July 16, 2020
As I write this, I am in the earlier part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere where the Pandemic continues its devastation; this pandemic is devastating the whole word! A really good introduction to this Sunday’s Mass celebration can be found in the missalette, Living with Christ (July 2020), and in the Sunday Missal 2019-2020, both put out by Novalis. The reflection is written by Father Mark Miller, C.Ss.R.
Here is a very brief summary of what Father Miller says. A common lament of the Psalms is why do evil people prosper? See today’s Gospel Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds. Despite what we see in the world, we are called to trust God and what He/She does when confronted with a mixture of wheat and weeds. Furthermore, do we not all have both the wheat and the weeds in ourselves? In this, never forget that God is a loving God Who forgives us our weeds!
Right at the start of today’s Liturgy, we proclaim in the Entrance Antiphon that God is our loving Help Who sustains us (despite our weeds). Keep present before yourself this conviction for the whole celebration of today’s Mass. In the Collect (or Opening Prayer), we ask God to give us more gifts of God’s saving grace (God is primarily the One Who saves out of love for us).
The First Reading is from the Book of Wisdom which proclaims there is no other God like our God Who cares so very much for God’s people. This God is strong, righteous and sovereign in strength and judges with mildness. Because God is a gracious Forgiver of Sin, He/She teaches us that we must be kind to each other, to everyone else!
The Responsorial Psalm proclaims (thereby) a God Who is very very good and this manifests itself in God’s forgiveness of all of us. Note the power and awesomeness of the line, “O Lord [You] are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness [and graciousness].” In the Ancient World from which the Psalms come, very few deities were said to be such a gracious God! Thank God (always) for being “good and forgiving.”
Note also the importance of the Second Reading for today from Romans. How can we do all we are asked to do above? Why can we do all the above? We can, because we all have been given the Holy Spirit to be able to do so! Notice today’s Gospel Acclamation and how important this prayer/acclamation is: we must be as open as little children if we want to know what God is saying to us today.
The Gospel is from Saint Matthew and there is a longer version and a shorter version. Use the longer version today if possible! The Gospel is the parable of the good wheat and the bad weeds growing together in the farm field (as well as the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the yeast).
A lot of really good questions jump out immediately from the Gospel. “I am the one who put weeds in my wheat; how have I done this?” “How do I now eliminate the weeds without hurting the wheat?” And “how do I, in the future, not plant any more weeds?” Take enough time to answer them to yourself (and before God) in prayer. Handle also any questions that came to you that are not included above! Christ’s exhortation (used often by Him) is a good one to heed today – “let anyone with ears listen!”
Note the following from the rest of today’s Mass. Consider the following from today’s prayer over the offerings: “what each has offered to the honour of your majesty may benefit the salvation of all.” This is an excellent approach to all our liturgies and so be sure to be involved in all Eucharists as this states to us!” (See also today’s Preface.)
Note both Communion Antiphons today. The first exhorts us to listen to God and be fed by God (especially through the Word of God); the second one strongly asks us to push open the door to Christ’s coming to us in liturgy. And, lastly, catch the following from the Prayer After Communion that states the holy mysteries are opened up for us in Liturgy in order to bring us to “newness of life.” The Liturgy is very rich and so try to approach it always as here suggested. Liturgical richness is always so available to us – thank God for this fabulous gift!
We began by mentioning today’s Pandemic – let us end with a quick essential reference to it. The Word shows a God Who loves each and all of us with a deep everlasting love and Who desires that we try to love each other with this very deep everlasting love.
In today’s Pandemic, we can easily drop or fall out of people’s lives because of the need to take good care of ourselves and others. Let us make sure we do not do this! We can do so by keeping the basic guidelines demanded by the Pandemic while at the same time helping others within those limitations. Some examples follow. Going to the pharmacy to pick up medication for someone. Picking up a newspaper or magazine for one who could appreciate it. Picking up groceries. Or picking up clothes at a cleaner for someone. Or picking up a video or a movie for someone at such a place. Or running an errand for someone at the post office. Etc., etc., etc. Keep in touch also with relatives and friends by radio or telephone or the internet. And, lastly, do not forget the frontliners: at least, please pray for them. And finally, make good donations (money and food) to foodbanks.
God always bless you and take good care of you!
Father Fred Scinto, C.R.