This week’s readings remind us of God’s love for all creation, and creation’s holiness just by the virtue of its having been made by God.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
My word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.
The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
For creation awaits with eager expectation…in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
Summer is a time for things to grow–trees, flowers, fruit and veggies, and kids! Because it’s so easy for us to see things growing this time of year, our readings ask us to look at nature around us to see the ways that God expresses himself through creation. In the first reading God compares his Words and his Will to the rain and snow. They prepare the earth in the winter and spring, bringing the water it needs in order for seeds to be planted and grow in the summer. God’s Word prepares us to accept God’s Will for us when it’s time for us to do things that will bring strength and healing to others.
Paul tells us that creation is waiting for redemption just like we are, and that it will share in the “glorious freedom of the children of God” just as we will. Paul uses images of giving birth–seeds give birth, in a way, to the fruits and veggies that they produce, parents give birth to children, and whenever we create something, it’s kind of like a birth, too. Our baptism is the re-birth that makes us children of God. The point is that new life is all around us, and God wants us to share in it–to help make it happen, and to recognize it as a gift from God.
Jesus shares the parable of the sower–when a farmer planted seeds hoping for a good crop. Not all of the seeds will grow, though–they all need work and attention, and if they don’t get it, they won’t produce anything. We are the seeds and it’s our job to make sure that the soil we live in is good soil. We need to eat healthy food, get exercise, pray, nourish our brains with learning, having healthy relationships where our hearts can flourish. All of these things help us to hear God more clearly so that as we grow, we have something to offer our families and communities–so that we will “bear fruit.”
Have you ever planted a seed and watched it grow? It’s like a little miracle! Go out in nature today with a grown-up and pay attention to the beauty that God has given you.
When the disciples asked Jesus why he taught using parables, Jesus said that not everyone wanted to understand what he was saying. Some people would hear it as an interesting story but not think about it too much, some would dismiss it because they knew that the true meaning would challenge them to change, but others would reflect on the deeper meaning and find healing. Jesus told us to use our eyes and ears to recognize God speaking to us. What does Jesus’ parable challenge you to change?
Facilitate a conversation with your family about how you can cultivate your household’s “soil”. What are some things you, as a family, would like to tweak in order to make your home life more nourishing for each member? What can each of you do to make the soil better?
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”