Matthew 13:1-23 OR 13:1-9
Words can be cheap. We can’t always tell whether people mean what they say until we see them do something about it. There are some people whose word we can trust, but they are very often the exception. For most people, we need to get everything spelled out in writing or in a contract so that we can hold them to it. For most of us, actions are what count, not words.
With God, however, it is different. Because God is truth, His word is trustworthy. Unlike people, God cannot use words to lie or to deceive. God’s words are never empty or meaningless. God means what He says. And what He says has the power to change and to save us.
Sunday’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah describes the power of God’s Word. It is like rain which drenches the ground and feeds the soil, causing vegetation and fruit to grow. Just as the rain gives life to the earth, so God’s Word nourishes our roots and fills us with life.
Isaiah tells us that God’s Word will not come back to Him empty. It will fulfill its purpose. God’s Word will not be frustrated. If we hear God’s Word and take it to heart, it will mean salvation and life for us. If we decide to ignore it and to live our life as if God didn’t exist, we will be judged by that Word.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus compares God’s Word to seeds which a man scatters on the ground. Seeds are tiny. But, when one of them finds the right soil, it can grow into a fruitful tree. Like a seed, God’s Word doesn’t always seem like much. But, when we take it to heart and it finds good soil in us, it has the power to really change us, to give us life, and to make us fruitful.
The image of the seed helps us to understand God’s Kingdom in another way. It grows in our midst silently and slowly. We don’t often notice it from day to day or even from year to year. But, with sure progress, God is laying more of a claim on our hearts and on our society. Just as a seed, once it is planted, has a power within it that drives it to become the tree it is meant to be, so God’s Kingdom, once planted in our world and in our souls by Jesus himself, takes root and spreads its branches slowly but surely throughout all of human history.
As we look at our world, at our Church and at ourselves, we know that we are not all that we could be. We know that as a community and as individuals, we fall short of the high standard that God’s Word has set for us. But we are still in seed form. We are still growing. Just as it takes time for the tiny acorn to become the mighty oak which is sleeping within it, so we are still far off from the glory and the freedom which will be revealed in us as sons and daughters of God. As Saint Paul writes in the second reading, “All creation groans and is in agony awaiting the revelation of the sons and daughters of God.” There is a glory and a freedom sleeping within all of us, growing slowly, leading us to become more fully the women and men God intended us to be.
God tells us so in His Word. It is true, even though we cannot yet see it in all its fullness.
Douglas Sousa, S.T.L.
Question: Why do Catholics baptize babies?
Answer: For adults who want to be baptized, the celebration only takes place after a long, guided, and thoughtful process through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. This is also true for many Protestant Christians, who are baptized later in life, often after a personal, transforming religious experience. So, it seems fair to ask why our Catholic tradition includes infant baptism. After all, if we make adults who want to become Catholic wait months and even years as they grow in their understanding of Christ and his teachings, why should babies — who “do nothing” — be baptized?
Our custom of infant baptism dates back to the earliest days of the Church, when St. Paul baptized entire households, including, we presume, children (see Acts 16:15, 33; 18:8). That had become common practice by the second century. When Christianity was legalized 200 years later, infant baptism became the normal practice throughout the Church.
We recognize that in Baptism, we are given the grace to overcome original sin — the human tendency to choose ourselves and our own wills over God — and to become members of the Church. This is the gift we give to infants in Baptism.
In its essence, the baptism of infants also reminds us adult Christians that the gift of salvation and membership in the Church (i.e., the Body of Christ) is God’s initiative. It is freely offered to us, regardless of where we might be in life’s journey. Salvation isn’t something we earn. Instead, we see that Baptism is the beginning of a lifelong process of growing into the kind of disciples that Jesus wants us to be.
To learn more, see the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (no. 1250-1252 and 1262-1270).
First Community Produce Giveaway for the Season!
Sunday, July 12th, 2019, 3:00pm – 4:00pm at St. Anthony Catholic Church Campus
Seton Harvest will be bringing their produce van full of fresh vegetables to share with our local community.
In addition to free veggies, our neighbors will be able to enjoy music, recipes and a cold drink.
First come, first served until all the produce is gone. Come join us!
Here’s your chance to be part of our Community Giveback!
We encourage our parishioners who picked up plants in May to share your vegetables that you have grown.
We hope you can bring your produce on July 12th at 2:00 pm and on future Community Produce Giveaway days.
July 5, 2020
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
We are all familiar with the refrain, “You have put on Christ. In him you have been baptized. Alleluia, alleluia!” In Baptism, we “put on” Christ. In putting on Christ, we put on all that Christ is and represents: hope, faith, and love. We are no longer bound to the sins and failures of the flesh, that part of us that resists God and relies exclusively on human means. It also means that we are not in debt to our past, complete with its sins, failures, regrets, fears, and unfulfilled dreams. There is always hope. In putting on Christ, we put on God’s vision for the world, for all of His children and for us. We have been given a road map to guide our paths and a blueprint to follow for our life’s journey.
There is no need for regret, and we are not tethered to our past. Is there anything in your past that you regret? Any decision or memory that continues to haunt you? We have all made mistakes, and we have this uncanny ability to continue beating ourselves up over things we can no longer do anything about, except learn from them. To put on Christ means that I can now bring God’s unconditional love to my hurtful memories and sinful choices. With each new moment and every new choice, I can start clean and live in freedom.
Imagine adults when the disciples were preaching and baptizing. They came to baptism not really knowing who they were, with pasts that were broken, seeking to live the joy of the Gospel they heard spoken to them and wanting the love they saw witnessed in the lives of those who believed. What tremendous celebrations their baptisms must have been! They could now have the support of a community, full participation in the sacraments of the church, focus for their disordered lives, consolation, healing, and an understanding of what life is really all about.
Our lives are meant to be celebrations of the Spirit we have received in Baptism. How does that joy get expressed in and through you? When we truly understand that we have put on Christ, our burdens can become much lighter. It is odd that so many Christians look like they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those weights could be lifted and joy experienced!
5 de Julio de 2020
14º Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario
El domingo pasado, la lectura del Evangelio retaba al creyente a tomar la cruz y seguir a Jesús, ahora, la invitación es reposar en quien podemos confiar y profundizar en amistad. Es el amigo íntimo que nunca falla, está ahí en las buenas y en las no tan buenas. Ahora, Jesús nos invita a ir a él. “Vengan a mí los que van cansados, llevando pesadas cargas, y yo los aliviaré. Carguen con mi yugo y aprendan de mí, que soy paciente y humilde de corazón, y sus almas encontrarán descanso. Pues mi yugo es suave y mi carga liviana”. (Mateo 11:28-30). La palabra yugo significa sujetar y dar dirección, ya sea a mulas o bueyes para trabajar.
Muy distinto es el yugo del que habla Jesús en esta ocasión. Muchas manos trabajando juntas por la justicia logran grandes cosas. Juntos, para hacer tareas maravillosas en la misión del Evangelio. Cuando nos unimos a Jesús es que la carga es ligera y suave, porque la cargamos todos y él nos sostiene. En una enfermedad, en familia juntos lo podemos todo. El ministerio no se hace aislado, se trabaja en equipo, nadie es número uno. En la familia los esposos están atados al yugo de la mancuerna de su sí el día de su boda. Esa mancuerna es lo suave del matrimonio para dar dirección y apoyo a los hijos. El trabajo es duro, demandante y a veces imposible de hacer. Entonces, aprendamos y tomemos el yugo de Jesús. Él es el único camino, el da a lo difícil un nuevo comienzo y se logra con la oración y la intimidad con Jesucristo.