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Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Ponder This! The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

                                                              Ponder This!

The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 17, 2022

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Genesis 18:1-10; Psalm 15; Colossians 1:24-28; Luke 10:38-42


          We read of the wonders of the beginning of our faith with Father Abraham and the childless Sarah in the book of Genesis, where God makes a covenant with Abraham to make his descendants as numerous as the stars in heaven. We are to model our lives after Abraham, who receives an unexpected blessing. He is honest, loving, hospitable, just, respectful, and obedient to God. The Gospel tells us of the twin aspects of discipleship through Martha’s service and Mary’s attentiveness: contemplation and action. St. Ignatius of Loyola called Jesuits and their companions to be “contemplatives in action” and we have Martha and Mary as models of each mode of being. As we become immersed and active as disciples, we have to be “at home” in relationship to Jesus and his friends, and to reflect his presence in finding wonder in each person. 


          I’m now shifting to a current event because it causes us to contemplate, wonder, and ponder. On Tuesday, the James Webb telescope transmitted color photographs back to the U.S. space agency, NASA, with new insights into the reality of the universes around us. We find ourselves once again like Abraham looking up in the sky and pondering divine mysteries. As we receive more space images, we are going to have more questions and wonderings. 


          An informed Christian has to see that science and faith work together to search for the same results: God’s presence and our place in the universe. Science and faith are not at odds with each other; each can shed crucial light on our understanding of the divine plan. It will reveal to us the majesty of God, who is incomprehensible and much larger than we can imagine. This is a God who creates and expands and yet we know that God still personally cares for us, and that we are part of God’s plan of creation. As we receive more images about the universes around us, it will be natural for us to ask questions. This does not mean that we doubt what we already believe; it means that we continue to try to understand a bit more of God’s plan for the world.


          The universe is unimaginably large and it is in constant dynamic motion and change, and in which random activities occur within a system that once seem fixed. We have to set our minds and worldviews to remain open, even if it scares us. We have to be contemplatives in action, which means we might have questions that make us feel uncomfortable. Know that it is okay to do so. Not having certainty is okay. We are on a journey, like Abraham, who did not know where he was going, but he had the stars in the sky to guide him. We need to ponder God’s mysteries in the universe, like he did, like Martha and Mary did, sometimes just to know that God is within and all around us. This is a time of excitement. 


          Finally, let’s look at the risks that Sarah, Martha, and Mary took. They were courageous women of their times who were open to the marvels of the faith. The faith appreciates their receptivity that allows more goodness to happen. Let’s celebrate the enormous contributions of women to the church and society as they are often dismissed and pushed aside by the larger community. We need to work hard to make everyone know of their indispensable value to us. We need to appreciate women more than society allows. It is another mystery that we have to ponder. 


Scripture for Daily Mass


First Reading: 


Monday: (Micah 6) O my people, what have I done to you, or how have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery I released you; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

 Tuesday: (Micah 7) Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, That dwells apart in a woodland, in the midst of Carmel. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old; As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt, show us wonderful signs.


Wednesday: ((Jeremiah 1) Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. “Ah, Lord GOD!” I said, "I know not how to speak; I am too young.”


Thursday: (Jeremiah 2) Go, cry out this message for Jerusalem to hear! I remember the devotion of your youth, how you loved me as a bride, Following me in the desert, in a land unsown. Sacred to the LORD was Israel, the first fruits of his harvest.

Friday (Songs of Songs 3) On my bed at night I sought him whom my heart loves–
I sought him, but I did not find him. I will rise then and go about the city; in the streets and crossings I will seek Him whom my heart loves. I sought him but I did not find him.


Saturday (Jeremiah 7) Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah who enter these gates to worship the LORD! Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Reform your ways and your deeds, so that I may remain with you in this place. Put not your trust in the deceitful words: "This is the temple of the LORD!




Monday: (Matthew 12) Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah.


Tuesday: (Matthew 12) While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.”


Wednesday (Matthew 13) And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots.


Thursday (Matthew 13) “Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.


Friday (John 20) On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” 


Saturday (Matthew 13) "The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.



Saints of the Week


July 18: Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614), began his youthful life as a soldier where he squandered away his father's inheritance through gambling. He was cared for by Capuchins, but was unable to join them because of a leg ailment. He cared for the sick in hospitals that were deplorable. He founded an order that would care for the sick and dying and for soldiers injured in combat.


July 20: Apollinaris, bishop and martyr (1st century) was chosen directly by Peter to take care of souls in Ravenna. He lived through the two emperors whose administrations exiled and tortured him, though he was faithful to his evangelizing work to his death.


July 21: Lawrence of Brindisi, priest and doctor (1559-1619) was a Capuchin Franciscan who was proficient in many languages and well-versed in the Bible. He was selected by the pope to work for the conversion of the Jews and to fight the spread of Protestantism. He held many positions in the top administration of the Franciscans.


July 22: Mary Magdalene, apostle (1st century), became the "apostle to the apostles" as the first witness of the resurrection. Scriptures point to her great love of Jesus and she stood by him at the cross and brought spices to anoint his body after death. We know little about Mary though tradition conflates her with other biblical woman. Luke portrays her as a woman exorcised of seven demons. 


July 23: Bridget of Sweden, religious (1303-1373), founded the Bridgettine Order for men and women in 1370, though today only the women’s portion has survived. She desired to live in a lifestyle defined by prayer and penance. Her husband of 28 years died after producing eight children with Bridget. She then moved to Rome to begin the new order.

This Week in Jesuit History


  • July 17, 1581. Edmund Campion was arrested in England. 
  • July 18, 1973. The death of Fr. Eugene P Murphy. Under his direction the Sacred Heart Hour, which was introduced by Saint Louis University in 1939 on its radio station [WEW], became a nationwide favorite. 
  • July 19, 1767. At Naples, Prime Minister Tannic, deprived the Jesuits of the spiritual care of the prisoners, a ministry that they had nobly discharged for 158 years. 
  • July 20, 1944. An abortive plot against Adolf Hitler by Claus von Stauffenberg and his allies resulted in the arrest of Fr. Alfred Delp. 
  • July 21, 1773. In the Quirinal Palace, Rome, Clement XIV signed the Brief for the suppression of the Society. 
  • July 22, 1679. The martyrdom at Cardiff, Wales, of St Phillip Evans. 
  • July 23, 1553. At Palermo, the parish priests expressed to Fr. Paul Achilles, rector of the college, indignation that more than 400 persons had received Holy Communion in the Society's church, rather than in their parish churches.

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