Satisfaction

Today’s readings are all about provision and satisfaction. We see what happens to those who are grateful, and ungrateful for his gifts.

In the First Reading we see the Israelites lamenting about the manna. As we recall, in the beginning they were so excited and happy to be saved from starvation, but after a month or two of eating the same thing over and over again, they grew tired and began to complain, saying things were better off in Egypt because they at least had meat to eat! If you continue to read the Book of Numbers you will discover that God sent them meat like they asked, but it infected them with the plague because of their greed.

Not only did they take his blessings for granted, but they despised them. They claimed it would have been better to stay in Egypt.

This, of course, is ridiculous.

The Lord provides anyway, and gives them what they want. But very quickly they learn that sometimes the things they want that God does not want are not always the best things….

In the Gospel we read about the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus taught them, it got late, and the disciples told him to send the people home so they could get something to eat. Jesus, however, replies that it would not be necessary, because he would provide. (And note that it was a deserted place, farther away from the villages. How many that just got up and followed him would have thought to bring money to buy food on the way home?)

You know the rest of the story: two loaves, two fishes, and he feeds five thousand. Another thing to note is that they had twelve baskets full left! Not only does he provide enough for them, he even has extra.

Now what is the difference between those who got the manna and those who got the loaves and fish?

Those who had the loaves and the fish were satisfied.

The Israelites, who probably had more than enough manna to go around and were not physically hungry, were not satisfied. 

Why does this matter?

The greed of the Israelites was their downfall. The greedy got the plague and died. The satisfied crowd was nourished soul and body by Jesus. Which would you rather happen to you?

Perpetua Phelps is a high school student residing in West Michigan and is the second of four children. Apart from homeschooling, Perpetua enjoys volunteering at her church, attending retreats, studying Latin and French, and reading classics such as BeowulfThe Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc. She also spends much time writing novels, essays, and poetry for fun and competition. A passionate Tolkien fan, Perpetua is a founding member of a Tolkien podcast.

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Jesus, the Bread of Life

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Jesus is the Bread of Life as He feeds us with his body and blood through the Sacrament of Holy Communion. He provides for what we truly need, and He desires to transform us and make us holy. 

In this Gospel story, many seek Jesus for what He can give them, such as miracles, signs, wonders, and even food. Jesus says, “Amen, amen, I say to you,you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. 
Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him the Father, God, has set his seal.” 

This aspect of the Gospel is a calling to live for the eternal, seek what is above, and seek to do the will of God in all things. Jesus offers us our daily food and what we need, but He also reminds us that we were made for so much more! St. Augustine once said, “My heart is restless until it rests in You.” Seeking the will of God is the source of our greatest fulfillment. Peace with God can be ours by cultivating a personal relationship with the Lord through prayer, living a life rooted in the Sacraments, and replacing our sins and vices with virtue. 

It is easy to get caught up in the world that surrounds us and forget that the Lord is the source of all our blessings. Even the Israelites lost sight of that face while wandering in the desert.  They gave Moses credit for the bread that came down from Heaven, while it was from God the Father, as we read below:

“Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from Heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from Heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from Heaven and gives life to the world.”

This Gospel is a beautiful reminder of how we are called to seek Christ and discover the means to follow Him. Jesus is the Bread of Life and when our eyes are set on Christ we come to know what it means to be fully alive. 

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Emily Jaminet is a Catholic author, speaker, radio personality, wife, and mother of seven children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mental health and human services from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  She is the co-founder of www.inspirethefaith.com and the Executive Director of The Sacred Heart Enthronement Network www.WelcomeHisHeart.com. She has co-authored several Catholic books and her next one, Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Claiming Jesus’ Twelve Promises in Your Life, comes out in Oct. 2020. Emily serves on the board of the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference, contributes to Relevant Radio and Catholic Mom.com.

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Paving the Path to Heaven

In the Gospel reading today, we read the story of the beheading of John the Baptist. According to Matthew, at Herod’s birthday celebration, Herodias’ daughter performed a dance that very much delighted Herod. He was so taken with her that he said he would give her whatever she wanted. After consulting her mother, she asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Though the king hesitated because he did not want to put John to death, he also did not want to lose face in front of the guests. So he complied and had John beheaded.

Aside from the tragedy of John the Baptist’s death, this story should impel us to reflect on what we allow to influence us in our lives. We should ask ourselves: How can I apply the lesson in this story to my own life?

