Daily Reading and Prayer

July 2018

Jul 20

July 20, 2018

Matthew 12:1-8 The disciples pick the heads of the grain because they are hungry. The Pharisees protest the act. It is unlawful because it is considered work, and no work is allowed on the Sabbath. Jesus responds as the authoritative interpreter of scripture with a detailed explanation about that which is at the heart of the Jewish law, the...
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Jul 19

July 19, 2018

Matthew 11:28-30 The scribes and Pharisees have burdened the people with a heavy and cumbersome yoke, by confusing and complicating the law. Jesus authoritatively interprets the law, inviting all who listen to come to him to be refreshed. He offers an invitation to discipleship, a life lived loving and serving God and neighbor. Why do I make...
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Jul 18

July 18, 2018

Matthew 11:25-27 Jesus praises the Father for his wisdom. God reveals himself to those who are open and receptive. Discipleship is not measured by achievement or education. It is a pure gift to those willing to receive. By your grace I engage my heart along with my mind in doing your work. I am learning to balance knowing you with knowing about...
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Jul 17

July 17, 2018

Matthew 11:20-24 Jesus warns the Galilean cities about their unwillingness to repent for their wicked and prideful behavior. The people did not respond to his mighty deeds in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. He likens the consequences for their behavior to that of the doomed ancient cities. I pray this day for those whose hearts are hardened....
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Jul 16

July 16, 2018 –

Matthew 10:34-11:1 Jesus’ words are harsh. The demands of discipleship are extreme. Jesus tells his disciples that the challenges they face may well include family division. No relationship, even that of blood relatives, should come before their relationship with him. I ask that you help my family understand when in ministry and in life I...
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Jul 15

July 15, 2018

Mark 6:7-13 Jesus summons, teaches, and then sends the disciples out. He gives them detailed instructions that include what to do in the event they are rejected. They are to remain completely dependent on God’s care. Your mission lives on as you summon, teach, and send us forth. To be your hands and your feet in this small corner of the...
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Jul 14

July 14, 2018

Matthew 10: 24-33 Jesus gives three points as encouragement to his disciples, each beginning with the words “Do not be afraid.” The kingdom of God will come, and the unbelievers will be revealed. Those who oppose you may destroy your body but not your soul. You will be judged by your fidelity to the mission. May we listen to your...
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Jul 13

July 13, 2018

Matthew 10:16-23 Jesus’ missionary discourse continues. He is telling the disciples to expect the same treatment that he received. They are like defenseless creatures sent out among predators. It is crucial that they are careful but at the same time forthright. We pray for all who suffer persecution for your sake. Blessed are they. May...
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Jul 12

July 12, 2018

Matthew 10:7-15 The Twelve have been given the gift of discipleship. Now they are to go out and make disciples. Their mission is the extension of Jesus’ mission. If they are rejected they are not to react with anger or violence. They are to move on, trusting in God. We pray for all who are called and sent out, that they will rely on the...
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Jul 11

July 11, 2018

Matthew 10:1-7 In yesterday’s Gospel Jesus instructed the disciples to pray to the Father for an increase in laborers. In today’s Gospel he passes on to the Twelve the power over demons and diseases. They are named and commissioned to go out to serve the Jewish people, the “lost sheep of Israel.” Your own people rejected...
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Jul 10

July 10, 2018

Matthew 9:32-38 Jesus heals a man who is mute. There are varied reactions to this healing. Some are amazed at this incredible act while others, the Pharisees especially, attribute it to demons. Jesus and the disciples continue on their journey preaching and healing. There are laborers needed, for there is much work to be done. I look around and...
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Jul 9

July 9, 2018

Matthew 9:18-26 Matthew’s narrative is laid out more simply than in Mark’s Gospel (Mark 5:21-43), which seems to make the overarching theme of faith stand out. Both the official and the woman are motivated by faith to ask the impossible of Jesus. The official’s daughter is brought back to life, and the woman is cured, proof of...
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Jul 8

July 8, 2018

Mark 6:1-6 Jesus returns home to Nazareth, and on the Sabbath he teaches in the synagogue. Those listening recognize him but cannot imagine he is capable of performing miracles. In response to their lack of faith, Jesus and his disciples decide to move on. Loving God, you chose to be with us, to be one of us. Your beginnings were so simple, your...
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Jul 7

July 7, 2018

Matthew 9:14-17 Fasting is very important to the disciples of John the Baptist. They wonder why Jesus’ followers do not fast. Jesus’ response reveals a radical newness incompatible with their old forms of piety. He calls them to a new creation. I have a terrible time letting go of old ways and trying new. I pray to be able to respond...
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Jul 6

July 6, 2018

Matthew 9:9-13 Despite the fact that Matthew is deemed by others to be a sinner because of his occupation, Jesus calls him to be a disciple and follow him. The Pharisees are further infuriated by Jesus’ dining with Matthew and other sinners. Jesus speaks to them about the inclusivity of God’s love and mercy. You hold me in your love...
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Jul 5

July 5, 2018

Matthew 9:1-8 In previous passages from Matthew’s gospel, Jesus has shown his power over nature and demons. In this passage he exercises power over sin, making clear his authority to forgive and to heal. Though Matthew’s account does not contain the details that Mark’s does, it is important to note the faith of the friends of...
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Jul 4

July 4, 2018

Matthew 8:28-34 Jesus is in gentile territory near the Sea of Galilee and encounters two men possessed by demons. The demons within the men directly confront Jesus. They address him as Son of God and complain about his disturbing them before the coming of the kingdom. Jesus grants their request to be sent into a herd of swine, who then throw...
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Jul 3

July 3, 2018

John 20: 24-29 Thomas did not believe the news the disciples shared with him. In his need to see physical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, he reveals his lack of deep faith. And yet in seeing and touching Jesus, Thomas expresses a change of mind and heart and professes his belief in the risen Lord, the Son of God. Stand with me, Lord, when...
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Jul 2

July 2, 2018

Matthew 8:18-22 The demands of discipleship are a harsh reality. Jesus is forcing both the scribe and the disciple to come to terms with this. Safety and security are not guaranteed on this journey, and it may require walking away from family. No one ever said it would be easy, but knowing I am never alone, knowing that you are beside me and...
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Jul 1

July 1, 2018

Mark 5:21-43 Mark has intertwined two stories in this Gospel. The message they hold in common is in verse 36, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” The official trusts in Jesus’ power even though he knows his daughter is already dead. The woman pushes through her fear and touches Jesus. Both are rewarded. We pray for all limited...
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Daily Reading and Prayer

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A spiritual reflection on the daily readings that help cultivate a pattern of daily prayer and a deepening relationship with God


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