Today’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew continues with the themes of sowing seed, weeds, various types of soil, and how these relate to us. We know that there are many fac- tors that shape our lives, and among them are our family of origin, our culture, our education, our peers and friends, and when we were born. We don’t grow up isolated. How we live each day, how we treat people, the values and attitudes that we show forth, and the place of God in our lives reject what has shaped our lives over the years. Today’s Gospel reminds us that there are also negative factors that we have to deal with throughout our lives. These can make us selfish and self-centered but hopefully, the positive influences in our lives have a stronger impact on us and help us be Christ-like. A good examination of conscience can often help us keep those negative forces under control and allow the good in us to shine forth.

I want to congratulate one of our parishioners, Ryan Nevins, on the publication of his children’s book, Shine Kids! This book for children of all ages has a very positive and encouraging approach for children to recognize their talents and abilities and to use them. The text says, “You’re the gift of God’s dream” and continues throughout the book to praise and be supportive of all children. The art work is magnificent and you can spend time looking at the boys and girls on each page which emphasizes the text. At the end of the book there is a list of Character Virtues. The book is available in the lobby of the Parish House. Congratulations, Ryan!

Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.