Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time: July 10 - 16, 2005
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Collaborative Ministry Office
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The Fifteenth Week of Ordinary TimeSo shall my word be. Isaiah 55.But the seed sown on rich soilis the one who hears the word and understands it,who indeed bears fruit and yieldsa hundred or sixty or thirty fold. Matthew 13The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time is about God's fidelity. The promise of Isaiah 55 and Parable of the Sower remind us that no matter what obstacles we face as his disciples, as sowers of the Good News, God will work effectively through us.We celebrate three Memorials of great saints and blessed this week: St. Benedict on Monday, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha on Thursday and St. Bonaventure on Friday.We begin three weeks of readings from the Book of Exodus continuing the story of God's faithful deliverance of the people from slavery in Egypt. This week we read of their plight in Egypt, Moses' birth and how he became a part of Pharaoh's inner circle, Moses' encounter with God in the burning bush, God's summons to Moses and the people, and the story of the Passover up to the time they left Egypt.The Psalm responses this week are particularly wonderful entries to prayer:Our help is in the name of the Lord.Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.The Lord is kind and merciful.The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.His mercy endures forever.We follow a powerful part of Matthew's Gospel all week, with some wonderful messages of Jesus, preparing us for parables about the Kingdom of God. Jesus does not come to bring simple peace, but to call us to find our lives by surrendering them to him and his mission. Then Jesus goes to teach and to preach, beginning with strong words for the towns in which he worked great cures and where the people have not repented. Rather than being discouraged, Jesus prays to his Father and we have the privilege of overhearing him say that, although these things are hidden from those who seemed educated and clever, "you have revealed them to the childlike." Jesus invites us to come to him – when we are burdened – and he will give us rest. He doesn't tell us we will have no burden. By taking up his burden, the mission he gives us will be light. When the Pharisees go after his disciples because in their hunger they picked grain on the Sabbath, Jesus challenges them to learn what God meant by these words from the prophet Hosea, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." From that point on, those who rejected him conspired to kill him. This brings us to the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and the parables about the Kingdom of God. God has sown good seed, but, of course, an enemy has sown weeds in the same field. We are not supposed to go out there judgmentally pulling up weeds, but to leave judgment to God. The way the Kingdom of God grows is the way tiny seeds grow and the way yeast makes dough rise: it is surprising and slow and almost imperceptible. If we have ears, we ought to hear.