July 19, 2020 Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

- Today’s Readings: Wis 12:13, 16-19 | Rom 8:26-27 | Mt 13:24-43

In the gospel of today we have the Kingdom Parables of Jesus. Kingdom in the Gospel does not refer to a place, either here or hereafter. The Greek word basileia is better translated as ‘kingship’, or ‘reign’, or ‘rule’, so some translations speak of the ‘Reign of God’. The Kingdom is primarily an environment, it is a set of relationships, and it is a situation where God’s values prevail. The divine values in practice are nothing but the deepest human values and aspirations as mirrored in the life of Jesus, who is himself the revelation of God to us in accessible human form. These values include truth, love, compassion, justice, a sense of solidarity with all other human beings, a sense of trust in other, a deep respect for the dignity of every other human person, a holistic concept of human growth and development. People who, individually and collectively, try to live these values belong, with Jesus, to the Kingdom of God. They are united with the rule of God in trying to build a world we would all like to see happen. It is very much something for the here and now. It is basically the vocation of the Church, and therefore the vocation of every member of that community. The Kingdom however, extends beyond the Church. There are people, who may not explicitly know Christ or express allegiance to Christ, yet live the ideals and the values of the Kingdom in their lives.

The parables in this passage tend to emphasize the mysterious ways in which the kingdom grows. Especially highlighted is how something can begin very tiny and end up very big. Here we have three images or parables of the Kingdom at work among us. The first is the parable of the weeds among the wheat that explains about the judgment and who makes it. The wheat sown in the field is understood to be good and weed sown by the enemy is bad. The Householder’s slaves judged the weed to be bad and wanted to cut them down which is logical. The owner surprisingly says no and mandates that they should be left to grow together. Judgment will be rendered at the end and then only by the owner and not the slaves. The point is that the judgment between the wheat and the weeds is not easy and hasty judgment can be disastrous. A second point is that final judgment can be made only by the owner. In the meantime we all have to learn to live together patiently and without judging one another. The parable stresses the final judgment when the son of man will deliver the final verdict which will condemn the children of the evil one namely the weeds and extol the children of the kingdom namely the wheat. The parable is saying that people who are filled with the vision and values of God and Jesus must learn to live side by side with a whole spectrum of people who, in varying degrees, do not yet share or live this vision and these values. The Kingdom of God clearly calls people to attain the highest ideals and greatest generosity. It also calls for a great measure of tolerance, patience and understanding in seeing the Kingdom become a reality. The conversion of our societies into Kingdom-like communities is a very gradual process. There is always the danger that, when people try to take God or the good life seriously, they become elitist. We Christians, simply as Christians, can feel ourselves to be superior to those of other religions. Today’s parable far from being remote touches comprehensively the deep areas of our lives. The coming of the Kingdom then is not going to be a neat and tidy process. Our experience again and again confirms that, whenever we try to bring any change and reforms in any community, it is challenged. The parable reminds us that in each one of us there are elements of the Kingdom and elements that are deeply opposed to it.

Source: Shortened from https://msjnov.wordpress.com/2020/07/12/sixteenth-sunday-of-the-year-july-19-2020/ Image: Christ’s Object Lessons by Ellen Gould Harmon White, page 73