14th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday, Year II

In today’s First Reading the Lord describes his relationship with Israel like that of a father toward his son. In the imagery Hosea uses we can imagine the Lord holding the infant Israel in his arms, and then standing behind Israel as a toddler taking his first wobbly steps. Just as a toddler Israel, even in his father’s arms, seemed oblivious to his father as he explores the new world around him, or, once he could walk, goes running off without any thought for danger. Israel became oblivious to the Lord who loved him as a father and often ran into danger with no regard.

The First Reading’s prophecy was a foreshadowing of the real relationship the Lord wanted to have with us: a Father loving his children no matter how they loved him in return. He comes as the Son to enable us to become his brothers and sisters and to become adopted children of God. Unfortunately we sometimes act just like Israel in today’s First Reading: oblivious to all the love he has shown us and often fleeing him into the very danger of soul from which he wants to protect us.

Let’s ask Our Lord today for a renewed awareness of the love Our Heavenly Father shows us every day, so that we let him lead us.

Readings: Hosea 11:1–4, 8e–9; Psalm 80:2ac, 3b, 15–16; Matthew 10:7–15. See also 1st Week of Advent, Saturday15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B25th Week in Ordinary Time, Wednesday, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and 14th Week In Ordinary Time, Thursday.


14th Week in Ordinary Time, Wednesday, Year II

In today’s First Reading Hosea describes the hardened soul as like a field that needs to be tilled and blessed with rain in order to produce fruit. Like ground that needs to be turned over and dug and broken up for cultivation, the hardened soul resists the rain of justice, understood in this context as grace, that enables it to achieve a virtuous life. If you seek justice the Lord will rain it down upon you. If you seek a life of grace the Lord will bless you with it in abundance, but you have to do your part.

Let’s ask Our Lord today for the humility to soften the soil of our souls in order to welcome his grace.

Readings: Hosea 10:1–3, 7–8, 12; Psalm 105:2–7; Matthew 10:1–7. See also TuesdayWednesday ,and Thursday of the 14th Week in Ordinary Time; 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B; Thursday and Saturday of the 26th Week in Ordinary time, and 1st Week of Advent, Saturday.

14th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday, Year II

In today’s Gospel Our Lord just cannot stop healing. He still cannot stop healing, and now he does it through the laborers that he asks to work in the harvest. A harvest is ripe as the result of previous effort: the Lord has been working in those hearts, sowing his grace, and offering healing and redemption to every soul through his sacrifice on the cross. He continues to lavish those spiritual gifts of healing through his sacraments, now that his earthly ministry has concluded.

His detractors see demonic power at work, but it is simply jealously and over-rationalizing what they don’t understand. The crowds see wonders and praise God for them. The people have heard of the power of God in the Scriptures since they were children. Now they see it present and active, conquering sickness, overcoming the power of evil. Today’s Responsorial Psalm reminds us, the new Israel, that “The house of Israel trusts in the Lord.”

With a simple faith and trust you too can see the hand of the Lord working in your life and in the lives of others. Trust in the Lord and he will act.

Readings: Hosea 8:4–7, 11–13; Psalm 115:3–10; Matthew 9:32–38. See also 26th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday and 14th Week in Ordinary Time, Tuesday.

14th Week in Ordinary Time, Sunday, Cycle C

Today’s readings are such a big sell for welcoming the Gospel when it is preached to us that we have to scratch our heads at why anyone would not accept it. The benefits are described as the peace and security you felt as a child on your mother’s lap (First Reading), joy (Second Reading), healing from illness (Gospel), liberation from the power of evil (Gospel), and our names being written in Heaven (Gospel).

It’s Paul who presents reveals the “fine print” of the arrangement: we have to be crucified to the world, and the world crucified to us. Our Lord in today’s Gospel describes the fate of those rejecting his disciples as worse than that of Sodom, which was the epitome of debauchery and depravity. It’s not easy to become crucified to the things of this world; it means not letting them have sway over us or they’ll only lead to our destruction. In faith and hope we have of focus on the benefits of welcoming Christ, following him, and making him known.

Let’s not only welcome Our Lord’s disciples into our world and our life, but become his disciples as well. The laborers are few.

Readings: Isaiah 66:10–14c; Psalm 66:1–7, 16, 20; Galatians 6:14–18; Luke 10:1–12, 17–20. See also TuesdayWednesday ,and Thursday of the 14th Week in Ordinary Time; 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B; Thursday and Saturday of the 26th Week in Ordinary time, and 1st Week of Advent, Saturday.

14th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday

Today’s Gospel reminds us that every member of the Church, regardless of whether they wield authority in it or not, is a disciple of Christ. If anyone’s got an issue with him, they’ve got an issue with us, and vice versa. The only way to avoid that would be to stop being a disciple of Christ, and Our Lord warns us that denying him would lead to our denial before the Father. This touches on what he describes as the real thing to be concerned about in trying to follow him, the things that are healthy for the soul. He doesn’t leave us alone in those dangers; the Father knows everything that goes on, watches over each little detail and each big moment of our lives with loving concern.

If the Father permitted the Son to undergo the cross, we shouldn’t be shocked if we have to experience crosses in sharing his message. It can’t stay hidden in darkness or confined to whispers; many elements of society would like us to just keep to ourselves and not bother them. It’s hard when we try to share truth, goodness, and love with others and they reject it or threaten us if we don’t shut up. In the light of eternity those threats mean little; the real threats are the ones that make us question our faith or our resolve to be followers of Christ. Christ will stand up for us on the Judgement Day if we stand up for him in this life. Even if we’re not always vindicated on the time table we’d prefer, we will be vindicated in serving and loving him.

Let’s ask Our Lord today for the courage to share his Gospel on the housetops and show that we’re his disciples.

Readings: Genesis 49:29–32, 50:15–26a; Psalm 105:1–4, 6–7; Matthew 10:24–33.