation of the Christian gospel, but when it comes to making sacrifices for it, they give up. The message did not sink into their hearts and minds. They are like the seed which fell on rocky ground because the faith had no deep roots in their lives. Others again, and they are legion, are like the seed that fell among the briars and thorns. They accepted the faith and it took root in them, but later on, "the cares of the world and the delight in riches chokes the word and it proves unfruitful,"—these are our Lord's own words.

The last class of Christians, are like the seed sown on good soil. They not only accept Christ and his teaching, but they live up to it, and, come what may, they are faithful to it. These will produce fruit and will earn for themselves eternal happiness.

Each one of us can look into his own conscience today and discover to which class he or she belongs. Are some of us perhaps, like the seed that fell on the rocky ground? While Christianity makes no very difficult demand we are all for it, but when it demands mortification, the curbing of passion, real sacrifices for our neighbor, do we forget our Christian calling then and ignore its precepts? And how does our type of Christianity stand up to the temptations of the world—the desire to get all the enjoyment we can out of this life, licit or illicit, breaking God's commandments weekly or maybe daily? Are we chasing after wealth and power, using all our energies to rise in the world to be above our neighbor by fair or foul means? If the above are our aims in life, our Christianity has been or is being choked out of us.

There are millions of saints in heaven today, enjoying eternal happiness, who had some, if not all, of our present failings. We, too, can be with them one day, provided we do what they did. They repented sincerely and remained God's close friends, until he called them to himself. May the merciful God give us the grace to imitate them while we yet have time.

Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.


34 posted on 07/13/2014 2:48:22 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Isaiah 55:10-11

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

My word … shall not return to me void. (Isaiah 55:11)

A farmer is very careful during planting season. He selects the best seeds, chooses the most fertile land, and plants each crop in just the right location. He does all of this in the expectation of a good harvest. Yet despite all his effort, he can’t make the seeds grow. It’s up to the seeds themselves.

By contrast, it’s our heavenly Father who makes the seed of faith in our hearts grow and bear fruit. And he does it by pouring his word on us like a gentle rain shower.

Today’s first reading tells how fruitful God’s word is: it never comes back to him empty! His words are promises filled with divine potential. Every day, our Father speaks words of life over us. He tells us about his hope-filled plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11). He tells us about his everlasting love for us (31:3). He tells us that he delights in us (Isaiah 62:4). And he tells us that we are blessed because we can see signs of his presence in the world (Matthew 13:13). If we can accept these words, they will unleash grace in our lives that will make us into fruitful, attractive witnesses to our faith.

Do you want to bear fruit for the Lord? Then take hold of God’s word and never let it go. Every day, spend time with the Scriptures. Let them speak to your heart. Let them form your mind. Let them guide your actions. If you haven’t done it already, read the articles in the front of this magazine. They’re all about finding God’s presence through his word, and they’ll help you discover the grace that God has planted in you like a seed.

Jesus is speaking his word to you all the time. Right now, at this very moment, he wants to tell you something. Take the time to listen.

“Father, open my eyes to see you. Open my ears to hear you. Open my heart to receive you. Come, Lord, and speak life to my soul!”

Psalm 65:10-14; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13:1-23

Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 65:10-14; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13:1-23)

1. In the first reading, God tells us through the metaphor of rain how fruitful his word is: “my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” What do these words mean to you? How do they apply to your life?

2. In the responsorial psalm, again we read of the “fruitful harvest” because God has “visited the land and watered it.” In what way is this related to the metaphor of rain in the first reading and the role of God’s word in preparing, “breaking” and “softening” our hearts? Can you give an example when God’s word softened your heart and lead to fruitful changes?

3. In the letter to the Romans, St. Paul compares the “slavery” to sin with the “glorious freedom” of the children of God. Where in your life have you experienced “glorious freedom” and victory over sin?

4. In the Gospel, we read once again of the seed and the harvest. Which of the soils described in the Parable of the Sower best describes the state of your heart? What steps can you take to make your heart a “rich soil” that “hears the word and understand it” and “bears fruit?”

5. Jesus also speaks of those who look but do not see, and those who hear but do not listen. When receiving the Eucharist at Mass this week, how careful are you to prepare your heart and mind to really see and listen? What about just prior to hearing the Sunday Mass readings? What additional steps can you take to prepare your heart and mind, both before and during Mass?

6. The meditation challenges us with these words: “Do you want to bear fruit for the Lord? Then take hold of God’s word and never let it go. Every day, spend time with the Scriptures. Let them speak to your heart. Let them form your mind. Let them guide your actions.” If you don’t already have a daily time of Scripture reading, are you willing to commit to reading and reflecting on the Scriptures each day. If not, why not? If you already have a daily time of Scripture reading, are there some steps you can take to improve it?

7. Take some time now to pray for the grace to allow Scriptures, the Word of God, to transform you and “speak life” to your soul. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.


35 posted on 07/13/2014 3:46:41 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER [2]

(A biblical reflection on the 15th Ordinary Sunday – 13 July 2014)

Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:1-9 (long version: Matthew 13:1-23)

First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalms: Psalm 65:10-14, Second Reading: Romans 8:18-23

YESUS DI GEREJA ORTODOX SIRIA

The Scripture Text
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about Him, so that He got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach. And He told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Mt 13:1-9 RSV)

The Bible is not a list of dos and don’ts nor it a collection of lofty ideals and noble characters for our imitation. Certainly, Scripture contains many moral lessons and uplifting stories, but it is much more than this, Scripture is the mind and heart of God revealed to humanity. We could say that just as Jesus is the God in human form, Scripture is the grace of God in written form. As powerful and life-changing as Jesus is, that is how powerful and life-changing the power of Scripture is! We simply need to be open to God.

images (1)

The starting point is to realize that our thoughts are not God’s thoughts. Are we (you and I) open to seeing things differently? Are we willing to let God change our mindsets? If so, then we’re ready to read Scripture for what it truly is. The promise of the Christian life is that if we open the doors of our hearts to God, He will use the Scriptures to transform us and to lift us up into His presence.

