Sunday, July 23
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 13: 24 – 30
Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying:
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man
who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”
If you have a garden, you know how pesky weeds can be. They seem to have a strength all their own, and if left among your plants, they have a tendency to take over and maybe even kill the plants you want. It seems logical to get rid them as quickly as possible. But that is not what Jesus recommends in the Gospel parable you will hear this Sunday when you come to Mass. Jesus suggests letting the weeds and wheat grow together until harvest time. Then God will decide what is to be burned and what is to be saved.
Jesus makes it clear that the world is not an innocent place. There will always be evil at work in it and that will frustrate the growth of the kingdom. And even for those who say they follow Jesus there will be a mixture of good and bad. Christians and non-Christians alike can be scandalized but not surprised that sin can exist in the Church. Sometimes immediate action needs to be taken to root out a poisonous cancer; there is no room for compromising with scandal. But there are other occasions when God’s forbearance must be recognized and in a sense we are called to imitate it. Sometimes it may be wiser to wait and not judge too quickly. Jesus teaches us to have a deep faith that God is in control, and that God can bring good out of the most unpromising situations.
As we gather to celebrate the Eucharist, let us praise God’s gracious patience toward that slowly maturing, mix-bag garden, that, after all, includes us.
Deacon Frank Iannarino