Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Lv 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34b-37

The LORD said to Moses,
“These are the festivals of the LORD which you shall celebrate
at their proper time with a sacred assembly.
The Passover of the LORD falls on the fourteenth day of the first month,
at the evening twilight.
The fifteenth day of this month is the LORD’s feast of Unleavened Bread.
For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
On the first of these days you shall hold a sacred assembly
and do no sort of work.
On each of the seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD.
Then on the seventh day you shall again hold a sacred assembly
and do no sort of work.”

The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the children of Israel and tell them:
When you come into the land which I am giving you,
and reap your harvest,
you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest
to the priest, who shall wave the sheaf before the LORD
that it may be acceptable for you.
On the day after the sabbath the priest shall do this.

“Beginning with the day after the sabbath,
the day on which you bring the wave-offering sheaf,
you shall count seven full weeks,
and then on the day after the seventh week, the fiftieth day,
you shall present the new cereal offering to the LORD.

“The tenth of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement,
when you shall hold a sacred assembly and mortify yourselves
and offer an oblation to the LORD.

“The fifteenth day of this seventh month is the LORD’s feast of Booths,
which shall continue for seven days.
On the first day there shall be a sacred assembly,
and you shall do no sort of work.
For seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD,
and on the eighth day you shall again hold a sacred assembly
and offer an oblation to the LORD.
On that solemn closing you shall do no sort of work.

“These, therefore, are the festivals of the LORD
on which you shall proclaim a sacred assembly,
and offer as an oblation to the LORD burnt offerings and cereal offerings,
sacrifices and libations, as prescribed for each day.”

Responsorial Psalm 81:3-4, 5-6, 10-11ab

R.     (2a)  Sing with joy to God our help.
Take up a melody, and sound the timbrel,
    the pleasant harp and the lyre.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
    at the full moon, on our solemn feast.
R.     Sing with joy to God our help.
For it is a statute in Israel,
    an ordinance of the God of Jacob,
Who made it a decree for Joseph
    when he came forth from the land of Egypt.
R.     Sing with joy to God our help.
There shall be no strange god among you
    nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
    who led you forth from the land of Egypt.
R.     Sing with joy to God our help.

Alleluia 1 Pt 1:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of the Lord remains forever;
This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:54-58

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said,
“Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter’s son?
Is not his mother named Mary
and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?
Are not his sisters all with us?
Where did this man get all this?”
And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and in his own house.”

And he did not work many mighty deeds there
because of their lack of faith.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Where Do I lack faith?

This is such an interesting Gospel, it begins with Jesus preaching and the people who hear him are astonished, they acknowledge his wisdom. But that mood quickly changes as they realize who Jesus is and his credibility is lost. Now the people are less amazed and more wondering, “Who does he think he is?” and “Isn’t he one of our neighbors, no one special?” 

And because of their lack of ability to see Jesus with the eyes of faith, what Jesus offers them is lost. He knows their lack of faith. He knows our lack of faith too. And that is what this passage leads me to consider – where do I lack faith? 

On the nights insomnia strikes, my mind races toward my worries. Most of those worries are not in my control – so with great effort, I pull back from the worries, find the rosary beads on my night table and begin to pray. Sometimes it is a Divine Mercy Chaplet, a rosary, or the surrender prayer on repeat. As the beads pass through my fingers I mention a prayer request. Often then I am lulled back to sleep. If not, I move to gratitude, again holding my beads, each one counted not with a prayer or petition but of thanksgiving of something I am grateful for.

Worry is not a part of faith, but it is often part of our human condition. Fear can also be part of our human condition. Fear of the future or the unknown or sickness can all impact our faith. Again, the question, where do I lack faith? Today, sit with that question a bit, asking for the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you. And then, pray to have more faith, to have your worry or fear replaced with faith. 

Jesus has mighty deeds to do for us and through us, my prayer is that I never allow my lack of faith to prevent those mighty deeds. When we turn our fear over to Jesus, we will have a greater faith in him. 

