28 July 2023 – Friday of Week 16

28 July 2023 – Friday of Week 16

1st Reading: Exodus 20:1-17

On Mount Sinai God gives the Commandments to Moses

Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work, you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

Responsorial: Psalm 18:8-11

R./: Lord, you have the words of everlasting life

The law of the Lord is perfect,
it revives the soul.
The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
it gives wisdom to the simple. (R./)

The precepts of the Lord are right,
they gladden the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes. (R./)

The fear of the Lord is holy,
abiding for ever.
The decrees of the Lord are truth
and all of them just. (R./)

They are more to be desired than gold,
than the purest of gold.
Sweeter are they than honey,
than honey from the comb. (R./)

Gospel: Matthew 13:18-23

Jesus explains the parable of the sower

Jesus said to his disciples, “Hear then the parable of the sower. When 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. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet 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. As 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. But 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.”


Fundamentals of Faith

No moral code is more basic than the Ten Commandments. Almost every legal system in the world condemns stealing, killing, adultery and blasphemy. But we need to set the Decalogue alongside the parable of the sower and the seed. Our morality is more than just a fence or perimeter against wrongdoing, or merely a set of “Thou shalt nots”. Morality is essentially linked to growth and development, to bear fruits of positive goodness, as God wants of us.

No world religion stresses the mercy of God as much as the Bible does; nor propose so much care for strangers and aliens. The appeal of the Decalogue also reaches out to include other nations. The parables challenge us to be generous in sharing our possessions. There is an overall generosity about the Bible which makes it central to the future of our race.

Hearing God’s Word fruitfully

Jesus suggests some of the obstacles that can hinder us from hearing his word fruitfully.

The first obstacle is lack of knowledge. We need some understanding of what we hear. We don’t need to do all kinds of courses, but we require some sense of who Jesus is, to hear his word with appreciation.

The second obstacle is lack of roots. We may not allow the word enter into us deeply enough. We have a superficial acquaintance with the word, but we don’t pray enough for it to take real root in us. What isn’t rooted in us can easily be abandoned when it begins to cost us something.

The third obstacle is described as both “the cares of the world” and “the lure of riches”; they warn against excessive concern for money and worldly success. We cannot serve God and Mammon; if we try to serve Mammon, we block ourselves from hearing the Lord’s Word.

Hearing God’s Word fruitfully won’t happen without effort on our part. There are obstacles to be faced if we really want to tune in. That’s why we pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” The Lord is stronger than any obstacles we face, and if we let ourselves be guided by his Spirit, we will bear the fruits that God desires for us.

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