Of course, while God does the work, we will still have to be attentive and make ourselves available to God as we read the Scriptures. Through His “parable of the sower and the seed”, Jesus illustrated the ability of His word to bear fruit when it falls into good soil. So, let’s start today. Let’s soak our minds in God’s word. Let’s dwell on the readings we hear at Mass today. Let’s believe that His word always accomplishes that which He intends (Isaiah 55:11) than an intellectual inquiry. It’s an opportunity to become united to God. Let’s experiment with ways to allow Scripture to take root in our hearts and minds. The results will be out of this world!

Prayer: Holy Spirit, God, open my heart to the power of God’s word in the Scripture. Help me to learn God’s ways. Make me into good soil that receives the seed of Your precious word and bears in me the fruit of your love.

36 posted on 07/13/2014 3:55:20 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Marriage=One Man and One Woman 'Til Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for July 13, 2014:

“But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” (Mt 13:8) Is your marriage rich soil in which your family can flourish? If you want to do something for your children, do something for your marriage. Children benefit from a strong, loving marriage.

37 posted on 07/13/2014 4:28:05 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Sunday Scripture Study

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A 

 

Opening prayer   Isaiah 55:10-11                    

(Ps 65:10-14)               

Romans 8:18-23                     

Matthew 13:1-23     

Overview of the Gospel:

• This week’s Gospel reading brings us to Matthew 13, a chapter of parables told by Jesus broken up in such a way that he can explain their meaning. The crowds Jesus is speaking to are so large he needs to get into a boat to avoid being crushed and so that he can be heard by all. He begins with his famous parable of the Sower and the seeds. 

• The soil in Israel was of uneven quality: Seed had to be spread everywhere since finding the “good” soil was too time consuming. The “rocky ground” was not filled with stones; rather, it was composed of thin soil over hard limestone. Also, the thorny weeds commonly found in that area were not pulled up, but plowed under and mixed with the soil.

• In his parable, Jesus addresses in turn the Sower (verses 1-8), the non-listeners (verses 10- 15), the listeners (verses 16-17), and the right understanding (verses18-22) that leads to fruitfulness in the Spirit (verse 23). See also Matthew 7:16-20, 12:33; John 15:5 and Galatians 5:22-23. 

 

Questions:

• In the 1st Reading, what does the prophet Isaiah tell us about the effectiveness of God’s word? How does this relate to the Gospel Reading?

• How does the 2nd Reading convey the reality that the Kingdom of God is “now present” but “not yet”?

• What is a parable? What do they accomplish that simple and direct speech lacks?

• What four types of soil does Jesus mention? What characterizes each? What happens to the seed in each type of soil?

• What does Jesus’ explanation of the parable (vv 18-23) reveal about the seed? About the various soils? The fruit? The Sower?

• How does Jesus’ challenge in verse 9 help explain verses 11-12? How does faith open you up to more and more spiritual insight?

• What deep “roots” help to prevent a Christian from falling away? What gives you roots?

• What worries can choke your growth in Christ? How can you free your life from these “thorns”?

• What “crop” does Jesus want Christians to yield? What can you do to increase your productivity? 

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 1724, 546, 29 

 

Closing prayer 

It is fitting for us, meditating upon the glory of this [future] splendor, to endure all afflictions and persecutions because, although the afflictions of the just man are many, yet those who trust in God are delivered from them all. –St. Cyprian of Carthage (ca. 250 A.D.)


38 posted on 07/13/2014 6:40:59 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Reflections from Scott Hahn

The Word’s Return: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Nate Roberts on 07.11.14 |

 

Readings:
Isaiah 55:10-11  
Psalm 65:10-14
Romans 8:18-23  
Matthew 13:1-23

Today’s readings, like last week’s, ask us to meditate on Israel’s response to God’s Word—and our own. Why do some hear the word of the kingdom, yet fail to accept it as a call to conversion and faith in Jesus? That question underlies today’s Gospel, especially.

Again we see, as we did last week, that the kingdom’s mysteries are unfolded to those who open their hearts, making of them a rich soil in the which the Word can grow and bear fruit.

As we sing in today’s Psalm, in Jesus, God’s Word has visited our land, to water the stony earth of our hearts with the living waters of the Spirit (see John 7:38; Revelation 22:1).

The firstfruit of the Word is the Spirit of love and adoption poured into our hearts in baptism, making us children of God, as Paul reminds us in today’s Epistle (see Romans 5:5; 8:15-16). In this, we are made a “new creation” (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), the firstfruits of a new heaven and a new earth (see 2 Peter 3:13).

Since the first humans rejected God’s Word, creation has been enslaved to futility (see Genesis 3:17-19; 5:29). But God’s Word does not go forth only to return to Him void, as we hear in today’s First Reading.

His Word awaits our response. We must show ourselves to be children of that Word. We must allow that Word to accomplish God’s will in our lives. As Jesus warns today, we must take care lest the devil steal it away or lest it be choked by worldly concerns.

In the Eucharist, the Word gives himself to us as bread to eat. He does so that we might be made fertile, yielding fruits of holiness.

And we await the crowning of the year, the great harvest of the Lord’s Day (see Mark 4:29; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 1:10)—when His Word will have achieved the end for which it was sent.


