THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
Youthful and Wise: 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time
By Lena Chapin
In Sunday’s readings, God tells Solomon to ask for whatever he wants and God will give it to him. Solomon begins his comments with “I am a mere youth.” Having a lot on his shoulders as a young king, he approaches the offering with humility as king—simply to be able to serve his citizens as they deserve.
He doesn’t seem to own the responsibility of leading his people yet. He is uncomfortable with the prospect, but God assures him that his age and his discomfort have nothing to do with being a good leader.
God says it is this humility, the community-focused desire of having “an understanding heart”, and wanting to “distinguish right from wrong” that makes him a leader of which there has never been and there never will be an equal.
Between the words of yesterday’s readings and the example I see in those younger than me—from the students I meet at ISN programs to the recent words of the youngest female member of Congress as she spoke up for women everywhere—I can’t help but be inspired to continue to ask God for “a wise and understanding heart.”
These young people are quite literally leading national and international movements around preventing and reversing climate change. They’re fighting for more humane immigration policies and they’re leading conversations and actions to make racism a thing of the past.
Each day, I am blown away by their knowledge and strength as they talk about their personal struggles and how that plays into their work for the betterment of the lives of many. Their humility and community-minded actions are where I see Jesus at work in daily life.
But this isn’t a call to let the young people go at it alone. This is a reminder that Solomon and Jesus were both youthful and wise, and that leading with love is God’s will after all.
Youthful and Wise: IgnatianSolidarityNetwork LoyolaMarymount Universityhttps://ignatiansolidarity.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=8e141d38e4bb12b990251e274&id=498ecd2fb1&e=7ddf42742e
Women in the Church: National Catholic Reporter July 2020 https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/its-time-end-male-supremacy-catholic-church .
Poetry by Members
Intro to Poem: Last night, even after a long walk on a beautiful evening, I was distraught over the news. The Senate adjourned for the weekend while ignoring for 2 months the bill to extend aid to unemployed Americans, to small businesses, to millions facing eviction. A perfect storm is brewing, and instead of seizing the opportunity to anchor a nation in hope, to save millions from poverty and homelessness, they turned off the lights and went home, turning their backs on a level 5 storm with no protection in place. Add to the news the fact that Dudley sent me photos of his Eyeshine Kids deep sea fishing, landing glorious fish on the deck, I woke an hour ago with this poem on the tip of my pen. Mary Heumphreus–July 25, 2020
Out of depth
Out of breath
Floundering on deck
This iridescent prized Democracy that succumbed to the lure of the hook
seized by birded prey
thrown to the sharks
Another day of sport for Donald Mitch Mike
While millions tread water
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PARABLES AND MYTHS
Homily 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time Cy A July 26, 2020
Are you finding yourself a little Adrift now-a-days? (Lost, Free, Drifting, Wandering, Limbo)…. I Am, but something is forming. I hope you are feeling that too. Our Scriptures today and psalm speak to us as people adrift. Solomon, feeling the responsibilities as a new King, choses wisdom over more power and riches. Paul teaches that all people who choose to love God are called to a purpose. In the psalm the revelation that God is kind by sharing his commands with us gives us comfort.
And then there is Matthew’s Gospel. Matthew’s Gospel is full of stories for People Adrift– for people living between two worlds. We are still at a place in the reading of Matthew where we begin to wonder; “Does Jesus speak in parables because his audience does not want to understand or does he speak in parable so they will understand? Perhaps it is a little of both.
Jesus asks his followers and us today, “Have you understood all this parable stuff?”—I want to yell, NO, not really—maybe I once did, but not today—maybe I will tomorrow. I do know that “staying with that question is a lot harder than asking the question. This is were we see the difference between myths and parables and why Jesus chose to use the latter in the Gospel of Matthew.
We all have personal myths. They are usually taught to us by family members Our schools teach our national myths. Our myths are symbol systems we think and operate under. Our myths are largely pre-rational and unconscious, which is probably why the word “Myth” is used even if it is commonly misunderstood because it is Indefinable, vague, indescribable, deep. We are told and I think experience Myth as a creation of a thought pattern that gives meaning to our lives. Myths help us make our sometimes-unlivable world, livable. It provides a framework/boundary and reference for our sanity //or insanity if we have a destructive myth.
In contrast, a Parable, confronts our world view and subverts it. It does not create but destroys our destructive and illusionary myths that are not working for us any more in society nor in our lives. Although Jesus makes it look easy, Parable making is a hard job because it does not call for discussion, debate, or questioning. That is why, if the Pharisees are around listening to Jesus’ Parables, they walk away shaking their heads. A Parable is not God-as-Information but rather it is God as Invitation.
A Parable calls us to a new insight and new decision. A Parable does not lead us to more and more mental analysis—It is either a flashing red light or it means nothing.
A telling of a parable helps people understand that a New Story is emerging.
Parables teach us to trust the process in a sometimes-untrusting world. Personal Myths help us operate with some sense of sacred sanity. Once again We learn today that we are always given a choice by our loving God.
In the next few days we will be experiencing another burial of a Black Man,
Congressman John Lewis. This time we celebrate our still unfinished National myth about the Goodness and Wisdom of the Civil Rights Movement. Just last month we celebrated with George Floyd’s Death and funeral the End of National Myth, that all men are created equal. In Both we as Americans are called to DO SOMETHING. Jesus wants that too in our hearing of his parables. If we let the red lights flash we can hear our calling. As we bury our national treasure, John Lewis this week, let’s hear what he preached: Making Good Trouble. At Saint Anthony’s we certainly know how to do this. That is the promise we come away with today: To figure out how to make Good Trouble in the next 101 days before our national election. Amen