By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ WISDOM 12:13, 16-19 FIRST READING
(“For your might is the source of justice;”)
- For whom does God care and what has he not done? Wisdom 12:13
- What does the Lord not show toward people, and how does he provide for all? Wisdom 6:7
- What must we learn from God? Deuteronomy 32:39
- What does it say of the Lord in Isaiah 44:6,8?
- What is his might, and what does his mastery over all things make him? Wisdom 12:16
- When does he show his might? Wisdom 12:17
- What does he rebuke in those who know him? Wisdom 12:17
- Although God is the master of might, how does he judge and govern us? Wisdom 12:18
- What did we teach our people? Wisdom 12:19
- What did we give our sons, and what did we permit for their sins? Wisdom 12:19
Personal – How has God shown his might to you personally and been lenient with you? Verse 19 tells us that those who are just must be kind. In what way, this past week, have you been kind to your family, friends, and those around you? In what way have you been lenient and forgiving to those around you?
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 8:26-27 SECOND READING
(“The Spirit, too, helps us in our weakness,…”)
- What does the Spirit do? Romans 8:26
- What do we not know how to do as we ought? Romans 8:26
- Who intercedes for us, and how does he do it? Romans 8:26
- For whose sake are we content with weakness, and what happens when I am powerless? 2 Cor 12:10
- Who is at the right hand of God, and what does he do for us? Romans 8:34
- For whom are we to intercede, and to what will this lead? 1 Timothy 2:1-2
- What does he know who searches hearts? Romans 8:27
- For whom does the Spirit intercede, and with whom is the Spirit in accordance? Romans 8:27
- For what does the Son of God search, and to whom does he do this? Revelations 2:18, 23
- What does God read? Luke 16:15
Personal – How have you interceded in prayer for those around you? Who among your family or friends is in most need of prayer right now? Take a few minutes and intercede to the Father through Jesus for them.
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 13:24-43 GOSPEL
(“The reign of God is like…”)
- To what did Jesus propose the reign of God might be compared; and while everyone was asleep, who came and sowed weeds through the wheat? Matthew 13:24-25
- What happened when the crop began to mature and yield grain, and what did the owner’s slave say to him? Matthew 13:26-27
- What did the owner recognize, and what did his slaves offer to do? Matthew 13:28
- What did the owner say would happen if they pulled the weeds, and what did he tell his slaves to do? Matthew 13:29-30
- In another parable Jesus proposed, to what was the reign of God compared? Matthew 13:31
- How big is the mustard seed, and what happens when it is full grown? Matthew 13:32
- Jesus offered them another image. What is the reign of God like in Matthew 13:33?
- How did Jesus teach the crowds, what was it to fulfill, and what was he to announce? Matthew 13:34-35, Psalm 78:2
- After dismissing the crowds, where did Jesus go, who went with him, and what was their request? Matthew 13:36
- Who was the farmer sowing the good seed, what was the field, the good seed, and the weeds? Matthew 13:37-38
- Who is the enemy who sowed them, what is the harvest, and who are the harvesters? Matthew 13:39
- How will it be at the end of the world, whom will the Son of Man dispatch, and what will they collect from his kingdom? Matthew 13:40-41
- What will the angels do with them, what will happen to the saints, and what should everyone heed? Matthew 13:42-43
Personal – To what are you drawing others by your actions? In what way does the evil one try to plant weeds in your family, in your work, in school, or in your neighborhood? As you are growing side by side, how do you counteract the weeds?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 86:5-6,9-10, 15-16
(“For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
WISDOM 12:13, 16-19
This passage is a powerful testimony of God’s fantastic love for us and a testimony of God’s continuing leniency toward his stubborn people. God shows us his power and might most visibly in the way he forgives. He shows us that the greatest force in our world is not power, not might, but love. He very clearly tells us in Deuteronomy 32:39 that he is our only God and he wants us to love and honor him first of all. He tells us that he is in control of life and death. He shows us in Isaiah 44:16 that he is the beginning and the end of all things.
Jesus fulfills this prophecy when he said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” (Rev. 1:8). Jesus fulfilled all of these descriptions of God and his love of his people. The people rejected Jesus; in fact they killed him, because he called for a response of love. The people were expecting a great warrior-God to lead them out of poverty, slavery, and fear.
Today much of the world is in fear, and many countries are exploding with violence. Drugs, alcohol, and crime seem to be spreading throughout many cities. “Where is this wonderful God of mercy,” some ask, and like the Israelites in the desert, they, too, asked, “Is he in our midst or not?” (Ex. 17:7)
Our God is a God of love, compassion, and justice. He is a God who constantly forgives and encourages us to become healed. In today’s passage, we read of a God who is filled with power and yet rules with compassion and justice. Our God is a God who rules with great mercy, and that is what he seeks from you and me. He does not want our rituals or even our sacrifices.
