FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION:
SEVENTEENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR
Weekday readings: Matthew 13: 31 to 14: 12: Themes: The Church is always imperceptibly growing; there will always be forces working to corrupt the Church from within and from without; we need to be willing to trade all for All; both good and evil will co-exist within the Church until Christ comes again; we must conserve what is old and be open to what is new; familiarity with Christianity can breed contempt; being false to ourselves out of fear or desire to please others can destroy us.
To believe in the mystery of divine life working in the Church, even when it seems invisible, and in spite of the visible sins and errors in the community.
Our faith: How many of these statements do you believe? And live?
Matthew 13: 31-35: The operative element in ministry is God’s life in us.
If divine life is growing in us, we will form Christian communities in which all who seek to live the life of grace will find a home.
A Christian community is never self-enclosed, but like “leaven in the dough” works for changes within society until the whole world is transformed.
Matthew 13: 36-43: We should expect to find some sin and error, both in ministers and in those ministered to. If we try to “cast out” from the Church all who are sinners, or exclude them from ministry, we will have to reject everyone.
Jesus’ way is to let the good and the bad develop together, and to withhold judgment until time reveals the deep — and final — orientation of each one’s heart.
Matthew 13: 44-46: We can only enter into the kingdom of heaven by giving “all for All.” We do not know God as God until we give our all for the All he is. We only know what something is worth to us by what we are willing to pay for it.
Matthew 13: 47-53: The good minister must be in touch with the Holy Spirit at work in the Church, whose action we can never predict. We must constantly be discovering and communicating “what is new and what is old.”
Matthew 13: 54-58: All Christian ministry is God acting through human instruments. To make the message more acceptable, the messengers have to be as godlike as possible, but without ever refusing to minister because of our faults. Even Jesus was rejected in his home town.
Matthew 14: 1-12: It is “dying to self” to accept the vulnerability inherent in revealing our inner selves to others. We must be true, even if others reject us for it.
Be open to the Spirit of God in yourself and others.
Form community through mutual self-expression.