In the Reading for the Memorial of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Jeremiah pleads to God for deliverance. Jerusalem is under attack. Jeremiah appeals to God’s saving power. “Is it not you alone, O LORD, our God, to whom we look?” (Jeremiah 14: 22). Some of my most powerful experiences of prayer have come in times of great difficulty such as with my mother’s death and the demands of parenting. Feeling powerless, I asked God for help. The experience of God’s presence reassured me. How can God help you?
Jesus tells the Parable of the Yeast in the Gospel for Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time. “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” (Matthew 13:33). I am a baker. I marvel at how yeast transforms flour and other ingredients into delicious bread. Jesus wants you and me to be yeast. He wants us to use our gifts and talents to transform the world. Every act of love makes the world a better place and hastens the reign of Go. God uses whatever we offer to satisfy spiritual and physical hungers. How are you yeast for others?
Jesus tells the Parable of the Sower in the Gospel for Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time. “The seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirty fold” (Matthew 13:23). This parable makes me think about the growth of my faith. I hear and understand God’s Word. I wonder how it has born fruit in my life. How forgiving am I? How loving? How selfless? How is God’ Word bearing fruit in your life?
Micah appeals to God’s mercy and love in the Reading for Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time? “As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt, show us wonderful signs” (Micah 7:15). Micah asserts God’s compassion and steadfast love for the people. Micah exhorts them to trust in God. When my spiritual eyesight is good, I see plenty of signs of God’s love: the morning sun, my wife’s smile, a friend’s wave, a stranger’s helping hand, and more. What signs of God’s compassion and steadfast love do you see?
Jesus instructs his disciples in the Gospel for Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time. He tells them to not worry about what to say. “For it will not be you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10: 20). I think of this passage whenever I say the right thing at the right time. I have often been suprised by my words that comfort, reassure, or inspire. I attribute these healing words to the Holy Spirit. How can the Spirit help you speak words of God’s love in a difficult situation?
In the Reading for Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Hosea speaks for God’s intimate love for Israel. “I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks” (Hosea 11:4). God loves his people like a parent her infant. I love unconditionally my young adult sons whom I hugged and kissed as babies. God loves you and me the same. Jesus continues to reach out to those in need with God’s loving touch. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s tender, gracious, and unconditional love. In what ways have you experienced God’s tender, loving care?
In the Reading for the Memorial of Saint Benedict, the Psalmist urges Israel to rely on God’s faithfulness. “Look to the LORD in his strength, seek to serve him constantly” (Psalm 105:4-5). Reliance on God begets loving service. Reliance only on myself frustrates my relationships with my spouse, children, family, friends, and others. Confidence in God’s strength empowers me to love more selflessly. For what do you need God’s strength?
Jesus cures the sick in the Gospel for Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time. “At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned” (Matthew 9:36). Jesus still has compassion for the sick, troubled, and abandoned. His love has the power to heal. Jesus’ healing love comforts me. I rely on Jesus for help caring for myself and for others in need. With what troubles can Jesus help you?
Jesus cures the hemorrhaging woman in the Gospel for Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time. Seeing Jesus in the crowd she says to herself, ” ‘If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured’. Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, ‘Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you’. And from that hour the woman was cured” (Matthew 9:21-22). I admire the woman for her courage too. Fear paralyzes. Fears of unworthiness, change, the unexpected, risks, and more prevent seeking God’s help. No wonder so many times in Sacred Scripture God says, “Be not afraid”. God wants to help. You and I do not have to be perfect before we ask. With what ailment do you need help from God?
In the Gospel for Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Jesus invites Matthew to be his disciple. Jesus says “Follow me” (Matthew 9:9) and Matthew gets up and follows him. Jesus invites us too. I struggle with following him. I want Jesus to follow me. I want to do things my way. Jesus wants me to follow his example of loving trust in God. My way is a little easier when I follow Jesus’ way. What’s your answer to Jesus’ invitation?