Worship At Home
The Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Worship at Home with
Corpus Christi Church

The Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

 

Whatever your present status in the Catholic Church, whatever your
current family or marital situation, whatever your past or present
religious affiliation, whatever your personal history, age, background,
race or color, sexual orientation, whatever your self-esteem…you are
invited, welcomed, accepted, loved and respected by the
Catholic Community of Corpus Christi.
Let us know your needs, your hopes, your gifts.
There is a place for you here.

 


Opening Song

Gather Us In :

Tall:

Wide:

 

 

 

Opening Prayer

We begin in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

Amen

Loving God,
we praise you, for you are alive in every living creature and breathe new life with the dawn of each day.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is, including the poor and the earth crying out.
Whatever we are today, whatever the mix, be it beaten path, rocks, thorns or soil, help us to become rich ground for you, for your Word, and for your presence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord

Amen


The First Reading

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah
Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.
The word of the Lord

Thanks Be To God

 

 

The Second Reading

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans
Brothers and sisters:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation
the revelation of the children of God;
for creation was made subject to futility,
not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it,
in hope that creation itself
would be set free from slavery to corruption
and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
The word of the Lord

Thanks Be To God

 

 

The Gospel

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
The disciples approached him and said,
“Why do you speak to them in parables?”
He said to them in reply,
“Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted,
and I heal them.
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
“Hear then 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 thirtyfold.”
The Gospel of the Lord

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

 

 


The Homily

Fr. John Parkos

The parable begins with an enthusiastic and prodigal farmer who sows on all types of terrain or soil. Seventy-five percent of what scatters produces nothing, but the yield of the rest is extraordinary. The word “seed” does not appear in the Greek text but is conveyed by “some” (of what the sower sowed) and “that which” (was sowed). This lack of specificity about what is sown sparks the interest of the attentive listener.
Such elements of ambiguity are typical of Jesus’ parables. They make it easy for their listeners, whose situations and experiences are unique, to apply the parables to their lives. For this reason, parables should not be summed up in a one-size fits all message which, as the biblical scholar John R. Donahue puts it, “reduces the Good News to good advice.” The parable of the sower intends to disturb all who hear it and challenges them to discern which description of “those who hear the word” best describes their life as Jesus’ disciple.
This is the part of ourselves and all creation that is “… groaning in labor pains even until now,” says Paul in the Letter to the Romans (8:18-23) we just read. He says, “we who have the first fruits of the Spirit within us, we groan as we wait for redemption. “He says, “creation itself groans to be set free from slavery to corruption, to be able to share, finally, in the glorious freedom of the children of God.” I suspect this is what our planet itself is trying to tell us, with its increasingly erratic patterns of fires and floods and storms and meltings and pollutions. And yet our hopeful, trusting God continues to send the rain and the snow and the wind and the sunshine, to endlessly invite us to trust, says the Prophet Isaiah (55:10-11), (to trust) that, all the evidence to the contrary, we are headed for glory.
In Matthew 13:10-17, the evangelist explains to his Jewish Christian community why Jesus switches to teaching in parables. He does so when his contemporaries reject him because their hearts are “gross” or “fat.” Since in Hebrew, the heart often denotes the mind, “fat heart” is a mind that is impermeable, resistant, or sluggish; those who reject Jesus are those who are too lazy to ponder and try to understand his teachings. They are like their ancestors who rejected the preaching of Isaiah in the eighth century BC, the people of Judah who doubted that the Lord was in their midst and became lackadaisical about keeping the covenant. Now, the failure of their descendants to accept that God is present and acting in Jesus once again fulfills Isaiah’s prophesy.
In contrast to these unbelievers are people who accept Jesus and commit their life to him. They are “blessed” because they are beginning to understand “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” and to realize the opportunity that Jesus offers them. They yearn to learn more about God’s kingdom. They want to contribute to its unfolding manifestation on earth.
In the interpretation of the parable (Matthew 13:18-23), “what is sown” in its telling is finally specified as the people who hear “the word of the kingdom” preached. Of all these, only those who take the time and make the effort to understand Jesus’ teachings and live by them bear fruit – but the amount they bear is beyond their wildest imagining. There is no greater fulfillment nor nobler calling than living and working for the Lord’s concerns – the privilege of the baptized in every age.
So … my reaction?: Obese heart? Or obtuse? Or open?
Stay tuned next week for another farmer and more groanings.

 

Above all,
Trust in the slow work of God.

We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown,
something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability —
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually —
let them grow,

let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit
of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety
of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

 

The Prayer of Teilhard de Chardin

(excerpted from “Hearts on Fire”)

 

 

 


