When Peter stays focused on Jesus, he is able to walk on water. He begins to sink because he is distracted and not focused on Jesus. He represents the challenge of letting distractions take us down a path where our love of Jesus is not the priority. How does one stay focused on Jesus?
A baby’s gums are rubbed by parents to soothe the pain of teeth trying to break through. Once the tooth breaks through it can be sharp and painful when the baby bites. God’s word can have a bite to it when it challenges us to give more of ourselves to follow God’s ways. When was the last time the Gospel bit you with real challenge?
Fr Peter Dillon, from Australia presides at our liturgy. He reminds us that we can long for the gifts from God to give meaning to our lives and we need to realize we already have gifts to use.
Fr Tom for the Crosiers Order joined us for mass and his community offered the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Fr Tom talks about the wheat and the weeds in today’s parable and how God desires to offer healing.
Fr Peter Dillon, a visiting priest from Australia, joined us for mass. With the parable of the wheat and weeds we are asked what kind of wheat are we and how we never turn away from those who might find themselves in the “weeds” of life.
Fr Eric gives an insight in today’s parable of the wheat and the weeds. Why does Jesus say that the Master does not want to pull the weeds? Why are the wheat and weeds allowed to grow together? Sometimes the weeds we encounter in life make us better wheat. How does that work? Let us listen to this homily.
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Today’s Gospel marks the beginning of the third long discourse given by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. Over the next few weeks, the Gospel readings will consist of the entire 13th Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, a lengthy teaching discourse.
Throughout this discourse, Jesus will offer several parables to illustrate for his listeners what he means by the kingdom of heaven. He begins with the parable of the sower, which appears rather straightforward—of course seeds grow best in good soil. Seeds that miss the soil, are sown on rocky ground, or are sown among other plants will not grow. The surprise in the parable is the enormous yield of the seed that is sown on good soil.
Jesus then explains his use of parables. Jesus seems to suggest that he uses parables to teach because the meanings of parables are not self-evident. The hearer must engage in some degree of reflection in order to comprehend the message of a parable. In this way, the medium—the parable—models the point of the parable of the sower. Those who are willing to engage themselves in the effort to understand will be rewarded by the discovery of the message and will bear fruit.
To bring home the point, Jesus interprets the parable of the sower to his disciples. The different types of soil in which the seeds are sown are metaphors for the disposition with which each individual hears the teaching about the kingdom of heaven. Some will be easily swayed away from the kingdom of heaven. Some will receive it for a time but will lose it when faced with difficulties. Some will hear the word but will then permit other cares to choke it out. Yet some will receive it well, and the seed will produce abundant fruit.
Today’s reading from Matthew’s Gospel comes after a discourse in which Jesus reproaches people who have witnessed his mighty deeds yet still lack belief. In this context, today’s Gospel explains the reason for this unbelief and reveals what is necessary for faith. Today’s Gospel also continues to enhance our understanding of discipleship as last week’s Gospel did.
Jesus first prays in thanksgiving to God who has made himself known to Jesus’ disciples. He praises God who has made himself known to the “little ones” and not to the wise and learned. As in other recent readings from Matthew’s Gospel, a contrast is made here between the unbelieving Pharisees, who are wise and learned, and the faithful disciples, tax collectors, and sinners with whom Jesus keeps company.
The second part of this reading calls to our attention the unity between the Father and the Son. God has made himself known through Jesus, and in knowing Jesus, we come to know the Father. In Jesus’ life and in his person, God reveals himself to us.
In the concluding sentences of today’s Gospel, Jesus’ teaching is again contrasted to the teaching of the Pharisees. This common theme of Matthew’s Gospel probably reflects tension that existed between Jesus and the Pharisees and between the Pharisees and the community of Christians for whom Matthew wrote. Pharisaic Judaism became the predominant form of Judaism after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem about 70 A.D. Here that tension is expressed as alternative paths of holiness. The careful observance of the Mosaic law taught by the Pharisees could be experienced by some as difficult and burdensome. In contrast, Jesus’ way of holiness is presented as uncomplicated and even restful.
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Today’s Gospel is the conclusion of the instructions and consolations that we have heard Jesus offering to his disciples during the past few weeks. In this passage, Jesus summarizes both the costs of discipleship and its rewards. Once again our understanding of the Gospel is strengthened by considering the context in which it was written and the perspective of Matthew’s audience.
The conditions of discipleship outlined in Matthew’s Gospel may appear harsh. Yet they underline for us a truth—choosing anything with one’s whole heart has consequences. Choosing life with Christ means that every relationship we have must be understood from a new perspective. For many in Matthew’s community, this choice brought division to their family.
Matthew also outlines the reward of hospitality offered to Jesus’ followers. In today’s Gospel, Jesus explains the difficulties of discipleship, yet reveals that those who welcome the disciples have also welcomed him.
Today’s Gospel also highlights for us the importance of hospitality in the Christian life. To welcome another in Jesus’ name is to extend hospitality to Jesus himself. We have many opportunities in our daily life to reach out to others, to be a welcoming presence and a sign of God’s love.
In Christian marriage, spouses model the love and self-gift of Christ. By giving of themselves and serving one another, their family, and community, they help one another live out Christ’s call to discipleship, love, and service. The Sacrament of Marriage provides a foundation for a family committed to community, solidarity, and Jesus’ mission in the world.
Today’s Gospel, a portion of an important scriptural passage known as the “Bread of Life discourse”, invites us to consider deeply the spirit of today’s Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Following on the heels of a Eucharistic miracle–the feeding of the masses through the multiplication of the loaves–Jesus points his disciples in this part of the chapter to a core belief of our faith: the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
Today’s Gospel is from the beginning of John’s Gospel. The passage we read follows Jesus’ conversation with a Pharisee, Nicodemus, about what it means to be born of both water and the spirit. Nicodemus approaches Jesus at night and acknowledges Jesus as a teacher from God. Jesus tells him that only those who are born from above will see the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus misunderstands and questions how a person can be born more than once. Jesus tells Nicodemus that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. Jesus is essentially explaining Baptism, which we celebrate as a sacrament today. Yet Nicodemus, we are told, still does not understand what Jesus is saying. Jesus continues by testifying to the need to be born from above so that one might have eternal life.
After the dialogue with Nicodemus, the author of the Gospel offers his own explanation of Jesus’ words. This is what we read in today’s Gospel, John 3:16-18.
In the context of today’s focus on the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the reading calls our attention to the action of God, who reveals himself in three persons: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God the Father, out of love for the world, sent his Son into the world in order to save it. Through the death and resurrection of the Son, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. As three persons, God acts always as a God of love; he does not condemn the world but acts to save it.
The Gospel also calls attention to the response that is required of us. God’s love for us calls us to respond in faith by professing our belief in God’s son, Jesus, and the salvation that he has won for us. This profession of faith is a sign of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.