Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11
Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
16TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 4 / (Green/White)
St. Sharbel Makhluf, priest
1st Reading: Ex 20:1-17
God spoke all these words. He said, “I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
– Do not have other gods before me.
– Do not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven, or on the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God; for the sin of the fathers, when they rebel against me, I punish the sons, the grandsons and the great-grandsons; but I show steadfast love until the thousandth generation for those who love me and keep my commandments.
– Do not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain for Yahweh will not leave unpunished anyone who takes his name in vain.
– Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. For six days you will labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath for Yahweh your God. Do not work that day, neither you, nor your son, nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals, nor the stranger who is staying with you. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why Yahweh has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
– Honor your father and your mother that you may have a long life in the land that Yahweh has given you.
– Do not kill.
– Do not commit adultery.
– Do not steal.
– Do not give false witness against your neighbor.
– Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his servant, man or woman, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is his.
Gospel: Mt 13:18-23
Now listen to the parable of the sower. When a person hears the message of the kingdom, but does not take it seriously, the devil comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed that fell along the footpath.
The seed that fell on rocky ground stands for the one who hears the word, and accepts it at once with joy. But such a person has no roots, and endures only for a while. No sooner is he harassed or persecuted because of the word, than he gives up.
The seed that fell among the thistles is the one who hears the word; but then, the worries of this life and the love of money choke the word; and it does not bear fruit.
As for the seed that fell on good soil, it is the one who hears the word and understands it; this seed bears fruit and produces a hundred, or sixty, or thirty times more.
There are three types of bad listeners of the Word of God in today’s gospel reading. Let us focus our attention on the third type, the one in whom “the worries of this life and the love of money choke the word, and it does not bear fruit.” What kind of listeners are they?
They are busy bodies, fanatics of success, thrusters. Always on the move. They have a head full of wonderful projects aimed at ensuring their success. Are they good Christians? They sincerely believe they are. Do they not attend Mass every Sunday? Do they not give to charities? Do they not place their children in a denominational school? However, they would have to admit deep within themselves that they are doing all this merely out of a sense of duty. What really matters for them is not so much to place God at the center of their family and professional life, as rather to have a brilliant career, to make a name for themselves, to fatten their bank account.
This could be transposed on the spiritual level. There is a way of busying oneself with the things of God which is closely akin to this frantic activism. Yet, nothing can substitute for listening to the word of God.
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