Living the Word this Week 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time

All these parables! And still more to come.

I wonder what it is I need to know about the Kingdom? What is it about these …is likes that challenge me?
I love the way that they speak to all of us, at work, at home, women, men and children.
Praying with Gospel I read that these particular similes do different things.
Jesus telling us to wait, that only the farmer is to judge invites us to discernment.
Discernment of spirits as Ignatius teaches is to ask ourselves where God is in any particular choice or decision. Through prayer we can learn to detach ourselves from the outcome therefore allowing us to decide in freedom.
This is what the Kingdom is like, choosing God and God’s will for us which we know is always for our best.
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The mustard seed challenges us to come to a full mature faith that is fully grown.
when I work with parents, they often worry about the faith of their children. Yet it is natural for the next generation to question and more likely than not, to move away from their parents beliefs and values. Not only is that a natural stage of development it also enables our young people to enter into their own relationship with the Lord Who loves them beyond measure, Who calls them Beloved. Not a mediated love of one step removed but on God’s own terms for them. We are God’s children, not God’s grandchildren.
Unfortunately for any of us to really mature in our faith, as laity we have to walk the path on our own, seeking out ways to study, books to read, asking questions and having courageous conversations. The Priority of Adult Formation as set out by the Bishops’ Conference is in name only as very little formation is on offer. Thank the Lord for Faith Friends and Soul Sisters!
This is what the Kingdom is like, living with a mature and adult faith aware of our dependence on the One who loves us, knowing we are saved and greatly loved.
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The yeast calls us to transform our lives . We can only do this of course when we lean in to the Holy Spirit, by surrendering our will to the Triune God and that takes courage and trust.
This in what the Kingdom is like, living fully transformed by love.
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For us to answer the call to bring about the Kingdom we must have an idea of what the Kingdom is. I hope that the questions below might help us all to reflect a little and may these parables come alive in us and all those we encounter today.
Living the Word this week…
The Kingdom is like…a field of good seed; a mustard seed; and yeast.
Which one speaks most to you, and how does it help you in your faith?
What does it mean to you when you pray ‘Our Father…Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven’?

Children
Have you ever seen a mustard seed and the plant it grows in to? If not see if you can find some pictures.
Why do you think Jesus uses this to try to explain the Kingdom of God?
What does yeast do? How does this help you to know the Kingdom of God?
Family
Planting seeds and making bread are everyday, unexceptional things. Yet Jesus uses them to describe the Kingdom of God.
How do you reflect the Kingdom in the ordinariness of being a family?
Prayer
Lord Jesus,
Thank You for the many varied ways that You use to help us understand Your message. The Kingdom is like…a field of good seed, which calls us not to judge but to discernment.
A mustard seed which calls us to grow to our fullest potential in You.
And yeast which calls us to transform ourselves and all whom we encounter.
May we, each in our own way, answer Your call to build Your Kingdom ‘on earth as it is in Heaven.’
Amen

Living the Word 15th Week of Ordinary Time

Oh! How many times have we heard this story? And not only at Mass; for it is used to prepare children for Sacraments; in schools, prayer services; liturgies as well as one I had to learn by heart for my RS O’Level. Preparing for Mass I was immediately transported to my 15 year old self mixing up the types of ground with their meanings, destined to get it perpetually wrong. It was a painful memory which for a while stopped me from engaging with the Gospel.

Yet I know that every time we pray with Scripture God speaks to us, giving us what we need when we need it. There was something in this Gospel that we –or maybe I – need to hear today.

I remembered the General Directory of Catechesis (GDC) uses this parable as a spring board.

As disciples we are called to sow the seed, to be actively engaged in evangelisation.

God is the sower, Jesus, the Logos is the Seed. To evangelise effectively we must have a personal relationship with the Living Lord, we must nurture the seed within us, allowing it to effect all we do.

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“Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but “by attraction”.

But we have to be aware of the banquet and recognise it’s deliciousness before we can invite others. So today I hope that these reflective questions help to refresh your taste-buds…so that in your work you can invite others.

Living the Word this week…
When you leave your home how do you respond to those who wait to hear God’s Word?
Where are you aware of the Word being eaten up, or of the shallow soil, or thorns in your life?
How does God’s Word take hold and grow in your life?
Children
Find out why Jesus spoke in parables. Which is your favourite one?
How would it feel to see seeds you had planted be treated in this way?
How can it help you to listen more fully to the Readings at Mass?
Family
What do you need to attend to so that your family is rich soil for the Word?
Prayer ~ Christine Longhurst (adapted)
O God,
We gather together in Your presence with expectation,
hungry for an encounter with You,
eager to hear Your Word.
Open our eyes and ears to the presence of Your Holy Spirit.
May the seeds of Your Word scattered among us
fall on fertile soil.
May they take root in our hearts and lives,
and produce an abundant harvest
of good words and deeds.
Amen.

Living the Word: 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time (really!)

Sorry for the confusion, here are the reflective questions for Sunday 2nd July!

The joy of working a week ahead!

Sometimes, even with the best will in the world, it can be difficult to recall the Gospel from Sunday.
But if we can’t remember it it can not feed us, and nourishment is exactly what the Good News is to be for us.
Here are some reflective questions to enable you to chew over the message held in the Gospel.
After all we need the Gospel to sustain us daily not just on Sunday, for the Good News and Eucharist are both food for the journey.
Living the Word this week
The words of Jesus seek to expand our idea of love, it is to be more than our experience of love.
What limits the way you love the Triune God?
What are the crosses you are being asked to take up in your life?
How might you express your love for God?
Children
How do you show your family you love them?
How can you show that love to those who are not in your family?
Family
Familial love is not the limit but an expression of how we are to love God, for God is more than created thing.
In what ways does the love for your family lead you to love God and therefore serve others?
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Prayer by Anne Osdieck  

For the homeless it is a shelter.
For the lonely it’s just a visit.
For the hungry it’s a meal
For one who stumbles it is helping hands.
For the thirsty, just a drop water.

O God,
you ask little of us.
You bless us, when we give
and also when we receive.
Please let us have a cup of cold water.

And let us not ignore
those souls that thirst for you. Amen.

Living the Word this week: 14th Sunday Ordinary Time

Sometimes, even with the best will in the world, it can be difficult to recall the Gospel from Sunday.
But if we can’t remember it it can not feed us, and nourishment is exactly what the Good News is to be for us.
Here are some reflective questions to enable you to chew over the message held in the Gospel.
After all we need the Gospel to sustain us daily not just on Sunday, for the Good News and Eucharist are both food for the journey.
Where does your life give praise to the Lord of heaven and earth?
What burdens are you able to surrender to the Lord?
What does it mean for you to accept the Lord’s yoke, even if it is easy and light?
Children
The Gospel tells us that it is to you that the Father reveals things.
What has God shown to you?
What would you ask Jesus to teach you?
Families
What can you learn about the Kingdom from your children?
The holidays are almost here. How can you find time to answer the invitation to Come to the Lord and rest together to refresh your faith?
Prayer
Dear Lord,
no one can carry two yokes.
To take up Your’s we must put our own yoke down:
a yoke that is heavy, burdensome, that restrains us and keeps us slaves.
And that needs us to come to You with a childlike trust.
Then it is possible to put down our burdens, surrender ourselves to You, knowing You only want our best.
Harnessing our will to Yours may we learn from You how to live as You intend.
Amen.
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Have a sated and blessed week.