Several powerful themes surface in the readings this week.
1st Reading – The Lord is the source of justice
Psalm – “Lord, you are good and forgiving.”
2nd Reading – The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness
Gospel – Jesus offers several parables; two of them are about weeds and seeds
A common pattern emerges from these themes as we discover that in the midst of injustice, sin, weakness and evil the Lord comes with justice, forgiveness, strength and power. Simply put, God gives us grace to confront the weeds in our lives.
So that begs the question: Where are the weeds in our hearts today? What struggle are we facing that requires the Lord’s mercy and love? Perhaps we might step back and pause this week to reflect on the state of our soul, so that we can honestly assess what is growing and what needs to go.
Jesus Christ knows our hearts and loves us unconditionally. As we look at the garden of our hearts may we trust that the one who knows us completely will help us root out what does not belong and help us grow as Sons and Daughters of God.
Psalm 15 offers some beautiful advice for living a just life for the Lord. Holiness is not just found in the extraordinary; often, our most powerful Christian witness occurs in the normal, everyday interactions that we have with one another.
Poor St. Peter! One minute he is named by Jesus as the rock upon which the Church will be built, and the next minute he is chastised by the Lord for falling prey to temptation. Welcome to the spiritual life! Yet this spiritual battle of building up and tearing down is part of our journey of faith, inviting us to always keep our focus on Christ.
Both Jeremiah and Jesus acknowledge that they must experience suffering, and learning from them we recognize that suffering is part of our world. When we face suffering with the gift of faith, we grow strong in virtue as we strive to do the right thing, for the right reason, at the right time, in the right way.
Entrusting the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to Peter, Jesus establishes the Church upon a rock that hell itself cannot prevail against. Christ is the key; through prayer, sacraments and virtue we grow in grace through this life so that we can enter into the Lord’s Kingdom in the next.
The woman in the Gospel of Matthew is tenancious! She trusts that Jesus can offer help for her daughter, and she will not be denied. Her example inspires us to foster a fierce faith – one that receives the gift of God and strengthens it through prayer, Sacraments, and a conviction to offer one’s life in love.
This presentation was given at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Solon Springs on March 6, 2017. It is the first part of a presentation on discipleship, focusing on repentance and ongoing conversion. (45 Minutes)