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Faith Daily | 22 July 2022

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p563

O God,

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: 18-23

18“Hear then the parable of the sower. 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”


If we are people who like to imagine ourselves experiencing situations recorded in history could anything come close to the encounter between Jesus and Mary Magdalene recorded in verses 11 to 16? The instant transformation from utter desolation to incredulous and now believable happiness, realised through the speaking of just one word – Mary.

What a mixture of emotions and learning are contained in this passage. In verses 8 to 10 we are reminded that the two disciples who entered the tomb (Peter and the one assumed to be John) “…as yet did not understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead”.

If we go back to Monday’s reading we recall that Jesus in answering the scribes and Pharisees told his listeners that “just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth”.

Here the disciples were bystanders, but Jesus had also spoken to them specifically and directly on the subject. Immediately after Peter had declared Jesus to be the Messiah Mark 8 v 31 tells us that he began to teach them “that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again”. And the narrative goes on to tell us that Peter, a direct recipient of this teaching, tried to admonish Jesus for suggesting such a thing. Jesus rebuked him as one who had listened but did not ‘hear’.

What a lesson for us in all walks of life. How easy it is to filter the content of challenging messages, rejecting that which is uncomfortable to take on board, or massaging the message to fit with what we would like it to be saying. As an ongoing challenge, in all ages the Church has been called to ‘hear’ the message that has been bequeathed, and discern how it needs to be fearlessly proclaimed in respective generations.

FINAL PRAYER Hymn: Anne Richter

We saw Thee not when Thou didst come To this poor world of sin and death; Nor yet beheld Thy cottage home, In that despisèd Nazareth. But we believe Thy footsteps trod Its streets and plains, Thou Son of God.

We did not see Thee lifted high, Amid that wild and savage crew; Nor heard Thy meek, imploring cry, “Forgive, they know not what they do!" Yet we believe the deed was done, That shook the earth and veiled the sun.

We stood not by the empty tomb, Where late Thy sacred body lay; Nor sat within that upper room, Nor met Thee on the open way. But we believe that angels said, “Why seek the living with the dead?"

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