July 28, 2016 – Friday in the 16th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: Leopold Mandic (May 12, 1886 – July 30, 1942)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Exodus 20:1-17 – Psalm 19 – Matthew 13:18 – 23

“The Law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul;” (Psalm 19:7)

I think today’s Responsorial Psalm tries to make more palatable the reading from Exodus with all its “do’s and do not’s.” By and large, we tend to be a people who don’t like anybody telling us what we can and cannot do with our lives. Whenever anybody draws a line that we shouldn’t cross we become like little children and try to test how far we can go. What we have to remember is that the Lord God brought the Chosen People out of slavery and into the Promised Land. But we can’t forget that they wandered around in circles for 40 years! That gave them plenty of time to experience all kinds of lifestyles and spiritualities which pulled them this way and that. They needed some guidelines in their lives that would allow them to see the presence of God in their lives. They were no longer to be a people wandering with no guidelines that ordered their lives. In some ways they had to shake off all the superfluous ways that they had picked up along the way and get back to a notion of their being One God, the Almighty who desired only one thing: that the people would know and recognize Him as Lord of All. Today’s Responsorial Psalm which began this reflection might be a way for us to more easily see what the Lord is looking for in our lives. God isn’t looking for “robot believers” who only follow out of fear. He’s looking for believers who desire to follow a God who promises to lead us through this world – a kind of desert – on to the way that leads to heaven. Then we come to today’s Holy Gospel with the parable of the sower and the seed which helps us to see that our God is a gracious God who pores out His Grace and Love to all with the condition that we do our best to make that grace grow in our lives. It’s almost as if we’re standing there with our arms outstretched to catch some of that grace that’s freely given. But we can’t forget that it’s up to us to allow that grace to grow in our lives. We have to make a place for that seed of His Love to grow and flourish as we make our way through life. We can’t just sit there with that seed of His Love at our feet and do nothing to gather it and make a place for it to grow. We can’t be so hardened in our way of looking at life that God can’t find a way to continue His blessings. Remember how many times we’ve heard the phrase, “Harden not your hearts!” Then we have to do our best to keep on the straight path and not be swayed off the way by the allurements of this world. If we don’t cultivate the gift of grace that God gives us we’ll never be able to make that journey to the Kingdom. We have to remember that Jesus didn’t tell us a whole lot about keeping laws. He mostly spoke about how we are to love one another as He has loved us. Remember the words of St. Catherine of Siena, “It’s Heaven all the way to Heaven!” Amen!

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