Readings and Reflections

St Peter’s/St Joseph’s Bidding Prayers
12th / 13th June 2021
11th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Priest:
If our faith were the size of a mustard seed, it could grow into a great tree.   Let us exercise our faith by placing our needs before the Lord.

Reader:
We pray for our children and grandchildren now back at school.   May they be helped to make up for the time they have missed.                      

Lord hear us.

We pray for those who till the land and grow crops.   May they be blessed with an abundant harvest.                                                                

Lord hear us.

We pray for the Salford Diocese as she celebrates the feast day of our Cathedral.   May our parishes grow stronger.                                        

Lord hear us.

We pray for Fr Tim as he makes his retreat.   May the Lord bless him and strengthen him for his ministry.                                                          

Lord hear us.
We pray for those who have died recently and for those whose anniversaries occur at about this time.  May they enjoy union with God in heaven.  
 Lord hear us.

In a moment of silence we ask the Lord for the gift of faith.   May we truly believe that our prayers will be answered.
[After a pause]                                                                                             

Lord hear us.

Mary had the privilege of teaching Jesus to trust in God.   May she assist us with our prayers.                                                                              

Hail Mary….

 

Priest:
We make these prayers in faith, believing in the one to whom we commend them:  God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.                                     

Amen.

 

 

Reflection for the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sunday, 13th June 2021

 

If you do not have a copy of the missalette, you can find today’s readings at www.universalis .com

 

After the sequence of great feasts that bring Easter-tide to a close and launch us into the rest of the year – after Pentecost and Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi – we are now firmly in “Ordinary Time” once more. The readings are not pointing us towards any one particular aspect of our relationship with God: not the presence of the Spirit, (though the Spirit is always at work among us); not the life of Father Son and Spirit, (though that life is always hidden in our lives, and we are drawing closer every day to a full sharing of that life in the fullness of life in the resurrection); not the presence among us of the Son, Jesus born of Mary and given to us, (though that presence is always with us under the form of bread and wine).

We are back in the ordinary run of things – but looking at the ordinary with eyes that have been taught to see the ordinary as Jesus sees the ordinary – that is, as the context in which God’s extraordinary love is at work. Jesus teaches us to see – if we allow him to. Just as a friend can teach us to see a landscape that they treasure, so that we come to see it and treasure it also; just as someone can teach us to hear a piece of music that they prize, so that we hear it in its fullness for the first time; just as a lover can teach us to see their beloved friend as the special – no, unique - person they have always been; so Jesus can teach us to see the world as it is – treasured, prized and beloved by God.

 

The landscape remains the same – the music remains the same – the beloved friend remains the same: it is we who have been changed, so that we meet them as they really are – as they always have been. It is too easy, and too misleading, to say that this is a learning that occurs “simply” in the heart: it is certainly not a learning that occurs simply in the head. When we learn in this way, we see and think and know differently – and so we love differently.

 

Jesus sees the signs of the kingdom in the world – because Jesus sees the world as it is. And Jesus wants us to see the signs of the kingdom – wants us to learn to see the world as it really is. That is why he uses parables – because a parable does not just change the way that we think or talk – a parable, if we allow ourselves to be touched by it, changes the way that we see and feel and love.

 

So Jesus does not sit down and deliver a theology lecture. Jesus tells stories. Rather than giving us the answers, Jesus points to the questions as they are there in this world which is always God’s world. So rather than listening to someone else’s explanation of how and why things-out-there are as they are, I find that I am part of the story, that things-that-are include me and mine. So rather than seeing God-at-work-in-the-world as someone apart from me, whom I can sit back and watch, I find that God-at-work-in-the-world is at work in and through me, transforming me and enabling me to transform God’s world.

 

The world in which Jesus lived was a world full of vivid imagery and powerful story. The Hebrew Bible is no text book to be treated like the works of Thomas Aquinas: the scriptures in which Jesus was soaked are image and story. And so the teaching that Jesus gives is image and story. Today we have readings that come from the Hebrew Bible – the Old Testament – and from the Christian Bible – the New Testament – using the same imagery- that of living things. Ezekiel the prophet speaks in the voice of God of the growth of the great cedar from the tiniest shoot. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is like the growth of the crops, or like the tiniest of all the seeds that grows into a great shrub. We have heard the words before: we need to let the images touch us, so that we can see truly and hear truly.

 

Then we can know truly that there is nothing in our world, no aspect of our living, that is not open to being transformed by God’s love. As St Ignatius put it – we can come to find God in everything. As the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote:

 

“there lives the dearest freshness deep down things …
because the Holy Ghost over the bent
world broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.”

 

And our second reading reminds us that even the wonder of that transformation as we come to see it in this world is as nothing compared to the fullness of the transformation as we shall see it in the world of the resurrection.
Let us learn to see the world – God’s world – as Jesus sees it, so that we in our turn can show God’s world to others, and build the kingdom.