July 19, 2020
by Gladyce Janky
Creighton University's Graduate School, Heider College of Business, and Law School
click here for photo and information about the writer

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 106

Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16
Romans 8:26-27
Matthew 13:24-43 or 13:24-30

Praying Ordinary Time

Pope Francis on this gospel in 2017 and 2014.

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Finding Our Way Back Home: Getting Un-Stuck in Prayer Life

In today's reading from the book of Wisdom, we hear that "Those who are just must be kind (Wis. 12:19)." For me, this is the opposite of the message of today's dominant world cultures.  And if I examine world history, it seems that kindness often takes a back seat to aggression, selfishness, and an endless hunger for more control.  

There are notable exceptions whose actions have changed the course of world history.  They stand out because their stories inspire us by offering us a glimpse of what is possible when we choose to be kind.  When I pause and look around, I see many people that act justly and practice kindness.  

Sometimes the kindest among us have not necessarily experienced the kindness of others. Instead, they have experienced times of great difficulties and many challenges.  For example, the veterans of the Vietnam War.  Many of them still struggle to cope with life because of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD.  Individuals dealing with PTSD often have difficulty integrating into society.  Sometimes they find themselves living somewhere at the margins. 

Many veterans have chosen to cope with their struggles by performing acts of kindness.  These are the men and women their friends call for a ride to a doctor's appointment or a trip to the grocery store.  If someone needed to talk, they stop and listen.  They make room in their lives for the "strays," the homeless person, or the abandoned kitten or puppy.  For them, there is always room for one more.  Need help fixing the lawnmower, cleaning the kitchen, or with the car that refuses to start?  They step up, never asking for payment, or expecting kindness in return.  They give generously and lovingly of their time and talent.

These veterans, acting with compassion and empathy, are the "unsung American heroes" that we will never read about in history books.  To their communities, these men and women exemplify the book of Wisdom's definition of a just person.  They respond to others with kindness. 

"Then, the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father." Matt 13:43

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