Herod knew what he was doing was wrong, but he did it anyway because he felt pressured by those around him.

How often do we do something we know that we shouldn’t? We allow others to persuade us, to change our point of view, or to make us think that something isn’t as bad as what we originally thought. 

It’s the essence of peer pressure, and it happens all the time—even to adults—and especially in matters related to morality. We get so swept away by what others want that we conform to society’s standards and set aside God’s. 

There are many within society, even in leadership positions, who like to teach that we should allow people to do what they want with their own bodies, in life-or-death situations, or within their own homes. “Live and let live,” they say. 

Why is this wrong? It’s wrong because it perpetuates a society based on people’s wants rather than on God’s laws. 

When we adopt this attitude, we allow ourselves to step further and further away from Christ. It’s like taking a brick house down one brick at a time. The loss of one brick may not matter. But when brick after brick is removed, only a shell of a house is left.

Every time we allow others to influence us so that we take an action we know is wrong, we are removing a “brick” from our path to heaven. If enough bricks are removed, the path becomes crumbled and obscured, and we lose sight of eternity with God. 

That is why we must pray and talk to God on a regular basis. Not only that, but we must be quiet and block out the world that’s trying to distract us with its mesmerizing dance. When we do this, we can hear God’s response.

If we keep our eyes focused on God rather than on the dancer, we will not lose those bricks that pave our way to heaven. And any that have been lost can be replaced, for God is merciful, and He wants us to spend eternity with Him.

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Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with an MA in liberal studies from Indiana University. For the past 17 years, she has worked as a professional editor and writer, editing both fiction and nonfiction books, magazine articles, blogs, educational lessons, professional materials and website content. Eleven of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently Susan freelances and writes weekly for HLI, edits for American Life League, and is the editor of Celebrate Life Magazine. She also serves as executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program-an educational nonprofit program for K-12 students.

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Where Do I lack faith?

This is such an interesting Gospel, it begins with Jesus preaching and the people who hear him are astonished, they acknowledge his wisdom. But that mood quickly changes as they realize who Jesus is and his credibility is lost. Now the people are less amazed and more wondering, “Who does he think he is?” and “Isn’t he one of our neighbors, no one special?” 

And because of their lack of ability to see Jesus with the eyes of faith, what Jesus offers them is lost. He knows their lack of faith. He knows our lack of faith too. And that is what this passage leads me to consider – where do I lack faith? 

On the nights insomnia strikes, my mind races toward my worries. Most of those worries are not in my control – so with great effort, I pull back from the worries, find the rosary beads on my night table and begin to pray. Sometimes it is a Divine Mercy Chaplet, a rosary, or the surrender prayer on repeat. As the beads pass through my fingers I mention a prayer request. Often then I am lulled back to sleep. If not, I move to gratitude, again holding my beads, each one counted not with a prayer or petition but of thanksgiving of something I am grateful for.

Worry is not a part of faith, but it is often part of our human condition. Fear can also be part of our human condition. Fear of the future or the unknown or sickness can all impact our faith. Again, the question, where do I lack faith? Today, sit with that question a bit, asking for the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you. And then, pray to have more faith, to have your worry or fear replaced with faith. 

Jesus has mighty deeds to do for us and through us, my prayer is that I never allow my lack of faith to prevent those mighty deeds. When we turn our fear over to Jesus, we will have a greater faith in him. 

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Deanna G. Bartalini, is a Catholic writer, speaker, educator and retreat leader. She is the founder of the LiveNotLukewarm.com community, a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith through interactive Bible studies, courses and book clubs. Her weekly podcast, NotLukewarmPodcast.com, gives you tips and tools to live out your faith. At DeannaBartalini.com  she writes about whatever is on her mind at the moment.

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Martha and Mary Moments

One of the newer memorials in the Roman Catholic Church, today we celebrate Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Previously, only Saint Martha was celebrated on July 29; however, back in January, Pope Francis ordered the inscription of all three saints into the General Roman Calendar. 

We are familiar with the raising of Lazarus – one of the more popular Gospel readings for funerals especially – but we can often overlook Martha and Mary in this passage. Upon hearing that Jesus is coming, Martha goes to meet Him on the journey. She leaves her home, her sister Mary and all the people who had come to comfort her over the death of her brother to go meet her friend Jesus. Note that Mary sat at home.

