16th Sunday in ordinary time-Fr. Joseph's Homily

Ordinary Time:  XVI [A] Sunday (July 19) Wis 12:13, 16-19; Rom 8:26-27; Mt 13:24-43 )

Today’s readings tell us about a very patient and compassionate God Who is hopeful that the so-called “weeds” among us will be converted, and that we should not be in a hurry to eliminate such elements from the Church or society or the family on the basis of unwarranted and hasty judgment. 

The first reading gives us a picture of a merciful and patient God rather

than the strict, angry and judging God presented in the book of Genesis. The Refrain for today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 85) has us singing, “Lord, you are Good and forgiving!”   The second reading reminds us that the Spirit of God goes on empowering us in our weakness, and, hence, we should be patient with ourselves.

  Finally, the long form of today’s Gospel contains the parable of the wheat and the weeds, an agricultural parable with allegoric interpretation. Through this parable, Jesus assures us that we are the field of God. We are the ground He works as well as the plants He nurtures. We are the people He rests His hopes upon and the people in whom He plants good seed.  We are the congregation He anoints with the Holy Spirit.

 Jesus presents a wise and patient God Who allows the good and the evil to coexist in the world, so that the evil ones may come to conversion before their time ends and God must punish them.  God gives all of us sinners ample time to repent and, with His grace, change our lives. The parable tries to teach the need for tolerance, patience, and the acceptance of God's judgment to the Judeo-Christian community as well as to  His Church and to us, His members.. The parablealso encourages us when we discover sin and weakness within ourselves and challenges us to open ourselves to God’s love more and more.

Life messages: 1) We need to practice patience and show mercy.    Let us patiently and lovingly treat the “weeds” in our society as our brothers and sisters and do all in our power to put them back on the right road to Heaven, especially by our good example, encouragement and our fervent prayer for their conversion. Let us remember that most of us have been “weeds” in God’s field more than once, and God has showed us mercy. God is so merciful that He allows evil to exist in order that what is good may grow.  He allows evil to exist also because He can turn it into good.

 

2) We should not be discouraged because of the “weeds” in the Church: Why does God permit evil to triumph so often in this world?  Why the wicked are allowed to prosper?  Jesus answers these questions in the parable.  The triumph and prosperity of the wicked are short-lived, whereas the reward of the Christian who suffers from their wickedness is everlasting.  God uses the very wickedness and injustices of evildoers to perfect His elect.  Bishop Sheen said in one of his radio speeches: “The history of the world would have been different if the Christian authorities had shown compassion, patience and mercy instead of expelling Hitler and Mussolini from the schools and Stalin from the seminary in disgrace as ‘weeds.’”

 

3) Lighting a light rather than cursing the darkness: Terry Fox was a 22 year of student at Simon Fraser University in Canada. In 1977 he contracted bone cancer and had to have his right leg amputated. When his old high school basketball coach heard about the tragedy, he sent Terry a newspaper article about an amputee who ran in the New York Marathon. The article triggered Terry’s imagination. He knew he had only a few years to live, and he wanted to do something significant with them. He decided he would try to run across Canada from Newfoundland to British Columbia, a distance of 5,000 miles. He would ask people to sponsor him and give the proceeds to cancer research. For 18 months, Terry practiced running on the artificial leg. Finally, on April 12, 1980, he began his run. He dipped his artificial leg into the Atlantic and set out across Canada. In his pocket he had pledges totaling over a million dollars. Then 114 days and 3,000 miles into the run, Terry suddenly collapsed. The cancer had spread to his lungs. He would be unable to complete the run. When news of Terry’s collapse broke, people from all over Canada began sending pledges to him in the Hospital. In hours, over $24 million was pledged. A few days later, Terry died. If anyone had a right to curse the darkness, it was Terry. But he was too big for that. He decided to light a candle. And that light has been shining ever since. A movie has been made of his life. A stamp has been issued in his honour. And he is the youngest person ever to receive his nation’s highest honour, the Order of Canada. To this day, Terry still excites the imagination of people. (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies; quoted by Fr. Botelho).

 

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