Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020: Cover Art, Column, and Prayers of the Faithful, Link to bulletin

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July 19, 2020

Dear Believers in the Kingdom,

In today’s gospel, Matthew 13:24-43, we are given a few simple images of the Kingdom of God to ponder and to imitate. A little bit of yeast in the dough changes everything. A small mustard seed grows into one of the largest of plants. These images of planting good seed and harvesting weeds as well, are images of immense importance, and reveal even greater meaning for us.

We seldom take time to ponder that the Kingdom of God is within our human hearts. We are always seeking something beyond ourselves. We want results now. We want to be in control of the world around us. We want things to change but with little responsibility on our part to get our hands dirty. We want happiness now. When things don’t work out, we get trapped in violence, sex addiction, alcohol, hoarding, overspending, and keeping up with the neighbors. We are constantly seeking a better false life, a life that others tell us we should have.

We have been trained that happiness, contentment, and purpose, are somehow outside of our own lives. We have also been taught that if we have enough money, better education and purchase more stuff, we will end up incredibly content and happy as a lark. We are also taught when we are young that we are entitled to everything in life. Then when life does not turn out the way we had planned, we simply fall apart.

The Kingdom is within us. The spiritual journey is inside of our lives and hearts. The journey is an examination of how we receive life and how we live it on a daily basis. The Kingdom of heaven is tucked away in our hearts and it reveals itself in how we treat people, what we think of ourselves, and how we love. We can see the Kingdom reflected in the eyes of those we love and in the miraculous presence of people and nature. The Kingdom is not far away or for only the good and the pious. The Kingdom is revealed in how we welcome the stranger, how we speak about others, and how we simply love on this side of the grave.

I grew up with so much provided for me.  My folks worked hard sustaining their own business. I never fit into that role. My life went in a very different direction, yet, I appreciate what was given me more every day. As I entered into ministry, my life completely changed. It was no longer about my education or achievement or status. My heart began to accept that I really don’t have answers to other people’s questions. Life is hard. Finding love and purpose is difficult. The more I listen to the stranger and befriend the seeker, the more I realize I am not the one who carries faith and hope. My real education began when I entered into people’s heartache and suffering. In the deepest places of humanity, God reveals tenderness, calm and the love of the Father. Life is revealed in the human heart. The Kingdom is beyond any possession I own or any sense of entitlement to which I cling.

Pope Francis said, “Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life.” I love this line. It shows me that I have a long way to go to seek the Kingdom of God and to live it in my life. Jesus’ challenge for rich conversion, for deep love, for unearthed hope, comes from the Kingdom that is planted deeply within us.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

God give you peace,

Fr. Ron

 

Prayers of the Faithful

For our Universal Church, that we may grow in prayer and empathy in uncertain times.

We pray to the Lord.

For courage to act with justice, that we may protect the lives of all people under heaven.

We pray to the Lord.

For integrity for all who preach the gospel, that church leaders may know the guidance of the Holy Spirit and to hear the cries of the poor.

We pray to the Lord

For our parishioners and loved ones who live in fear, for those who have lost their employment, and for those wearied by stress, that hope may prevail.

We pray to the Lord.

For the renewal of family life in these summer days, for safety in travel, and enjoyment in the presence of those we love.

We pray to the Lord.

For our beloved dead and for all who grieve. In this Mass we pray for…

We pray to the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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