Surely it was Martha’s faith that prompted her to go meet her friend, as displayed by her opening words to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” She could not have known the Lord’s intentions, which He shared with His disciples earlier in verse 11 before arriving at Bethany, saying, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” Yet she had to have known that something was going to happen. Being a friend of Jesus, she had most likely heard – if not witnessed for herself – some of the Lord’s miracles and so she had faith that the same could have been done for her brother. We know how the story ended. 

Let’s take a quick look at Mary in the other option for today’s Gospel, though. Martha, again, goes to welcome the Lord but it is Mary who steals the show in this passage. Martha busied herself trying to be a good host while her sister busied herself with the Lord. Exasperated, Martha asks her friend to ask her sister to help her with the housework but Jesus offers a quiet rebuke instead, “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Both ladies in these respective passages know who the Lord is and it drives their actions. Martha goes to meet Jesus, knowing that He is a great miracle worker. Mary knows who Jesus is and so she chooses to sit at His feet and be with Him. 

Know who Jesus is and let Him drive the actions of your life. 

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Erin Madden is a Cleveland native and graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is passionate about the Lord Jesus, all things college sports and telling stories and she is blessed enough to get paid for all three of her passions. You can catch her on old episodes of the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter@erinmadden2016.

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Giving it All

It is good for me to remind myself, when I get mired down in the daily mess of life, that my time on earth is transitory. In the entirety of my existence, beginning with conception and continuing forever, life on earth is a tiny blip. It feels huge but it is a mere speck. That’s hard to imagine being bound by time as we are. Never ending eternity, whether in heaven or hell, is impossible to grasp. 

It is good to remember this truth though because it helps to more rightly frame time on earth. In today’s Gospel we hear of two instances of a man selling all he has with joy in pursuit of the kingdom of heaven. I ask myself if I am willing to not just sell all I have, but give all I have because I think that is what Jesus asks of us – give all we have, surrender all we are to the Father. Giving it all and doing it joyfully feels big. 

Am I able to do this? Is there something I value so much that would be hard to give? Do I trust that I’ll still have what I need? 

Several years ago I gave God permission to do what he wanted with my life. It felt at first as if I made a mistake because I was stripped of what I thought was his will. I believe that initially I was doing his will because it led me to a place where I could give him this permission but what he allowed to happen confused me. I ended up giving it all – or as much as I could. At first there was no joy but our God is a patient and gentle teacher and he showed me how to find joy in a place where I had no control, just a lot of uncertainty. 

In going from a rowboat, rowing against the waves to a sailboat powered by the Holy Spirit, I learned that giving it all can be done joyfully. And I learned that while my life’s purpose is to get to heaven, I am not pursuing God as much as God is pursuing me. 

So I’m not alone with nothing, rather I’m growing in communion with the perfect friend – Jesus. I’ve received a hundred times more than I gave. It’s true that God is never outdone in generosity and what he had in store was more than I dreamed. 

Giving God permission may feel scary, but in doing so, we make space for him and we become filled with his grace. The more we give, the more he comes crashing in. And he is greater than a field of treasure or a pearl of great price – he is the glory of the universe, the almighty God and he is so good. 

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Merridith Frediani’s perfect day includes prayer, writing, unrushed morning coffee, reading, tending to dahlias, and playing Sheepshead with her husband and three kids.  She loves finding God in the silly and ordinary.  She writes for Ascension Press, Catholic Mom, and her local Catholic Herald in Milwaukee. Her first book Draw Close to Jesus: A Woman’s Guide to Eucharistic Adoration is expected to be released summer 2021. You can reach her at merridith.frediani@gmail.com

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Wheat, Weeds, and We

Today we hear Jesus’ explanation of the parable that was read at Mass on Saturday (Matt 24-30).

The Son of Man sows the good seed that is the “children of the Kingdom” (that’s us) in the field that is the world. Meanwhile, his enemy (and ours) sows his own seed, “the children of the Evil One,” in amongst the good seed. Why does the enemy do this anyway? Because the devil hates God but cannot attack God, he uses every possible means to wound God by attacking what God loves most: His Incarnate Son, and the members of His Body, the Church.

