I’ve always found it difficult to see the main message in today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 15, about Jesus walking on the water and inviting Peter to do the same. There is nothing in our human experience to suggest that walking on water is possible, so I find myself asking what else is being said here, looking for something to guide me in the more ongoing and everyday experiences of human life. This is because I can’t help but thinking that if I spend my life trying to walk on water, I will have really missed the point.
Psalm 145: 8-9, 15-16, 17-18
Romans 8: 35, 37-39
Matthew 14: 13-21
What we hear in the First Reading for this liturgy are three short poetic invitations which begin the last chapter of the Book of Consolation within the collections known as the Prophet Isaiah. These sixteen chapters are made up of oracles, poems, foretelling of the future, and bold announcements to the people of Israel who are in captivity. The entire chapter is worth reading for our own consolations in our personal times of unfreedom and worry.
The Gospel for today’s liturgy sounds like the beginning or ending of a novel. There is some sleaze, some misuse of regal power and some righteous confrontation of power by truth. There is a death, some misidentification and a lot of kingly weakness in the face of apparent innocence. It sounds a little like Shakespeare’s tragedies all mixed together. There is no other scriptural account of John’s reminding Herod of the section from the eighteenth chapter of Leviticus which, in verse sixteen, states that no man can sexually take the wife of his own brother. This reminder of the Jewish law pleases Herod not at all, nor Herodias, the mother of the daughter who delighted Herod with her dancing. We do not know why she wants the head of John but perhaps she, herself, has also been challenged for her not living the customs and traditions of her Jewish faith.
The gospel reading in today’s liturgy is the familiar story about Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, his home territory. It is the story of his not being able to accomplish very much because the people in his hometown recognized him and were unable to see beyond that fact. "Is this not the carpenter’s son?" "Where the did this man get all this?" The upshot of their skeptical attitude was that Jesus was unable to work many of the might deeds that he could elsewhere. Jesus response to this lack of faith was to simply recognize the truth that, as he says, "a prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house."
The Gospel shows Jesus continues his teaching on the kingdom of heaven, which brings us to consider the sobering thought of the final judgment. In comparing the kingdom of heaven to a net catching good and bad fish, this probably resonated quite clearly to the people of that time, who would be familiar with fishing practices.This parable is also similar to the parable of the weeds among the wheat, which provides a similar warning about judgment.
1. “You Are Anxious About Many Things” - It seems that things are moving faster all the time and that more and more things vie for my time. I serve as a chauffeur for the household, I spend a large part of my time accompanying the children for extracurricular activities, and people left and right want to talk to me. There is so much going on. Our culture almost demands that I do all these things. What is more, it seems at times like no one understands my dilemma. I am trying to do what is right, I am trying to be responsible, and it seems like no one else is. I identify myself with Martha, Lord, in a world which is so active and at times seems to fly by. Help me to make the right choices and to fulfill your will.
Matthew’s gospel contains a rare interpretation of a parable. When Jesus taught in parables, he typically required the listeners to ponder the stories on their own. (See Mt. 13: 13-14, 34-35). Here, the parable of the weeds among the wheat seemingly shows the patience of the Master of the field, who did not want the workers to pull the weeds prematurely lest they uproot the good wheat, too. However, Jesus chose to emphasize the end of the growing process, when weeds are collected and burned and the harvest of good seed is gathered in.
Jeremiah 13:1-11; Matthew 13:31-35
There are powerful images in the readings today. God does an earthy demonstration for Jeremiah. Using a very memorable image - God is as close to Israel as a loin cloth is close to our bodies - God has Jeremiah put his loin cloth in a place where it will rot. It demonstrates how the people have neglected their relationship with God and let it rot. A powerful reflection for all of us to help us not take our relationship with God for granted.
1 Kg 3:5. 7-12 Rom 8:28-30 Matt 13:44-52
Called to Richness
God marvels that Solomon, although he was "but a little child" (1 Kgs 3:7), did not ask for riches, or the other kinds of things that young men are wont to ask for. But I was a rather typical youth! For when I was a child my annual birthday wish until I stopped believing in birthday wishes was that I would become the richest man in the history of the world. It was a childish wish, but perhaps the kind that is still common today, and not just among the young.
On June 29th June 2020, Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, in the chapel of the convent of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters in Gniezno, the two Novices, Sr. Agnieszka Pawlak and Sr. Katarzyna Gruca made their first religious vows. The Holy Mass was presided by Bishop Bogdan Wojtus - Senior Bishop of the Archdiocese of Gniezno.