Home Catechetical Corner Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: We can only hear the Holy Spirit...

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: We can only hear the Holy Spirit when we silence our hearts and minds — and our smart phones, too


Sunday Scripture readings for July 2, 2023, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Kgs 4:8-11, 14-16a  Ps 89:2-3, 16-17, 18-19  Rom 6:3-4, 8-11  Mt 10:37-42

We can only hear the Holy Spirit when we silence our hearts and minds — and our smart phones, too

After Pentecost the church returns to Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar. The outpouring gift of the Holy Spirit begins a graced time of renewal in the power of God’s divine life and love that we each first received at baptism. As we experience the living presence of the Holy Spirit, we see, with eyes of faith, that the mission of the church, founded and sustained by Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, is anything but ordinary!

The Church exists to evangelize — to proclaim in love the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the path of reconciliation with God and the human family. This age of the church, in which we live, is an extraordinary extension of Jesus’ earthly ministry of healing that transformed his disciples and the world around them. Through the church’s sacramental life and mission in the world, the extraordinary power of God continues to work in the ordinary moments of our lives, in the world around us, and in human history.

The first reading reminds us that the prophets of Israel were instruments of God’s living and renewing spirit for the people. The generosity of the woman of Shunem in providing food and a comfortable place of rest for Elisha opened the way for God’s providential action in her life as she was blessed with a longed-for child.

Do we consider the renewing action and comforting presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives? Are we aware that the Holy Spirit desires to work in and through our actions for the good of our family, workplace, neighborhood, and society?

We can only attend to the gentle voice and the inner working of the Holy Spirit when we silence our hearts and minds. And our smart phones, too.

This Sunday, the word of God points to the extraordinary reality of our most profound relationship, our relationship to God. Paul’s words to the Romans are relevant today, more than ever, when he writes, “are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? …So that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.”

In the Gospel, Jesus reminds his disciples, and us, of the primacy of our relationship with God when he says, “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” We find the meaning and purpose of our life in our relationship with God and our service of others.

Amid ordinary routines in our ordinary days, one extraordinary truth remains constant: in Jesus Christ we have received newness of life, the dignity of being sons and daughters of God, loved by God into existence and sustained at every moment, especially in times of difficulty or distress. This extraordinary truth of faith makes it possible for us to join the psalmist’s praise saying, “forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord!” as we pray, “speak to me, Lord.”

Question: How do you find joy and peace in the name of Jesus Christ?

Jem Sullivan holds a doctorate in religious education and is an associate professor of Catechetics in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.