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And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time: June 30 - July 6, 2013
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Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time
Sunday is the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. In Luke's Gospel we hear of Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” but not being welcomed by all. When Jesus invites: “Follow me” he is put off with excuses. “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Wednesday is the Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle, with its own special readings. Thursday is Independence Day in the US and some parishes use special readings at Mass.
During this week the stories from Genesis tell us of Abraham's relationship with the Lord, from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to his willingness to sacrifice his own son. His wife, Sarah becomes jealous of the son Abraham had by Hagar, the slave, and forces Abraham to drive Hagar and her son, Ishmael, out into the desert, where they are saved by God. Sarah dies, and Abraham prepares for the end of his own life by searching for a wife for his son, Isaac. The Genesis readings close the week with the story of Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, deceiving her now-elderly and blind husband into giving his blessing and birthright to her favored son, Jacob.
Matthew's Gospel follows Jesus on his journeys, constantly teaching his disciples about faithfulness. He challenges his disciples on what it means to follow him. He calms a violent storm at sea and heals two men possessed by demons -- demons who recognize Jesus as the “Son of God.” When he is criticized for telling a paralytic his sins were forgiven, Jesus says, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? He then healed the paralytic. On Friday, Jesus does something extraordinary - he invites the reviled tax collector, Matthew, to be one of his followers. Then he indicates that the old ways of relating to God are gone - that he is the new way, the new wineskin.
Sunday is the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We continue in Luke's Gospel with Jesus sending out the seventy-two “like lambs among wolves.” Typical of Jesus' teachings, the sending reveals both the grace of being sent and a lesson of what to be thankful for. We are called not to be proud in our status as Christians, but joyous in our knowledge that we have a place in God's Kingdom.
Daily Prayer This Week
The gospels offer us encouragement this week because they are so filled with imperfect people struggling to live out their lives. On Wednesday we celebrate the life of St. Thomas, so much like us in his doubts and his fears.
The invitation to us this week comes from the heart of Jesus to ours: “Follow me.” How do we open our hearts more fully to that invitation? In our daily prayer we can name the desire we are looking for and ask Jesus for help.
Each morning as we open our eyes to face the day ahead, we can simply ask Jesus for the courage to follow him.
Lord, give me the strength today to accept your invitation to follow you. Living that invitation each moment will take patience and courage and I ask you for it because I can't supply it for myself. And, Jesus, when I fail and snap at my family or forget to be compassionate with my spouse, grant me the humility to apologize for that. Let me remember how much you love me and let me share that with everyone who comes into my life today.
In the smallest moments in the background of our day we can remember that desire and offer it to God. As we walk down the street or cook dinner or run an errand we can speak to our Lord as we would to a friend. It doesn't take more time, only more focus.
Some days it seems like I am being tossed on a boat in the darkness, Jesus. Part of me wants to be saved but another part wants to run from you. I'm not always proud of how I lead my life and sometimes I am afraid to be alone with you. Guide me through this darkness, please.
At the end of the day, we can take a few moments as we get ready for bed:
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