Saturday, July 19, 2008

July 20: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

July 20: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Readings: Wisdom 12:13,16-19; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-43

The readings of this Sunday, help us to discover our God who is full of mercy and forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we can do. Yet there are many examples of extraordinary courage in forgiveness. On May 13, 1981 Pope John Paul II, was shot in the abdomen and on his hand by an attempted assassination, shortly after the Wednesday General Audience on St. Peter’s Square, when the Pope’s car drove by. As he was being rushed to the hospital the Pope forgave his assassin. On December 27, 1983 Pope John Paul II visited Ali Agca in his prison cell in Rome, and personally extended his forgiveness. In this unusual act of forgiveness, the Pope gives us a great example of forgiveness. In the First Reading from the Book of Wisdom we hear that God governs with great lenience. When we repent of our sins, God always forgives us. Psalm 86 picks up that theme in a beautiful prayer: “Lord you are good and forgiving”. In Gospel Parable of the Wheat and the Darnel, Jesus reveals to us the mystery of the Kingdom, which is compared to a person who planted wheat, and while asleep, some enemies came and sowed weeds. These weeds look very much like wheat as they grow.

What is the kingdom of Heaven that Jesus speaks about? The Kingdom Jesus is revealing to us must not be understood as a place up in the sky. Rather this Kingdom is a state of being in which God rules and God's values prevail. Jesus in many ways lived and taught about these values. In the parable of the Wheat and the Darnel, Jesus powerfully communicates these values, namely forgiveness, compassion, justice, a sense of solidarity and inclusiveness of all human beings God has created in his image and likeness. That is why the kingdom of heaven is compared to a farmer who sowed good seed and while asleep an enemy sawed weeds. The image of the farmer leaving both the wheat and the weeds to grow up together till harvest is the key to understanding how God deals with us. Jesus challenges us to be like his Father, who is patient and lenient with sinners, letting the wheat continue to grow among the weeds until the harvest. Who knows, the sinner may be touched by God's grace and repent? Who knows, between now and harvest time the non believer might be led to the fullness of the truth in ways known to God alone. The Kingdom of God therefore is always a mixed bag of those in communion with God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, and those who are not; those who have remained faithful and those who have been led astray by the evil one. It is tragic that often times we deal with this ‘mixed-bag’ situation by judging others while justifying ourselves. Like the farmer in the Gospel, we must leave judgement to God till the end. We must leave all to grow side by side till harvest time. The parable also reminds us that we must be as tolerant as our heavenly Father who is good and forgiving. We celebrate God's mercy by letting God to do the judging at the end of time. What message do we take home? 1) Because the Kingdom of God is a mixed bag, we are challenged to be tolerant, compassionate and forgiving others like our God; 2) We pray that God may give us the grace of his loving mercy and forgiveness, especially through the Sacrament of reconciliation.

©2008 John M Mbinda

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