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July 26, 2020: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading: Matthew 13:44-52

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

“Do you understand all these things?”
They answered, “Yes.”
And he replied,
“Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven
is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”

Reflection:

I have a strong reaction of resistance to this reading. When I meet resistance I know that I need more time to understand what this reaction is about. I took that time and now feel only somewhat ready to explore. 

Somehow this resistance in me is connected to the racism that is going on in our country. Have I confused the message in this reading and placed myself in the position of God as I try to separate good persons from “bad” persons? Good ways of living from “bad” ways of living? “Blame on others” living from “taking my own personal work seriously” living? Does this grappling even make sense in the context of this passage?

Jesus asks, “Do you understand all these things.” When I am honest, I must respond with a “no”. I have much to learn and much to let go and to let come. 

Action/Challenge:

I have recently read that white persons tend to approach racism with “fixing strategies” that include assembling a game plan to get the task finished so we can feel better and move on.  This week, spend time being present to what is happening in your own heart about racism in our country as you go about your daily life. Notice how your mind may work to “fix,” to defend yourself and to desire to move on quickly. Just notice. That’s the work for this week.

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Alice Shelton

Providence Associate Alice Shelton lives in Indianapolis with her husband John. She is a graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and enjoys her work as director of business services at Marian University.

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1 Comment

  1. Rebecca Keller on July 23, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Excellent! Thought-provoking…and challenging!!!

    Thanks, Alice.

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