Contact the author

Deanna G. Bartalini, is a Catholic writer, speaker, educator and retreat leader. She is the founder of the LiveNotLukewarm.com community, a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith through interactive Bible studies, courses and book clubs. Her weekly podcast, NotLukewarmPodcast.com, gives you tips and tools to live out your faith. At DeannaBartalini.com  she writes about whatever is on her mind at the moment.

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Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus

Reading I Ex 40:16-21, 34-38

Moses did exactly as the LORD had commanded him.
On the first day of the first month of the second year
the Dwelling was erected.
It was Moses who erected the Dwelling.
He placed its pedestals, set up its boards, put in its bars,
and set up its columns.
He spread the tent over the Dwelling
and put the covering on top of the tent,
as the LORD had commanded him.
He took the commandments and put them in the ark;
he placed poles alongside the ark and set the propitiatory upon it.
He brought the ark into the Dwelling and hung the curtain veil,
thus screening off the ark of the commandments,
as the LORD had commanded him.

Then the cloud covered the meeting tent,
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Moses could not enter the meeting tent,
because the cloud settled down upon it
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling,
the children of Israel would set out on their journey.
But if the cloud did not lift, they would not go forward;
only when it lifted did they go forward.
In the daytime the cloud of the LORD was seen over the Dwelling;
whereas at night, fire was seen in the cloud
by the whole house of Israel
in all the stages of their journey.

Responsorial Psalm 84:3, 4, 5-6a and 8a, 11

R.    (2)    How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
My soul yearns and pines 
    for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
    cry out for the living God.
R.     How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest
    in which she puts her young–
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
    my king and my God!
R.     How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
    continually they praise you.
Blessed the men whose strength you are!
They go from strength to strength.
R.    How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
I had rather one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
R.    How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!

Alleluia Jn 8:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 11:19-27

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

OR:

Lk 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village 
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? 
Tell her to help me.” 
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 
There is need of only one thing. 
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Martha and Mary Moments

One of the newer memorials in the Roman Catholic Church, today we celebrate Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Previously, only Saint Martha was celebrated on July 29; however, back in January, Pope Francis ordered the inscription of all three saints into the General Roman Calendar. 

We are familiar with the raising of Lazarus – one of the more popular Gospel readings for funerals especially – but we can often overlook Martha and Mary in this passage. Upon hearing that Jesus is coming, Martha goes to meet Him on the journey. She leaves her home, her sister Mary and all the people who had come to comfort her over the death of her brother to go meet her friend Jesus. Note that Mary sat at home.

Surely it was Martha’s faith that prompted her to go meet her friend, as displayed by her opening words to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” She could not have known the Lord’s intentions, which He shared with His disciples earlier in verse 11 before arriving at Bethany, saying, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” Yet she had to have known that something was going to happen. Being a friend of Jesus, she had most likely heard – if not witnessed for herself – some of the Lord’s miracles and so she had faith that the same could have been done for her brother. We know how the story ended. 

Let’s take a quick look at Mary in the other option for today’s Gospel, though. Martha, again, goes to welcome the Lord but it is Mary who steals the show in this passage. Martha busied herself trying to be a good host while her sister busied herself with the Lord. Exasperated, Martha asks her friend to ask her sister to help her with the housework but Jesus offers a quiet rebuke instead, “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Both ladies in these respective passages know who the Lord is and it drives their actions. Martha goes to meet Jesus, knowing that He is a great miracle worker. Mary knows who Jesus is and so she chooses to sit at His feet and be with Him. 

Know who Jesus is and let Him drive the actions of your life. 

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Erin Madden is a Cleveland native and graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is passionate about the Lord Jesus, all things college sports and telling stories and she is blessed enough to get paid for all three of her passions. You can catch her on old episodes of the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter@erinmadden2016.

