21 July 2022 – Thursday of Week 16

21 July 2022 – Thursday of Week 16

Optional Memorial: St Lawrence of Brindisi, 1559-1619, a Counter-Reformation man.

1st Reading: Jeremiah 2:1-2; 7-8; 12-13.

They dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water

The word of the Lord came to me, saying: Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord:

I remember the devotion of your youth,
your love as a bride,
how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.
I brought you into a plentiful land
to eat its fruits and its good things.
But when you entered you defiled my land,
and made my heritage an abomination.

The priests did not say, “Where is the Lord?”
Those who handle the law did not know me;
the rulers transgressed against me;
the prophets prophesied by Baal,
and went after things that do not profit.

Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the Lord,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water,
and dug out cisterns for themselves,
cracked cisterns that can hold no water.

Responsorial: from Psalm 36

R./: In you, O Lord, is the fountain of life

O Lord, your mercy reaches to heaven;
your faithfulness, to the clouds.
Your justice is like the mountains of God;
your judgments, like the mighty deep. (R./)

How precious is your mercy, O God!
The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They have their fill of the prime gifts of your house;
from your delightful stream you give them to drink. (R./)

For with you is the fountain of life,
and in your light we see light.
Keep up your mercy toward your friends,
your just defence of the upright of heart. (R./)

Gospel: Matthew 13:10-17

The mysterious power of the Lord’s parables

The disciples came and asked Jesus, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For 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. The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’

With 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. 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.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly 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.


Spiritual sight and blindness

We all have our moments of spiritual insight but also perhaps we can lose the plot and drift off into spiritual apathy and blindness. Like our biblical forebears we need to consciously return to those privileged moments of grace and significance. Jeremiah urges us to keep alive our initial ideal, when speaking in God’s name he says: “I remember the devotion of your youth, how you loved me as a bride, Following me in the desert, in a land not sown. Sacred to the Lord was Israel, the first fruits of his harvest.” The message is not unlike that of St Paul, when he urged Timothy to fan into flames the spiritual give he has received from God (2 Timothy 1:6).

Each of us has memories of inspiring moments in our lives but through the passage of time, we tend to lose sight of these moments, our personal “highs” of encounter with God. Perhaps we feel in ourselves an echo of Jeremiah’s words : “Two evils have my people done: they have forsaken me, the source of living waters; They have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water.” During economic growth and prosperity there always was a heightened danger of abandoning God in favour of material greed and a glitzy social life, which the prophet graphically describes as “broken cisterns, that hold no water.”

We turn to Jesus to revive our finest ideals from the days of our fervour. If we remember our original call, its inspiration and our first enthusiasm for life, God’s grace can develop within us. In such a context we might gain new understanding of those puzzling words of Jesus: “To the one who has, more will be given until that one grows rich; the one who has not, will lose what little he or she has.”

Listening without hearing

Jesus speaks of looking without seeing and of listening without hearing. We can all relate to this. We know from experience that we listen without hearing and look without seeing. Sometimes what is being said is not worth hearing and so we listen without paying attention and what is visible is not really worth looking at with any attention. However, Jesus was speaking about those who looking at himself without seeing him and who listen to what he says without hearing him.

The words of Jesus deserve more than a cursory look and a half-listen. The more we examine the more we will see, and the more we listen to him, the more we will hear. He has assured us that, “anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough.”

Finally he says, “Happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear.” He is alive among us as risen Lord, to be seen and heard by us all. We gather around him to celebrate the Eucharist. Yet he is to be seen and heard in many other ways as well. He is present to us in and through each other, especially in his little ones. We pray for eyes to see and ears to hear his presence among us.

Join the Discussion

Keep the following in mind when writing a comment

  • Your comment must include your full name, and email. (email will not be published). You may be contacted by email, and it is possible you might be requested to supply your postal address to verify your identity.
  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger. Comments containing vulgarities, personalised insults, slanders or accusations shall be deleted.
  • Keep to the point. Deliberate digressions don't aid the discussion.
  • Including multiple links or coding in your comment will increase the chances of it being automati cally marked as spam.
  • Posts that are merely links to other sites or lengthy quotes may not be published.
  • Brevity. Like homilies keep you comments as short as possible; continued repetitions of a point over various threads will not be published.
  • The decision to publish or not publish a comment is made by the site editor. It will not be possible to reply individually to those whose comments are not published.