39 posted on 07/13/2014 6:58:19 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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15th Sunday: God - A generous sower

 

 

(Tissot)

 

Sunday Word: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/071314.cfm

 


Is 55:10-11
Rom 8:18-23
Mt 13:1-23

How perfect a parable for the summer time in this Sunday’s Gospel– the sower and the seed.  Most all of us have spent some time in a garden an orchard or maybe have a few blueberry or raspberry bushes or tomato plants nearby in which we are enjoying the mid-summer harvest of warm days. Not everything has reached its peak as yet but we can see the growth taking place and look forward to reaping the harvest.

 

But Jesus’ parable in the Gospel is not about agricultural methods.  In fact the Sower who sows the seed does so in a very haphazard way.  He just scatters the seed wide and far on good soil, weedy soil, dry ground, among thorns and bushes, perhaps hoping that it will grow somewhere.  Not exactly a careful plowing and preparation of the earth for optimum growth then a neat planting of seeds in straight rows for easy harvest.  

 

Yet, this image is not so much about the seed itself but about whom the Sower is – and that is God. How does God sow his seed - with wild abandon so that it will go everywhere.  What is that seed? It is his grace and his love. It’s all God is and all he has; he doesn’t know how to do otherwise and Jesus wants us to take note of this important image. His love and grace reaches out everywhere: good and bad, rich and poor, young and old, across all cultures and languages and regions. Remember other similar stories and events Jesus told: the Prodigal Son, the shepherd and the lost sheep, the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the amount of water turned wine (180 gallons) at the Cana wedding feast, etc.

 

In our first reading from Isaiah we hear: “so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” This sower’s intent is not one of carelessness or indifference but of purpose: that all may receive an abundance of his love and mercy.  

 

So we know the Sower is extraordinarily generous like the Father in the story of the Prodigal Son.  But what about the soil upon which the seed falls?

 

That is us.  I doubt God is at all surprised when his seed, grace and love, does not produce a harvest.  In fact some of the seed is wasted, received with indifference, finds growth only in fair weather or when things are going smoothly, or falls in the middle of our very busy lives filled with so many responsibilities and distractions that we’ve pushed God to the margins or never bothered to educate ourselves about our rich Catholic faith and we are worshiping God as if we were still fifth graders.

 

But, God does not cease sowing.  He continues to sow knowing that he has brought us into life, wired us for himself and that our natural tendency to search for a deeper meaning and purpose may lead us back to him.  As Pope Francis has said: “It is not God who abandons us it is we who abandon him.”

 

What is your soil like?  How prepared are you to be receptive? The rich soil that Jesus describes was not typical of middle eastern terrain.  If  a five fold harvest was produced it would have been extraordinary.  But the “rich soil” Jesus speaks of is a heart open to him; a person who is genuinely searching for him through prayer, good works, kindness and generosity towards others, who worships regularly and participates in the sacramental life of the Church.  He’s not speaking of being religious fanatics or overly pious individuals but about those who take their faith seriously enough to remain open to all that he wants to give.

 

The Sower and the Seed is then about God and us.  He sows and we receive what he offers.  But we can also say “no, not now, too hard, later, maybe tomorrow, get back to me when I’m not so busy,” or find a host of other excuses. In other words, what kind of disciple am I?  Do I follow Jesus from a safe distance or do I find myself up close to hear his every word?  

 

Our gathering for the Eucharist each weekend is a time to encounter the living Christ in Word and Sacrament and to be open and receptive to whatever seed God wants to plant in us.  It may be small at first, like the mustard seed, but in time with careful nurturing it will grow to be “the largest of plants.” God bless you.

 

 

O God, who show the light of your truth

to those who go astray,

so they may return to the right path,

give all who for the faith they profess

are accounted Christians

the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ

and to strive after all that does it honor.

 

(Collect of Sunday)


40 posted on 07/13/2014 7:07:58 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Insight Scoop

The parables of Christ are not secret codes but calls to conversion

"The Sower (Sower with Setting Sun)" (1888) by Vincent van Gogh

A Scriptural Reflection on the Readings for Sunday, July 13, 2014 | Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time | Carl E. Olson

Readings:
• Isa 55:10-11
• Psa 65:10, 11, 12-13, 14
• Rom 8:18-23
• Mt 13:1-23

The well-known parable of the seed and the sower is the first of seven parables in Matthew 13. These are known as the “Sermon of Parables” (Mt 13:1-53), and this sermon, as a whole, is the third great sermon recorded in the first Gospel, the previous two being the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) and the Mission Sermon (Mt 10:5-42).

There are about forty parables in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (the Fourth Gospel contains no parables), and each expresses some truth about the mystery of the Kingdom of God, which is the heart of Jesus’ preaching. They impart, Jesus told the disciples, “the secrets of the kingdom of heaven”, and are meant to enlighten those who hear with faith, while frustrating those without faith, “because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand”.

Yet the parables are not secret codes for a certain select, but are challenging calls to conversion. Parables, explains Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, “are means used by God’s mercy to reach the obtuse and hard-hearted, to give them something they can grasp that will perhaps initiate in them a process of conversion.” They reveal by concealing, and in doing so they test our humility and our willingness to really hear and know the Word of God.

The first four parables in Matthew 13 (vs. 1-43) focus on how the kingdom grows and the transforming power of God’s Word that brings about such supernatural growth. The final three parables (vs. 44-50), are concerned with the complete and radical choice demanded by the reality of the kingdom, which requires a full commitment of the heart, soul, and mind.

Today’s reading from the prophet Isaiah describes how the goodness of God is evident in the rain and snow that waters the earth, thus providing the means of natural life—seed and bread—for everyone. Likewise, the word of God goes forth to all men and it “shall not return to me void”. So the word of God is likened to a seed; similarly, Jesus made a direct connection between the seed and the “word of the kingdom”. The seed that is sowed is not just a collection of words about the kingdom, but is the Word sent by the Father to dwell among men. This is, of course, the Incarnation, the coming the Logos, or Word, into the world (cf. Jn 1:9-18).

