Sunday Homily and Bulletin
Readings & Bulletin
for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
They can also be found on our website,
Readings for Sunday, July 19th
If you haven’t read or heard today’s Mass readings for this 16th Sunday of the year please read them first, particularly the Gospel, and then return here for my thoughts.
In the past you’ve heard me say that Christianity is not a philosophy or an idea. Oh sure, philosophy can be really helpful in exploring the depths of Christianity. And we Christians certainly have lots of doctrines and they’re important.
But at its heart, Christianity is about a person: Jesus. Christians are called to fall in love with him. That’s what’s vital. All the saints did that. And then, of course, went on to live like him.
While it might not be obvious at first, I think today’s Gospel points to developing a personal relationship with Jesus.
We know Jesus taught through parables - those brief stories where he illustrates an important point in a way his listeners can easily grasp.
Today, he speaks of the kingdom of heaven. I think he’s teaching about himself.
He says, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed...”
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed...”
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast mixed in with flour...”
The kingdom of heaven was so central. Remember his very first words: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
He never defined it in the way we moderns like definitions. So, we ask, “What is the kingdom of heaven?”
Well, here’s a hint: It’s not a place with clouds and angels and harps.
It’s not about a happy afterlife, although that’s certainly promised.
is the kingdom of heaven?” isn’t really the right question.
The first parable tells us “the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a
who sowed good seed.” The comparison isn’t to seed - nor to the field where the seed is sown. It’s about the
who sows it.
And later, in his explanation, Jesus says, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of man.” He’s speaking of himself.
So the question isn’t, “
the kingdom of heaven?” but “
is the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus is the kingdom of heaven.
When he says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” he’s really saying, “Repent
because I’m here now
When he says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed,” he’s saying, “I’m that mustard seed. I, who am greater than anything you can imagine, humbled myself and became small. And from that tiny seed, that tiny infant born in poverty, the greatness of God will be revealed.”
When he says, “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast” he’s saying, “I’m like yeast hidden in the meal. I’m present throughout all creation, unseen but quietly working to transform the world. As yeast causes the loaf to rise I will raise up all creation.”
Jesus is the kingdom of heaven proclaimed by the Gospels! What a privilege, what a grace, to know him!
For the past four-and-a-half months, because of the virus, so much of our focus has been on all the things
we can’t do
. Surely, some have focused on what they
Well, certainly one thing we
in this unique time is deepen our relationship with
We can do that by using some of our free time to talk with him. This is a great time to pray more.
And we can read some of the Gospels and meet him first-hand.
Next week, on July 31st, we’ll celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. He was a great saint. He wasn’t as a young man.
He was soldier and wounded in battle. A cannonball shattered his knee. While he lay in a hospital, with absolutely nothing else to do, he asked for something to read. All they could find to give him was a
Life of Christ
. So, he read that and it changed his life.
Life of Christ
or better, discover the Gospels. They’re life-changing.
And rejoice, for the kingdom of heaven, Jesus, is at hand!
Homily for July 19th
Bulletin for July 19th
on Sunday, July 19 at 10:00AM