Reflections: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Wis. 12:13, 16-19; Rom. 8:26-27; Mt.13:24-43
This Sunday we are presented with three parables of the Kingdom. Let us reflect on them one by one.
The mustard seed is a physical image of the Church founded by Christ. It was a very small seed in Jerusalem, then it was given by Philip to the Eunuch of Ethiopia, thence brought to Samaria, later to Damascus and to other parts of the Near East, Greece and to Rome. From Rome it spread throughout known world of the time. During the colonial period the missionaries brought the faith to all parts of the colonized world, “birds of the sky came and dwelt in its branches.”
The yeast is the spiritual aspect of the Church, the life of grace that comes with the endowment of the Holy Spirit. It is invisible, and it molds the person from within until the whole way of thinking, speaking and acting of the person is transformed by the grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Beginning with the persons, families are transformed, then the community, until the whole society truly becomes a Christian society. This becomes very clear today with the invasion of Muslim immigrants into Europe and the USA, where the Muslims try to force their Sharia Law into the Judeo-Christian society. The longer parable is explained in the second part of the Gospel. Jesus, the sower, sowed only good seed in the field of the world, like the Father who created only good at creation. Satan, the evil one, sowed the bad seed among the wheat. Thus in the Church exist both saints and sinners. The reading from the Book of Wisdom lifts our hope, reminding us not to despair, because God is a merciful Father. Because he is powerful and “the master of might, with much lenience you govern us, and you judge with clemency,… you gave your children good ground for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins.” Even if we insist in our sinful living, God awaits our repentance and he readily forgives. He encourages us to persevere in the life of grace because, St. Paul tells us, “the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;… the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groaning … for the holy ones according to God’s will.” With this kind of providence from our heavenly Father, shall we be afraid of the harvest time? The parable warns us of the harvest, that we cannot deceive the harvesters because they are the very messengers, the angels of God. If we do not allow the Spirit to lead us, but insist on the sinful life of weeds, then we will be gathered into bundles for burning. Let us then allow the Spirit with his gifts and graces to transform us and be gathered as wheat into the barns of heaven.