A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.35)

WEEK 16 IN ORDINARY TIME: July 22, 2012 ***

 

(N.B. The pastoral tool BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD: A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY LITURGY includes a prayerful study of the Sunday liturgy of Year B from three perspectives. For reflections on the Sunday liturgy based on the Gospel reading, please scroll up to the “ARCHIVES” above and open Series 1. For reflections based on the Old Testament reading, open Series 4. For reflections based on the Second Reading, open Series 7. Please go to Series 10 for the back issues of the Weekday Lectio.

 

Below is a LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY - WEEKDAY LITURGY: July 22-28, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

***

 

July 22, 2012: 16th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME     

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Is Our Master-Shepherd”       

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jer 23:1-6 // Eph 2:13-18 // Mk 6:30-34

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

In 1995 I traveled about eight hours by bus from Manila to San Antonio to give a seminar on liturgical music. This scenic town is situated at the foot of Mount Pinatubo, a volcano that violently erupted on July 16, 1991, after five hundred years of dormancy. The people suffered great devastation. The town I saw was still full of sand and other debris spewed out by the volcanic eruption. The people narrated how they scrambled in all directions to save their lives. They were dispersed like sheep without a shepherd. My heart was filled with pity as I listened. In a mysterious way, I was reliving the compassion of Christ for the hapless crowd that pursued him.

            The focus of today’s Gospel is the Lord Jesus who shepherds. He shepherds the weary disciples who return from their missionary ministry, reporting to him what they had done and taught. His care for his tired and labor-spent disciples is heart-warming: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mk 6:31). He invites them to a well-deserved respite and quiet. Indeed, the disciples-apostles who have completed their first mission of preaching repentance, driving away demons and anointing the sick need some quiet rest with their Master-Shepherd.

The Lord Jesus likewise shepherds the pursuing crowd who hunger for the bread of the Word. His response is beautifully described in the Gospel: “His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them with many things” (Mk 6:34). Jesus accomplishes his pastoral care for them by teaching, that is, by nourishing their hungry souls with the bread of the Word. His service of teaching is a “nourishing ministry”. It is an important task in shepherding God’s people. He nourishes those who seek spiritual strength and solace by proclaiming the Gospel. The liturgical scholar Adrian Nocent remarks: “It is by teaching the sheep that Jesus gathers them together … His teaching is filled with power and creates a new people. The crowds gather around him and share his teaching with one another by telling one another of their impressions; slowly they form a united flock on which Jesus bestows his love and for which he prepares future shepherds.” 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO 

 

When we are tired and weary, do we turn to Jesus and respond to his invitation: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile”?  Is the rhythm of our life similar to that of Jesus, with a balanced alternation of time generously given to others and solitude, of intense activity and rest?  Do we respond to the needs of the weary and heavily burdened with the heart of the Shepherd?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Father,

your Son Jesus Christ is the Master-Shepherd.

He feeds us with the bread of the Word

and nourishes us with hope

by witnessing to your unconditional love.

By his blood on the cross,

Jesus gathers the scattered sheep into one flock.

Through his teaching ministry and work of evangelization,

the Good News of salvation becomes a reality.

O loving and gracious God,

we thank you for Jesus, our Master-Shepherd!

Through him,

peoples from all races and nations

are gathered into your presence

and rejoice in the gift of the Holy Spirit.

We praise you and love you, now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

            “They were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.” (Mk 6:34)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO   

Spend some moments of peace and quiet solitude with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Relish the beautiful experience of “coming away with him to a deserted place to rest awhile”. With the compassionate heart of the Shepherd, welcome those who are “like sheep without a shepherd” and share with them the bread of God’s Word.  

 

 

***

 

July 23, 2012: MONDAY – WEEKDAY (16); SAINT BRIDGET, religious

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Gives the Sign of Jonah”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Mi 6:1-4,6-8 // Mt 12:38-42

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

The scribes and Pharisees demand to see a “sign” from Jesus – a flashy miracle that will convince them he is truly the Messiah. The “sign” they want is one that fits their notion of a triumphant political Son of David. Jesus has given enough signs in his public ministry, both in word and deed. But their prejudice prevents them from recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. He obliges by giving them the ultimate sign: Jonah in the belly of the whale three days and three nights. The mind-baffling “sign of Jonah” refers to the paschal event of his death and resurrection. Failure to accept this sign is unfortunate and merits condemnation. The people of Nineveh, who responded with repentance to Jonah’s proclamation, and the Queen of the South, who yearned to hear the wisdom of Solomon, stand in sharp contrast to their unbelief. Indeed, Jesus is “something greater” than Jonah or Solomon. More than Jonah who preaches repentance, Jesus is our peace and reconciliation. More than Solomon and his wisdom, Jesus is the incarnate wisdom of God. He is the fullness of truth - the absolute revelation of the heavenly Father’s love.

