the Kingdom of God isa mustard like seed
the Nativityof St John the Baptist
17 JUNE 2018 ELEVENTH SUNDAY
Ordinary Summer Schedule May 12–August 17 Weekend Masses 4p | Saturday
10:30a | Sunday
24 JUNE 2018 THE NATIVITY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
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The mission of the Catholic Campus Ministry at Penn State is to give witness to a Catholic Presence in University Life and to promote and sustain the well being of the whole Catholic Person. We welcome students, faculty, staff, resident community members, and alumni. Grounded in the tradition of the Church, Catholic Campus Ministry provides an environment and fellowship that challenge members to encounter the Living Christ and be transformed by His Spirit. Liturgies, retreats, service projects, Bible studies, prayer groups, programs for Catholic critical thinkers, and other activities nurture our faith and open our hearts to hear God’s message for us today.
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Nativity of St. John the Baptist
Very few of us have ever seen an actual mustard seed or held one between our fingers. Yet Jesus' parable of the mustard seed captivates us today as we imagine an unlikely, tiny seed bursting into fullness. Today's readings are full of unlikely, unexpected fullness. The prophet Ezekiel praises the Lord who lowers the tallest trees and raises up the small ones, even making "the withered tree bloom." Believing in this transformational power of God, Saint Paul tells the Corinthians to live courageously; one day, the Lord will accept our fragile, earthly bodies and welcome us home to eternal health and strength in heaven. At some time or another, we have all felt small, outnumbered, discouraged, incomplete, friendless, or unsatisfied. Today's readings promise that God embraces our smallness and transforms us, little by little.
God loves infinite variety. God creates every human person as an unrepeatable being, each with a distinct purpose in life. Today, on the feast of John the Baptist, we praise God for creating this one-of-a-kind powerhouse prophet and preacher. Maybe some of us share personality traits with John the Baptist. Or maybe we couldn't be more unlike him. God will use whatever gifts we have, bold or discreet. God wants salvation to "reach to the ends of the earth," as today's reading from Isaiah says, so we can all find a way to serve the Lord. Nothing less than the salvation of the world is at stake; we have received the "word of salvation," Saint Paul says in the Acts of the Apostles. Today's feast is a perfect time to ask the Lord what gifts we have, and how we can use them to share the love of Jesus.
Once Upon a Time
Ripe and Ready
Let me tell you a story. . . . That sentence enchants us. We feel our bodies relax and our anticipation grow. Let me tell you a story, Jesus seems to say, as he searches for vivid images that will help us love the mysterious reality of God's kingdom. The kingdom of God, Jesus explains, is like a seed growing. The person who planted the seed doesn't have a clue how it achieves its fullness. Modern time-lapse photography can record the secondby-second development of a seed into a plant, but Jesus' contemporary audience had never seen such pictures. To Jesus' listeners, a seed's growth — imperceptible yet unmistakable — seemed miraculous. Jesus taps into the knowledge and wonder of his audience to help them have an experience of what he wants to convey: although we cannot always see or prove it, God works for us in all times and places. God's kingdom is everywhere, and there is nowhere that God does not guide our growth.
Teachers and coaches know how to modify their tactics to reach various learners. God does the same with us, perfectly assessing the precise intervention we need in particular situations. God sent Jesus into the world at the ripest moment in human history. Although plenty of prophets, for centuries, had foretold the coming of the Messiah, the profound honor of meeting Christ himself fell to John the Baptist. The Gospel of Matthew tells us what this blessed prophet was like: "John wore clothing made of camel's hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey." Out of an inﬁnite variety of people throughout all of human history, God chose John the Baptist, in his wildness, to make us ready to meet the Son of God.