Does the enemy do this in broad daylight? No! The enemy always works in the dark, “while everyone was asleep.” This begs the question of whether the enemy would be ABLE to sow his wicked seeds IF THE CHURCH WERE AWAKE and ever vigilant! We can’t say. But we know that God allows the good and the bad to grow together, to give the good seed ample time to establish solid roots and adequate strength. And we can expand this parable to suggest that weeds and wheat can actually change one another somehow – wheat can be infected and become weedy, and weeds can absorb the light and life of wheat and be transformed. No one is definitively in one category or the other until “the end of the age”; until then, we must guard against absorbing the weed-ness around us and hope that every weed will ultimately be changed into wheat. We pray that with enough time, and nourishment, and the quiet miracle of grace that makes repentance and conversion possible, the weeds sown by the enemy to destroy the harvest will be transformed.

There is a cosmic battle going on, and we are part of it! This is no myth: God is real and Satan is real and we are really part of a battle being waged beyond our eyesight. St. Paul tells us to “put on the armor of God” because we are struggling “with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph. 6:11-13). But we do not say that there are two equal kingdoms in this battle – the devil is not equal to God. We do not say that the devil creates his own kingdom – he can create nothing. But the enemy works to vitiate God’s kingdom by fouling up what is good, true, and beautiful. He works furiously to spoil God’s work, but he is still God’s creature, only able to sneak around in the dark confusion doing what God allows for a greater good.

In the parable, the master shows no panic when the servants report the weeds. It’s almost as if he expected the enemy would sow them, and he planted the wheat anyway. This is the risk Love takes: knowing the hostility of the enemy and the fragile freedom of our will, God plants us into the Kingdom anyway. We must work to transform the weeds into wheat!

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Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including newly ordained Father Rob and seminarian Luke ;-), and two grandchildren. She is a Secular Discalced Carmelite and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 25 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio, by publishing and speaking, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Catechesis, various parishes, and other ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is https://www.kathryntherese.com/.

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Sts. Joachim and Anne, Parents of Mary, Friends Who Love You

I was thinking today how wonderful it would have been to live next door to Saints Joachim and Anne, listening to each other’s stories, crying and laughing with them. It would have been a great blessing. But wait! We kind of had that with our next door neighbors of 21 years. When they moved in next to us, the wife was having their second son and eventually had a daughter. Along the same path, we had five boys and three girls. It was life changing for my wife. And for me. My wife and our neighbor became soul mates and loved each other dearly. If you have friends that love you for who you are, you have a great treasure.

We now live hundreds of miles apart but still keep in contact. We missed those days. But they all prepared us for being better Christians later in life. We have done things that we never thought we would do. God is good! So, what am I trying to say?? The people we hang out with have a major impact on our own spiritual life. Some of you have a great support system. It could be members of your family or extended family, or friends from church or neighbors. 

If you say that those are not the kind of friends you have, but would like to; I would think that being involved in your Church would be a great start. Currently all our friends are from the three parishes that I am a Deacon in. All these parishes have different personalities, but we all have common goals.

Anne and Joachim remind me of the Holy Family. They had to be pretty holy to birth a daughter like our Blessed Mother. Ann Catherine Emerick said that when our Blessed Mother was brought to the temple, Joachim wept copious tears. Perhaps tonight you can meditate on that event, bringing Mary to the temple to be raised and educated there. If it sounds like a radical quest by the Lord, it’s probably true.

Serving with joy.

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Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They are the parents of eight children and twenty-nine grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

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Hearing Anew

Spend any amount of time in the Scriptures or attending Mass, and you may be tempted to let your mind drift during the readings with the misleading rationale, “I’ve heard this all before.” While that is likely (and hopefully) true, do you take into account that each time hearing the Word of God, you are not the same person who heard it the last time? With every passing of each day, especially if we take to heart the call for daily conversion, we are a new creation in Christ. Between the first time you heard this passage in John’s Gospel until today, many things happened, skewing how you perceive the message. You are older, perhaps wiser, and experienced many simple and profound moments that continue to shape you and your relationship with Jesus.

