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Contents: Volume 2

The Tenth & Eleventh Sundays of Ordered Time

6/2/2024


 
The

10th/11th
Sundays

(B)

 
 
1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP
2. -- Dennis Keller OP Laity
3. --
4. -- (Your reflection can be here!)

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Sun. 10 B 2024

Our readings this Sunday each have an important theme to consider. The first reading that relates Adam and Eve encountering God after eating the forbidden fruit addresses responsibility and freedom plus God’s saving mercy. The second reading reminds us that although things may seem like the world is crumbing around us, God is still at work within us, keeping us hopeful with grace. The Gospel passage addresses how to combat challenges and pure evil by taking responsibility for our misdeeds, trusting in God’s forgiveness, and surrounding ourselves with like-minded people along the journey.

How we blend these themes and readings really directs our lives. We can get stuck along the way as we tried to blend them and live them. That is ok!
Challenges happen but so does grace. Grace flows abundantly! Let us find the time to reflect on the reality of Who God is and Whose we are in times of trial so that we can move forward with this abundant grace and share it with those we encounter.

Blessings,
Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP
Southern Dominican Laity
lanie@leblanc.one

 

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Eleventh Sunday of Ordered Time

Exodus 17:22-24; Responsorial Psalm 92:
2nd Corinthians 5:6-10; Mark 4:26-34

June 16, 2024

Most Christians know how to pray the Our Father. That is the prayer Jesus taught the disciples when they asked him to teach them how to pray. That was a strange request from practicing Jews who prayed before meals, when waking, when entering and leaving their houses. Yet, they asked. In addressing the Father whose name is recognized as hallowed, we ask the Father to bring about the Kingdom of God. We are left to imagine what that kingdom would be like. Children steeped in fairy tales and the pomp and circumstance of a wealthy, powerful court imagine flags flying, horses prancing and princes and princesses. As we grow up, we come to think of the Kingdom as the end-time. The writings of John of Patmos become the text describing the final victory and the second coming of Jesus. That is a frightening catalogue of catastrophes and a sure motivation to repentance.

The reading this Sunday calls those two visions to question. This kingdom is not a pomp and circumstance thing. Nor is it the seat of a benign ruler replacing polarizing and debilitating ideologies or autocrats, or self-serving corruption. It is a hard concept. I recall in a first philosophy class on Scripture that Father Rudy Bierberg spent two classes questioning the twenty-four of us seminarians for a definition about the Kingdom. After the second class of his questions and denials, he gave up with the stated hope that someday we would come to know what the Kingdom is, hopefully before ordination. We did not.

The Kingdom of God (some would rather not say “God” so instead say “Heaven”) is more like a sunrise which slowly brings light to objects hidden in darkness. The Kingdom of God is like a sprig from a tall cedar of Lebanon which, when planted in fertile soil, grows to be a large tree. The Kingdom of God tree dwarfs other stately, proud trees. The sun strikes those others bringing into focus what the others are. The lowly tree – the poor, the marginalized, the widows, and orphans – will be lifted up and what was withered and beaten will bloom. This is from the book of Exodus. That reading ends with “As I, the Lord, have spoken, so will I do.” So, the Kingdom God speaks of will come to pass. But when?

Paul, writing a second letter to the Corinthians, mentions the when: “while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.” So, the when has to do with our current condition. Still, we walk by faith and are in touch with the Lord’s Word/Revelation. When we are at home in the Lord, when we leave the body, we are measured as to what we are, good or evil. The light of the Son will clear away the darkness of our person and we will be seen for what we have done and what we have become.

That is an interesting word – become. That word indicates our person is not static. We are in a dynamic time and place; we are a seed with the possibility of germination, sprouting, growing, and producing fruit. At our harvest we will have completed our personal season and gathered in or be burnt with the husks. Mark writes his gospel for the Christian Community he knows. That community is persecuted by the civil government as well as religious leadership. Mark’s message is a message of hope and meaning derived from faith. The seed stories tell those persecuted persons that the Kingdom has a small beginning in individuals and in community. They, like the grains of wheat scattered and sown, are meant to grow: at least that’s the hope of the planter. Like the tiny mustard seed, they can grow into an abundant harvest. The disciples – like those who walked with Jesus – heard his parables and teachings. They were open to understanding and he explained everything to them. They bore great fruit. It was up to them to explain these parables to those who would listen.

So, what is the Kingdom of God? How would we recognize it if we encounter it? Is it finished, completed and we are just marking time? Just like the sunrise that gradually lights the landscape, the Kingdom rises in us individually and collectively. We are born believing we are the center of everything. Gradually we come to be grasping, ego-centric, seeking the adulation and fealty of others. Things are important for us, and we work hard to accumulate them. When first we fall in love - real love not mere infatuation – there is a loss of our guiding stars. But the start of love is not love in the long run. That takes work. When we mature in love, there is a change in how we see nature, and persons. What had been a superficial response to things and others becomes enriched. That is God’s acting in us. The doubt that arises is “why me of 8.5 billion people?” Why am I singled out? Since we cannot fathom how God works, thinks, and acts, we cannot really explain this. We can know that God loves creation and especially humanity. Jesus’ willing acceptance of the cross is the revelation of how much God loves us. Actually, that revelation is God telling us what God is like. God is love. And when we love creation, and all others, we live with God’s life.

The deceased, respected liturgist, Raimondo Panikkar, writes about time. Living beings – animals - have a past, a present, and a future. Humans have only a present and a future. Unlike other parts of creation, in humans the past is always present. Part of that is memory consciousness; part of it is that experience imprints our DNA. The person who hates is forever scarred until, unless, there is a radical change of heart. The person who loves is imprinted and becomes and spreads the Kingdom of God. Because we live in time, we are like the seed that has to germinate, has to sprout, has to grow a stalk, has to produce fruit. The possibilities of time are twofold – either growth or decay. This growth takes a lifetime. The Kingdom is like a seed, sometimes so insignificant but surprisingly can grow large enough to shelter others.

Dennis Keller Dennis@PreacherExchange.com
 

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Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections, and insights on the next Sundays readings can influence the preaching you hear. Send them to preacherexchange@att.net. Deadline is Wednesday Noon. Include your Name, and Email Address.

-- Fr.
John Boll, OP
 


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