 

Jesus continues to offer the “sign of Jonah”, and those who are sensitive to grace can perceive it. The paschal sign of his death and resurrection enfolds us. We are called to an intimate participation in it. The following story circulated on the Internet gives insight into this.

 

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.” Very quietly the doctor said, “I don’t know.” “You don’t know? You’re a Christian man and don’t know what’s on the other side?” The doctor was holding the handle of the door. On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining. And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. Turning to the patient, the doctor said “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here. And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death. But I do know one thing … I know my Master is there and that is enough.”

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

What is our response to the “sign of Jonah” that Jesus continues to offer us in our daily life?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus Christ,

we thank you for the paschal “sign of Jonah”.

Please give us the grace to respond in faith

to this “mystery” and revelation of love.

Teach us to make a quest for you,

the eternal wisdom that leads to eternal life.

Let not the people of Nineveh and the Queen of the South

condemn us.

Let them inspire us

to respond to you with repentant hearts

and to treasure you as the life-giving wisdom of God.

We love you and praise you,

now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“No sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.” (cf. Mt 12:39)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Be receptive to the “sign of Jonah” that surrounds us in daily life. By consciously participating in the paschal sacrifice of Christ, let the people around you realize that the “sign of Jonah” is a sign of salvation.

 

 

***

 

July 24, 2012: TUESDAY - WEEKDAY (16); SAINT SHARBEL MAKHLAF, priest

“JESUS SAVIOR: His Family Obeys the Will of God”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Mi 12:46-50 // Mt 12:46-50

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

Jesus continues to suffer unbelief and rejection. The hostility of the Jewish religious leaders is mounting. The mother and relatives of Jesus are deeply concerned. They want to speak to him. They probably intend to take him away from danger. But Jesus makes use of the presence of his mother and kinsmen to define the true nature of his family. The true family of Jesus is constituted by those who follow the will of God – of which Mary is the model. Jesus does not reject the bond of blood kinship, but his commitment to the reign of God leads him to affirm the new and higher bond of spiritual kinship. Those who, in faith, submit to the will of God the Father are brothers and sisters and mothers to Jesus. They are true members of God’s family.

 

The following story, circulated on the Internet, shows how Mother Teresa of Calcutta testifies to how we can live in today’s world as true members of God’s family.

 

Jim Castle was tired when he boarded his plane in Cincinnati, Ohio, that night in 1981. The 45-year-old management consultant had put on a week-long series of business meetings and seminars, and now he sank gratefully into his seat, ready for the flight home to Kansas City, Kansas. As more passengers entered, the place hummed with conversation, mixed with the sound of bags being stowed. Then, suddenly, people fell silent. The quiet moved slowly up the aisle like an invisible wake behind a boat. Jim craned his head to see what was happening and his mouth dropped open. Walking up the aisle were two nuns clad in simple white habits bordered in blue. He recognized the familiar face of one at once, the wrinkled skin, and the eyes warmly intent. This was a face he’d seen in newscasts and on the cover of TIME. The two nuns halted, and Jim realized that his seat companion was going to be Mother Teresa!

 

As the last few passengers settled in, Mother Teresa and her companion pulled out rosaries. Each decade of the beads was a different color, Jim noticed. “The decades represented various areas of the world”, Mother Teresa told him later and added, “I pray for the poor and dying on each continent.”

 

The airplane taxied to the runway and the two women began to pray, their voices a low murmur. Though Jim considered himself not a very religious Catholic who went to church mostly out of habit, inexplicably he found himself joining in. By the time they murmured the final prayer, the plane had reached cruising altitude. Mother Teresa turned toward him. For the first time in his life, Jim understood what people meant when they spoke of a person possessing an “aura”. As she gazed at him, a sense of peace filled him; he could no more see it than he could see the wind but he felt it, just as surely as he felt a warm summer breeze. “Young man”, she inquired, “do you say the rosary often?” “No, not really”, he admitted. She took his hands, while her eyes probed his. Then she smiled. “Well, you will now.” And she dropped her rosary into his palm.

