Read Exodus 32:15-24,30-34, Ps. 106:19-23, Matthew 13:31-35

“It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown, it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. (Matthew 13:32)

Sin is defined as an offence against God. And since the world does not want to hear about God (Divine authority), it prefers to use the word ‘bad’ (indicative of freedom and choice). We live in an age where sinful actions are advertised, openly displayed, and people are made to take pride in them without seeing anything wrong. If I call somebody a sinner, they could take it as an insult, but if I call that person a ‘bad guy’, they would smile and be happy.

When Aaron fashioned the golden calf, the people saw nothing wrong with it. They bowed and worshipped it; they even danced around it and engaged in orgies. There was no shame in them, just as the people of our age quickly lost a sense of shame. But then, see how our first reading ends. God says: “When it is time for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

Sin is sin and always attracts punishment, yet we know God is merciful. How foolish would we be if we deliberately sin because we know his mercy? If you always pardon your child each time they do something bad, how would you react if that child deliberately continues doing it and even laughs at you when you try to correct him? Be your judge.

In our Gospel passage, Jesus describes the kingdom of God as a mustard seed that appears to be the smallest of all seeds but eventually becomes the biggest of all shrubs. A good character begins with little habitual acts. To become the person of your dreams, you have to start with very few acts of goodness and holiness. Whatever good we do, this day is like a seed that eventually grows, shaping us into saints in the future.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola was a Spanish Catholic priest and theologian who, with six companions, founded the religious order of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) and became its first Superior General in Paris in 1541. Ignatius envisioned the purpose of the Society of Jesus to be missionary work and teaching. In addition to the vows of chastity, obedience and poverty of other religious orders in the church, Loyola instituted a fourth vow for Jesuits of obedience to the Pope to engage in projects ordained by the pontiff.

As a former soldier, Ignatius paid particular attention to the spiritual formation of his recruits and recorded his method in the Spiritual Exercises (1548). In time, the method has become known as Ignatian spirituality. He was beatified in 1609 and was canonised as a saint on 12 March 1622. His feast day is celebrated on 31 July.

Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, grant us the grace to live upright lives. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint Ignatius Loyola, Priest. Bible Study: Exodus 32:15-24,30-34, Ps. 106:19-23, Matthew 13:31-35).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu