July 26, 2018
by Diane Jorgensen
Creighton University's School of Pharmacy and Health Professions
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 398

Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13
Psalms 36:6-7ab, 8-9, 10-11
Matthew 13:10-17

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Finding Our Way Back Home: Getting Un-Stuck in Prayer Life

With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.

Jeremiah’s calling to be a prophet is a tough one. In today’s reading, after reminding the Israelites of their initial faithfulness, he has harsh words for them. He accuses them of turning away from God, the source of living water, and seeking life and sustenance in “cisterns” of their own making – broken cisterns that hold no water. In Palestine, rain-water was collected in reservoirs and cisterns, due to the lack of fresh water springs. Cisterns were essential for fresh water for drinking, cooking, bathing, etc. In turning their backs on God, it’s as if they are cutting off their own fresh water supply – and life will be difficult, if not impossible, without this.

What are some of our contemporary “broken cisterns” where we seek fresh water and sustenance? …places and things and postures that are not intended to be sources of life for us and cannot quench our thirst? Perhaps our accomplishments; the status quo; a political stance; financial security? They leave us thirsting.

The gospel selection for today has Jesus addressing the disciples’ question of him “Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?”  Jesus has just given them the parable of the sower and the seed. He tells the disciples that they are privileged, chosen, blessed even…” blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

I’m not sure this answered their question, but I sense that somehow, they were affirmed by his response… that they were moving in the right direction in their understanding of who Jesus was, the “Seed” that was scattered on the earth by the “Sower”. Their ears were open, and they were listening and understanding. Their eyes were open and they were seeing. Their hearts were open and they were being converted. Who or what helps us to hear and see and understand? Where can we place ourselves where we will be converted and healed?

Mary Catherine Bateson, writer and cultural anthropologist (and contemporary prophet), wrote in Peripheral Visions: “As a society we have become so addicted to entertainment that we have buried the capacity for awed experience of the ordinary.  Perhaps the sense of the sacred is more threatened by learned patterns of boredom than it is by blasphemies.” Tough for us to hear. Who or what awakens our capacity for awed experience of the ordinary?

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