July 23, 2019
by Mike Cherney
Creighton University's Physics Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 396

Exodus 14:21—15:1
Exodus 15:8-9, 10 and 12, 17
John 14:23

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Gather Us In: Thoughts on the Synod on Family

The first reading recalls the familiar story of the Israelites’ passage through the Red Sea and the subsequent destruction of the Egyptians who were in pursuit. The text of the response between the readings continues this narrative. The Gospel has Jesus questioning who are the true members of his family. Rather than a more traditional understanding of His clan, Jesus expresses brotherhood with those who believe.

My first thoughts on today’s readings lead me in the direction of considering that I may not always be on the same page with God. I see a God who can be destructive in the passages from Exodus and who leads me to question my family loyalty in the second.

I try to compensate for this by trying to find a common theme of God’s special attention to His people. In the passages from Exodus there is the liberation of His Chosen People. In the Gospel there is the acceptance as family for those who are followers of Jesus.

I also take note of the difference in the way this message is presented in the Old vs. the New Testament. In the first reading from Exodus Moses leads his people out Egypt. God clears their path and subdues those who would stand in the way. In the Gospel, I think the message is far more subtle. Rather than leaving his family behind, Jesus shows the acceptance and degree of closeness He feels to those who believe. This is a closeness that extends beyond ethnicity or social status.

My prayer today builds on my understanding of today’s Gospel.

Heavenly Father,
My faith is not always at the level which might be desired.
Hoping for your grace, I ask for perseverance in times of doubt and frustration.
My openness is not always at the level which might be desired.
I ask for your assistance in accepting and welcoming those who I perceive as different.
My gratitude is not always at the level which might be desired.
I repentantly express my gratitude for the many times that I have been able to find ways out of difficult situations.

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