Preparing hearts to listen to the Sunday Readings –

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Sunday, July 23, 2017

This Sunday’s Readings:                                                                                              

First Reading
Wisdom 12:13,16-19
God has shown himself to be a God of justice and mercy.

 

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 86:5-6,9-10,15-16
A prayer to God for mercy.

Second Reading
Romans 8:26-27
The Spirit intercedes for us with God.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 13:24-43 (shorter form: Matthew 13:24-30)
Jesus offers parables about the Kingdom of Heaven and explains them to his disciples.

Background on the Gospel Reading

In today’s Gospel, Jesus offers three parables to describe the Kingdom of Heaven. He also explains why he speaks to the crowds in parables and interprets the parable of the sower for the disciples. This reading is a continuation of Jesus’ discourse that we began reading last Sunday.

All three parables use commonplace experiences to describe aspects of the Kingdom of Heaven. The first parable is longer and more detailed than the next two, and it alerts us to the two-fold reality of the Kingdom of Heaven. The beginnings of the Kingdom of Heaven can be found in this world. The fruition of the Kingdom of Heaven, however, will not be realized until the final judgment. In the meantime, as Jesus’ explanation to the disciples cautions, any effort to judge the progress of the Kingdom of Heaven is premature. Only God, in the final judgment, will distinguish the fruit of the Kingdom of Heaven and offer its reward.

The second and third parables call to our attention the abundance that will result from the small beginnings of the Kingdom of Heaven. Just as a mustard seed—the smallest of all seeds—will become a large bush, so too God will bring his Kingdom to full bloom. As a small amount of yeast will leaven the entire batch of bread, so too God will bring about the expansion of his Kingdom. In each case the image is of the superabundance that God brings out of even the smallest of signs of the Kingdom.

Contained within these parables are words of caution as well as words of consolation. In the parable of the sower we are warned against judging others. To judge and uproot the “weeds” prematurely will harm the wheat; final judgment rests with God. In the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast, we are consoled by the message that God can work wonders and produce abundance from even the smallest beginnings of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Family Connection

Taken together, the parables found in today’s Gospel offer both a sobering reminder about the Kingdom of God and words of encouragement. As the wheat and the weeds must grow together until the harvest, so we may not know whether our actions contribute to God’s Kingdom until God’s final judgment. With this word of caution in mind, we act always in prayer that our actions will be consistent with God’s plans. In the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast, we hear words of encouragement. God can bring the Kingdom of Heaven from even the smallest of beginnings. Thus, we ask God to work through us for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Set aside some time this week to make bread with your family. Show the amount of yeast that is required to raise an entire batch of bread. Observe that little things can go a long way. After the bread has been baked, gather together as a family. Read together today’s Gospel, Matthew 13:24-43. Reflect together on what Jesus means when he teaches that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed and like yeast. In these parables, Jesus is teaching us that God can work wonders from even the smallest beginnings of the Kingdom of God. This means that even the little things that we do can make a big difference in the lives of others. What are some of the little things that we can do in our family that help to make things better for others? Decide on one action to take together. Pray that God will use your action to make a difference in the world. Pray together the Lord’s Prayer.


 

formed.org logo-withTag

FORMED is an exciting new website, where St. Stanislaus parishioners can access the best programs, movies, audio talks, and e-books to deepen their relationships with Christ and His Church. If offers amazing Faith Formation at the parish and in an engaging style with the best Catholic teachers, authors, and speakers, on-demand, 24/7.  Watch the FORMED preview by clicking the formed banner above . . . 

How to access FORMED:

It’s easy! Log into Formed.org and access all the faith-building resources available there. You will need to set up an account (click on “My Account” in the upper right) and enter the Parish Code the first time you use the site. Our parish code is: ZR6M2C.  After you’ve set up an account with your own individual password, you will not need the parish code any

FORMED: Don’t leave home without it!

Great audio talks for every age and interest – even audio books – all through our parish FORMED subscription. The suggestions below are perfect for family vacation. Listen on your phone or tablet while traveling, on the beach or by the pool. Register today: Go to formed.org, click on “Register.” First time users should  enter our parish code ZR6M2C. You’ll be asked to enter a user name for yourself and create a password. In the future, just log in with your user name & password. It’s easy!

A “Content List” is at the bottom of the Home Page.


Pope Francis’ Prayer Intention for July, 2017:

The July, 2017 papal intention is:

Lapsed Christians:

That our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the merciful closeness of the Lord and the beauty of the Christian life.

Each month, Pope Francis invites the faithful to pray for the intention he entrusts to the Church. Starting in 2017 the Pope will present only one prepared prayer intention per month, rather than the two presented before this year. He plans, however, to add a second prayer intention each month related to current events or urgent needs, like disaster relief. The urgent prayer request will help mobilize prayer and action related to the urgent situation.