Feature Image Credit: Ben White, https://unsplash.com/photos/_W8jM2LOQkQ

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Ex 34:29-35

As Moses came down from Mount Sinai
with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands,
he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant
while he conversed with the LORD.
When Aaron, then, and the other children of Israel saw Moses
and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become,
they were afraid to come near him.
Only after Moses called to them did Aaron
and all the rulers of the community come back to him.
Moses then spoke to them.
Later on, all the children of Israel came up to him,
and he enjoined on them all that the LORD
had told him on Mount Sinai.
When he finished speaking with them,
he put a veil over his face.
Whenever Moses entered the presence of the LORD to converse with him,
he removed the veil until he came out again.
On coming out, he would tell the children of Israel
all that had been commanded.
Then the children of Israel would see
that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant;
so he would again put the veil over his face
until he went in to converse with the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm 99:5, 6, 7, 9

R.     (see 9c)  Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
    and worship at his footstool;
    holy is he!
R.     Holy is the Lord our God.
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
    and Samuel, among those who called upon his name;
    they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
R.     Holy is the Lord our God.
From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them;
    they heard his decrees and the law he gave them.
R.     Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
    and worship at his holy mountain;
    for holy is the LORD, our God.
R.     Holy is the Lord our God.

Alleluia Jn 15:15b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:44-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Giving it All

It is good for me to remind myself, when I get mired down in the daily mess of life, that my time on earth is transitory. In the entirety of my existence, beginning with conception and continuing forever, life on earth is a tiny blip. It feels huge but it is a mere speck. That’s hard to imagine being bound by time as we are. Never ending eternity, whether in heaven or hell, is impossible to grasp. 

It is good to remember this truth though because it helps to more rightly frame time on earth. In today’s Gospel we hear of two instances of a man selling all he has with joy in pursuit of the kingdom of heaven. I ask myself if I am willing to not just sell all I have, but give all I have because I think that is what Jesus asks of us – give all we have, surrender all we are to the Father. Giving it all and doing it joyfully feels big. 

Am I able to do this? Is there something I value so much that would be hard to give? Do I trust that I’ll still have what I need? 

Several years ago I gave God permission to do what he wanted with my life. It felt at first as if I made a mistake because I was stripped of what I thought was his will. I believe that initially I was doing his will because it led me to a place where I could give him this permission but what he allowed to happen confused me. I ended up giving it all – or as much as I could. At first there was no joy but our God is a patient and gentle teacher and he showed me how to find joy in a place where I had no control, just a lot of uncertainty. 

In going from a rowboat, rowing against the waves to a sailboat powered by the Holy Spirit, I learned that giving it all can be done joyfully. And I learned that while my life’s purpose is to get to heaven, I am not pursuing God as much as God is pursuing me. 

So I’m not alone with nothing, rather I’m growing in communion with the perfect friend – Jesus. I’ve received a hundred times more than I gave. It’s true that God is never outdone in generosity and what he had in store was more than I dreamed. 

Giving God permission may feel scary, but in doing so, we make space for him and we become filled with his grace. The more we give, the more he comes crashing in. And he is greater than a field of treasure or a pearl of great price – he is the glory of the universe, the almighty God and he is so good. 

Contact the author

Merridith Frediani’s perfect day includes prayer, writing, unrushed morning coffee, reading, tending to dahlias, and playing Sheepshead with her husband and three kids.  She loves finding God in the silly and ordinary.  She writes for Ascension Press, Catholic Mom, and her local Catholic Herald in Milwaukee. Her first book Draw Close to Jesus: A Woman’s Guide to Eucharistic Adoration is expected to be released summer 2021. You can reach her at merridith.frediani@gmail.com

Feature Image Credit: Diego PH, https://unsplash.com/photos/SZYreZsJ-fE

Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Ex 33:7-11; 34:5b-9, 28

The tent, which was called the meeting tent,
Moses used to pitch at some distance away, outside the camp.
Anyone who wished to consult the LORD
would go to this meeting tent outside the camp.
Whenever Moses went out to the tent, the people would all rise
and stand at the entrance of their own tents,
watching Moses until he entered the tent.
As Moses entered the tent, the column of cloud would come down
and stand at its entrance while the LORD spoke with Moses.
On seeing the column of cloud stand at the entrance of the tent,
all the people would rise and worship
at the entrance of their own tents.
The LORD used to speak to Moses face to face,
as one man speaks to another.
Moses would then return to the camp,
but his young assistant, Joshua, son of Nun,
would not move out of the tent.