This seed is also the entire body of the teachings of the Incarnate Word, as well as the “good news” of his saving death and resurrection, by which the Kingdom is established and revealed. “In the word, in the works, and in the presence of Christ, this kingdom was clearly open to the view of men”, states the Second Vatican Council’s dogmatic constitution on the Church, “The Word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear the Word with faith and become part of the little flock of Christ, have received the Kingdom itself. Then, by its own power the seed sprouts and grows until harvest time”.

The constitution further notes, “While it slowly grows, the Church strains toward the completed Kingdom and, with all its strength, hopes and desires to be united in glory with its King” (par 5).

This parable of the seed and sower describes the slow growth and the straining of the Church here on earth. The path is the world, which is fallen and fractured, containing every sort of distraction and temptation. It contains much rocky ground and many thorns. Creation, as St. Paul observed, “is made subject to futility”, desiring to “be set free from slavery to corruption”.

But the world is also a place of authentic choice and of new life for those who are receptive to the seed. Those who truly hear, Jesus said, will be healed; they are, in the words of St. Paul, partakers in the “glorious freedom of the children of God”.

(This "Opening the Word" column originally appeared in the July 10, 2011, edition of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.)


41 posted on 07/13/2014 7:17:44 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Vultus Christi

Saint Henry, Emperor and Benedictine Oblate

Sunday, 13 July 2014 08:00

While Keeping Vigil

Benedictine Oblates living and working in the world have two holy patrons: Saint Francesca of Rome whom we celebrated in March, and today’s Saint Henry. One of the things related about Saint Henry is that, on arriving in any town, he would spend his entire first night there in a vigil of prayer in a church dedicated to the Holy Mother of God. When he arrived in Rome in 1014, he spent the night in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Rome’s Bethlehem. While keeping vigil, he saw the “Sovereign and Eternal Priest-Child Jesus” enter to celebrate the Holy Mysteries. Saints Lawrence and Vincent assisted Our Lord as deacons. A throng of saints filled the basilica; Angels chanted in choir. It is noteworthy that in Henry’s vision Christ the Priest is a Child. One wonders if he was not keeping vigil before the altar of the Crib of the Infant Jesus in Saint Mary Major, a place of grace for countess souls through the ages.

Touched by the Book of the Gospels

Henry’s vision is very much like those of Saint Gertrude the Great: a pulling back of the veil, a glimpse of “what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived” (1 Cor 2:9). After the Gospel, an Angel bearing the book of the Gospels was sent to Henry by the Mother of God. Normally, one kisses the book of the Gospels. Instead the Angel touched Saint Henry’s thigh with it, saying, “Accept this sign of God’s love for your chastity and justice.” From that moment on, Henry limped like Jacob after his night vigil spent wrestling with the angel (cf. Gn 32:24-25). How fascinating — and how consistent with God’s dealings with men — that a mark of weakness should be the sign of a special grace!

The Oblate Emperor

Henry was crowned Emperor in Saint Peter’s Basilica by Pope Benedict VIII in 1014. Henry cherished Benedictine life, spending time in monasteries whenever he could. His greatest joy was to occupy a stall in choir and join the monks in singing the Divine Office. Henry founded monasteries throughout the Empire and endowed them liberally. He became an oblate of the Abbey of Cluny and then asked to make profession as monk at the Abbey of Saint-Vanne. The abbot received him as a monk, and then ordered him, in the name of obedience, to take his place again on the imperial throne.

Set Your Mind on Things That Are Above

Living in virginity with his wife Saint Cunegonda, Saint Henry preserved the heart of a monk. Limping through life, because of his thigh touched by the Angel bearing the Book of the Gospels, Saint Henry represents every man who, while living in the world, is not entirely at home in it. “Set your minds on things that are above,” says the Apostle, “not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:3).

Oblation

In what way was Saint Henry a monk in the midst of the world? He understood that his basic task as a Christian was to contemplate the Face of Christ. The Face of the Child Christ was shown him in that mysterious dream by night in Saint Mary Major. The Child Christ he saw was also the High Priest ascending the altar for the Holy Sacrifice. As an Oblate, Saint Henry surely knew that, in every Mass, his place was on the corporal, close by the bread and the chalice. The Child-Priest, in raising the paten and the chalice heavenward was lifting up Henry’s life, making it an oblation to the Father. He will do the same for us today. We have only to seek His Face and abandon ourselves into His hands.


42 posted on 07/13/2014 7:30:05 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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43 posted on 07/13/2014 7:33:58 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Regnum Christi

A Seed Destined to Bear Fruit
U. S. A. | SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
July 13, 2014, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 13: 1-23

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!" Then the disciples came and asked him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" He answered, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. The reason I speak to them in parables is that ´seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.´ With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: ´You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people´s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn-- and I would heal them.´ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell 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. Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."


Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you; I know that you are always watching over me and guiding me. I trust and hope in you, because I know you will never lead me astray, if only I listen to you and obey you. I love you for being so good and patient with me, and I desire to live each day more faithful to you.

Petition: Open my ears, Lord Jesus, so I can listen to and accept your Word into my heart and so bear abundant fruit for you.

1. Listen! Twice in this Gospel passage, Jesus exhorts the crowds to “Listen!” The fact is, today as then, it is hard for us to stop what we are doing, put aside our prejudices, worries and preoccupations, and really listen to God. But, how else can we hope to know God’s will for us? During his earthly life, Jesus often – as in this passage – spoke in parables. He wants us to make the effort to understand his message and apply it to our lives. That is the first and essential step to make it possible for him to enter our lives through the Word and transform us so we can bear fruit.

