Today is Friday the 4th of July, in the thirteenth 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.

Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew.

When Jesus sits down to eat, you never know who is going to turn up.  He seems to have a knack for sharing a table with difficult people, awkward people, people with violently opposing views.  He brings to the surface the secret prejudices and hidden animosities between them.  And if things get heated, he has his own special way of defusing the tension.  In your life, who are the people who make you angry or uncomfortable?

Is there someone you really can’t cope with?  Or someone who tends to sit in judgement on you? Someone you dread seeing or having to deal with?

As you listen once more to the story, you might like to imagine that you are at table with Jesus and a group of your least favourite people.  Listen to how he talks to you all, see how he gestures and acts.  Maybe some disagreement or long-buried grudge comes up in conversation.  See what Jesus does.

How are you feeling after a potentially uncomfortable meal?  Tell Jesus what it was like to be there – how you would like things to develop in the future, or even today or in the next few days. Bring those feelings and that desire into conversation with the Lord.