“If we would completely rejoice the heart of God, let us strive in all things to conform ourselves to His divine will. Let us not only strive to conform ourselves, but also to unite ourselves to whatever dispositions God makes of us. Conformity signifies that we join our wills to the will of God. Uniformity means more. Uniformity means that we make one will of God’s will and our will. In this way we will only what God wills. God’s will alone is our will.” ~ Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Monday, July 27, 2015 ~ Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Holy Gospel: Matthew 13:31-35 Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds. “The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.” He spoke to them another parable. “The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.
Meditation: Unless you bake “leaven” is probably an unfamiliar term. Leaven is a powerful agent of change. A lump of dough left to itself remains just what it is, a lump of dough. But when the leaven is added to it a transformation takes place which, when heated, produces rich and wholesome bread – a staple of life for humans. Just as leaven transforms the ingredients of dough to make bread, the “living word” of Jesus and the grace of His sacraments have the power to transform each of us into a disciple of Christ. The kingdom of God produces a transformation in those who receive the new life which Jesus Christ offers. When we yield our lives to Jesus Christ and allow his word to take root in our heart, we are transformed and made holy by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. As Saint Paul the Apostle reminds us: “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Do you believe in the transforming power of Jesus through His teachings and through His sacraments? Do you believe in the transformative power of the Holy Spirit?
Prayer: O God, protector of those who hope in you, without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy, bestow in abundance your mercy upon us and grant that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may use the good things that pass in such a way as to hold fast even now to those that ever endure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: It comes down to this. If we truly believe in Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer, then shouldn’t we desire above all things to be challenged by the Gospel and embrace His teachings? Once we embrace Christ’s teachings, we are called to live a life in witness to Christ as “doers of the Word, not hearers only” (James 1:22). Christ’s teachings can transform us, but we need to turn away from the ways of the world and instead embrace Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life. Don’t challenge the Gospel – let the Gospel challenge you!