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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 16th (A) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Wis 12:13.16-19): There is no god besides you who have the care of all, that you need show you have not unjustly condemned. For your might is the source of justice; your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all. For you show your might when the perfection of your power is disbelieved; and in those who know you, you rebuke temerity. But though you are master of might, you judge with clemency, and with much lenience you govern us; for power, whenever you will, attends you. And you taught your people, by these deeds, that those who are just must be kind; and you gave your children good ground for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins.
Responsorial Psalm: 85
R/. Lord, you are good and forgiving.
You, o Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you. Hearken, o Lord, to my prayer and attend to the sound of my pleading.

All the nations you have made shall come and worship you, o Lord, and glorify your name. For you are great, and you do wondrous deeds; you alone are God.

You, o Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and fidelity. Turn toward me, and have pity on me; give your strength to your servant.
2nd Reading (Rom 8:26-27): Brothers and sisters: The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groaning. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Mt 11:25): Alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 13,24-43): Jesus put another parable before the crowds: «The kingdom of heaven can be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and left. When the plants sprouted and produced grain, the weeds also appeared.

»Then the servants of the owner came to him and said: ‘Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? Where did the weeds come from?’. He answered them: ‘This is the work of an enemy’. They asked him: ‘Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?’. He told them: ‘No, when you pull up the weeds, you might uproot the wheat with them. Let them just grow together until harvest; and at harvest time I will say to the workers: Pull up the weeds first, tie them in bundles and burn them; then gather the wheat into my barn’».

Jesus put another parable before them, «The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, that a man took and sowed in his field. It is smaller than all other seeds, but once it has fully grown, it is bigger than any garden plant; like a tree, the birds come and rest in its branches».

He told them another parable, «The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast that a woman took and buried in three measures of flour until the whole mass of dough began to rise».

Jesus taught all this to the crowds by means of parables; He did not say anything to them without using a parable. So what the Prophet had said was fulfilled: ‘I will speak in parables. I will proclaim things kept secret since the beginning of the world’».

Then He sent the crowds away and went into the house. And his disciples came to him saying, «Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field». Jesus answered them, «The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed are the people of the Kingdom; the weeds are those who follow the evil one. The enemy who sows them is the devil; the harvest is the end of time and the workers are the angels. Just as the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom all that is scandalous and all who do evil. And these will be thrown in the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the just will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. If you have ears, then hear».

«This is the work of an enemy»

P. Ramón LOYOLA Paternina LC (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Christ. Always, Christ. From him we come; the good seeds sowed in our life also come from Him. God visits us —the Kempis says— in the consolation and in the desolation, with the sweet taste and with the bitter taste, with the flower and with the thorn, in the cold and in the heat, in the beauty and in the suffering, in our joy and in our sadness, in our courage and in our fears... because everything has been redeemed through Christ (He also felt the fear and he overcome it). As St. Paul says, «And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him» (Rom 8:28).

All this is fine, but... there is a mystery of iniquity and wickedness that does not come from God, that extends beyond us and ravages the Church, which is God's garden. And we would like God to be “somewhat” more powerful, more “here and now”, that He would be more demanding and would not let these distressing forces in: «Do you want us to go and pull up [the weeds]?» (Mt 13:28). In his last book Memory and Identity, John Paul II wrote this: «We patiently suffer God's mercy», that waits until last moment to offer salvation to all souls, especially those more in need of its mercy («Let them just grow together until harvest»: Mt 13:30). And, as He is the Lord of our lives and of all mankind, He pulls the threads of our existence, while respecting our freedom. And along with our afflictions we are supplied with overabundant grace to overcome them, to sanctify ourselves, to head towards Him, to be a permanent offertory, to make his Kingdom grow.

Through each encounter, each event, Christ, divine pedagogue, introduces us to His school of life. He comes to meet us and says: —But take heart! I have overcome the world. I am with you always, until the end of the age» (cf. Jn 16:33; Mt 28:20). He also tells us: —Don't judge; but, rather, do as I do, wait, trust, pray for all those erring, and sanctify them as members you are very much interested in, for they are members of your own body.