16TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 3 / (White)
Sts. Joachim & Anne, parents of Mary
Ps 78:18-19, 23-24, 25-26, 27-28
The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
1st Reading: Ex 16:1-5, 9-15
The Israelites left Elim and the entire community reached the desert of Sin, between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving Egypt.
In the desert the whole community of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of Yahweh in Egypt when we sat down to caldrons of meat and ate all the bread we wanted, whereas you have brought us to this desert to let the whole assembly die of starvation!“
Yahweh then said to Moses, “Now I am going to rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to gather what is needed for that day. In this way I will test them to see if they will follow my Teaching or not. On the sixth day when they prepare what they have brought in, they will find that there is twice as much as they gather each day.”
Then Moses directed Aaron to say to the whole community of Israel, “Draw near to Yahweh for he has heard your complaints.”
It happened that as Aaron was speaking to the full assembly of Israel, they turned towards the desert and saw the Glory of Yahweh in the midst of the cloud.
Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, “I have heard the complaints of Israel. Speak to them and say: Between the two evenings you will eat meat, and in the morning you will have bread to your heart’s content; then you shall know that I am Yahweh, your God!”
In the evening quails came up and covered the camp. And in the morning, dew had fallen around the camp. When the dew lifted, there was on the surface of the desert a thin crust like hoarfrost. The people of Israel upon seeing it said to one another, “What is it?” for they didn’t know what it was. Moses told them, “It is the bread that Yahweh has given you to eat.”
Gospel: Mt 13:1-9
That same day, Jesus left the house and sat down by the lakeside. Many people gathered around him. So he got into a boat, and sat down, while the crowds stood on the shore; and he spoke to them in parables about many things.
Jesus said, “The sower went out to sow; and, as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path; and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil, and the seeds sprouted quickly, because the soil was not deep But as soon as the sun rose, the plants were scorched; and they withered, because they had no roots. Again, other seeds fell among thistles; and the thistles grew and choked the plants. Still, other seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop: some a hundredfold, others sixty, and others thirty. If you have ears, then hear!“
In his ministry of teaching, Jesus liberally used parables so that even ordinary people can easily understand his message. In this parable the farmer is Jesus himself. The seed is the word of God. The path, rock, thorns and good soil are the hearts of those who hear God’s word. As the seed’s fruitfulness depends upon the seedbed into which the seed falls, so the fruitfulness of God’s word depends on the kind of heart into which it falls. It follows then that if the word of God is not fruitful in our lives, it is not the fault of the word. There is something wrong with our heart and how we have been receiving God’s gift. Thus, it is indispensable that we periodically examine whether or not our hearts are a “good soil“ for the Word of God to grow and bear much fruit. We need to find out what is it that prevents the Word from taking root and consequently bring a bountiful harvest.
At the same time, we have to be grateful to the Lord because in spite of the fact that sometimes the Word is not received properly, he does not tire out nor does he give up sowing the seed. Christians are expected to show the same patience and zeal in the work of renewed evangelization.
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Biblical Texts are taken from Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral Edition (57th Edition) The New English Translation for the ROMAN MISSAL
With permission from the EPISCOPAL COMMISION ON LITURGY of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
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