Moses stood there with the LORD and proclaimed his name, “LORD.”
Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out,
“The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God,
slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity,
continuing his kindness for a thousand generations,
and forgiving wickedness and crime and sin;
yet not declaring the guilty guiltless,
but punishing children and grandchildren
to the third and fourth generation for their fathers’ wickedness!”
Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship.
Then he said, “If I find favor with you, O LORD,
do come along in our company.
This is indeed a stiff-necked people; 
yet pardon our wickedness and sins,
and receive us as your own.”

So Moses stayed there with the LORD for forty days and forty nights,
without eating any food or drinking any water,
and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant,
the ten commandments.

Responsorial Psalm 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13

R.     (8a)  The Lord is kind and merciful.
The LORD secures justice
    and the rights of all the oppressed.
He has made known his ways to Moses,
    and his deeds to the children of Israel.
R.     The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
    slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
    nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R.     The Lord is kind and merciful.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
    nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
R.     The Lord is kind and merciful.
As far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he put our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
R.     The Lord is kind and merciful.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia

Gospel Mt 13:36-43

Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the Evil One,
and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his Kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the Kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Wheat, Weeds, and We

Today we hear Jesus’ explanation of the parable that was read at Mass on Saturday (Matt 24-30).

The Son of Man sows the good seed that is the “children of the Kingdom” (that’s us) in the field that is the world. Meanwhile, his enemy (and ours) sows his own seed, “the children of the Evil One,” in amongst the good seed. Why does the enemy do this anyway? Because the devil hates God but cannot attack God, he uses every possible means to wound God by attacking what God loves most: His Incarnate Son, and the members of His Body, the Church.

Does the enemy do this in broad daylight? No! The enemy always works in the dark, “while everyone was asleep.” This begs the question of whether the enemy would be ABLE to sow his wicked seeds IF THE CHURCH WERE AWAKE and ever vigilant! We can’t say. But we know that God allows the good and the bad to grow together, to give the good seed ample time to establish solid roots and adequate strength. And we can expand this parable to suggest that weeds and wheat can actually change one another somehow – wheat can be infected and become weedy, and weeds can absorb the light and life of wheat and be transformed. No one is definitively in one category or the other until “the end of the age”; until then, we must guard against absorbing the weed-ness around us and hope that every weed will ultimately be changed into wheat. We pray that with enough time, and nourishment, and the quiet miracle of grace that makes repentance and conversion possible, the weeds sown by the enemy to destroy the harvest will be transformed.

There is a cosmic battle going on, and we are part of it! This is no myth: God is real and Satan is real and we are really part of a battle being waged beyond our eyesight. St. Paul tells us to “put on the armor of God” because we are struggling “with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph. 6:11-13). But we do not say that there are two equal kingdoms in this battle – the devil is not equal to God. We do not say that the devil creates his own kingdom – he can create nothing. But the enemy works to vitiate God’s kingdom by fouling up what is good, true, and beautiful. He works furiously to spoil God’s work, but he is still God’s creature, only able to sneak around in the dark confusion doing what God allows for a greater good.

In the parable, the master shows no panic when the servants report the weeds. It’s almost as if he expected the enemy would sow them, and he planted the wheat anyway. This is the risk Love takes: knowing the hostility of the enemy and the fragile freedom of our will, God plants us into the Kingdom anyway. We must work to transform the weeds into wheat!

