READINGS for 2007-07-27
“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.” – Matthew 13:23
Even with all the intent to follow the Lord and trust that He will provide for all my needs, my journey had not been easy. It still is not. Back when I had a religious store and trying my best to serve God through our parish community, I felt happier – but materially poorer. I responded to almost every call to serve, but deep within I was crying out to God, “Must I suffer in following You?”
Eventually, the Lord heard my cry and led me out from “my Egypt.” Now, I have a fulltime job and am able to pay for all our household bills. I miss the “high” of being able to actively serve the Lord through the parish. But I have to content myself with doing my bit of evangelistic journalism through Kerygma and Didache, and spreading God’s Word in the workplace.
Sometimes I feel it’s not enough, but He has led me back to the workplace, and so I just have to bloom where He has planted me. Tess VA.
How well do you hear the Word of God and follow it?
Lord, grant me the grace to listen to Your Word and act on it.
The Law will come to be the classic foundation of Jewish life, both in a national and individual sense. The Ten Commandments call the Jews a people set apart for the purposes of God. It is not that they will always be faithful to them, but the Law will provide a basic measure by which one’s life can be judged. The Law outlines some, not all, of the basic demands of morality concerning our relationship with God and one another. Even today they are still looked to as the prescriptive foundation of Christian morality.
1 God delivered all these commandments 2 “I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.” 3 You shall not have other gods besides me. 4 You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; 5 you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; 6 but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished him who takes his name in vain. 8 Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. 9 Six days you may labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. 11 In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. 12 Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you. 13 You shall not kill. 14 You shall not commit adultery. 15 You shall not steal. 16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him.”
P S A L M
Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11
R: Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
7  The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. (R) 8  The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye. (R) 9  the fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just. (R) 10  They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold; sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb. (R)
G O S P E L
We all need to put down roots that will enable us to draw sustenance from the truth that grounds our faith life. Trees that live in arid areas will have to have roots that go down very deeply if they are going to survive in order to draw the last drop of water available to them. The same is true for Christians; if we are going to survive living in a world that is at cross-purposes to the Gospel, then we had better have sunk our spiritual roots deeply into prayer and the life of the Church.
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 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. 20 The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. 21 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. 22 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. 23 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.”
think: We all need to put down roots that will enable us to draw sustenance from the truth that grounds our faith life.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Isaiah 42-43
A TIRELESS EFFORT
What we have for our Gospel today is actually the explanation of the wellknown Parable of the Sower (not the parable itself, which is in Matthew 13:4-9). A quick browse over this familiar parable will make us see its simplicity and natural tone, with its clearly optimistic conclusion. A Scripture commentator however remarks that this explanation now (verses 18-23) seems to be quite awkward (from the exegetical point of view), with its heavy insistence on failure.
We for our part must admit, honestly and humbly, that in our lives we do have “areas of sterility, unproductive pockets and arid periods” (Nil Guillemette, Parables for Today). In spite of the best that we always try to do in our Christian life, we still have our shortcomings, our bad habits and sins. In the same vein, there are moments in our spiritual life when we lack vigor, enthusiasm, and joy. But even in these instances, we must never give in to discouragement.
Trials and hardships are always there anyway, taken almost as a given in life. And definitely they are hard to bear. But for a Christian, these are the occasions to affirm one’s faith and trust in God, in whose mysterious ways we live and move.
There is a certain optimism, therefore, in spite of “setbacks or persecutions,” in spite of “worldly anxieties,” in spite of meager results. Such optimism stems from Christ Himself, and not just from a happy temperament or a successful life. Jesus Christ, after all, is in fact the Sower Himself, and He somehow knows what it is to go out under the heat of the sun and to sow the seed into not-so-ideal soil conditions. He will tirelessly continue to do so, and it’s up to us to nurture the soil and produce the harvest. Fr. Martin M.
REFLECTION QUESTION: How optimistic are you?
Let us focus on Your promise, Lord, so we will never tire of serving You.
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