 

An hour later, Jim entered the Kansas City airport where he was met by his wife, Ruth. “What in the world?” Ruth asked when she noticed the rosary in his hand. They kissed and Jim described his encounter. Driving home, he said “I feel as if I met a true sister of God.”

 

Nine months later, Jim and Ruth visited Connie, a friend of theirs for several years. Connie confessed that she’d been told she had ovarian cancer. “The doctor says it’s a tough case”, said Connie, “but I’m going to fight it. I won’t give up.” Jim clasped her hand. Then, after reaching into his pocket, he gently twined Mother Teresa’s rosary around her fingers. He told her the story and said, “Keep it with you, Connie. It may help.” Although Connie wasn’t Catholic, her hand closed willingly around the small plastic beads. “Thank you”, she whispered. “I hope I can return it.”

 

More than a year passed before Jim saw Connie again. This time her face was glowing. She hurried toward him and handed him the rosary. “I carried it with me all year”, she said. “I’ve had surgery and have been on chemotherapy, too. Last month, the doctors did second-look surgery, and the tumor’s gone. Completely!” Her eyes met Jim’s. “I knew it was time to give the rosary back.”

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

Do we truly belong to the true family of God by our faith response and obedience to the Father’s will? By our work and deeds, do we strive to be a mother, brother or sister to Jesus present in today’s poor and needy?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Jesus,

you are the beloved son of God.

Baptized into the community of faith,

we become members of God’s family.

Help us to live our baptismal consecration

and obediently follow the Father’s saving will

that we may truly be a part of the divine family.

Give us the grace to be a mother, brother or sister

to the poor and needy in today’s world

that we may merit your gift of spiritual kinship.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Mt 12:50)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

By your witness of charity and service to the people around you, let them know that you truly belong to the community of faith and that you are a brother, sister, or mother to Jesus.

 

 

***

 

July 25, 2012: WEDNESDAY – SAINT JAMES, APOSTLE

 “JESUS SAVIOR: He Drinks the Cup of Passion”

 

BIBLE READINGS

II Cor 4:7-15 // Mt 20:20-28

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

The meaning of today’s Gospel account can be understood if we consider the prophecy of the passion that precedes it (cf. Mk 20:12-19). The request of James and John to sit at Jesus’ right and left in glory is totally inappropriate in the context of the prediction regarding his imminent passion as the Suffering Servant. The Divine Master responds to their obtuseness by challenging them: “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” (Mt 20:22). Since the image of the cup is a symbol of his forthcoming passion and death, we can deduce that Jesus is inviting them to participate in his paschal destiny. Indeed, discipleship is an intimate sharing in his role as the suffering Servant of Yahweh. Through this the Christian disciples share in his glory.

 

The apostle James, whose feast we celebrate today, has drunk the “cup” of passion and participated in Christ’s paschal destiny. The following notes about this saint, circulated on the Internet, are very interesting.

St. James the Greater was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, a son of Zebedee. He and his older brother John were called by Jesus while fixing their nets at the Lake of Genesaret. They received from Christ the name "Boanerges," meaning "sons of thunder," for their impetuosity. The gospel relates that James was present for the miracle of Jairo's daughter, the Transfiguration, and later with Jesus during His Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Acts of the Apostles relates that the Apostles dispersed to different regions to take the Good News to the people of God. Sister Maria de Jesus de Agreda was a Franciscan religious who received revelations from Jesus. It was revealed to her that St. James the Greater went to Spain to evangelize. He went first to Galicia, where he established a Christian community, and later to the Roman city of Cesar Augusto, today known as Zaragoza. It is believed that on January 2nd, in the year 40 A.D., St. James and his disciples were resting on the shore side of the Egro river when they started to hear sweet voices singing. They saw the sky fill up with light and many angels coming near them. The angels were carrying a throne on which the Queen of Heaven and earth was sitting. This was extraordinary, for Mary was living at that time in Jerusalem, making her appearance to them in Spain a bilocation. The Blessed Virgin told St. James to build a sanctuary where God would be honored and glorified, and gave him a pillar with her image to be placed in the sanctuary. The Blessed Virgin also told St. James that the sanctuary would remain until the end of time and that she would bless all the prayers offered devoutly in this place. At the end of the apparition, our Lady said to St. James that when the sanctuary was finished, he should return to Palestine where he would die.

