Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 31.07.2023
EXODUS 32: 15 – 24, 30 – 34
In those days: Moses turned, and went down from the mountain with the two tables of the covenant in his hands, tables that were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables. When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “there is a noise of war in the camp.” But he said, “It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear.” And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burnt hot and he threw the tables out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it upon the water, and made the sons of Israel drink it. And Moses said to Aaron, “what did this people do to you that you have brought a great sin upon them?” and Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my Lord burn hot; you know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘make us gods, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold it take off; so they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and there came out calf.” The next day Moses said to the people, “you have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people have sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin and if not, blot me, I beg you, out of your book which you have written.” But the Lord said to Moses, “whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. But now go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 106: 19 – 20, 21 – 22, 23 (R.) 1b
R/. O give thanks to the Lord for he is good.
They fashioned a calf at Horeb,
And worshipped an image of metal,
They exchange their glory
For the image of a bull that eats grass. R/.
They forgot the God who was their saviour,
Who had done such great things in Egypt,
Such wonders in the land of Ham,
Such marvels at the Red Sea. R/.
For this he said he would destroy them,
But Moses, the man he had chosen,
Stood in the breach before him,
To turn back his anger from destruction. R/.
James 1: 18
Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be kind of first fruits of his.
“A grain of mustard seed becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air make nests in its branches.”
MATTHEW 13: 31 – 35
At that time: Another parable Jesus put before the crowds, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.” All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Transformed by Grace
July 31, 2023
He spoke to them another parable. “The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” Matthew 13:33
Yeast is powerful. Though it often accounts for only about 1% of a loaf of bread, it causes that loaf to more than double in size. Of course, it also has the amazing effect of turning the dough soft and flexible as it rises. Without yeast, the dough would remain stiff and much smaller in size. The dough would not become the bread it was meant to be.
The Church Fathers offer many interpretations of this short, one-sentence parable. Some say that the three measures of flour represent the spirit, soul and body into which the Gospel is inserted. Others say the three measures of flour represent either three different kinds of persons or three levels of fruitfulness in our lives. The yeast is understood by some as the message of the Gospel in the Scriptures and by others as charity that must permeate our lives and the world as a whole. Of course, the parables of Jesus, as well as every teaching contained within the Scriptures, offer us many levels of understanding and meaning that are all correct and consistent with each other. One of the most important questions to ponder is this: What does God want to say to you through this parable?
If you consider yourself to be the three measures of flour, and the yeast to be God, His holy Word and His gentle but clear Voice speaking to you, in what concrete ways do you see your life rising as a direct result? How do you see yourself becoming that which you are intended to be as a result of God entering your life? And do you see the effect as one that is truly transforming and even exponential?
Sometimes the Word of God has little to no effect on our lives. That, of course, is not the fault of the Word of God; rather, it’s because we do not allow God to do His transforming work. For yeast to work, the dough has to sit still for a while. So in our lives, for God to do His work, we must allow Him to gently and powerfully work. This process requires that we internalize all that God speaks to us. Then His actions must prayerfully be permitted to work within us, and we must allow the change to be slow and certain in accord with His divine plan.
Sometimes we can also become impatient with the workings of God. Again, the yeast takes time to work. If we are impatient with God’s grace, then it may be like taking the dough and kneading it over and over before it even has a chance to work. But if we are prayerfully patient, allowing God to do His work in our lives according to His will and in His time, then little by little we will experience the transformation that He initiates.
Reflect, today, upon this short but powerful parable. See yourself as that dough and see God and His action in your life as the yeast. As you sit with that image in a prayerful way, let God reveal how He wants to work within you and how He wants to transform you. Pray for patience. Trust that if you receive His transforming Word into your soul, then He will do what He wants to do. And trust that if this happens, you will indeed become the person God wants you to become.
My transforming Lord, You desire to enter deeply into my life and to permeate all that I am. You desire to change me, little by little, making me into the person You want me to become. Please help me to be attentive to all that You desire to do in me and to patiently await the transformation that You have already begun. Jesus, I trust in You.