16th Week, Friday, Jul 24

Jeremiah 3:14-17 / Matthew 13:18-23 
God speaks to the people of Jerusalem: “Return, rebellious children.”

Ed Baldwin was a banker, and his wife, Janice, a career woman. Both were moving up the corporate ladder. Neither bothered about religion or church. But something was missing from their lives. One Sunday, by chance, they attended church. Something happened to them both. They began to see that the one “who dies with the most toys” isn’t the winner of the game of life. To make a long story short, Ed and Janice have turned their lives inside out. She now devotes all her time to their new baby. He devotes all his time to study for the ministry. Apparently, others feel the way Ed does. The average age of the students in his seminary is 37.
How open are we to change in our lives? “Of all the acts of man,
repentance is the most divine Thomas Carlyle
Too much of a good thing can have its negative effect. For e.g. in Singapore, food is in such abundance that we don't quite know what it feels to be hungry anymore. For that matter of fact, we don't know what is a food shortage. We don't understand the stories of the Japanese Occupation during WWII or the hard times of the '50s and '60s. When we don't feel the hunger or loss, we tend to take things for granted.
As in the 1st reading, God called His people "disloyal children" because they were too safe and secure and hence they began to follow the dictates of their hearts. Similarly, when we have too many other things in our minds, then God's Word can't sink into our hearts and bear fruits in our lives, just like the seeds that fell on rocky or thorny soil in today's gospel parable.
We must pray for a heart that will listen and understand what God is telling us. Let us also pray that we will hunger for God's Word and be nourished by it. God is good, and we can never have enough of God.
Friday of 16th Week in Ordinary Time


Jeremiah asks the people to repent and not to rely on false securities. They have to return to God, under the leadership of good shepherds.
When he began to tell the parable of the sower, Jesus said: “listen.” When Matthew explains it and adapts it to his community, we are told again: “Hear.” We have to listen to the parable and see how it applies to ourselves. By listening we have also to listen to the signs of our time, how the word of Christ the sower applies to our time and our people, that the word may be accepted and bear fruit.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
your Son Jesus opened the ears of the deaf
and gave sight to the blind.
Make us listen to the message of good news,
attune us to his voice and his silence,
open especially our heart
to all the light and love and hope
that appeal to us in what he says to us.
Give us also the courage
to speak and to live as we believe,
that his word may succeed in us.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

The ark of the covenant, the sacred footstool or throne of the Lord, was lost at the time of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and was never recovered. Jeremiah tells his people that it is not an irreparable loss, because someday a new era will dawn. At that time Jerusalem will be the center of all religious attention.
There all nations of the earth will converge in recognizing the universal lordship of Yahweh.
The New Testament reminds us that we are citizens of the new Jerusalem. The church has become a center of religious life for people of all ethnic and national backgrounds. This is the church founded on the apostles and their predecessors the twelve tribes of Israel, with Christ himself as the cornerstone. In fact, in the study of our religion, no city emerges with an importance equal to Jerusalem.
As citizens of the New Jerusalem, let us cherish our faith.

Points to Ponder
The early significance of the ark
The supplanting of sacred symbols in a new era
Understanding our spiritual origins

– That the Church may reflect very much on the word of God and discover how it applies in the situation of God’s People in our day, we pray:
– That we may see the word of God as a call personally addressed to each of us to respond to God’s love, we pray:
– That all of us may meditate often on the word of God, love it and let it be our guide, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
We bring before you, Lord God,
the fruit of the seed you let the farmer sow
and to which you gave growth.
Let this bread bring us the life
of your beloved Son Jesus,
and may this wine from our hills
bring us hope and his lasting joy.
We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
people hunger today for a word
of truth, authenticity,
and of the deeper meaning of life.
Open them to your good news,
fill our stammering words
with your word of life
and teach us to sow your word among them
in a language they understand,
especially the language of hope and love
of our Christian living.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

God sows his word among us. Let it fall in good soil. He wants us to continue sowing his word. We ask him to dispose people well so that they are receptive to that word. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.