July 30 – Listen to Your Dreams

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July 30 – Listen to Your Dreams

God visits Solomon in a dream, and the scripture story nowhere tells us that Solomon awoke to have this conversation with God! So, still in his dream, Solomon answers God’s question about what he desires most, and God grants his request for wisdom in abundance. In our waking hours, we are much distracted by work, home, family, traffic, entertainment, and many worries. When we try to think about what we really want out of life, we have trouble even imagining what that might be. But deep inside, our real longings dwell, known to God and to the Holy Spirit. Our dreams, unencumbered by defenses, may hold clues to what our deepest needs are, or what bothers us most. They could be God speaking.

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The first reading today, from the book of Wisdom, makes its point over and over, at least five times in five verses! God is mighty, but lenient to all. God’s power is shown in kindness and clemency, not in harshness and condemnation, and those who govern God’s people must govern in the same way, with kindness. This loving kindness and gentleness is not contrary to God’s might, but is a direct result of God’s primacy over all. Who are we, then, to judge what is in the hearts of our fellow Christians and all people, when God commands justice with love and clemency? Likewise, the Holy Spirit makes up for our ignorance of what we need, speaking in a language we do not yet understand. But God knows our needs before we do, understands the intercessions of the Spirit, and helps us in our weakness. This is our hope: God’s mercy, power, and love.

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July 16 – Fruit of the Word

The seed is the word of God. The agricultural metaphors in all of today’s readings give richness to the message that the word of God, cultivated in our hearts, bears much fruit in our lives. Creation itself awaits the redemption of all, even as our bodies await the resurrection. Just as we will rejoice in the fulfillment of God’s word, so will all of creation sing for joy in the Reign of God. The word of God is effective and holy; it brings about exactly what it says. It is not futile or empty, but rich in meaning for those who hear and are healed. Those who hear the word of God and keep it will, with all creation, bear much fruit and sing for joy.

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July 9 – A Humble King

Like a tonal center in music, the note to which we keep returning in today’s readings is humility. We wait in joyful expectation for the coming of our Lord as King. But what we are told to expect and rejoice over is a meek and humble king, riding on an ass. Not horses or chariots of the great and mighty, but a humble beast carries the Ruler whose dominion stretches “from the River to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:10). This King comes to banish the tools of the warrior and bring peace. No wonder that a weary world rejoices and gives thanks to God!

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Today we have the beautiful story of the woman promised a child, the wonderful exhortation about life in Christ, and a powerful instruction from Jesus. An embarrassment of riches? Not if we take Jesus’ words about “welcome” to heart. The many challenges and blessings offered to us today by Elisha, Paul, and Jesus should be cause for rejoicing, and welcomed heartily into our lives. And, like the great treat that they are, they should be enjoyed and shared generously with others. Today’s reading from Romans was chosen very early in the liturgical life of the Church to be the sole apostolic instruction received by candidates for baptism at the Easter Vigil. This illustrates its importance as a core belief, and as a means of comprehending the story of the Resurrection. Christ’s resurrection is not merely a story about something that he underwent once upon a time, but it is our story, the story of how we joined the other members of the one Body of Christ, the church. We were not only dead, but we were buried; not ultimately buried, but raised to eternal life with Christ.

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