Look with renewed eyes at John’s Gospel. Ask for wisdom and grace to hear and discern what wisdom or blessing God has for you today. Here are a few passages from John 6:1-15 to contemplate:

  • “Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.” When a Rabbi sat down, his students knew to gather near because he was about to teach, as a Rabbi always taught from a seated position.
  • Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Jesus’ instructions for the people to recline placed them in a posture that prepared them to receive God’s blessings. Here the blessing would soon be bread and fish to satisfy the hunger of all present and a powerful prefiguration of the True Food; He will come to satiate far more than our physical hunger.
  • “Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining.” During the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes, we hear what should be familiar words to the faithful. The taking, blessing, and breaking of bread all with a heart of thanksgiving to God—a formula we see again when Jesus institutes the Eucharist.
  • When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” The disciples filled twelve wicker baskets with the remnants. All those present, reclined, and trusting were satisfied with still an abundance left over. Truly, God’s generosity cannot be matched or depleted.
  • “Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.” Jesus, though indeed King, withdrew to avoid the people’s actions because His Kingdom is not of this world. The people wanted Him to attend to their physical needs; however, He desired a far more critical calling to care for their spiritual well-being. Again and again, we see Jesus withdraw to make time for prayer, quiet contemplation, and time along with the Father, an example we can also learn from and emulate.

What new things did you notice in reading today’s Gospel? What words or actions touched your heart or intrigued you? Where do you see God speaking to you, teaching you, maybe even challenging you? Are you willing to come closer, recline, listen, and be fed by Jesus? 

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Allison Gingras works for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization as National WINE Steward of the Virtual Vineyard. She is a Social Media Consultant for the Diocese of Fall River and CatholicMom.com. She is a writer, speaker, and podcaster, who founded ReconciledToYou.com and developed the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV).   

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The views and opinions expressed in the Inspiration Daily blog are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Diocesan, the Diocesan staff, or other contributors to this blog.

That’s His Job

“To some God and Jesus may appeal in a way other than to us: some may come to faith in God and to love, without a conscious attachment to Jesus. Both nature and good men besides Jesus may lead us to God. They who seek God with all their hearts must, however, some day on their way meet Jesus.” 

-Heinrich Weinel and Alban G. Widgery, Jesus in the Nineteenth Century and After

Last Sunday, in the Old Testament reading, we heard God’s promise to a suffering people that he would take care of them. God’s fulfillment of that promise is Jesus, his very Son. 

Today, we hear the parable of the Sower of the Good Seed. It was a smack-my-head moment, one of those, why didn’t I ever see this before moments of clarity. I spend way too much time focusing on the wrong part of the job. We love to see the fruits of our labors. Our society values those who complete a process, those who “bring home the bacon”, who reap what they sow.  But the reaping, bringing in the crops, just plain isn’t my job. I don’t get to decide what (or who) is good and truly beautiful. I don’t make the call as to what (or who) is worthy of the Kingdom of God. I am not called to harvest the crop and everytime I become more concerned with how it all turns out, I am off task. I am not called to harvest the crop, I am called to sow the crop. Jesus will handle the harvesting, that’s His job, that is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise. 

It isn’t my job to worry about what people do after they meet Jesus. My job is to live my life in such a way, that each and every action I take is a sowing of good seed. The more good seed I sow, the more likely the people I encounter will have the opportunity of encountering Jesus through me. Jesus doesn’t deal with people the way we do. When Jesus encounters someone, he leaves them changed forever. But before that can happen, the seeds have to be planted. They have to blossom and be like the sunflower gardens that invite you to get lost in the beauty and eventually to look up beyond the flowers and see the sun itself.

So for today, I am going to let go of my vision of what things should be like, and I am going to put my effort into the part of the Kingdom God has placed in my care. I am going to sow seeds of love and acceptance. I am going to stand for those who have no one else to stand for them. I am going to go outside of what makes me comfortable to give comfort to others. Then, just maybe, they will get lost in the beauty and look beyond this world and see the Son himself.

He’ll bring them home, that’s His job. I just need to sow the seeds. 

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Sheryl O’Connor delights in being the number 1 cheerleader and supporter for her husband, Tom who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They are so grateful for the opportunity to grow together in this process whether it is studying for classes, deepening their prayer life or discovering new ways to serve together. Sheryl’s day job is serving her community as the principal for St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Since every time she thinks she gets life all figured out, she realizes just how far she has to go, St. Rita of Cascia is her go-to Saint for intercession and help. Home includes Brea, a Bernese Mountain dog and Carlyn, a very, very goofy Golden Retriever.

