This weekend is Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd of August, beginning the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo sing: ‘Inhliziyo Zethu’: ‘You will make my heart pure’.

A pure heart is a heart that is open to God, that doesn’t seek its own advantage, but wants whatever God wants.  As I enter into prayer today, I ask for that openness of heart.  I ask the Lord to lead my heart to him, to guide me in the way he wants me to go

This week Jesus has tried to show and explain to us what the Kingdom of God is like. All of these parables, all of these stories, show that the beginnings of God’s Kingdom are very small and very precious, but that through prayerful nurture, they grow into the largest of things. We have also celebrated the Feast of St Ignatius, Founder of the Jesuits – a Religious Order that started with a very small group of friends, but grew into an Order which spreads the Gospel throughout the whole world. In this weekend’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew, we hear about the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, but as you listen, try and focus not on the miracle, but on the background to it. Listen to what enables Jesus to perform these miracles.

Jesus liked solitude.  He needed time and space sometimes to give his full and undivided attention to his Father.  What need do I feel in my life for that kind of solitude?  

Jesus also liked to be with people.  He liked it both for his own sake and for their sakes.  Whether he expressed this companionship in words or deeds, in miracles or simply sympathetic presence, underlying it all was compassion: sharing experience with them.  What is my attitude to other people, and to spending time with people?

As I hear these words again, what more might they be saying to me?   What do they tell me about my own need to spend time with others, and to seek God in solitude?

As I sit in solitude now with God, what do I want to say to him?   Perhaps the Lord has something to say to me about how I might nurture and encourage and support people around me.