July 24, 2008
Thursday of the sixteenth week in ordinary time
Matthew 13: 10-17
The disciples approached Jesus and said, "Why do you speak to them 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. This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’ Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’ "But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come before you wanting to grow in my knowledge of you and wanting to grow in love for you. I want to show my love by truly loving others as you have loved me. My falls are many, yet I trust in your grace never to stay down and always to get up. I trust that your mercy will change my heart. So I stand before you, ready to listen to your words and ready to unite myself more perfectly to your most holy will.
Petition: Lord Jesus, teach me how to pray.
1. God Speaks to Us through Creation What a gift God has given to man: to be able to see God’s creation, to hear it, to feel it, to smell it, and to taste it. God wants us to experience his creation, which he said was good. Our knowledge and appreciation of things comes first from our sensory experience of them. So it is good to reflect on these gifts, our senses, and to reflect on the things that we experience with them. These things, too, are gifts from God, and God wants us to experience them so that we will grow in our loving relationship with him. God desires that we should see and hear. So let us see and hear creation so as to discover God our creator there.
2. Move from the Physical to the Spiritual In using parables, Christ is teaching us the deeper meaning of various mysteries of our faith. He urges us to use our senses to get started on the path that leads to the spiritual life. We can be sure that when, in the Upper Room, the apostles waited with Mary for the descent of the Holy Spirit, they first prayed by reflecting on the physical realities that surrounded the moments of Christ’s life they had witnessed. Then they entered into the spiritual meaning of those moments, by going into the hearts and minds of those who encountered Christ and by going into the heart and mind of Jesus in those moments. In so doing, they grew in their spiritual union with God and in discovering the things and ways of God.
3. How to Pray – a Prayer in Itself Christ wants us to pray as the apostles did in the Upper Room. The power of God’s word, Sacred Scripture, is unleashed each time we read and reflect on the moments of salvation history. We become a part of those moments, and those moments shape our lives. In doing this we, too, can see and hear just as the apostles did. The Holy Spirit will enlighten our hearts and minds to the things of God, if we take the time and interest to create opportunities for him to work in us. The art of prayer, of the interior life, is a most beautiful topic for our prayer. We are talking with God about how to improve our conversation with him!
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, I want to experience you as the apostles did when they walked with you for three years. I want to experience you as the apostles did when they prayed in the Upper Room, waiting for the descent of the Holy Spirit.
Resolution: Today I will make more time to reflect on a passage from Sacred Scripture.
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