Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: 1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12; Rom 8:28-30; Mt 13:44-52

07-30-2023Weekly Reflection

GROW: It is no secret that Jesus often taught using parables; last Sunday we heard three, and today there are  more. Today’s parables seemed obscure until I focused on the repeating phrase “kingdom of heaven,” which is likened to treasure, a pearl of great value, and then a fish net. What a  contrast! But when I thought about it longer, it made perfect sense: The kingdom of heaven is the greatest treasure, one that should compel us to give up everything like the person who finds treasure buried in a field or the merchant who buys the pearl, just to make sure we have it in our possession. The kingdom is also something that requires hard work, hence the analogy with fishermen throwing nets into the sea to capture fish and then sort the good from the bad. Think of that net as the predestination St. Paul mentions in today’s epistle. God predestined mankind to be called to him, to be justified and glorified in his name, yet we all maintain free will to choose otherwise. So, at the end of the age, when the angels “separate the wicked from the righteous,” each of us will learn how precious the treasure of heaven is according to the way we chose to pursue it during our lifetime.


Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Wis 12:13, 16-19; Rom 8:26-27; Mt 13:24-43

07-23-2023Weekly Reflection

GROW: The parables were always my favorite Gospel readings when I was growing up. One we just heard, regarding the wheat and the weeds, was particularly comforting to me as a child. It was simple to understand, I thought: Those of us in God’s Church were obviously the wheat and, of course, destined for salvation. We just needed to endure living among “the weeds” while we are in this world. As an adult, however, I realize that Jesus’ message is much more challenging –  much more convicting regarding my own failures and sins: I could be a weed! And while I certainly don’t like that thought, I also don’t like considering that anyone would be thrown into the “fiery furnace.” After all, we are supposed to love one another and desire that they become part of the body of Christ and have eternal life. The reality of this world, however, is that temptation and sin surround us. Fortunately, Jesus gives us himself as the Bread of Life in the Eucharist, and we have the gift of mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation. These sacraments, as well as prayer, give us the “nutrients” we need to ensure that we remain the wheat God has sown in his field, and that we can help others be that too.


Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Is 55:10-11; Rom 8:18-23; Mt 13:1-23

07-16-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: At Mass with my family recently, my five-year-old daughter caught the last four words of the mystery of faith as if she was hearing them for the first time. She was bursting with excitement as we finished saying, “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection, until you come again.” She turned to me and said, “Mom! We said, ‘until you come again.’ Does that mean Jesus is coming back? He’s coming HERE?” What a lovely, emotion-filled response to learning that truth. She has heard those words countless times, but this time she heard the truth behind them. Her soul has been made for relationship with God from her time in the womb. The Holy Spirit has been preparing her to receive those words when she was ready to hear them in their fullness, and as the responsorial psalm proclaimed: “The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.” For those in the young, challenging years when it may seem easier to leave the little ones at home rather than take them to Mass, let’s remember what we are told in the first reading from Isaiah. “Thus says the Lord: … my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”


Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Zec 9:9-10; Rom 8:9, 11-13; Mt 11:25-30

07-09-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: What does a restful day look like to you? Maybe it’s a lazy day poolside with a good book and a cold drink, or perhaps a dark room, cozy blanket, and a good movie. Lazy days like these are hard to come by; truly restful days in our busy world are even fewer and farther between. Although “taking a break” every once in a while from the cares of the world is certainly good for everyone, in today’s Gospel Jesus is referring to true rest that only he can provide. Jesus asks us to take up his yoke and learn from him “and [we] will find rest for ourselves.” Our burdens will be lighter because he shares them with us. Jesus says: “I am meek and humble of heart.” Imagine the strength to be found in that meekness, that humility! We will know true rest when we surrender ourselves to Jesus and live in the freedom only he can provide.


Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - 2 Kgs 4: 8-11, 14-16a; Rom 6: 3-4, 8-11; Mt 10:37-42

07-02-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: In today’s first reading, the Shunammite woman recognized that Elisha was “a holy man of God.” She and her husband then went on to provide Elisha with hospitality and lodging, and she was rewarded with a son. But how did she recognize Elisha as the holy prophet that he was? Recognition, or lack of it, is a recurrent theme in Scripture – from Mary Magdalene not recognizing the risen Lord at the tomb to the disciples not recognizing Jesus on the road to Emmaus. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus himself encouraged his listeners to learn to recognize “false prophets” because they bear bad fruit. What do we need to open our eyes to and recognize today? Perhaps the realization that Jesus’ life and teachings always point us to life – life with him and in him, on earth and for eternity. As members of the body of Christ, let us ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with his love so that we may bear good fruit and always choose the road that leads to that life.


Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Jer 20:10-13, Rom 5:12-15, Mt 10:26-33

06-25-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: When I was in middle school, I came upon a group of students who had singled out another student, accusing her of some pretty rotten things. The Lord must have helped me to be brave that day because I decided to step in and defend her. Thankfully, calling them out on their cruelty was enough to fend them off. Thank God for his presence and aid in that moment! In the first reading today, Jeremiah tells of his experience of being betrayed and accused: “All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. ‘Perhaps he will be trapped [they say]; then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on him.’” But Jeremiah does not lose heart, saying also, “the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion.” And Jesus’ words in the Gospel echo the resolve of Jeremiah when he says: “Fear no one … What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light … And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” It seems pretty clear, then, that our job is to bring the Good News of Jesus into the world whenever we can and let his light shine forth by our words and actions. We are commissioned to be warriors for Christ who should not fear injury but rather call upon him in our need and trust in his goodness and mercy to render aid.


Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Ex 19:2-6a, Rom 5:6-11, Mt 9:36–10:8

06-18-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: As a teenager, I was someone you might call “Suzy high school.” I played sports, was president of my class, had many friends, etc. But there were times I made some bad choices and ended up having to face my parents with the truth. I remember being afraid of what they would think, even wondering if my actions would make them love me less. Thankfully, I was blessed with incredible parents whose loving lessons throughout my life pointed me toward our Father’s love. St. Paul gives us a glimpse of how deep the love of our Father is in the second reading: “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” God loves us so completely that even before we approach him to ask for forgiveness, his arms are open wide. Look up at the cross and let that abundant, unending love wash over you. Reflect on what is said in the first reading from the Book of Exodus: “Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine.”


Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ - Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a 1 Cor 10:16-17 Jn 6:51-58

06-11-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, the true, real, and substantial presence of Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine. As Catholics, we know that the Eucharist is not simply symbolic, but is in fact the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ who rose from the dead. Our readings remind us of this. In the Gospel Jesus says: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh … I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” Although Jesus’ words were very difficult for his disciples at the time to understand, we know that the bread and wine that become the body and blood of Jesus satisfy our deepest hunger. This spiritual food is actually an encounter with God through his Son, Jesus. It is a blessing that the Church provides us. Let us celebrate on this solemnity by giving thanks, which is what eucharist means!


Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity: Ex 34:4b-6, 8-9; Cor 13:11-13; Jn 3:16-18

06-04-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: Last Sunday the Church celebrated the Solemnity of Pentecost: the birth- day of the Church and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the world. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, giving adoration and glory to the three divine persons in our one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit three In unity, or Triune. in the Gospel we heard, John tells us: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son." If you're going to write one Bible verse on piece of cardboard and hold it up at football game, this is It! John 3:16 encapsulates Christian belief: We are loved by the Father beyond measure, and that love Is incarnated takes human flesh in the divine person of his Son. But there is something deeper within this verse that comes to light much later in the Gospel: Jesus revealed that when he, the Son, returned to the Father, he would not leave us alone. (Jn 14: 26-28)Instead, the Holy Spirit came to be with us and remain with us. This is our God whom we celebrate and give thanks to: one in being, three in person. His love is unceasing and his Spirit dwells within and among us to guide us, advocate for us, and draw us ever closer to himself in that love.