St. James fulfilled the desires of the Blessed Virgin Mary and constructed the first Christian Church in the entire world. St. James returned to Palestine, where he was decapitated by order of Herod on the 25th of March during a persecution of the Church in Jerusalem. According to tradition, the accuser of St. James, who led him to judgment, was so moved by St. James’ confession before his death that he converted and was willingly beheaded with the Apostle. His disciples recovered his body and transported it to Galicia without anyone’s knowledge in a miraculous boat guided by God.

In the Old Testament, Jacob constructed an altar for God naming it Bethel, which means "House of God" (Gen. 35:7). Jacob is a Greek name, and translated to Spanish, the name means James. Jacob constructed the "House of God” and St. James parallels his namesake with the construction of the first "House of God” of the New Covenant.

St. James' tomb was forgotten for over 800 years. Under the rule of Alfonso II (789-842), a hermit named Pelagio received a vision revealing the tomb of St. James. On July 25th, 812, the spot where the tomb was revealed to be was filled with a bright light. Because of this, it has since been known as Campostela, which means "Field of Light." The bishop of Iria Flavia, Theodomir, after investigating, declared that these were truly the remains of St. James in the tomb. In 1884 Pope Leo XIII, in a Papal Bull, declared that the remains of St. James were at Campostela.

St. James the Greater is also known as "Matamoros," Spanish for “killer of the Moors.” It is known that his intercession helped the people in various occasions against the threat of the Moors, especially in 1492 when Spain was re-conquered.

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Are we willing to drink the cup of Christ’s passion that we might have a share in his glory?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO 

 

Almighty Father,

by the martyrdom of St. James

you blessed the work of the early Church.

May his profession of faith give us courage

and his prayers bring us strength.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” (cf. Mt 20:22)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for the strength to drink the cup of passion and salvation. In today’s secularized world, be ready to give witness to your Catholic faith when you are challenged.

 

***

 

 

 July 26, 2012: THURSDAY – SAINTS JOACHIM AND ANNE, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Speaks in Parables”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jer 2:1-3,7-8,12-13 // Mt 13:16-17

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

Jesus uses stories to communicate the kingdom values. He speaks to people in parables to reveal the mysteries of the reign of God. The Gospel message demands a positive response and necessitates openness of heart. The parables and stories are meant to be meditated upon and “interiorized”. Teaching in parables is a compassionate act of the Divine Master to reach out to those in need of salvation. The simple and childlike are able to glean the life-giving wisdom of Jesus’ parables. Those who have deliberately closed their heart to Jesus are untouched by the power of the parables. Since their heart is gross, they look but do not see; they hear but do not understand. They are oblivious to the saving message and are not moved to conversion and transformation. Their lack of understanding results from their prejudice that Jesus does not meet the criteria of the Messiah.

The following story illustrates that to glean the life-giving meaning of stories and parables, the heart must be at work (cf. Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird, New York: Image Books, 1984, p. 1).

 

A disciple once complained, “You tell us stories, but you never reveal the meaning to us.”

 

Said the master, “How would you like it if someone offered you fruit and masticated it before giving it to you?”

 

No one can find the meaning for you. Not even the master.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we make a personal effort to deepen our faith by prayerful reflection on the word of God?  Do we continue to value the life-giving meaning of Jesus’ parables?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Jesus Lord,

you spoke in parables

to reveal to us the mysteries of the kingdom

and to manifest the state of our heart.

Help us to be receptive to your word.

Give us the grace and wisdom we need

to delve into the meaning of your parables.

May your life-giving message transform us.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you.” (Mt 13:11)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pay particular attention to Jesus’ parables, especially when they are proclaimed in the liturgical assembly. Make a special effort to glean their message for you and the community. Learn to savor and tell stories.

 

***

 

 

 July 27, 2012: FRIDAY – WEEKDAY (16)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Helps Them Understand”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Is 3:14-17 // Mt 13:18-23

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

Without spoon-feeding them, the Divine Master helps his disciples delve into the meaning of the parable of the sower. He underlines that the growth of the seeds of the kingdom depend on various factors. But the clincher is the fruitful result of the seeds that fall into good soil. This refers to authentic disciples of Jesus who hear the word of God, make an effort to understand and glean its personal implication, and let the Gospel bear abundant fruit in their life.