2. Blessed Are We: Jesus tells his disciples that they are blessed because they see what they see and hear what they hear. We could feel that we are less blessed, because we don’t see and hear Jesus directly. However, in a way we are more blessed! The disciples in Jesus’ time had to struggle to understand his message. It was a new and difficult teaching, and they were the first to have to interpret, teach and apply this message. We have the benefit of nearly two thousand years of saints and scholars who, with their lives and writings, have explained and applied the Gospel. We have the Holy Spirit that the disciples had not yet received when Jesus spoke these words. We have the presence of Jesus himself in the Eucharist. We should be thankful for all these gifts we have received and allow them to bear fruit in our lives.

3. A Hundredfold: If we do  listen to Jesus’ message, both in Scripture and in the many indirect ways he manifests his will to us in our lives, and if we appreciate what a gift this is, we must show our gratitude with the way we live. We have to be the good soil that bears fruit a hundredfold. That means not only growing in our own faith and living in consonance with it, but also multiplying the gift by sharing it with others. We can’t be satisfied with being good and not sinning; in order to be good Christians, we have to spread the message in whatever ways are available to us in our state of life. Every day we should ask ourselves: What have I done today to spread the seeds of the Gospel?

Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Jesus, for all you have given me! I’m sorry for the times I have not given you priority over other things and have not listened to you or shared with others the gifts you’ve given me. Help me to bear abundant fruit!

Resolution: I will spend some time with God today to examine my life and see how I can both listen better and share God’s gifts more with others.


44 posted on 07/13/2014 8:02:36 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Lord’s Wordy Fertilizer

July 13, 2014
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 55:10-11

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/071314.cfm

Have you ever written a letter to famous person only to receive no response? Or perhaps you have shouted at your team’s baseball player to hit a home run only to watch him strike out. Frequently our words fail. We might wish and shout and sing and stamp our feet, but we don’t always get what we want with our words. They don’t always accomplish the purpose for which they were sent out in the first place. This Sunday’s first reading shows us that while our words might fail, God’s words do not.

Context

The reading, Isaiah 55:10-11, is only two verses extracted from the text of a famous chapter. Isaiah 55 begins with an invitation to “Come every one who thirsts, come to the waters” (Isa 55:1 RSV). The chapter also invites us to “Seek the Lord while he may be found,” (55:6) and reminds us that “my thoughts are not your thoughts” (55:8). Our reading comes in the context of forgiveness. The Lord is responding to his people’s sinfulness, pleading with “the wicked to forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts” in order that the Lord might have mercy on them (55:7). The intentions of human beings might falter and fail, but the Lord’s intention to have mercy will succeed.

Rain and Snow

This reading is one long sentence that gives us an extended metaphorical comparison. Essentially, God’s word is like rain. The first half of the metaphor dwells on the beauty and power of rain and snow. They fall mysteriously from heaven and have a powerful effect on the earth, bringing quenching, vivifying sustenance to all the plants. Our passage points us to the farmer, who is grateful for life-giving rain that causes his seeds to sprout and to the “eater” who gets his food thanks to the rain. We might not all be farmers, but we’re certainly all eaters, so we all have reason to be thankful for rain!

The Lord’s Wordy Fertilizer

While the rain and snow “water the earth” and cause it to be fertile, God’s word goes out and accomplishes his purposes. Now, the Hebrew word for “word” is dabar, which has a broad meaning including “word, matter, thing, sentence.” We could think of it as broadly conveying God’s intention. The text says the word won’t return to God “void, empty” as if his word were a bread basket. It will come back with the goods, not empty-handed. It will accomplish what he intends for it to accomplish.

Eatable Expressions

Isaiah’s connection of bread and word is not accidental. It comes up in the recounting of the manna in the desert:  “that man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD” (Deut 8:3 RSV). The word of God, the intentions of God are like food for our souls. This metaphor is especially apt for our Catholic sacramental encounter with God. We encounter the “food of the Word” both in the liturgical reading of Scripture and in the Eucharist. His Word feeds, nourishes and sustains us. It might feel a little weird to “eat words.” We use this expression to express regret about words we have spoken, but in this case, the words of God are like super-nutrients that destroy unhealthy elements like sin and provide our souls with the necessary impetus to grow.

Power vs. Prospering

Isaiah’s metaphor reveals something about God’s word that the translations tend to obscure. Most translations say in the last phrase that God’s word will “succeed” or “accomplish” that for which God sent it. That’s okay, but the Hebrew word, hitsliach, means to “make prosperous, make successful, cause to thrive.” The difference is that God’s word here acts not as an overpowering force that pushes things around, but as a fertilizer that encourages the growth, the prosperity, the life of that which it encounters. God’s word pours down like rain and helps things that already have an inner dynamism of growth to grow bigger and stronger and healthier. To me, this dimension of God’s word of forgiveness significantly impacts how we understand what he’s doing. His word, which we’ll see in the Parable of the Sower in this Sunday’s gospel, causes true goodness to thrive, to grow, to prosper in us. His word does not come to smack us around, but to bring to fruition all the Christ-likeness he has planted in us.

While not all of our words are effective—sometimes they fall on deaf ears—God’s words, his intentions are. His word is like bread, sustaining us, filling us and giving us the nutrients we need to make the journey of life. And his word is like healthy rain or fertilizer, which causes the seeds of the gospel to blossom in our lives. We might not always feel like the good seed in good soil, but God knows what he’s doing and sends out his word of forgiveness, which is bigger than our sinfulness. We are eaters of bread, but if we become true eaters of his Word, it might just cause us to thrive.


45 posted on 07/13/2014 8:10:56 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Scripture Speaks: Speaking in Parables

 

In today’s Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus, “Why do You speak in parables?” Good question!

