|July 10, 2017: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|How Deep are the Roots of Your Faith?
I am in awe of God’s perfect confidence as expressed in our first reading this week. Isaiah tells us the Word of the Lord “… shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” God speaks to us through His word and we hear it and allow it to impact our lives. Week after week we go to Masses and services to be filled with this heavenly instruction so as to live out the life God has ordained us for. How blessed are we to be given this wondrous gift.
In the second reading, Paul tells us that our sufferings are nothing compared with “the glory to be revealed to us.” Paul’s faith is rooted deeply in his heart which gives him the confidence to preach to the Romans and remind them of what is to come.
In the Gospel, we hear the familiar parable of the sower. The longer form of the Gospel this week gives us the intended meaning of the story, making plain the various ways we might hear the Word. Or rather, the ways we might allow that word to nurture and feed us in our day-to-day lives. We must strive for the seed of our faith to root deep within ourselves, so when we are living with “the sufferings of this present time” we can lean on our faith to get through. Like Paul, our faith gives us the power to speak the truth to those in disbelief.
My pastor, Fr. Tom, speaks often about his wish for us. He and the parish staff of St. James in Stratford, CT work very hard to offer a plethora of opportunities to deepen our faith so our hearts will be more open to God’s love, which we are then instructed to share most generously with others. These words are said at the end of almost every Mass, during a special ritual of “the birthday blessings.” After each Mass, the congregation is asked if there are any birthdays being celebrated, that day, week or in a previous week. Those with special days come up to the front of the church, get introduced and have this special blessing prayed over them:
Dearest God, our Father, thank you for bringing your beloved sons and daughters into existence. Thank you for being with them and loving them every moment of their lives. In their new year of birth, help them to deepen their faith, so their heart will be more open to Your love, and may they share that love most generously with others. Amen.
Today, I pray this prayer for all of our readers, members, friends, and partners, not just on birthdays, but each day. I hold in my heart the hope that our collective faith will grow like a flame to engulf the unjust ideas and unfair thoughts that are constantly bombarding us in society.
July 10, 2017: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time