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Good Soil

In today’s Gospel we hear Christ’s explanation of a parable that I’m sure we’re all familiar with: the Parable of the Sower. 

He explains that the four different types of soil are representative of four different types of people. The seed that falls on that path but is stolen away is the person who does not understand the Gospel so the Evil One steals what was taking root in the person’s heart. The seed that falls on rocky soil but is scorched by the sun because it has no roots is the person who hears the Gospel and is blessed with great joy but soon falls away because of persecution. The seed that falls among the thorns is the person who hears the Gospel but is preoccupied by worldly things and does not live or share the Word. The seed that falls on good soil is the person who hears the Gospel, understands, lives it, and shares it with others. 

We will all encounter each type of soil, each type of person in our lives. Perhaps we will even act as the sowers and talk to each type of person about the faith. But we will also encounter each type of person within ourselves. 

How many times have we heard something in Scripture, in a homily, or in a talk and not understood it? Do we ask someone more knowledgeable than us to help us understand or do we forget it and not give it a second thought? That’s the seed falling on the path.

How many times have we gone on a retreat and been so on fire with the Holy Spirit and for our faith while we’re there, but then as soon as we return to our ordinary, daily lives and to our routines and the fire dies out a little bit? That’s the seed falling on rocky soil.

How many times have we been afraid to share our faith at work or in our communities? Or how many times have we not paid attention in Mass because something else was on our minds? That’s the seed falling among the thorns. 

But how much joy do we find in sharing the Gospel with others? How often do we find great joy and peace in participating in the Sacraments? What does it feel like when we recognize Christ in others? That’s the seed falling on good soil. 

We are all capable of throwing seed on the path and of being the rocky, thorny, or good soil. If we acknowledge that we don’t understand everything, recognize what our thorns are, and when we have a tendency to shy away from the faith because of persecution, then we are able to overcome those obstacles and replace the thorns and rocks with good soil. 

Today is the feast of St. Bridget of Sweden and I encourage you to read about her life! May we, following the example of St. Bridget, pray for Christ to do His will through us and pray that we may sow seeds of faith in good soil in which the faith is planted.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

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Stay with Me

Mary stayed. There are some lines in Scripture that speak so much louder than their few words. When we read today’s Gospel slowly, we see it was a busy morning for Mary Magdalene. 

First, she rises, before dawn, and goes to the tomb. Upon seeing the stone rolled away, she returns (can’t you see her flying down the path, disregarding decorum as she sprints to the apostles?) to the disciples to tell them. She then turns around and runs back with some of them who wish to see for themselves. 

After seeing the empty tomb, the disciples must have returned, confused and feeling lost. What could have happened? Why? Mary, exhausted at this point, stays. She weeps for the one she has lost, twice now it would seem. 

In her sorrow, Mary doesn’t turn inward, as many of us are tempted to do when we are hurting. The disciples were hurting and in their sorrow, they walked away. Even if it was only to the outside of the garden, they still left the place of pain. Mary chose a different path. Though she was full of grief and was openly weeping, the Gospel also shows us that she wasn’t completely consumed with sorrow. She still had hope that something was not yet finished. 

How do we know Mary maintained her hope in the midst of this terrible moment? The next verse tells us that she “bent over into the tomb.” She looked again! This small action is what sets in motion John’s Resurrection story. Mary sees the angels, who engage her in conversation and turn her attention to the resurrected Jesus, standing before her. 

Even in the midst of her sorrow, Mary found the hope God placed in her, the hope He places in all of us. From that hope, she drew enough courage to look into the tomb. 

All of us will encounter suffering. Many of us are suffering at this present moment. Life is a challenge and things do not often go as planned. We go through times of pain, of sorrow, of grief, of anger, of disappointment. The disciples of Jesus felt these same things. They wished things were different, that it wasn’t so hard. 

The lesson Mary Magdalene taught them, and what she can teach all of us, is to not lose the hope we have been gifted by God. There is always a way forward, we have to trust that God’s plan is more marvelous than we could plan. We also have to trust that God’s timing may not be our timing. This is why we wait, as Mary did, in patient hope, for God to reveal Himself to us.

Contact the author

Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

Feature Image Credit: Meruyert Gonullu, https://www.pexels.com/photo/formation-of-rough-dry-cave-in-daytime-6243312/