Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Matthew 20

Creighton University Online Ministries
Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer
Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time: July 19-25, 2020

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The Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

This Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time we are reminded that God has sown good seed, but, of course, an enemy has sown weeds in the same field. We are not supposed to go out there judgmentally pulling up weeds, but to leave judgment to God. The way the Kingdom of God grows is the way tiny seeds grow and the way yeast makes dough rise: it is surprising and slow and almost imperceptible. If we have ears, we ought to hear.

Wednesday we remember St. Mary Magdalene. Saturday is the feast of St. James, the Apostle. Both days have their own special readings.

The first readings this week, except for the feasts, are from the Book of the Prophet Micah and end on Saturday with readings from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, through next week and into the week afterwards.

We'll continue to read from Matthew's Gospel this week. The scribes and Pharisee ask Jesus for a sign to prove his credentials. He says that the only sign will be his death and resurrection. Jesus tells his disciples the parable of the sower. When asked why he speaks in parables and Jesus answers that the simple and those with open hearts will hear and understand. Then Jesus explains the parable: the importance of rich soil. Just so, the Son of Man "did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." On the Feast of St. James, we hear how that the apostles miss the message of Jesus and are arguing about who is the greatest. He says, "Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.

On the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time we see how God admires Solomon because he asked for wisdom rather than riches. Jesus is the source of God's wisdom and teaches us more about the Kingdom of Heaven. We imagine the passion of one discovering a treasure buried in a field or finding a pearl of great value, sacrificing everything to buy what is so deeply desired. A dragnet hauls in fish that can nourish others as well as what is not useful for others. Jesus invites us into deeper reflection on what we value and prepares us for our mission.


Daily Prayer This Week

"Comparisons are odious," is a well known piece of wisdom. It is helpful be reminded by Jesus this week that to be his disciples is not about comparing ourselves with each other. It is not about a competition to be greater than another. It is about being servants of each other. It is about being like him, who came to give his life away. As we pray this week, in the background of our daily lives, we can reflect upon all the relationships in our lives and ask for the grace to come to know the needs of each person in my life and for the grace to be servant as Jesus is servant.

The parable of the sower can be a wonderful source of reflection this week. We can do it in a variety of ways, but it might be helpful to just take one kind of soil to reflect on each day. Each day we can begin -- as we first get out of bed, in the shower, while dressing, eating, driving, walking from one place to another, shopping -- by asking for the grace to understand how parts of me are like this soil.

Seed sown on the hard path. I can ask to know how the Word is simply stolen away from my heart. What is hard hearted in me? What hardens me? How am I not open? What saps my spirits, my hope, my faith?

Seed sown on rocky ground. I can ask to know how I sometimes initially receive the Word readily, even with joy, but my lack of deep roots lead to my losing heart, when troubles come? When do I lose courage? How do I believe the Word but fail to pay to price for living it? How can I develop deeper roots?

Seed sown among thorns. I can ask for the grace to know how I initially welcome the Word, but let anxieties and the lure of riches choke the Word so it can't bear fruit. What kind of worldly anxieties trouble me? What kind of attractions, possessions, addictions affect my freedom and peace? What grace in me isn't bearing fruit? How can I be freer, live more simply, with more surrender?

Seed sown on rich soil. I can ask for the grace to hear the Word and understand it and to bear much fruit. What will help me, prepare me to be more receptive? What environment, activities, service will help?

Each night, we can give thanks for these reflections that help us examine our daily live and grow in love, in freedom and in fruitfulness.

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