Faith Daily |22 July 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p563
you alone can order our unruly wills and affections:
teach us to love what you command,
and to desire what you promise,
that, among the changes and chances of this world,
our hearts may surely there be fixed
where true joys are to be found;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 13: 10-17
10 Then the disciples came and asked him, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’ 11He answered, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets* of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 13The reason I speak to them in parables is that “seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.” 14With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: “You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn— and I would heal them.” 16But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17Truly I tell 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.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Meredith Scott-McMahon
Jesus had so little time in actual ministry but his teachings continue to resound through two millennia remaining brilliantly fresh and challenging.
Through eons of time, people have used stories to carry essential knowledge and culture, including our First Nations people. Jesus’ parables follow the same principle and are often deceptively simple. Unless we constantly seek to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us their often deep and personal lessons, we will regard them superficially and fail to be led into deeper self-knowledge and wisdom.
The crowds that Jesus addressed were very familiar with the images in the parables – the sower casting the grain, the good shepherd tending the flock. We can make the stories live by learning of the agrarian nature of life in Jesus’ time, but we need to go deeper. We need to read the commentaries of wise theologians to enrich our understanding, and most importantly, make time to let the parable sit with us, to make its lesson very personal by noticing that special word or phrase to catch our attention and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us through it.
It’s very easy to think of all those other people of Verse 15 who ‘don’t get it’ because their eyes, ears and hearts are closed. But these verses apply to me too. How often do I take the easy route thinking, ‘Yes, I know what that means’ without taking that extra time to allow the Spirit to speak personally to me.
And there’s so much at stake. Jesus reminds us of the enormous privilege we have and promises that if we hear with our ears, see with our eyes, that we will understand with our hearts, and we will be healed. How can we not respond?
FINAL PRAYER: from The Iona Community Worship Book
O God of all creation
Who has come to us in Jesus
Lead us in your way of love
And fill us with your Spirit.
Choose us to bring good news to the poor,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
To bring sight to the blind
And set the free the oppressed.
So shall your new creation come
And your will be done. Amen.