Reflection for Saturday, July 24, 1999: 16th week in Ordinary Time.

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O'Reilly, Daniel Patrick
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After reading Exodus and Psalms, the theme for today's Scripture readings seemed to be "sacrifice and covenant". Back then the sacrifice of animals, today the sacrifice of Christ. And through it all, God's covenant with and promises to His people. However, the Matthew reading threw that idea out the window. It seems to me the theme is the importance of Scripture in our faith. When I was young, people often ended the reading of Scripture with the phrase, "this is the Word of God". I would wonder what exactly they meant by that. Exodus spells it out pretty clearly. "Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said". Seems pretty plain. And the response to God's Word today is pretty much the same as it was thousands of years ago. An enthusiastic shout of "we will obey", later followed up by complaining, grumbling, giving in to temptations and, sometimes, outright disobedience.||So, why is Scripture important? I've come to realize that it truly is a gift from God. It is a guide for our life and our faith. It is a source of comfort and reassurance in our troubled world. At times it can be frustrating and confusing. As with today's parable from Matthew. In this parable, the enemy sows weeds in with the wheat. The master allows both to grow up. At harvest time the wheat makes it into the barn, but the weeds are bundled up and tossed into the fire. Now what's with that? If I'm a weed, that seems pretty harsh. If I don't get it how am I supposed to explain it to an unbeliever? Maybe a warning against disobedience and evil ways? This one really got me thinking.|Recently, we had to put our family cat to sleep. This cat was 19 years old. He'd been with my wife and I our entire marriage and with me almost half my life. It seems ridiculous to cry over an animal. I cried like a baby. I was sad and angry. I wanted answers, I wanted to be reassured and I wanted to be consoled. I went to Scripture. The first thing I found said death is a curse. Well, no kidding! I then read the account of Jesus raising Lazarus. For you trivia buffs, this story contains the shortest verse in the Bible. "Jesus wept". I've used this story in Sunday school many times and yet I was struck by this phrase. Christ knew he would raise Lazarus and yet his compassion for the mourners was such that He cried. The image of God crying because I was crying was quite powerful and reassuring. I|guess my prayer today would be threefold. That I would be more faithful in my reading of Scripture, that I would trust God's promises and that I would be bold in my presentation of the Gospel.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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