Are we hearing the Word of God? Are we responding to the Word of God, that Word which tells us to open our eyes and see Jesus Christ in one another, to see Jesus Christ in those people who are always critical, to see Jesus Christ in those who think and live differently than we do? This is the challenge of the Word of Jesus Christ. This is the challenge of Jesus Christ. Why do you think it was so easy for Jesus to eat with sinners? Because he saw hope in them and in the world!
St. Peter Chrysologus –
All work is noble. It enables each person to reach out to others in a way that benefits all. We are extensions of the Lord Jesus, continuing his work here on earth. Our work is a ministry. We need to remind ourselves over and over that we will meet the Lord in our work. Unless the lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.
St. Martha –
Jesus asks us again and again to express our love for him by service for others. Mahalia Jackson, the gospel singer, once said that some folks are so heaven-minded that they are no earthly good. Religion, in other words, that has only a head in the sky and no feet on the ground benefits no one. We need action and contemplation. St. Martha, pray for us.
Jesus tells us the kingdom of heaven is like the merchant seeking and finding the pearl. So, it is the kingdom that seeks and finds. It is the kingdom that sacrifices and buys. It is the kingdom that finds the perfect pearl, a fine pearl, and obtains it all costs. It is the reign of God in Christ that finds the pearl of great value. It is something the kingdom seeks and finds. The pearl is you and I!
Alexander Solzhenitsyn points out that there is no dividing line separating good people and evil people in the world. That dividing line runs right through each of us. This is a powerful recognition that in each of us there is both the power for great good and the capacity for great harm. We ourselves are both wheat and weeds.
Saints Joachim and Ann, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary –
We look back at the small beginnings of Jesus, a few fishermen, prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners. By no means are any of us insignificant. We can bring about the kingdom in our own little way. We are to be leavening agents in our world by our actions and our words. We can make a difference being generous instead of selfish, understanding rather than judgmental, cooperative rather than competitive. In God’s world we are the yeast.
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time –
When Jesus saw the small supply of food to feed the crowd, he raised his eyes to heaven and pronounced a blessing over them. When the disciples saw the small supply of food, they complained. For them there was no cause for rejoicing because of how little they had. There wasn’t enough to be thankful for. We cannot deny the role of gratitude in abundant living. An ungrateful person can never have enough of anything.
St. Sharbel Makhluf –
The parable of the weeds and wheat deals with membership in the kingdom. There are both good and bad in it. But until lives are over we cannot say for sure which is which. It is still the growing season and what seems to be a weed might turn out as the finest grain of wheat and what seems to be wheat might just be weeds. It is not in our place to judge which is which. We all need to grow together until harvest.
St. Bridget –
Discipleship calls us to be careful and deliberate sowers of a harvest far greater and lasting than our own interests and profit. Christ calls us to be sowers of his Word in every situation and relationship, especially when such “sowing” yields a harvest that benefits others far more than benefits us. Wherever you find yourself today, plant a seed of hope and possibility and watch it grow.
St. Mary Magdalene –
Like Mary Magdalene, we need to be messengers of the resurrection. We need to let go of our distant, detached image of Jesus so that we can take on the hard, demanding work of going forth and making known his presence in our midst. Our simple and quiet works of compassion need to reveal the reality of Jesus love in the lives of the poor and forgotten right where we live. We need to stop staring into empty tombs and recognize the risen Jesus in our midst. That image is ever-present.