Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Catholic Reflections 616 : Homily Sixteenth Sunday of the Year A - Sunday, July 23, 2017

Homily Sixteenth Sunday of the Year A  - Sunday, July 23, 2017

       First Reading: Wisdom 12:13. 16-19
       Psalm: Ps 85:5-6. 9-10. 15-16. “Lord, you are good and forgiving.”
       Second Reading: Romans 8:26-27
       Gospel: Matthew 13:24-43
Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Sixteenth Sunday of the Year A  - Sunday, July 23, 2017 by clicking this link here:https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-16th-sunday-ordinary-a-2017 
A Quality that describes God in the readings this weekend is "Forbearance”  -which is defined as: “patience, being long-suffering, tolerance, or “the act of refraining from enforcing a debt, obligation or right.”   (Merriam Webster Dictionary Online)

God is all-powerful, but is gentle and always wants to give us time for change, for transformation, and for repentance.” (Abbot’s homily, Monastery of Christ in the desert).

I love the lines in the first reading… They are so beautiful… it gives us a deep insight into God’s nature and God’s message: Lord… Although your strength is sovereign.. you judge us in mildness, you govern us with forebearance… and by these you teach us to be KIND… and have hope, because you allow us to repent of our sins…….

The more I delve into the beauty of the gospels…  the more I realise that, in the end, the Gospel is about profound kindness, compassion and love, as found in God..  I wish I could say that in every situation, particularly the trying times, that I have responded with kindness and compassion…   I wish I could say that, but sometimes I have not…  but I certainly can say, as we all do, that we want to be kind..  especially in the difficult situations..  we want to be ever-more gentle and compassionate, merciful and fair….  And God is at work to grant this in our lives… 

The gospel this weekend, uses, among other examples, the image of the kingdom of God being like ‘the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’ Surely our mission as Christians is very fittingly described as that. We each seek to implement the good news of Jesus in a “whole”  or “holistic” way… That is we desire that our discipleship flows ‘right throughout every aspect of our lives’ ………so that the gospel is part of everything……. and not merely something that has been “tacked-on” to the end of an otherwise “non-Christian set-up”… but rather… it is “worked-in” (kneaded in) ……and becomes an integral part of who we are and what we do. … Just like yeast is mixed seamlessly into flour….. It becomes part of it, and then raises it up into a new and more beautiful creation…. All of us are like that too in our daily lives…… // Daily, we get glimpses of the kingdom at work in our everyday lives…// The Spirit is working into and amongst the everyday events and values of our days………
We are all, as Christians, to be “leaven in the dough”…// We are called to be ‘So much part of society’ as to be integral… and all-the-while bringing the life, joy and compassion of the Gospel effortlessly into all we do and say… (and often not even in a very ‘obvious’ way, but perfectly naturally)…… being part of God’s transformation of all things into God’s image…. 
Finally, Jesus tackles the age old question… why are there bad things in the world? Why does God allow bad people to do bad things?…. Why does God permit the ‘destructive’ to thrive alongside the ‘constructive’?…….. I suppose we can all be glad that God doesn’t dispose of anyone who is imperfect… Thank goodness that God does not strike with “a bolt of lightning” anyone who has ever sinned, made a mistake or who was weak, or who was not entirely living up to the Gospel message…….
I for one am very glad that God is patient..  ….That God gives us time to be fully transformed by the gospel…….. I am sure we have all benefited from that most reassuring of Divine qualities… “forbearance and mercy.” 

Contradictions exist not only around us… but also in our own individual lives too. – We too live with the “wheat and the weeds” within our own heart. ……For all our good intentions and efforts, we will probably continue to struggle with some issues, some contradictions all our lives. The garden of our soul will always need a little weeding. These inner struggles will continue to call us to conversion and we will continue to need to call on the Lord and allow God to be the gardener of our souls. Knowing the weeds and wheat within our own individual lives can help us be a little more patient and compassionate of the weeds and wheat around us – in our families, communities, our Church. This is not an invitation to complacency, and we can never merely say “this is just who I am with my sins, and that is as good as it gets.”  God always calls us upward and forward and wants us to grow in grace and virtue and never stop being open to this transforming grace…  But it is a reminder for us to ‘stay real’ and see the bigger picture.***

God has unconditional love for us…. God made us, ///and the Lord sees into our hearts…..and sees the enormous potential and possibilities that lie within us….. God sees us as we truly are… and loves us…… giving us time and grace…in order that we might foster the virtues and positive attributes of the Kingdom,  … and allow God to transform and heal those areas that are in need of forgiveness, and conversion….. 

God appears to err on the side of human freedom so that we may be fully free to respond with love to all that God wants for us…….The all powerful God has deliberately constrained himself to permit human free will and choice…... (this is both an enormous gift and an awful responsibility). We know that many people have used their God-given gift of “free will”  to do great acts of charity and love.  Sadly, we also know that throughout history, many people have used their God-given gift of freedom to do terrible harm and shocking acts of evil.It was never God’s intention for people to use their free will to do harm. God never gave permission for wrongdoing, but people have tragically abused this gift.  
One thing is certain…. … we are invited to focus more than ever on doing as much good as we can, in being people of kindness, mercy, justice and compassion in deeper ways with each passing day..….. let us not allow the hurts and sins of the world stop us from doing yet-more good, ….to love more deeply than before. When the weeds around us might otherwise prompt us to respond with negativity, bitterness, revenge or hate//…. where sin and hurt abounds// .. let us ensure that the grace, kindness and forbearing love of Christ all the more abound…. in all that we do and say…


***Mary Coloe. LiturgyHelp.com


[“’gospel’ values included in the readings:” 
mercy, kindness, forbearance, wholeness, consistency, slowness to anger, allowing time to change and to grow, hope- (because of allowing for repenatance and forgiveness), graciousness, steadfastness in love, faithfulness, being a person of encouragement, The Spirit prays in us, God forebears to leave freedom of will and wrongdoing – God plays the “long game,” so as to gain as many people as possible - the presence and action of the Kingdom is not grand and overwhelming but subtle and down-to earth…..modest eg -shrub, leaven in the dough… ]

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Sixteenth Sunday of the Year A

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you came to reconcile us to the Father and to one another: Lord, have mercy//You heal the wounds of our sin and division: Christ, have mercy// You intercede for us with the Father: Lord, have mercy//
Memorial Acclamation

Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.

Preparation of the Gifts
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.
       Blessed be God for ever.

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.
       Blessed be God for ever.
Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God,
the almighty Father.
 May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.

Preface VI of Sundays of Ordinary time

Euch Prayer II

Go in peace.

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