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Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including newly ordained Father Rob and seminarian Luke ;-), and two grandchildren. She is a Secular Discalced Carmelite and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 25 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio, by publishing and speaking, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Catechesis, various parishes, and other ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is https://www.kathryntherese.com/.

Feature Image Credit: Felix Mittermeier, https://pixabay.com/photos/wheat-field-sunset-backlighting-2391348/

Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reading I Ex 32:15-24, 30-34

Moses turned and came down the mountain
with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands,
tablets that were written on both sides, front and back;
tablets that were made by God,
having inscriptions on them that were engraved by God himself.
Now, when Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting,
he said to Moses, “That sounds like a battle in the camp.”
But Moses answered, “It does not sound like cries of victory,
nor does it sound like cries of defeat;
the sounds that I hear are cries of revelry.”
As he drew near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing.
With that, Moses’ wrath flared up, so that he threw the tablets down
and broke them on the base of the mountain.
Taking the calf they had made, he fused it in the fire
and then ground it down to powder,
which he scattered on the water and made the children of Israel drink.

Moses asked Aaron, “What did this people ever do to you
that you should lead them into so grave a sin?”
Aaron replied, “Let not my lord be angry.
You know well enough how prone the people are to evil.
They said to me, ‘Make us a god to be our leader;
as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt,
we do not know what has happened to him.’
So I told them, ‘Let anyone who has gold jewelry take it off.’
They gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out.”

On the next day Moses said to the people,
“You have committed a grave sin.
I will go up to the LORD, then;
perhaps I may be able to make atonement for your sin.”
So Moses went back to the LORD and said,
“Ah, this people has indeed committed a grave sin
in making a god of gold for themselves!
If you would only forgive their sin!
If you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written.”
The LORD answered, “Him only who has sinned against me
will I strike out of my book.
Now, go and lead the people to the place I have told you.
My angel will go before you.
When it is time for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

Responsorial Psalm 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R.     (1a)  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
    and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
    for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R.     Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
    who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
    terrible things at the Red Sea.
R.     Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
    but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
    to turn back his destructive wrath.
R.     Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

Alleluia Jas 1:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 13:31-35

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

He spoke to them another parable.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened.”

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables, 
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:

    I will open my mouth in parables,
    I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Sts. Joachim and Anne, Parents of Mary, Friends Who Love You

I was thinking today how wonderful it would have been to live next door to Saints Joachim and Anne, listening to each other’s stories, crying and laughing with them. It would have been a great blessing. But wait! We kind of had that with our next door neighbors of 21 years. When they moved in next to us, the wife was having their second son and eventually had a daughter. Along the same path, we had five boys and three girls. It was life changing for my wife. And for me. My wife and our neighbor became soul mates and loved each other dearly. If you have friends that love you for who you are, you have a great treasure.

We now live hundreds of miles apart but still keep in contact. We missed those days. But they all prepared us for being better Christians later in life. We have done things that we never thought we would do. God is good! So, what am I trying to say?? The people we hang out with have a major impact on our own spiritual life. Some of you have a great support system. It could be members of your family or extended family, or friends from church or neighbors. 

If you say that those are not the kind of friends you have, but would like to; I would think that being involved in your Church would be a great start. Currently all our friends are from the three parishes that I am a Deacon in. All these parishes have different personalities, but we all have common goals.

Anne and Joachim remind me of the Holy Family. They had to be pretty holy to birth a daughter like our Blessed Mother. Ann Catherine Emerick said that when our Blessed Mother was brought to the temple, Joachim wept copious tears. Perhaps tonight you can meditate on that event, bringing Mary to the temple to be raised and educated there. If it sounds like a radical quest by the Lord, it’s probably true.

Serving with joy.

Contact the author

Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They are the parents of eight children and twenty-nine grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Beth Macdonald, https://unsplash.com/photos/cAZKcDUEf1k

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