Gospel Reading and Thoughts for July 20, 2014


Gospel – Matthew 13:24-43

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.”’” He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’” He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world. Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


Yea!  It’s parable season!   I enjoy this part of Ordinary Time because I definitely need Jesus to teach me by spelling it all out to me.  I heard once that the best homilists speak as if they are preaching to 4th graders.  That certainly helps me understand it better – sometimes spiritually, I can feel like I am at a 4th grade level!

In this Gospel, however, what Christ is teaching isn’t necessarily what his apostles and followers want to hear – sin, suffering, burning.  Not a pretty picture.  But our Lord isn’t trying to scare us.  He isn’t trying to induce us into loving him out of fear of punishment.  But like any good parent, Jesus is setting the limits.  They say that children thrive when they know the boundaries.  Well, Jesus is setting forth not only the boundaries, but also the consequences should we choose to cross those boundaries – out of love for us!

May we be good seed, growing up strong in the light of Christ so that we too may shine like the sun!

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