Growth Potential Throughout the Gospels, Jesus tells many parables to help explain the kingdom of God. Both of today's parables from Mark's Gospel involve seeds, strangely enough. Seeds really are a bizarre emblem for a kingdom. Can you imagine a mighty kingdom whose royal banners boast a picture of a tiny seed? Jesus doubles down on the image, however, inviting us to picture ﬁrst a seed of grain, and then a mustard seed. Jesus longs for us to understand that God's kingdom is full of unexpected strength. A withered tree blooms, a virgin bears a son, a dead man bursts out of his tomb. Our scriptures are a long catalog of unlikely victories. We walk by faith, as Saint Paul says, and not by sight — we must believe that God transforms all weakness into strength, all death into life. We may prefer swift, demonstrable victories in our lives, but God's style often resembles the gentle way of seeds. Ez 17:22-24; Ps 92:2-3, 13-16; 2 Cor 5:6-10; Mk 4:26-34
Least Likely to Succeed Few, if any, of us would be likely to choose John the Baptist as the one to prepare the world to meet its savior. Most of us would feel awkward around John, given his food and clothing choices, and his constant reminders to repent of our sins. John's own father, Zechariah, doubted God's providence when he learned his wife Elizabeth would give birth to John. As a punishment, the angel Gabriel removed Zechariah's ability to speak. Luke's Gospel reading today recounts the moment when Zechariah acknowledges God's plan for his son. He supports Elizabeth — who had trusted in God's providence all along — and regains his voice. Zechariah rejoices in God's wisdom, praising God to all their neighbors. John's story reminds us how our instincts often run counter to God's wisdom. Though we avoid awkward and difficult people, God chooses a locust-eating man to show us the way to Jesus. The lesson of John the Baptist is never to underestimate the power and wisdom of God. This inspires hope! We, like John, are "fearfully, wonderfully made" (Psalm 139). God has beautiful plans for each of us. Is 49:1-6; Ps 139:1-3, 13-15; Acts 13:22-26; Lk 1:57-66, 80
Upcoming Events JUL
St. Vincent Retreats WEEKENDS IN JULY LATROBE, PA
July 20–22 • Rejoice in the Lord Always A silent retreat This retreat will focus on how we can be joyful even in difficult times. We will look at Joy as part of our faith, by reﬂecting on Joy as a “fruit of the Spirit” and as leading us to surrender to God. This silent retreat will allow us to escape from the noise and busyness that so often surround us and occupy our minds. On Friday evening we will begin with an introduction to the beauty of silence and how we might enter into it for the retreat. Retreat led by Fr. Killian Loch, O.S.B. Online registration available at http://saintvincentreatreats.org
to a father who was there
—Alice E. Chase
You were there when I was little To soothe my childhood fears; There with love and wisdom To enrich my growing years.
It seems that you have always played A most important part In all the happy moments I hold within my heart.
When I came to you with problems, You helped me work them out; You were the one who taught me What life is all about.
Now I have a little one Who climbs upon your knee And listens to the stories You used to tell to me.
You were there to show your pride On all the special days; There to bless my marriage And give the bride away.
And I’m happy you are here To soothe her childhood fears And use your love and wisdom To bless her growing years.
SJCA Opporunity Director of College and Career Counseling (FT) Saint Joseph Catholic Academy is seeking a studentcentered Director of College and Career Counseling, who will help facilitate student achievement by working cooperatively with students, teachers, administrators and parents in making appropriate academic, personal/social and career decisions. Reports directly to the Head of School and is part of the administrative team within SJCA. MORE INFO
Readings • Week Eleven
Reason deceives us; conscience, never. JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU
The world's greatest need is not more Christians but more Christians who practice their Christianity. ANONYMOUS
Readings • Week Twelve
2 Kgs 17:5-8, 13-15a, 18; Ps 60:3-5, 12-13; Mt 7:1-5
1 Kgs 21:1-16; Ps 5:2-3ab, 4b-7; Mt 5:38-42 TUES St. Romuald 1 Kgs 21:17-29; Ps 51:3-6ab, 11, 16; Mt 5:43-48
2 Kgs 2:1, 6-14; Ps 31:20, 21, 24; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18 THU St. Aloysius Gonzaga [Summer begins] Sir 48:1-14; Ps 97:1-7; Mt 6:7-15 FRI St. Paulinus of Nola / Ss. John Fisher & Thomas More 2 Kgs 11:1-4, 9-18, 20; Ps 132:11-14, 17-18; Mt 6:19-23 SAT Blessed Virgin Mary 2 Chr 24:17-25; Ps 89:4-5, 29-34; Mt 6:24-34
2 Kgs 19:9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36; Ps 48:2-4, 10-11; Mt 7:6, 12-14 WED St. Cyril of Alexandria 2 Kgs 22:8-13; 23:1-3; Ps 119:33-37, 40; Mt 7:15-20 THU St. Irenaeus 2 Kgs 24:8-17; Ps 79:1b-5, 8, 9; Mt 7:21-29 FRI Ss. Peter and Paul VIGIL Acts 3:1-10; Ps 19:2-5; Gal 1:11-20; Jn 21:15-19 DAY Acts 12:1-11; Ps 34:2-9; 2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18; Mt 16:13-19 SAT The First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church Lam 2:2, 10-14, 18-19; Ps 74:1b-7, 20-21; Mt 8:15-17
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