How Do I Fill My Empty Cup?

August 4, 2020  Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest (Lectionary: 408)

Reading 1   JER 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22

The following message came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:
Write all the words I have spoken to you in a book.

For thus says the LORD:
Incurable is your wound,
grievous your bruise;
There is none to plead your cause,
no remedy for your running sore,
no healing for you.
All your lovers have forgotten you,
they do not seek you.
I struck you as an enemy would strike,
punished you cruelly;
Why cry out over your wound?
your pain is without relief.
Because of your great guilt,
your numerous sins,
I have done this to you.

Thus says the LORD:
See!  I will restore the tents of Jacob,
his dwellings I will pity;
City shall be rebuilt upon hill,
and palace restored as it was.
From them will resound songs of praise,
the laughter of happy men.
I will make them not few, but many;
they will not be tiny, for I will glorify them.
His sons shall be as of old,
his assembly before me shall stand firm;
I will punish all his oppressors.
His leader shall be one of his own,
and his rulers shall come from his kin.
When I summon him, he shall approach me;
how else should one take the deadly risk
of approaching me? says the LORD.
You shall be my people,
and I will be your God.


Responsorial Psalm   102:16-18, 19-21, 29 AND 22-23

R.    (17)  The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R.    The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R.    The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence,
That the name of the LORD may be declared on Zion;
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R.    The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.

Alleluia   JN 1:49B

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Rabbi, you are the Son of God;
you are the King of Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   MT 14:22-36

Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
“It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
“Truly, you are the Son of God.”

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.


Mt 15:1-2, 10-14

Some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,
“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?
They do not wash their hands when they eat a meal.”
He summoned the crowd and said to them, “Hear and understand.
It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles the man;
but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.”
Then his disciples approached and said to him,
“Do you know that the Pharisees took offense
when they heard what you said?”
He said in reply, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted
will be uprooted.
Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind.
If a  blind man leads a blind man,
both will fall into a pit.”

By Amy Blythe 

I have four little ones, all under the age of 5. My days and nights are cyclical: feed everyone, clean everything, play, soothe, teach, and repeat. It’s the most rewarding, blessed, and exhausting job I have ever known. There are days when the needs of my children overwhelm me. Sometimes my effort to give them a life of beauty empties me and it feels like I have nothing left to give.  

In today’s Gospel, sandwiched between two of Jesus’ best-known acts, is the key to a heart perpetually filled and ready to pour out in the service of others. Moments after feeding the 5000 and hours before allowing Peter to walk on the sea, Jesus rests with the Father. Jesus, in his great wisdom and generosity, models for me the act of “sending the multitudes away to go up to the mountain by Himself to pray” (Mt. 14:23). 

Jesus did not happen upon a quiet moment—He created one.

With great intentionality, He stepped away from the work of His mission to pray. He shows me that rest is as important to the mission as work. 

A mentor once told me, “You cannot pour out of an empty cup.” As Jesus did, I create moments to go up to the mountain with the Father so that my cup might become full again.

In the still, early hours I enter into intentional time with the Lord.

In prayer I reveal the most intimate corners of my heart, ask the Spirit into my day, and listen for Him to speak to me through the sacred Scriptures. There, He reminds me of who He is: faithful, protector, redeemer. I am renewed as he speaks His claim over my life:  I am a child of the King, adored, and forgiven. I rest in these truths so that when my own little multitude rises I am ready, once again, to pour out for them, training them to keep their eyes on Christ when He calls them out upon the water. 

In this season, living in service of others means living in service of my family. I am called to love them with all the sacrifice and dedication with which Jesus loves me. Great acts of love flow out, and great moments of His love flow in when I meet Him on the mountain.


Amy Blythe is a wife and mom to 4 children, ages 5 and under. She holds her MA in Pastoral Theology from Loyola University-Chicago and has worked in campus and high school ministry. When she isn't wrangling her little ones or writing, you can find her jogging through the countryside or on her back porch with a book. You can find Amy here.

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