 

The miracle of the fruitful seeds lives on through the work of Christian disciples who sow and promote the spirit of the Gospel in the here and now. The story of Papa Mike, founder of the Poverello House in Fresno, gives insight into this (cf. POVERELLO NEWS, May 2012, p. 1-2).

 

A man named Ed was the victim of growing neighborhood violence. An older man who had been on the streets for many years, he recently got a place to stay. He still comes here to eat, and as he was leaving one day, two young men accosted him not too far from Poverello. They beat him, knocked out a tooth or two, and took his money.

 

When he told me about it, he was understandably angry. He wanted to get his gun and take his revenge. In his younger days, I have no doubt that Ed would have done just that. However, I was able to talk him down and help him try to see the big picture, how shooting these men would cause him even more grief. Thankfully, Ed listened to me. (…) I believe that I’ve done at least a little of what the Good Lord put me here to do.

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do I intend to be good soil that promotes the growth and fruitfulness of the seeds of God’s kingdom?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

O loving Jesus,

you sow the seeds of God’s kingdom.

Let me be like the good soil

that promotes their growth and fruitfulness.

Teach me to open myself

to the miracle of life that you bring.

Give me true understanding of the message of salvation.

Help me to sow the seeds of your saving word

in the here and now.

We love you and praise you,

now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

            The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.

 

“But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit.” (Mt 13:21) 

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Reflect on what you can do to share the word of salvation with the people around you. Do what you can to make the Internet a forum of evangelization.

 

***

 

July 28, 2012: SATURDAY – WEEKDAY (16); BVM ON SATURDAY

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Will Separate the Weeds from the Wheat”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jer 7:1-11 // Mt 13:24-30

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

The parable of the weeds among the wheat underlines that those who endeavor to live faithfully in this world are surrounded by those who do not. But Jesus, the sower of the good seed and the Lord of the harvest, wants us to trust that the wheat can withstand the weeds and even be stronger for it. The parable also tells us about the patience of God, who is compassionate. He allows the weeds to grow with the wheat until harvest time, when the weeds will be separated and burned and the wheat stored and treasured in the barn. He does not easily condemn, but rather, is kindly disposed to give us a chance to prove our true worth. The society in general and the Church in particular have a “mixed bag” quality. They contain side by side the best and the worst as well as the sinners and the saints. The Jesuit bible scholar Fr. Nil Guillemette comments: “Let us not forget, too, that the mixture of good and bad is not only in society at large and in the Church in particular; it is also in our own hearts. We ourselves are a mixture of weeds and wheat. By admitting this to ourselves, we can become less judgmental and more compassionate about our neighbors’ weeds.”

 

The following stories about “streaky people” are funny, but give us idea on the need to be less judgmental and more compassionate in dealing with the people around us (cf. Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird, New York: Image Books, 1984, p. 129).

 

A preacher put this question to a class of children: “If all the good people were white and all the bad people were black, what color would you be?”

 

Little Mary Jane replied, “Reverend, I’d be streaky!”

 

So would the preacher. So would the mahatmas, popes, and saints.

 

***

 

A man was looking for a good church to attend and he happened to enter one in which the congregation and the preacher were reading from their prayerbook. They were saying, “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.”

 

The man dropped into a seat and sighed with relief as he said to himself, “Thank goodness, I’ve found my crowd at last.”

 

Attempts to hide your streakiness will sometimes be successful, always dishonest.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we try not to be judgmental, but to be patient and compassionate with the weeds and the wheat that grow side by side within our world, our Church and ourselves?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Jesus Lord,

you are patient and kind.

You let the weeds grow with the wheat until harvest time.

In your saving plan,

you provide for the grace of conversion

and the opportunity to prove that we belong to you.

Help us to manifest the beautiful qualities of the good wheat.

Make us strong in faith

and assist us at the time of the harvest.

Judge us favorably and bring us home.

Gather us into the barn of your kingdom

that we may rejoice with all the saints in heaven.

We love and serve you,

now and forever.

Amen.

.

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Gather the wheat into my barn.” (Mt 13:30)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Be patient with the foibles of the people around you. In your dealings with them, manifest the good qualities that will inspire them to be better persons.

 

***

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang  PDDM

 

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314

Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

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