Sunday 17 June 2018

Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018
Fathers Day in Canada

The readings for this weekend's mass are:

First Reading Ezekiel 17:22-24 
Responsorial Psalm 92:1-2, 12-15 Response 71
Second Reading 2 Corinthians 5:6-10
Gospel Mark 4:26-34

The first reading this week reminds me of God's sovereignty and his plan. For a direct reading a plan for his people Israel, through them to the Church, and through the church to the world. I must admit I often do not immediately see God's plan, and often miss his hand at work in my life, until I am looking back, sometimes even years later. But I trust in God, his plan and his timing. Currently we are praying for miracles for our son's health. And I might never on earth, know why it seems that he has the deck stacked against him in so many ways. He has neurofibromatosis, scoliosis, and now also a cyst on his brain stem. But his desire for a few years now has been to be a priest when he grows up, and for about the last year to be a military chaplain. In fact he gets quite upset if you talk about him possibly having a wife, he insists he will be a priest. 

From the refrain for the responsorial psalm:

"Lord, it is good to give thanks to you."

This is something I have been learning. I have been keeping a gratitude journal for a few years now. One of the first things I try and do each day it write things I am grateful for from the day before; for myself, my wife and each of my three children. Sometimes I just have the five items and sometimes more. Skimming back through them, the earliest entries have a lot of repetition, and even now at times. But there is a lot more variety now than there was four years ago, when I started. And so I am learning to give thanks, in all things. And it is good to give thanks to the Lord.

The second reading reminds us why we have confidence; it is because we walk by faith, and not by sight. And also that no matter where we are at, what we are doing, or what comes our way we need to strive to make pleasing God our focus. A number of years ago I was off work for almost three years, after an injury at work. I applied for over a thousand jobs. But God used those three years, the first year I did physio 5 days a week and then surgery. That year I made mass almost daily. I would go to physio, get dropped at campus by my wife, study, read, look for work, go to mass and head home. I admit my self-esteem took a real hit, my confidence, while unable to provide, we had our first and  were expecting our second child before I returned to work. It was a hard time but all I could do is trust and pray. 

The mustard seed, many sermons this weekend will be on the growth of the mustard seed. Taking the parable and applying it directly. But I want to think about the last phrases of that parable. The mustard seed is a herb, but compared to many it becomes a bush, it becomes a large plant. And it becomes a place of home and rest, for birds build nests in it, and it provides shade. Much as faith builds a home, and makes the home a place of rest and restoration. There are three main types of mustard; they are black, brown, and white. The black mustard in the proper soil can grow to 8 feet in height. But all species of mustard are annuals. They grow from seed to germination in a year. And I would say our faith, even if the size of a mustard seed which was praised by Jesus must constantly be renewed. It is renewed by family, friends, and faith. It is renewed by confession, communion and time in prayer. We need to pray to have more faith, and grow our faith in order to be able to pray more.

And as such I conclude praying for blessings upon you my friends, family, and readers. 

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