"I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore..."

Genesis 22

Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time: June 28-July 4, 2009

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Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

On the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear the wonderful story of the healing of Jairus' daughter. In the middle of that story is the beautiful story of the healing of the woman with a hemorrhage. He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.'" Jesus tells Jairus, "Do not be afraid; just have faith." When the girl was healed the people "were utterly astounded."

Monday is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles. Friday is the Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle. Saturday in the US is Independence Day and many parishes may celebrate with special readings.

During the week, we continue our narrative from Genesis with stories of Abraham's relationship with the Lord, from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to his willingness to sacrifice his own son. His wife, Sarah becomes jealous of the son Abraham had by Hagar, the slave, and forces Abraham to drive the Hagar and her son, Ishmael, out into the desert, where they are saved by God. Sarah dies, and Abraham prepares for the end of his own life by searching for a wife for his son, Isaac. The Genesis readings close the week with the story of Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, deceiving her now-elderly and blind husband into giving his blessing and birthright to her favored son, Jacob.

The Psalms this week offers praise to God for his mercy and faithfulness to us.

Matthew's Gospel follows Jesus on his journeys, constantly teaching his disciples about faithfulness. He heals the sick, calms a violent storm at sea and forgives sins. At the end of the week, he does something extraordinary - he invites the reviled tax collector, Matthew, to be one of his followers. Then he indicates that the old ways of relating to God are gone - that he is the new way, the new wineskin.

On the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time we read that Jesus was not able to work miracles in his home town. In their eyes, he was just the person they'd seen grow up. This distressed him and he couldn't work many miracles at home.


Daily Prayer This Week

The gospels offer us encouragement this week because they are so filled with imperfect people struggling to live out their lives. On Monday we celebrate the life of Peter, the hot-tempered and fear-filled follower who was called to lead the Church, and Paul, who persecuted the earliest Christians, and then did the most to spread the Good News among the Gentiles.

The invitation to us this week comes from the heart of Jesus to ours: "Follow me." How do we open our hearts more fully to that invitation? In our daily prayer we can name the desire we are looking for and ask Jesus for help.

Each morning as we open our eyes to face the day ahead, we can simply ask Jesus for the courage to follow him.

Lord, give me the strength today to accept your invitation to follow you. Living that invitation each moment will take patience and courage and I ask you for it because I can't supply it for myself. And, Jesus, when I fail and snap at my family or forget to be compassionate with my spouse, grant me the humility to apologize for that. Let me remember how much you love me and let me share that with everyone who comes into my life today.

In the smallest moments in the background of our day we can remember that desire and offer it to God. As we walk down the street or cook dinner or run an errand we can speak to our Lord as we would to a friend. It doesn't take more time, only more focus.

Some days it seems like I am being tossed on a boat in the darkness, Jesus. Part of me wants to be saved but another part wants to run from you. I'm not always proud of how I lead my life and sometimes I am afraid to be alone with you. Guide me through this darkness, please.

At the end of the day, we can take a few moments as we get ready for bed:

Thank you, dearest Lord, for your presence in my life today. I felt you with me in some of the more difficult moments. Thank you for being there.

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