Gospel (Read Mt 13:1-23)

Our Gospel opens with a picturesque scene of Jesus sitting “by the sea” and drawing such a large crowd that He had to get into a boat and go offshore a bit so the people could hear Him. If we were reading Matthew’s Gospel from its beginning, we would see that the reason Jesus had such a big following was that “He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. So His fame spread…” (Mt 4:23-24a). We would notice, too, that the first great teaching by Jesus recorded in this Gospel is the Sermon on the Mount. Here we find several chapters of straight talk about how men ought to live. Noticeable is the lack of any parables. After that, we get many more accounts of Jesus’ miracles.   Then, in chapter twelve, we find the beginning of strong opposition to Him. He healed a man on the Sabbath, and “the Pharisees went out and took counsel against Him, how to destroy Him” (Mt 12:14).

Knowing this background adds something to our understanding of today’s Gospel. Here we see Jesus addressing an enormous crowd, but instead of straight talk, He teaches them in a parable, the first of many in this chapter. The disciples are puzzled by the parable—not just its meaning, but why Jesus is now using this new teaching technique. Fortunately, He answers both questions.

First, Jesus tells a simple story of a sower, his seed, and what happens to the seed in different kinds of soil. People who grew their own food and knew the challenges of a good harvest would have easily understood this story. After telling the parable, Jesus marks its significance by announcing, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” This was another way of saying, “This is important. Pay attention.” He left it at that! The disciples’ curiosity was aroused. “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus’ answer suggests that the parable was meant to be difficult to understand; why, then, would He use it? Apparently, He sensed something in the crowd that reminded Him of a prophecy from Isaiah: “They look but do not see, and hear but do not listen or understand.” Why had these people followed Jesus to the seashore? Were they looking for the sensationalism of more miracles? Were they looking for a chance to turn Him in to the authorities? Were they simply there to find out why the mob scene had gathered to listen to Him? Jesus decided to speak in a parable to sift out the serious seekers from all the others. A parable requires thought, reflection, and, above all, humility. If one is not able to admit, “I don’t get this,” he will not take the time to pursue its meaning. Serious seekers in the crowd would have decided to keep listening, keep following, keep watching this Jesus. Jesus promised that a person with a desire for understanding would get it, in abundance. Likewise, a person who, upon hearing the simple story, had little curiosity about its deeper meaning would go away with nothing, letting go of the little curiosity he had when he arrived. “For to him who has will more be given, and he will have in abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

Now, to those who followed Jesus for the right reason, His disciples, Jesus was glad to explain the meaning of the parable. “Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.” Jesus knew that many righteous people in Israel’s history had longed for the privilege now enjoyed by these disciples. He explained to them that the “seed” is God’s Word. Those who hear it “without understanding it” are those in whom the Word takes no root at all. It is like a seed that simply sits on top of the soil. Birds, the wind, or insects can easily remove it. In the case of God’s Word lying inert in a man, finding no reception at all, it is the evil one who will come to remove it, and there will be no resistance to the theft.

When the seed actually begins to take root and puts down an anchor in the soil, it still faces challenges. If the soil is rocky, the root will be compromised. This represents one who “hears the word and receives it at once with joy.” However, difficulties from the outside (tribulation, persecution) make him “fall away.” He has no endurance; he bears no fruit. If the seed is sown among thorns, its life can get choked off; it also is fruitless. Here, although the Word takes root in a man’s heart, difficulties from the inside (anxiety, love of riches) make the Word sterile. Rich soil (not rocky, no weeds) will yield a wonderful harvest. This represents the one who hears and understands the Word, and his perseverance means abundant fruit.

This parable is simple enough to grasp. It presents a clear picture of the Church’s teaching on our need to cooperate with the grace God gladly gives to all men. Fruitfulness is not automatic. We will need to clear the rocks from the soil of our hearts and keep it free from weeds. If we are honest, we know that sometimes we do this with energy, sometimes not. Fortunately, God wills to keep sowing His seed in our lives, year in and year out. He does this through His Church, especially in the Mass. Over and over we hear Scripture readings, homilies, and the words of the liturgy. Over and over we receive Jesus in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation. The Sower never gives up on us! He’s always looking for rich soil. He always wants our fruitfulness.

Possible response: Lord Jesus, sometimes the soil of my heart has been rocky and weedy. Help me to be good soil for Your Word today.

First Reading (Read Isa 55:10-11)

In this passage, the LORD describes, through the prophet, Isaiah, the power of His Word. These verses come in the second half of the Book of Isaiah, sometimes called “The Book of Comfort.” The first half of the book announces a coming judgment on the covenant unfaithfulness of God’s people. They will undergo chastisement for their sin, but they will also experience restoration by God’s hand. Isaiah calls out, “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that He may have mercy on him…” (Isa 55:6-7) In our Gospel reading, Jesus is looking for just such people. In the form of a parable, He, too, describes the great power of God’s Word to bring forth fruitfulness, “a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” The Word of God, as Isaiah tells us, is never impotent in the soul of one who seeks the LORD: “My Word shall not return to Me void, but shall do My will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” Think about God speaking the universe into existence in the first chapter of Genesis, beginning with “Let there be light!”   Our job is to prepare the soil of our hearts to receive His Word. It is God Who provides the growth.

These verses remind us of the remarkable value of reading Scripture (as you are doing now). Any time we put ourselves in contact with God’s Word, with a willing and generous heart, we “are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor3:18), as St. Paul wondrously wrote. We may not see or feel it, but the transformation is taking place, for God’s Word never returns to Him void. What a beautiful promise!

Possible response: Heavenly Father, thank You for the promise of power in Your Word. Help me seek it like the pearl of great price.

