Reflections

The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: July 12, 2020

LIFE-GIVING WORD (Isaiah 55:10-11)

We cannot live without water. Rain has a job to do. It comes from the heavens and waters the earth. The earth then brings forth seed for crops and enables the baking of bread and the preparation of essential foods. Water returns to the sky, the prophet Isaiah says, but only after it has done its job.

We cannot live without the Word of God. It has a job to do as well. It comes from the heavens to bring its fruitfulness to the earth. It announces God’s love, provides direction for the wayward, and gives hope to those who despair. God’s Word returns to heaven, but not before it has done its job.

Sometimes we squander these gifts. Household plants may be inches away from water, but they will not grow unless we give them a drink. We may be inches away from God’s Word. It comes to us in the Scriptures, in the order of nature, in the counsel of friends, and in the community of believers. But we cannot grow unless we lift the cup and take a drink.

Where does God’s Word speak around you? What occasions do you have to listen? God’s Word has a job to do. Put it to work.

SUFFERING NOTHING (Romans 8:18-23)

The older we get, the more we groan. Muscles ache. Memory fades. Taste buds fail. Hearing diminishes. Eyesight darkens. Stature bends. Our physical health decays, and suffering intensifies. Growing old, as they say, is not for wimps.

For many people, aging might be cause for despair. But for Christians, it is just another aspect of the imperfections of life. We have grown accustomed to the disappointments of this life. They are nothing compared with the promise of salvation. We put up with the inconveniences we experience because we believe in the joy that lies ahead.

St. Paul writes to the Romans, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”

Paul believed in God’s promise, that there was more ahead for him after he died. He believed that promise extended to all the faithful, and indeed to all creation. Creation itself has been groaning, awaiting a more perfect life. Perfection comes to all the world through Christ.

We may be growing older, but we are always children—God’s children. We may be heading toward death, but we are really heading toward birth—birth to a new kind of life. The sufferings of today are as nothing. We are groaning in expectation of a joy that is to come.

Reflections: Lectionary Bulletin Inserts: Reflections on the First and Second Readings, Year A © 2019 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. All rights reserved. Written by Paul Turner. Lectionary for Mass © 2001, CCD.