Friday of 16th Week of the Year, July 24, 2020

Jeremiah asks the people to repent and not to rely on false securities. They have to return to God, under the leadership of good shepherds.
When he began to tell the parable of the sower, Jesus said: “listen.” When Matthew explains it and adapts it to his community, we are told again: “Hear.” We have to listen to the parable and see how it applies to ourselves. By listening we have also to listen to the signs of our time, how the word of Christ the sower applies to our time and our people, that the word may be accepted and bear fruit.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
your Son Jesus opened the ears of the deaf
and gave sight to the blind.
Make us listen to the message of good news,
attune us to his voice and his silence,
open especially our heart
to all the light and love and hope
that appeal to us in what he says to us.
Give us also the courage
to speak and to live as we believe,
that his word may succeed in us.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

1 Reading: Jeremiah 3:14-17
Return, rebellious children, says the LORD, for I am your Master; I will take you, one from a city, two from a clan, and bring you to Zion. I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently. When you multiply and become fruitful in the land, says the LORD, They will in those days no longer say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD!” They will no longer think of it, or remember it, or miss it, or make another. At that time they will call Jerusalem the LORD’s throne; there all nations will be gathered together to honour the name of the LORD at Jerusalem, and they will walk no longer in their hardhearted wickedness.

Responsorial Psalm Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12ABCD, 13
R. (cf. 10d) The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together,
he guards them as a shepherd his flock. R.

The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings:
The grain, the wine, and the oil,
the sheep and the oxen. R.

Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will console and gladden them after their sorrows. R.

Alleluia Luke 8:15
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Matthew 13:18-23
Jesus said to his disciples: “Hear the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom without understanding it, and the Evil One comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirty fold.”

The ark of the covenant, the sacred footstool or throne of the Lord, was lost at the time of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and was never recovered. Jeremiah tells his people that it is not an irreparable loss, because someday a new era will dawn. At that time Jerusalem will be the center of all religious attention.
There all nations of the earth will converge in recognizing the universal lordship of Yahweh.
The New Testament reminds us that we are citizens of the new Jerusalem. The church has become a center of religious life for people of all ethnic and national backgrounds. This is the church founded on the apostles and their predecessors the twelve tribes of Israel, with Christ himself as the cornerstone. In fact, in the study of our religion, no city emerges with an importance equal to Jerusalem.
As citizens of the New Jerusalem, let us cherish our faith. And to us Jesus commissions to bear fruit and yield a hundred or sixty or thirty fold.

– That the Church may reflect very much on the word of God and discover how it applies in the situation of God’s People in our day, we pray:
– That we may see the word of God as a call personally addressed to each of us to respond to God’s love, we pray:
– That all of us may meditate often on the word of God, love it and let it be our guide, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
We bring before you, Lord God,
the fruit of the seed you let the farmer sow
and to which you gave growth.
Let this bread bring us the life
of your beloved Son Jesus,
and may this wine from our hills
bring us hope and his lasting joy.
We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
people hunger today for a word
of truth, authenticity,
and of the deeper meaning of life.
Open them to your good news,
fill our stammering words
with your word of life
and teach us to sow your word among them
in a language they understand,
especially the language of hope and love
of our Christian living.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

God sows his word among us. Let it fall in good soil. He wants us to continue sowing his word. We ask him to dispose us well so that we are receptive to that word. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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