Psalm (Read Ps 65:10-14)

The psalmist gives us a remarkably beautiful prophetic poem describing God’s work in making His Creation fruitful. He sees the good, wise, and loving hand of God everywhere bringing life to the earth, making all things prosper. This is a wonderful metaphor of the Word of God in action. God is like an artist, painting robust color and meaning into His majestic handiwork. What is Creation’s response to this tender care from God? “The fields are garmented with flocks and the valleys blanketed with grain. They shout and sing for joy.” This is heartbreakingly poignant! The “fields” and the “valleys,” having received the seed of God’s Word, rejoice in their fruitfulness and cannot still their praise: “The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.”

Possible response: The psalm is, itself, a response to our other lectionary readings. Read it again as your own prayerful response to God’s Word.

Second Reading (Read Rom 8:18-23)

St. Paul gives us a vision of Creation somewhere between the sowing of God’s Word in the hearts of men described in the Gospel and the prophetic paean of praise in the psalm, a joyous picture of the earth bursting with life and fruitfulness. As we know, seeds take time to mature and bear fruit. Before the coming of Christ, as a result of man’s Fall in the Garden, St. Paul says that “Creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the One Who subjected it.” In Eden, a dark shadow fell across man and the earth he was meant to subdue and govern. The shadow was not to be permanent, however. It fell “in hope that Creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.” Fairy stories have often featured this kind of “spell” being cast over a kingdom as it waits for Someone to appear and break it. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis describes Narnia, just such a benighted kingdom, as being a place where it was “always winter but never Christmas.” How perfectly that describes the earth’s wait for the Savior to appear in human

history. In Lewis’ story, Aslan, the lion, represents Jesus. When he appears in Narnia, the ice and snow quickly begin to melt and the earth bursts forth into magnificent bloom, as springs and rivers gush again with water. Help has arrived.

That is precisely what happened in the Incarnation. God’s Word—Jesus—was planted in the earth in death, but He rose victorious to bring new life to the dark, chilled world. Ever since, God has been sowing that Word into the rich soil of men’s hearts. Has that brought the total overthrow of the blight of “futility” in the world? St. Paul says not yet, BUT we ourselves, although we wait for the fulfillment of the psalmist’s vision, are the “firstfruits of the Spirit.” The “firstfruits” of a harvest are exactly that—the first growth of the hoped-for harvest that gives confidence for what is to follow. We who have the Spirit of Christ in us are the early evidence of the earth’s complete transformation yet to come. Don’t we all, with St. Paul, “groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies”? When Jesus returns to draw history to a close, the work of redemption will finally be complete. Meanwhile, the fruitfulness we experience now—the changes in us that we know can only be from God—give hope to all Creation that the spell of sin and death has been broken. The harvest is secure. Rejoice!

Possible response: Lord Jesus, help me have the patient perseverance it takes to wait for the fullness of redemption, both for myself and all Creation. Thank You for the gift of Your Spirit, Who makes the harvest sure.


46 posted on 07/13/2014 8:15:01 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

Language: English | Español

All Issues > Volume 30, Issue 4

<< Sunday, July 13, 2014 >> 15th Sunday Ordinary Time
 
Isaiah 55:10-11
Romans 8:18-23

View Readings
Psalm 65:10-14
Matthew 13:1-23

Similar Reflections
 

THE JOY OF SUFFERING

 
"I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us." —Romans 8:18
 

When we suffer, we may take a pill for pain relief. However, Paul recommends that we pray for a deeper awareness of God's glory. We need to increase our awareness of God's glory more than decrease our pain. Then we will consider our suffering as nothing compared to His glory to be revealed in us. We can even become so aware of God's glory that we consider suffering a privilege (Phil 1:29), find our joy in our suffering (Col 1:24), and even rejoice in proportion to our suffering (1 Pt 4:13).

For most people, their joy increases as their suffering decreases. For Christians aware of God's glory, our joy increases as our suffering increases. This is only possible for those deeply aware of God's glorious presence (1 Pt 2:19). This fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps 111:10), even of wisdom concerning our suffering. We find joy in suffering only when we suffer redemptively through self-sacrifice and persecution.

Most suffering should be removed through repentance, evangelization, deliverance, and/or healing. Redemptive suffering, however, should be compared to God's glory and considered nothing (see Rm 8:18). We should rejoice in redemptive suffering and even seek to increase it by living totally for Christ.

 
Prayer: Father, give me the faith and love to pray to share more in Your sufferings (see Phil 3:10).
Promise: "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but shall do My will, achieving the end for which I sent it." —Is 55:11
Praise: He once was dead, but now He lives (Rv 1:18). Jesus is Lord! Alleluia!

47 posted on 07/13/2014 8:18:20 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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48 posted on 07/13/2014 8:24:25 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Archdiocese of Washington

Why would God sow seeds he knows will bear little or no fruit? A further reflection on the Parable of the Sower.

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

We heard the parable of the Sower at Yesterday’s Sumday Mass. Someone asked me a question: Since the sower is the Son of Man, Jesus himself, why would the Lord, who knows everything ahead of time, sow seed he knew would not bear fruit?

First, let’s review the text:

“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Matt 13:1-9)

So the question presents, Why then would God waste any seed on rocky or thin soil, or the path?

Perhaps a series of possible “answers” is all we can venture. I place “answers” in quotes since we are in fact touching on some mysteries here of which we can only speculate. So, here are some “answers.”

