17th Week, Tuesday, Jul 28

Jeremiah 14:17-22 / Matthew 13:36-43 
A disaster strikes Judah: The people wondered if God still loved them.

A newspaper described what was left of the town Udall, Kansas, after a tornado: "All homes were shredded to splinters. Only the shells of stores and office buildings stand above the hip-level mass of kindling strewn across the area "And from the population of 500 persons, no one has been found who has not been injured in some way….

 "A water tank which held the town's water supply high atop a skeletal tower was twisted inside out like a paper cup." International News Service

A natural disaster like this helps us appreciate the spiritual disaster that struck God's people. Small wonder they thought that God had deserted them.
How do we react to disasters in our lives? "If God sends us stony paths, he provides strong shoes." Corie ten Boom
A lot of questions have been asked about this age-old problem of evil in the world, as well as the origin of evil. The Latin term for this phrase "origin of evil" is MYSTERIUM INIQUITATIS. When translated into English it is "the mystery of iniquity". Indeed, sin and evil is so much of a mystery.

The letter to the Romans 7:19 puts this mystery in a life experience when it says - For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. So as much as sin and evil is mysterious, yet the reality and the fact is clear. Sin and evil is merely a manifestation of the lack of goodness, whether it is around us or in us.

In the 1st reading, we hear of how God feels about the sinful and evil situation of mankind, with these words: Tears flood my eyes night and day unceasingly. God's love for us was so deep that He sent His only Son so that He can restore our love and goodness. But we have to make the decision to pick up the weeds of our sin and burn them in the fire of God's love.

With Jesus, we can be certain that love and goodness will triumph in the end.

In our fight against sin and evil, whether within or without, let us put our confidence in God as we cry out - O our God, you are our hope (Jer 14:22)
Tuesday July 28

Tuesday of 17th Week in Ordinary Time


We hear the prayer of the people – a prayer probably composed by Jeremiah himself – appealing to God in time of war and famine. It is like a penitential celebration expressing trust in the Lord and the hope to be spared.
Jesus explains the parable of the wheat and the weeds. Good and evil will always coexist in the Church and in the world, until God’s good time comes. The word of the Lord should perhaps help us to be patient and understanding with the all too human aspects of the Church of the past and of our day. The good will ultimately triumph; we have this assurance, while we already work in the present to purify the Church and ourselves.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
sower and lover of all that is good,
we are the times impatient
about the human weaknesses
of your Church and its leaders and members.
Help us not to condemn too easily
but to look at our own defects,
and to work with all our might
to reveal in us and in your Church
the genuine face of Jesus,
by the strength of your own Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jeremiah today looks out over a pillaged and beleaguered Judah. She has reaped the punishment so often predicted. The picture could have been different had the population so decided. But even if the country is faithless, God remains faithful. And so Jeremiah utters a heartfelt plea for forgiveness. It is futile to turn to “do-nothing gods.” It is to the covenant that the prophet returns and asks the Lord to forget it not.
The history of Christianity has seen repeated examples of infidelity. The people of the new covenant disregarded their special status no less than the people of old. But forgiveness requested has been forgiveness attained. If we are contrite of heart, all wrongs can be righted. The prophets never failed to turn to the Lord after punishment.
One of the clearest signs of contrition is our willingness to forgive others or to ask for forgiveness. In fact, the New Testament uses this as a yardstick to measure God’s forgiveness. We have all suffered hurts. But a magnanimous spirit rises above them. As we ask God’s forgiveness, let us never forget to extend our own.

Points to Ponder

The fall of Judah and divine punishment
The prayer for forgiveness
Forgiving others


– That intimate prayer to the Lord may lighten up our faces and our lives, we pray:
– That however humble our task in the Church, the Spirit of the Lord may give us the courage to speak out for what is right and good, we pray:
– That we may not usurp God’s task of separating the weeds from the wheat in the Church, but leave the judgment to him, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
for the sake of your covenant
we pray you for the bread of strength
of your Son Jesus Christ.
Let him cure us from all our ills
and lead us to you, our God,
who are our hope and trust
now and for ever.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
you want us to be with you
sowers of goodness in this world,
of hope and peace, of freedom and joy.
Use us as we are,
with our assets and faults,
that we may share in the passion
and resurrection of your Son
and bring this world to a new birth
through him who is our Savior,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

God lets his sun shine on good and bad alike. We are not the judges of the Church or of the world: let God do the judging. Pray that he keeps us faithful. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.