Week of July 7 - 2019
- The 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them, “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
(from Lk 10:1-9)
Galatians, like many of the new Christian communities, are dealing with disputes
about Jewish laws. The early “Council of Jerusalem” has set forth the rules
regarding circumcision and diet, but difficulties between Gentile converts and
Jewish Christians persist; some have escalated into violence. Paul wrote this
letter between 45 and 55 AD--it’s amazing how quickly Jesus’ command to love
your neighbor and his commitment to nonviolence have fallen by the wayside. And
it’s no surprise it continues in full force today.
that you are not consumed by one another.”
These words really struck a nerve in me, both in terms of our
national/international dialogue and in the way in which we treat each other. It
is so refreshing—but oh so rare--when one encounters a politician or world
leader who chooses not to trash their opponents (or allies!), but instead
promotes peace and goodwill. And while I believe a large majority of people
don’t take part in the vitriol and hate speech we hear so much about, we are
still at risk of being devoured and consumed by it. Its very presence on the
airwaves is evidence of a power that aims to destroy us.
tell us the way to freedom won for us by Christ: live by the Spirit!
Living the Word…
Per the theologian, Karl Barth, we must look at the newspaper and the events of
the world in one hand with the Bible in the other hand. Faith and hope in God’s
promise have to be before us always. Have the presence of the Spirit be the
first thing you see, hear, feel, and touch in the morning, and the last thing
you think of before you rest your head, and teach your children to do the same.
Go further than rote prayer to spark imagination of God’s love and protection.
Make a point of trying to shield young children from talk radio or opinion news
shows—they may not understand the words, but they will internalize the tone of
what they hear. With older children, take the time to discuss world events, not
in a politicized or polarizing way, but in light of Jesus’ teaching and the
Spirit’s guidance. And by all means, make nonjudgmental service and love the
solid foundations of your life.
Let’s not consume one another. Let’s feed one another instead.
A scribe approached and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you
(Mt 8: 18-22)
has just told the disciples he wants to cross to the other side of the Sea of
Galilee to Gadara, a city inhabited by both Jews and Gentiles. A scribe, a
scholar of Jewish law, says he’s willing to follow Jesus anywhere—even to a town
that has a heck of a lot of swine! Perhaps this scribe is genuinely committed to
Jesus, willing to risk his status. It takes courage for him to say this and
Jesus makes it clear to him and the others assembled that the choice is not an
easy one. We may tend to dismiss the stories of these would-be followers and yet
I wonder: How willing am I to say these same words to Jesus? How willing are
“Flee for your life! ... Get off to the hills at once.”… Lot replied, “I
cannot flee to the hills…Look, this town ahead is near enough to escape to. Let
me flee there that my life may be saved.” (Gn 19:15-29)
Lot flee to the hills? Perhaps he’s infirm or as some Jewish scholars suggest,
too weak and indecisive —after all, he needs to be dragged out of Sodom in the
first place! He negotiates with God’s messengers to give him refuge a short
distance away. When we are making our way back to God from a place of sin, it is
often beyond our abilities to make it all the way back all at once. We might
struggle with weakness and indecision. We’re only able to take small steps, but
our compassionate God knows how easy it is for us to stumble and fall. Don’t
look back, don’t give up, and keep a dialogue open with God. Pray for the
strength you need.
“You are no longer strangers and sojourners…but members of the household of
How does it feel to be a member of God’s household? Our view of this is
influenced by the type of household in which we grew up. Just like our
relationship with our parents—particularly our fathers—can have a great impact
on how we see God, our reaction to being a member of God’s house can be positive
or negative as well. Whatever your experience, try to imagine a household where
you can be yourself, not worried about every little mistake or slight. Imagine
being loved and accepted, always welcomed and welcomed back. Even if your human
experience is far from this ideal, remember that in God’s household, you will
always find a welcome mat, a lease that doesn’t expire, a home. And yes, chores
and rules to follow but well worth the effort!
“Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, 'Rise and walk?’”
What does Jesus mean? What is easier for him to say, what is easier for the
crowd to see, or what is easier for the paralytic to hear? As Brian Stoffregen
notes, “It could be argued Jesus healing the man would bring fewer troubles
than declaring him forgiven. His words about forgiveness are what started the
controversy.” The crowd is eager for miracles. For the paralytic, healing
means he’ll now be expected to be self-sufficient, something he may never have
been. How easy is it for us to say, “You are forgiven?” Maybe we’d rather let
hurts fester than offer forgiveness. How about receiving forgiveness? Is it be
easier to remain in the misery we know rather than take on the responsibility
for a new way of being? Reflect today on how forgiveness impacts your life.
I then take your son back to the land from which you migrated?" "Never take my
son back there for any reason," Abraham told (his servant).
23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67)
circumstances is Eliezer to take Isaac back to Ur, Abraham’s homeland. The
translation indicates Abraham uses the word “beware” as a warning. Why is
Abraham so adamant? It might be tempting for Isaac to settle in with his own
tribesmen now that his mother has died and his father is so old. If he went
there to find a wife, they might encourage him to stay and that would break the
covenant Abraham has made with God. Perhaps you’ve taken steps away from a
situation that, while not terrible, was not life-giving. Sometimes, it may seem
easier just to go back to the way things were; you might even have family
members encouraging you to do so. Take a lesson from Abraham: put your entire
faith and trust in God’s promise. Be patient and know that God will lead you in
the right direction.
one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness
pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.”
When I read this, the image of patching up an old relationship came to mind.
Most of us prefer to put unpleasantries behind us, relying on the strength of
the relationship to mend the tear. But that might not always be the best plan.
Some time and honest discussion may be needed to allow what has happened to be
woven into the fabric of the past. Pray with this image if you are struggling to
mend a damaged relationship.
Ireland has a passion for working with parents and anyone who struggles to
maintain a sense of God’s love and peace amid the day-to-day challenges of life.
She has a master’s degree in Spiritual and Pastoral Care from the Pastoral
Counseling department at Loyola, Maryland, with a focus on developmental
psychology and spiritual guidance. Rooted in Ignatian spirituality, she is
a writer, retreat and workshop leader, and presenter on topics such as pastoral
parenting, “letting go,” and finding the spiritual in the midst of everyday
life. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland with her husband, Mark and children,
David and Maggie.
We hope you
enjoy "Come and See!"
and we welcome your input. Please contact Elaine Ireland at
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