Newsletter- 16th Week of Ordinary Time
This week many people will be going away on holiday or taking time to visit with family and friends. Be assured of our prayers for you during your time away and we pray that you will return to the parish refreshed and renewed after your break!
Last Sunday through our readings, we heard the message that the word of God is a seed that is sown in us. With God’s help, we are to nurture and nourish this seed so that it produces fruit and fruit that with last. This Sundays Gospel continues this theme and message.
For us today who live often in towns or cities, it can be difficult to understand and appreciate the farming language that Jesus uses when he speaks. He was speaking to a rural and farming people. When he spoke of weather, seeds, shepherds and farming, they would have understood exactly what he was talking about.
In the gospel, Jesus compares faith to a mustard seed. The mustard seed is the smallest seed there is. It is smaller than the head of a pin. But when it is sown and nourished, it grows into one of the biggest trees in the Middle East. It would have been a common sight on the landscape. People would have seen it every day and would have been very familiar with it. It was so big that birds of the air could take shelter in it.
What are we to make of this image today for ourselves? Faith is a gift from God. It is given to us as a very small seed. God cannot make it grow, develop, and mature without our help and contribution. Like any gift we receive, unless we open it and use it, it will die. If we don’t use this gift, it will become a wasted gift. However, with prayer, perseverance, and patience this small seed will grow and mature. The great gift is that as we nourish and nurture this small seed, it in return will help us to grow and mature as followers’ and disciples of Jesus. We will grow and mature just as the seed grows into the large tree.
Faith is not magic. It requires our attention, commitment, and dedication. In his letter St. James reminds us that faith without good works is dead.The challenge is that that faith we believe with our hearts, proclaim through our prayers and liturgies will be seen through the quality of our daily lives. St. Francis once said that we are to make every effort to proclaim the good news of the gospel and if we must, we will have to use words. Our actions speak louder than any of our words. The test of our faith will be seen through the quality of our daily lives. Our faith will be visible through how we speak to others, how we treat others and how we reach out to comfort and support those who need our help.
Let us this coming week thank God for the gift of our faith. Let us ask God to give us the courage of our convictions. May we have the strength to be true followers of Jesus and put our faith into practise whenever and wherever we can.
With my prayers for you and for your families during the coming week ahead,
Your parish priest and friend,
2023 23rd July 2023– Newsletter – Download