Our God wants us to be merciful to one another, as he has been to us. We are all called to be a righteous people, a just people. To be really righteous or just, one has to be right with God first. We do that by following the words of Scripture that are in today’s passage. He is our God and we believe only in him. Jesus is our beginning and end. He is mighty and just, because he is kind and gentle. We will be a mighty and just nation when we are kind and gentle to all of God’s children. We must never forget that our actions tell others what kind of a God it is in whom we believe.
Today’s passage brings us into a time of reflection and response to the quality of our prayer life. We need only look around our families and communities to find many hurting people. We are told to dismiss all of our anxieties and to present our needs to God in every form of prayer (Phil. 4:6-7). Jesus showed us very clearly that he was a man of deep prayer. He would rise very early in the morning, go off to some lonely place, and be completely immersed in prayer. Jesus was very obedient in his public prayer routines, but it was when he was alone with his Father, or “Abba,” that he really poured out his heart.
Jesus reads people’s hearts and that is what he wants to change in us. He wants to give us a heart of flesh in exchange for a heart of stone. We must remember that believers in Jesus Christ are not left to their own resources to cope with problems.
Prayer is now being recognized in the medical world as a great protector against life-threatening diseases, especially high blood pressure. We do not have to succumb to our emotions; we can pray, and let the Holy Spirit take all of our concerns. There are times when we do not know what to pray for, or how to pray the prayer that needs to be prayed. The Holy Spirit prays with and for us and God answers every time. You do not need to be afraid of coming before God with your petitions. Just ask the Holy Spirit to plead for you in harmony with God’s own will.
Remember, when we bring our requests to God, trust that he will always do what is best for us, even if it does not make sense at that time (Rom. 8:28). We will find tremendous peace in letting the Holy Spirit pray in us and with us. We need to give ourselves permission to let our vocal cords make some sounds and let ourselves be led into a prayer of praise. We will then be praying in tongues, and the Holy Spirit will be talking within us and for us in Jesus’ name to our heavenly Father.
All of the parables in this Gospel passage teach us about God and his kingdom. They explain what the kingdom is really like as opposed to our expectations of it. We need to remember that the kingdom of heaven is not just some place in the sky; but rather, it is a spiritual realm in which God rules and in which we have God’s eternal life. We are told that the thistles and the young blades of grass look very much the same and can not be recognized until they are grown and ready for harvest. The thistles are unbelievers and the wheat are the believers. They both must live side by side in this world.
God is like the farmer; he allows the unbelievers to remain in this world so the believers are uprooted with them. At the harvest the thistles will be uprooted and thrown away. God’s harvest (judgment day) of all people is coming, and we need to make sure our faith in Jesus Christ is secure. Jesus teaches us that we are to be mild and patient even toward the evildoers, letting the weeds continue to grow until harvest time.
Jesus wants us to inspire others interiorly, not to force them exteriorly. He wants us to be encouragers, not discouragers. He wants us to change people’s hearts, not just their minds. This passage talks about the mustard seed which becomes a very large bush, and we are to encourage others to let their faith grow. We are to show them how and not dominate them with our faith and our gifts. We are to let them make mistakes and urge them onward to better things. We are, in effect, like the leaven which enables the dough to rise into a loaf of bread.
The weeds that are growing in the field can be parts of our own temperament by which we dominate others. We may not be wrong, but we need to be sure we do not choke off anyone else’s growth. Most of the sins of a believer are the excess use of their good qualities. Those who are good administrators easily over-administrate and suffocate the spirit of others. Those who possess control over law, like lawyers, policemen, judges and clergy, can find fault with the innocent and enable the guilty to go free. Somehow the good seed which should grow into good fruit turns into rank growth. The yeast is to raise the dough into delicious bread, and if it is misused, we are left with a hard flat cake. Our good qualities should enable others to make the best of their interior gifts.
The first reading shows us that the greatest force in our world is not power, not might, but love. The second reading reveals to us that Jesus was a man of deep prayer. The Gospel tells us that Jesus wants us to inspire others interiorly, not to force them exteriorly. He wants us to be encouragers, not discouragers.
All three readings today draw much attention to our inner qualities of strength, inspiration, and ability. This week, draw out the inner qualities of someone in your family, school, or work, by encouraging them. You can do this by listening to them when they speak, and by giving them praise, not flattery, for something that they have done recently. Let them know what you like most about them. Finally, make a friend, be a friend, and bring that friend to Christ.