I. God is extravagant - it is not just seed He scatters liberally, it is everything. There are hundreds of billions of stars in over 100 billion galaxies, most of these seemingly devoid of life as we understand it. Between these 100 billion galaxies are huge amounts of what seems to be empty space. On this planet, where one species of bird would do, there are thousands of species, tens of thousands of different sorts of insects, a vast array of different sorts of trees, mammals, fish etc. “Extravagant” barely covers it. The word “extravagant” means “to go, or wander beyond.” And God has gone vastly beyond anything we can imagine. But God is love, and love is extravagant. The image of him sowing seeds, almost in a careless way is thus consistent with the usual way of God.

This of course is less an answer to the question before us than a deepening of the question. The answer, if there is one, is caught up in the mystery of love. Love does not say, what is the least I can do? It says “What more can I do?!” If a man loves a woman, he does not look for the cheapest gift on her birthday, rather he looks for an extravagant gift. God is Love and God is extravagant.

II. Even if the failed seed represents those who ultimately reject him, God loves that seed anyway. Remember, as Jesus goes on to explain, the seeds that fail to bear fruit, are symbols of those who allow riches, worldly preoccupation, persecution and other things to draw them away from God. But, even knowing this, does not change God’s love for them. He still wills their existence. Scripture says elsewhere, But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt 5:44-45).

Yes, God loves even those who will ultimately reject him and will not, knowing ahead of that rejection, say to them, “You cannot exist.” He thus scatters even that seed, knowing ahead of time that it will not bear the fruit He wishes. Further, he continues to send the sun and rain, even on those who will reject him.

Hence this parable shows forth God’s unfailing love. He sows seeds, even knowing they will not bear the fruit he wants. He wills the existence of all, even those who he knows ahead of time will reject him.

III. That God sows seeds and allows them to fall on bad soil is indicative of God’s justice. The various places the seed falls is indicative of human freedom, more than illustrative of the intent of God. For one may still question, “Why would God “allow” seed to fall on the path, or among thorns, or in rocky soil?” And the only answer here is that God has made us free.

Were the Lord to take back the seeds that fell in unfruitful places one could argue that God withdrew his grace and that one was lost on account of this, namely that God manipulated the process by withdrawing every possible grace. But God, in justice calls everyone and offers sufficient grace for all to come to faith and salvation. And thus the sowing of the seed everywhere is indicative of God’s justice.

IV. The variety of outcomes teaches us to persevere and look to faithfully sowing, rather than merely to the harvest. Sometimes we can become a bit downcast when it seems our work has born little fruit. And the temptation is to give up. But, as an old saying goes, “God calls us to be faithful, not successful.” In other words, it is up to us to be the means the means whereby the Lord sows the seed of his Word. The Word is in our hands, by God’s grace, but the harvest is not.

This parable teaches us that not every seed we sow will bear fruit. In fact a lot of it will not, for the reasons described by the Lord in a later part of the parable.

The simple mandate remains ad is this: preach the Word, Go unto all the nations and make disciples.  St. Paul would later preach to Timothy: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction (2 Tim 4:2). In other words, sometimes the gospel is accepted, sometimes it is rejected. Preach it any way. Sometimes the gospel is popular, sometimes not. Preach it anyway. Sometimes the Gospel is in season, sometimes it is out of season. Preach it anyway. Sow the seeds, don’t give up.

Discharge your duty! St. Paul goes on to sadly remark, For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Tim 4:3-5). Once again the message is the same: preach anyway, sow the seed of the Word, persevere, do not give up, do not be discouraged. Discharge your duty and be willing to endure hardship, just preach! Some of the seed will yield a rich harvest, some will not, preach anyway.

So, permit these “answers.” God sows seed he knows will bear no fruit because he is extravagant, because he loves and wills the existence even of those he knows will reject him, because of his justice, and to teach us to persevere, whatever the outcome.


49 posted on 07/14/2014 6:45:43 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Four Kinds of Soil

Pastor’s Column

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 13, 2014

 

God is continually at work in the world around us. In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus uses the image of seeds being broadcast by a farmer as an analogy to describe the kind of return he receives from us to his many initiatives (Matthew 13:1-23).

God speaks to us constantly in our lives! Can we see our response in one of these ways?

Some seed fell by the wayside. Fields in Galilee were often long strips with walking paths in between. Any seed that fell on this path almost certainly would not be able to germinate because of so many people constantly trampling it. In the same way, sometimes our response to the Lord is a closed mind and a stubborn heart. We can be like this path, hard and unyielding to all God wishes for our lives, and he can’t get in.

Some seed fell on stony ground. In many parts of Palestine the soil is very shallow with a hard layer of rock several inches below the surface. Such soil as this will not permit a plant to put down deep roots. Growth would be quick while the rain lasted, but in the heat of summer the plant would die for lack of roots. In the same way, if my response to the Lord is based only on the emotions of the moment or I’m only willing to pray when it feels good, for example, when trials come, in the heat of the day my spirituality may not be deep enough to persevere.

Some seed fell among thorns. The thorny ground that Jesus describes was most likely land that was on a boundary between two different owners. This area would be full of weeds and other unwanted plants that grew to choke out the good seed so that it could not bear any fruit. In the same way, worldly concerns can overwhelm us such that Christ can get crowded out! Is the TV always going in my house? Does it seem like the computer or cell phone is always on? Am I too busy to pray? We can get so involved with our many legitimate cares that there is no room to respond to the Lord when he speaks to us. How do I spend all my leisure time?

Some seed fell on good ground where it yielded 30, 60 or 100 fold! Notice that there are varying responses to the Lord, depending on how we accept him, depending how open our hearts are to his message. What does it mean to bear a 100-fold response? We know we have been listening to the Lord by how we respond to the needs of others that God has placed in our lives; by whether we are praying on a regular basis and how often we attend Mass; by the daily, on-going conversion of our lives and how we respond to the Lord’s many initiatives in the present moment, where all grace resides.

 

                                               Father Gary


50 posted on 07/20/2014 6:27:18 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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