13th Sunday of the Year (a)

This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.

Sunday 2nd July:             Thirteenth Sunday of the Year. (a)

Today’s Gospel presents us with the final stages of Matthew’s missionary discourse. He gives his apostles practical advice on how to go about the task he has entrusted to them. He stresses the dignity and implications of the smallest act of hospitality to anyone. In doing it to them, we do it to Christ.

The first reading also stresses the importance of showing hospitality towards those who bring God’s message to us.

St. Paul, in the extract from the Letter to the Romans, reminds us of how closely our baptism links us to Christ himself.

Monday 3rd July:         Memorial of St. Thomas.        

As so often happens, we learn little about St. Thomas other than the brief events mentioned in Gospels. He is chiefly remembered for his lack of faith in the Risen Jesus, refusing to accept the facts until he could see for himself. From doubting Thomas, he becomes believing Thomas. Then he makes his great act of faith, ‘My Lord and My God.’ According to tradition he was martyred in India and Pope Paul VI declared him patron saint of India in 1972    

Tuesday 4th July:            Tuesday of the 13th week of the year.

Lot and the other virtuous people are allowed to leave the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah before they are destroyed because of their unfaithfulness to God’s ways.

Jesus again reminds us, in the Gospel, of the need for faith if we are to truly follow him.

Wednesday 5th July:        Wednesday of the 13th week of the year.

Now we hear about the birth of Isaac, born to Abraham and Sarah as God had promised. He would be the father of a great nation.

In the Gospel, we have the strange story of the demoniacs being cured and the devils ending up in the pigs – animals whose meat the Jews were forbidden to eat. We pray that evil may be uprooted from our hearts.

Thursday 6th July:          Thursday of the thirteenth week of the year.

          Abraham is given his greatest test of faith. He is asked to offer his only son as a sacrifice to God. He is on the point of agreeing to this test when God accepts he is truly a man of faith.

Behind many of the miracles of Jesus is a spiritual message. Today it is more explicit in the Gospel passage. He can forgive sins just as he can cure the paralytic.   

Friday 7th July:               Friday of the thirteenth week of the year.

          After his mother died, Isaac was warned by Abraham not to marry one of the Canaanites but one of his own kin. He meets Rebecca and they are married.

Jesus reminds his followers that he has come not to call the virtuous but sinners. Marcy and compassion were vital in his dealings with others. Can we show that same mercy to those with whom we come into contact today?     

Saturday 8th July:           Saturday of the thirteenth week of the year.

We jump to the later days of Isaac’s life. He is now blind and wants to give a blessing to his first-born, Esau. Jacob deceives him into giving him the blessing instead. The blessing of the first-born is a critical act in the live of the people of Israel. It passes on the hereditary rights and obligations to the son, as heir.

Jesus is challenged again. While he is with his disciples, they will not fast. The time will come when they will. Everything has its place and time in God’s ways.