Another Reflection from our Community

This Sunday in the Gospel we have the first parable from Jesus in Matthew’s account, The Sower And The Seed. The sower sows the same seeds in all four soils with equal toil, equal hope, and equal generosity. The sower does so without evaluations of the soil’s quality or potential and there is no soil left unsown, no ground declared undeserving of the sower’s seeds. This is about the quality of God, the divine sower. It is likely that some found Jesus’ teachings uncomfortable as the word they heard made too many demands. The Gospel challenges people in every age and every place, it always has. It challenges us to think, see, be, and do differently. It challenges us to change our hearts. The focus of this parable is not on the quality of the seed, but on the quality of where it falls. What environment does it receive? The natural world and its seasons, its produce, its cycles of life and death, spoke to people of ancient times. In our busy-ness, since the rise of technology and science, we seem to have lost the sense of listening to the voice of creation and allowing the natural world to speak. Rains, snow, seeds, sowers, fertile soil, and a laboring creation giving birth to the gifts of the Spirit, are all rich ground upon which we can reflect on the importance of our earth’s ecology. The Church has regularly reminded us that the issue of caring for the environment is an important part of our Christian commitment for justice, as the poor suffer the most for our over consumption lifestyles. While the earth has been entrusted to us a stewards, to be preserved, it is also given into our hands to be developed in such a way that there will be a productive earth for future generations to inherit. For some of us the facts and figures about the planet’s ecosystem fall on rocky ground. We are not receptive to hearing anything that might demand change in our lifestyle or a lessoning of our comfort. For others, recent debates fall among the thorns, competing with other issues for our attention and action. The plight of the earth is not able to take root in our consciousness or sympathies. We think it can all wait for another generation who will have the ability to fix the problems then. The time is now, and every effort helps. This parable can still open our eyes and ears in many different ways, if we are receptive.
The four soils Jesus describes are inner landscapes or conditions of the human heart showing how we relate to others and to God. This is not meant to shame or condemn but to awaken us, it is diagnostic. We sow the seeds that were first sown and cultivated in us. Sowing is an interior practice before it is an exterior action. Take a moment to reflect on what soil we offer the seeds God has planted in our lives, regardless of who they are, where they came from, or how they got there. We know too well the beaten path of life, the complacently of going through the motions, and we have stumbled through the rocky patches where fear, envy, anger, and hard heartedness is the soil of our lives. We have been scratched and cut by the thorns of guilt, shame, and regret choking out the possibility of something new. New life cannot take root, there is no depth and we live at the surface. Our land needs to be cleared and there is work to be done. We have also planted our roots deep in the sacred soil of life that feeds and grows us to become a harvest. We are rarely just one type of soil. The seeds we sow reflect what is going on within us and who we are. Jesus sows in us the word of the kingdom; that word is love, peace, hope, joy, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, beauty, wisdom, presence, encouragement, perseverance, courage, gentleness, wholeness, healing, reconciliation, integrity, and authenticity. The list goes on and on. We are to cultivate these seeds and share them in our relationships and the world. Seeds here, seeds there, seeds everywhere, that just seems like poor planning. Given today’s economy, that’s just wasteful. By today’s farming practices, it is inefficient, and with the cost of seed and the time spent sowing, it may not even be profitable. These are not, however, the sower’s concerns. They are our concerns. The sower seeds not because of an expected harvest, but because of who the sower is. God is gracious. How would our lives be different if we stopped measuring and keeping score? What would change if we trusted the seeding of this present moment more that we worried about the future yield? What has God sown in our life? Are we tending and cultivating new growth? In what ways have we withheld seeds because we deemed the ground unworthy? Where and what are we sowing? What does the land of our lives need today? Until we open ourselves to the planning of God’s life in our hearts, until we are receptive to God surprising us, until we are willing to be inconvenienced by the sowing of God’s seed in our world, until we take seriously the challenge of Christ’s Gospel and feel the discomfort of the Good News, the crisis of the human heart will remain.

 

 


Profession of Faith

Let us together profess our faith:

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,          
born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,

and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.

Amen.

 

 


Prayers of the Faithful

PRESIDER:
Attentive to the rich diversity of life,
we lift up these prayers for our sister’s and brother’s around the world.

 

LECTOR:
For the church:
May we work to overcome the sin of racism by eliminating this disease from our hearts, our communities, our Church and our institutions…
We pray to the Lord

Lord hear our prayer.

For those who possess any power:
May they avoid the sin of indifference, and may they love the common good, helping to advance the weak, and care for the resources of this world…
We pray to the Lord

Lord hear our prayer.

For the voiceless refugees who remain in captivity across our country:
may we work for justice to correct the grievances and wounds we have created…
We pray to the Lord

Lord hear our prayer.

For those who are caring for those afflicted by illness of any kind:
May they stay safe and not grow weary as they work to protect all human life…
We pray to the Lord

Lord hear our prayer.

For the sick, the hungry, the suffering, and the lonely:
And for all those we support through our parish ministries…
We pray to the Lord

Lord hear our prayer.

We remember our beloved dead,
Especially Sr. Andrea…
and those who have no one to pray for them.

(PAUSE)

May we come to a deeper belief that God has endowed each person with great dignity…
We pray to the Lord

Lord hear our prayer.

 

PRESIDER:
Compassionate God,
you sow your word in us.
Deliver us from distractions, worldly desires, and all that would choke us like thorns.
Help us to understand what you speak and to share your word with those who long to hear it.
May our words and our actions faithfully proclaim your love.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 


Closing Prayer

Gracious God,
may the seeds of your word scatter among us and fall on fertile ground.
May they take root in our hearts and lives and produce an abundant harvest of good words and deeds.
Help us prepare for a better future, for the coming of your Kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect the life and beauty of all creatures.
Filled with your peace, may we live as sisters and brothers harming no one.
United with our sisters and brothers everywhere,
together we pray in the words Jesus taught us:

Our Father,
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done.
on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours now and forever.

Amen.